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LAST UPDATED: November 16th, 2021

Pilot is an accounting service software utilized by financial professionals on the company’s team. The Pilot team works specifically with small businesses experiencing high-growth and helps out with bookkeeping, taxes, and CFO services. Pilot works with many companies in various industries — both nationally and internationally. 

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The Good

  • Bookkeeping Price Transparency
  • CFO Services
  • Tax Services
  • Add-Ons
  • $200 Off for Pre-revenue Companies

Bookkeeping Price Transparency

Pilot has three main bookkeeping packages, all of which are accrual-basis bookkeeping plans. The pricing of each package is based on the client company’s monthly expenses. Pilot bookkeeping plans include the following:

  • Core — $599 per month, businesses with $15,000 in monthly expenses receive a dedicated finance expert, accrual basis bookkeeping, profits and losses, balance sheet, and cash flow statements
  • Select — $849 per month, businesses with $15,000 in monthly expenses receive industry standard financial ratios, expedited books delivery, monthly phone reviews, priority support
  • Plus — Custom pricing, includes Core plan plus add-on options; support for multiple entities and locations; AR, AP, and inventory tracking; billable expenses; fully customizable chart of accounts. 

Pilot’s software helps eliminate report errors, which in turn makes company books more accurate. Pilot performs monthly bookkeeping, provides burn rate reports and inventory updates, and uses report metrics that are specific to each company’s industry. 

CFO Services

For companies looking to outsource CFO services, Pilot could be a great option. A company might choose to outsource CFO work if it does not currently have the funds to hire a full-time CFO. Pilot offers two CFO Service plans:

  • Monthly Engagement — Starts at $1,050 per month for three hours of CFO engagement, including updates of financials and business metrics monthly, and monthly rolling forecasts of financials. Pricing will vary based on how many hours of CFO engagement are needed by the client. 
  • Annual Budgeting and Forecasting — $6,300 per year for CFO consultations, revenue projections, COGS budgeting, headcount budgeting, payroll budgeting, non-payroll budgeting, sensitivity analysis, scenario planning, three statement models. 

Tax Services

In order to be eligible for Pilot's tax service plans, the client must also purchase Pilot Bookkeeping. Tax services by Pilot are not available independently. The following two tax service plans are offered: 

  • Essentials — Starts at $1,950 per year and includes federal income tax filing; Delaware franchise tax filing; electronic W9 collection, W8 BEN, and W8 BEN-E filing; 1099-MISC filing; email support; and free tax extension. 
  • Standard — Starts at $4,500 per year for all parts of the Essentials plan, plus support for entities with net income and priority support.
    Should you choose to have taxes done by an outside firm, Pilot will hand over your books to the tax firm at no additional cost. 

Add-Ons

In addition to bookkeeping and taxes, Pilot also has options for a few specific products and services. These are available for purchase at an hourly rate and include:

  • R&D Tax Credit — Pilot files the claims and necessary documentation for this credit in exchange for two percent of your business’s total qualifying expenses. 
  • AP/AR Services — Start at $125 per hour for bill pay and invoices.
  • Supplemental Services — Start at $195 per hour for custom reporting, training new hires, communicating with third-parties, and more.
  • Controller Services — Start at $200 per hour for revenue recognition, Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) categorization, and more. 

Specifics of these individual add-ons would need to be discussed with a Pilot representative. 

$200 Off for Pre-revenue Companies

Start-ups working with Pilot can take advantage of an awesome monthly incentive. Any pre-revenue companies qualify for a monthly $200 discount on Core and Select plans. This incentive can be initiated by speaking with a Pilot consultant. 

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The Bad

  • Expensive Pricing
  • Limited Tax Services
  • No Cash-Basis Accounting
  • Lacking Payroll Services
  • Quickbooks Only

Expensive Pricing

Pilot’s monthly plan prices are a bit higher than comparable plans offered by industry competitors. Pilot does not give any free trials on its plans, where some other companies do. 

The cost of Pilot services are based on a monthly price, but services are prepaid annually. This means that if you choose to use Pilot, you are locked in for a full year. Thus, there are no options for monthly billing when using Pilot. 

The other issue is that with expense-based pricing, these annual prices are not locked. As your company grows and expenses increase, the pricing of services will increase. Your prepaid amount will go toward the cost, but Pilot will also bill you the difference. 

Limited Tax Services

As stated in the Tax Services section, only those who have purchased bookkeeping from Pilot qualify for tax services through Pilot. Not only that, but there are a couple tax services that the company does not offer. Pilot does not do personal income tax or sales tax for its clients. 

No Cash-Basis Accounting

Accrual-basis accounting is the most common method used in accounting, but some businesses may prefer to use cash-basis accounting. Unfortunately, Pilot does not do cash-basis accounting. Those seeking this type of work should look elsewhere. 

Lacking Payroll Services

Pilot does not offer payroll as part of its accounting plans. Only the CFO service plans mention anything about payroll services. Other companies in the industry will provide payroll services, even if it is for an additional cost. 

Quickbooks Only

Companies that have used Xero for bookkeeping may want to pursue other accounting service companies. Pilot only uses Quickbooks for bookkeeping. For those who use Quickbooks already, the process will be simple — but for those who don’t, it could be a setback. 

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The Bottom Line

CFO services are a unique aspect of this company, and can add value to growing start-up businesses. The negative parts of Pilot may not be negative for every potential customer — for instance, using Quickbooks or only having accrual-basis accounting may fall directly in line with a customer’s preferences. We recommend Pilot to small-business owners whose companies are experiencing high growth, as this is truly what Pilot specializes in. 

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