Business Services for Self-Employed
An important consideration in setting up a new business is to set up an accounting system which is easy-to-use but robust enough to contain features needed for a well-managed business. QuickBooks is the accounting system of choice of many professionals.
Mariette Martinez discusses the pros and cons in terms of the features required by small businesses. She focuses on “a newly self-employed individual also referred to as a 1099 Independent Contractor in a Service-Based profession with limited need for invoicing and no product selling.
Based on this type of individual, I have learned that there are 5 Key Elements for an accounting solution to best fit this individual’s need:
1. Anytime, Anywhere Access –This type of individual is usually on the go
2. Pricing – As first-time self-employed, low-cost solutions are best; Free Trial is a PLUS
3. Bank & Credit Card transactions import capabilities – Bank feeds (i.e. automated bank transaction import) are the future of efficient bookkeeping; No More manual entry
4. Reporting – Basic financial reports are essential for year-round profitability analysis & preparation for year-end taxes
5. Mobile App Capabilities such as Receipt Capture & Auto Mileage – If the accounting solution can provide additional features that can eliminate the need for MORE APPs, that’s a PLUS
6. Your Accountant’s BIGGEST Request – Shared Access to Your Books
After researching several online accounting solutions that met all of these qualifications including QuickBooks Online (Simple, Essentials, Plus), QuickBooks Self-Employed, Wave, Xero, Zoho Books, FreshBooks, Kashoo & Sage One, I have narrowed my TOP 3 Choices to QuickBooks Self-Employed ($5/mo.), QuickBooks Online Simple Start ($13/mo.), Wave (Free) (in no particular order). Please use the above list of programs as a good reference for other great accounting solutions that may better fit your business’s unique accounting needs.
Advantages for ALL Top 3 Apps:
• 100% Cloud Based Accounting Solution – all solutions are web-based with mobile app capabilities (mobile features vary per app)
• Very Simple to Use – all solutions have dashboards and easy to navigate tool bars that are simple to learn and intuitive to use
• Ability to Separate Business vs Personal transactions – newly self-employed individuals may not have opened a separate business account yet or he/she is still getting used to using the business account for only business purposes (i.e. no comingling); the ability to separate business vs personal transactions is a great solution to fix these mistakes
• Ability to import multiple bank & credit card account transactions – adding/importing a new bank/credit card account to the system and assigning the income and/or expense type to the transaction is super simple
• Basic Accounting Reports – throughout the year, it’s important to keep a close eye on your income & expenses so you have an idea on how your business is doing; even more important is the ability to estimate your income for the year since as a Self-Employed individual, you are responsible to PAY self-employment taxes
• Pricing- all apps provide a FREE trial period and are less than $15/month
• Receipt Capture – as a newly self-employed, keeping track of your receipts in one place is more important than ever to take advantage of the tax benefits of business expenses; the mobile app for all solutions has the receipt capture capabilities which will attach a picture to a transaction.”
Note that two of her top three choices are versions of Quickbooks. The other choice, Wave is free. All have a free trial period so you may want to take a look at more than one.