As a small business accountant and tax consultant who works with solopreneurs, I am often asked, “What is the BEST accounting solution for me?” It’s a great question and can be broken down into these four key concerns:
- Can I use my phone/tablet to access the program? In other words, is there an app?
- How much is this going to cost me? How much work is this going to take to get up and running?
- Do I have to enter stuff manually?
- Can I use this information to prepare my taxes?
As a small business owner myself, I can relate to these concerns – it always helps for me to translate them into “accounting solution lingo” in order for me to make the best choice for my clients:
- Does the solution provide anytime, anywhere access with mobile app capabilities?
- Does the solution provide a low-cost option?
- Does the solution provide accounting automation?
- Does the solution provide reports and accounting data that I can provide to my tax preparer?
A personal goal of mine for tax season 2015 was to find a Schedule C accounting solution that fulfilled all of these requests, and if there were a few additional “bells and whistles,” that would be a plus.
Well, you can assume by the tile of this article that I FOUND IT, and I am super excited to share how QuickBooks® Self-Employed meets all my clients’ needs, and more. I will start by covering the overall advantages of using this solution for Schedule C businesses, and then focus on my four favorite features.
- 100 percent cloud-based accounting solution – QuickBooks Self-Employed is a web-based solution with an awesome mobile app; this means that you can do your accounting anywhere, anytime and on any device.
- Very simple to use – The Home/Dashboard was built to keep things simple; there are only five options on the left-hand navigation bar, and the mobile app turns sorting transactions into something so simple that you can do it while waiting in line for coffee.
- Ability to connect multiple bank and credit card accounts – Manual data entry is no longer necessary; QuickBooks Self-Employed has made adding and importing bank and credit card information into the system a safe and seamless process. Assigning income and expense categories is also very easy.
- Basic accounting reports – QuickBooks Self-Employed provides a P&L statement and a tax details report that your client can provide to you for Schedule C tax preparation. It’s even available in Excel.
- Pricing – QuickBooks Self-Employed is only $9.99/month; however, for a limited time, there is a current promotion for ONLY $3.99/month for the first year.
My Four Fav Features
Ensure clients keep taxes top of mind – This feature allows for the user to project self-employment income throughout the year and calculates federal quarterly estimated taxes (commonly referred to as SE Tax). Since the United States has a “pay-as-you-earn” tax system, self-employed individuals should be paying their taxes throughout the year and not all at once at tax time. Bottom line is that this feature encourages good habits and provides a constant reminder to my Schedule C clients that they should be paying, or at least saving for, their tax obligations.
Automatic mileage tracking – The mileage expense feature allows users to keep track of “actual expenses” vs. “standard mileage” expenses, and creates the required mileage log. And, even more exciting, the mileage app tracks the user’s mileage automatically “in the background” on his/her phone – no more paper and pen!
Ability to separate business vs. personal transactions – Newly self-employed individuals may not have opened a separate business account and are still getting used to using their business account for only business purposes. The ability to separate business vs. personal transactions is an awesome solution for this common newbie dilemma.
Clean Schedule C – What you’ll get as the tax pro is a clean Schedule C, exported from QuickBooks Self-Employed, which will make your life much, much easier.
QuickBooks Self-Employed has created an online accounting solution that keeps things simple for the Schedule C small business. This software focuses on tracking your business’ accounting data in an automated manner, and allows for mobile access so that users can stay organized anywhere and on any device. The ability to project your self-employment income and calculate quarterly estimated taxes encourages the Schedule C client to stay on top of their tax obligations. It will most definitely make the tax time experience for themselves, and their accountant, a much more pleasant one!
Editor’s note: For more information on QuickBooks Self-Employed, see “How to Simplify Schedule C Tax Prep for You and Your Clients.”