When you start a business, you don’t often think about the accounting aspects. You just want to see the money start rolling in.
However, you need to be on top of your accounting if you want to keep up with your taxes (or at least not make them difficult).
One of the ways that you can stay on top of things is to use some sort of accounting software or application. As I started looking, I considered a number of options. While I eventually just settled on using Quicken (although now I’m using MoneyDance) to keep track of my business income and expenses, I did look into other options.
One of these was Outright.com small business accounting.
What is Outright?
Outright is a Web app that helps you with your accounting. It is mainly designed for sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs. There is a lot of emphasis on the Schedule C with Outright.
There are two versions of Outright:The free version, and Outright Plus, which costs $9.95 per month.
It’s important to note that the Plus version offers sales tax tracking, which can be a bonus, especially for those who are involved in sales.
Outright, like many Web-based bookkeeping software, syncs with your various accounts. One of the things that makes Outright nice is that it offers you an easy look at your bank account, how much money others owe you, and what you owe to others.
Outright can sync with your Amazon, Paypal, and other accounts to pull information on what you are paid, and from where. This can be especially helpful for those who sell items on sites like Etsy and eBay. Everything is pulled in automatically, categorized, and recorded automatically, using the information from accounts that you provide.
A nice touch is that you can also upload statements manually. When you are ready to prepare reports, it’s possible for you to quickly and easily see where you stand. It’s also easy to fill out a Schedule C with help from Outright, since it’s set up for the categories. On top of that, Outright offers a 1099 service that helps you file these forms for $5 apiece.
Downsides to Outright
The focus is on those who file Schedule C forms.
With the default settings, though, some of the categories are hidden. On the one hand, this isn’t a bad thing, since it makes Outright rather easy to use for certain types of businesses. On the other hand, this means that setting up for a business that works in services rendered (like what I do) requires a little bit of finagling with the category settings. On top of that, I’m not a single-member LLC; I don’t usually file a Schedule C. Those who have multiple-member LLCs, and S-Corps, might find that Outright doesn’t offer everything they are looking for.
I find it easier just to keep with my regular accounting software, and then generate my profit and loss reports each year, and haul them in, along with receipts for my tax-deductible business expenses, to my accountant.
Outright also doesn’t have its own invoicing tool. While it will pull your income from linked accounts, it doesn’t allow you to invoice. The app does sync with other invoicing tools, though. I use Freshbooks, since it results in lower fees as compared to invoicing through PayPal. Outright does integrate with Freshbooks, so it is possible to invoice that way, but you will have to pay a monthly fee for Freshbooks if you want to invoice more than three clients.
Outright does offer quite a bit in its free version. The $9.95 version is nice because it has more features, and includes regular sales tax and other tax updates. This can be very helpful as you pay your quarterly taxes.
However, Outright isn’t ideal for every business owner. It’s great if you are planning to use the Schedule C when you file your taxes, since the system is set up to reflect categories found on that tax form. However, if you aren’t planning on filing a Schedule C, or if you have a service-based business, you might need to tweak things a bit. In some cases, it might just be easier to go with a more complex accounting offering.
In the end, though, Outright can work for most small businesses. Try the free trial first, to see how you like it, and determine whether or not it really works for you.