April 3, 2018

QuickBooks Self-Employed Review

Read more about Business

QuickBooks Self-Employed combines tax software with cloud-based basic accounting benefits. Freelancers with basic needs often find it helpful.

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At first glance, QuickBooks Self-Employed is a tax software. It helps freelancers keep track of income and expenses, as well as calculate and pay estimated quarterly taxes. However, it does have a few bookkeeping capabilities that give many small freelancers the information they need.

Designed to help sole proprietors stay organized, QuickBooks Self-Employed packs quite a punch for the freelancer working alone. Its user-friendly and automated tools make keeping the books less of a chore while reducing the need for manual data entry.

If you're looking for a robust accounting program with complex reports, you may want to look elsewhere. But, if you just need a way to stay organized and avoid the end of the year chaos at tax time, it could be the product you've been looking for.

Who Is QuickBooks Self Employed Best For?

As you probably guessed, QuickBooks Self-Employed is for the self-employed. More specifically, it's for sole proprietors who need a little help staying organized. By sole proprietor, we mean just about any freelancer, whether they offer a product or service. If you sell online via a third-party marketplace or you market your services on Craigslist, QuickBooks Self-Employed can help you stay organized.

Ideally, it's for those business owners who don't differentiate between personal and business accounts. If you have one account that houses all of your income and expenses, QuickBooks Self-Employed can help you sort it out.

Reasons Why We Like It

  • User-friendly: If there's one thing we look for in any program, it's user-friendliness, and QuickBooks Self-Employed makes the cut. Its clean dashboard and simple navigation make it easy to find what you need. The home page provides a summary of your business, but you can easily navigate to Transactions, Miles, Taxes, and Reports with one click.

  • Easy set-up: It only takes a few minutes to set up your account with QuickBooks Self-Employed. You can set it up online or through the app. In fact, the app provides extensive features, such as tracking miles and capturing receipts, taking the guesswork out of tax time.

  • Access from anywhere: Because QuickBooks SE is cloud-based, you can access it from any device as long as you have an internet connection. You can even share your account by granting permissions to people, such as your tax accountant, to make tax time easier.

  • Easy-to-use client portal: Freelancers can create, send, and track invoices all in one place. They can even accept payments in the client portal. You can customize your invoices, know when they are viewed, and keep track of when they are paid. You can even accept payments online, some of which incur a fee. We discuss this below in Pricing.

  • Automatically track expenses: Gone are the days of the shoebox of receipts that you must muster through at tax time. QuickBooks Self-Employed helps you automatically separate your personal and business expenses. After entering the information once, QuickBooks SE remembers the settings and automatically categorizes subsequent expenses for you. You can also connect your bank account or any third-party merchant accounts, such as PayPal or Etsy.

  • Automatically track mileage: If you use the QuickBooks SE app, you can make tracking mileage simple. There's no need to keep a log. With the GPS on your phone, you can track your miles and categorize them as personal or business. This may help you increase your deductions at tax time.

  • Pay quarterly taxes: This is where QuickBooks SE really shines. Rather than guessing at what you owe the IRS or waiting until the end of the year and paying penalties, you can estimate what you owe and pay it on time each quarter.

Reasons You May Want to Look Elsewhere

  • Invoicing is pretty basic: While you can invoice your clients from anywhere, including your smartphone, the features are basic. Outside of saving your client information for use in the future, the system doesn't track any other client information. You can't setup recurring invoices or customize the look of your invoice. It's basically a system to keep small freelancers organized.

  • The reports are basic: Just like their invoices, the provided reports are basic. If you need more than a P&L or tax statement, you will want to use a more robust program. You can't manage inventory, track projects, or time worked. All reports are for tax reporting purposes, with basic accounting thrown in there as a benefit.

Pricing

Choosing a plan for QuickBooks Self-Employed is made easy, as they only offer 2 plans. The real difference between the two is a few tax benefits.

QuickBooks Self-Employed Plan
Cost: $10/month (they do run promotions)

  • Keep track and separate expenses (personal and business)
  • Organize Schedule C deductions at tax time
  • Calculate estimated taxes due each quarter
  • Track mileage automatically when you download the app
  • Create simple invoices with the ability to track them

QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle
Cost: $17/month (they do run promotions)

Same features as above plus:

  • The ability to pay your quarterly taxes online
  • Export Schedule C automatically to TurboTax Self-Employed
  • File federal and state taxes

QuickBooks SE does offer a 30-day, risk-free trial. You don't have to provide credit card information initially. After 30 days, you can cancel or provide your credit card and pay the monthly fee as described above.

If you want to accept payments within the QuickBooks Self-Employed Client Portal, you'll pay the following fees:

  • $0 for ACH payments
  • 2.5% plus $0.25 for credit card transactions

Customer Service

Just as is the case for the other QuickBooks programs, including QuickBooks Online, customer support leaves a lot to be desired. They do offer several online methods to help you get the answers to your questions.

Your best bet is to use their live chat option. When you are on the QuickBooks SE website, the live chat option sits in the right-hand corner of your screen. The wait time is usually short and the representatives are knowledgeable about the product.

QuickBooks does offer a few other customer service options, but finding the information you need might be a little tough. For example, they have a community forum, but it's not strictly for the Self-Employed program. It's a community for all QuickBooks programs. Upon first glance, there are a few topics on the SE program, but not enough to call it collaborative.

They do offer a contact form as well. This gives you access to their knowledge base after you type in your keywords or questions. If they can't find an answer, they will give you the instructions on how to call customer service.

Customer Service phone number: 1-800-488-7330
Hours: Mon-Fri 6 AM - 6 PM (PST) and Sat 6AM - 3PM (PST)

How It Compares

The most common program QuickBooks Self-Employed is compared against is QuickBooks Simple Start. QuickBooks SE is for the self-employed, whereas Simple Start is for small businesses. But we've also compared it against a second competitor: FreshBooks.

  • Simple Start: This program does everything that the SE program does, but it also helps you create and send estimates, run a larger variety of reports, and track sales tax.

  • FreshBooks: This program does most of what QuickBooks SE does as well. However, it also tracks time worked, offers project management, and has better customer support options.

Bottom Line

If your accounting needs are basic and you mostly need a way to get organized for tax time as a freelancer, QuickBooks Self Employed may suffice. If, however, you need something more robust or want to do more than pay your taxes, you may want to explore the other programs QuickBooks offers, such as QuickBooks Online.

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QuickBooks Online Review


QuickBooks Alternative


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