In the beginning, you may have used the humble spreadsheet.
With it, maybe you tracked client payments, expenses, and inventory–in other words, all the useful information for day-to-day business accounting.
But as a company grows larger, this sort of manual accounting can become burdensome. First of all, it can be a major time drain to keep the spreadsheet up to date. Second, human error during data entry can lead to a chain reaction of bad numbers and inaccurate account balances—something that can be difficult to fix. Spending time to manually fix these errors is a time suck and could divert your attention away from other work.
Modern accounting software can address these problems.
If your business or freelancing operation has outgrown the spreadsheet accounting model, it may be time to upgrade to something more professional. This can save an unbelievable amount of time and energy. Even if you don’t quite need more complex accounting software yet, it could prove beneficial. And if you haven’t kept proper track of your books because you loathe meticulous organizing, accounting software could be right for you.
What is Quickbooks?
QuickBooks was first released in the DOS days as a software package for small and mid-size businesses to handle their accounting needs. It has evolved since then.
There are now editions focused on users who are self-employed, running major enterprises, or medium-sized businesses. QuickBooks has even started offering an online monthly subscription service with different tiers of features and pricing available depending on your particular needs.
What are QuickBooks’ main features?
QuickBooks’ many features have made it a popular business accounting program. Here are some of the highlights:
Easily import transaction data from your accounts.
Each QuickBooks program is equipped with features to automatically receive transaction data from all of your accounts, including checking, savings, and credit cards. This eliminates the need for manual entry. You can just verify the transactions that QuickBooks detects. The data QuickBooks imports include everything from invoice payments to outgoing expenses, so you can get real-time insights into your company’s cash flow.
Automatically categorize your expenses.
You may save even more time with QuickBooks by automating expense categorization. You can set rules to automatically move certain charges into specific tax categories. When it’s time for your quarterly or annual taxes, your Schedule C write-offs will already be totaled up and organized. Also, the data can be exported for your accountant or imported into Intuit’s other best-seller, Turbo Tax.
Categories also allow you to run detailed reports and spending analysis so you can see where your money is going. There are even tools for trend forecasting.
Scan receipts with your phone.
QuickBooks also eliminates one of the most time-consuming activities as well: scanning receipts. There is still some manual labor involved. You can download the QuickBooks app, point the camera at the receipt, and snap a picture. QuickBooks will do the rest.
The QuickBooks platform allows you to send payments. In the same way that you can gather all of your transactions in one place, you can also assemble all of your bills.
QuickBooks keeps track of which bills have been paid and which are outstanding. It also provides insight into how the bills were paid (credit card, direct deposit, or even check). You can even schedule bills ahead of time to automatically be paid.
You can use QuickBooks to receive payment. You can create customized invoices using templates or your own designs, and spruce them up with your own logos and color palettes. Once ready, you can save and send to your clients or customers, offering them a variety of ways to pay—including by credit card, direct deposit, or check.
There are scheduling capabilities as well. You can schedule invoices ahead of time, or even program recurring invoices to automatically be sent on a regular basis.
When payments are received, QuickBooks matches the transaction with the invoice and marks it as paid.
The QuickBooks app may also act as a built-in mileage tracker. Take your phone with you whenever you’re driving, and the app will automatically detect when you’ve made a trip.
After you’re done, you can review how far you drove, and swipe to select whether this was business or personal. If you don’t have your phone or there’s an error, you can manually adjust the miles.
Who is QuickBooks for?
The QuickBooks accounting platform includes several product offers that can work for freelancers or solopreneurs, as well as small business owners and mid-size enterprises. The platform’s DIY nature may make it appealing to entrepreneurs and companies that may not be large enough to have a whole accounting department or outsource their bookkeeping to third party companies.
However, this could be a tool that dedicated in-house accountants use as well.
Review Intuit’s full array of QuickBooks products to find the software that is right for you. For the past few years, the company has increasingly focused on cloud-based accounting software, especially convenient for office-less companies and sharing access with multiple users.
Who isn’t QuickBooks for?
If you prefer hands-off bookkeeping, you may find QuickBooks doesn’t work for you.
QuickBooks is used by millions of companies and business owners in North America. The service may save you time and make accounting easier. If you’re looking for 24/7 access to technical support and add-on access to Intuit’s own network of accountants, it could be the right service for you.