Readers have suggested another alternative to QuickBooks; one that is available for minimal cost.
According to the Small Business Association, small businesses including individual contractors and mom-and-pop shops, comprise about 99.7% of America's workforce. That is a sizable amount to consider in the grand scheme of things. It would be a nice idea for those mom-and-pop shops to be able to keep a tidy ledger of finances as well as calculate what kind of taxes are owed at the end of the year. A setup like this would be advantageous to individuals that might not collect a W2 and prefer to work straight-pay gigs that involve a 1099-MISC.
Outright, a GoDaddy company, is an online accounting software platform that is set to make waves in the financial management sector. No longer will you need to keep track of all your income and expenses in more traditional methods. Simply load in your bank accounts, credit cards, and loans into Outright's intuitive interface and let it sort everything out.
When I set up my account on Outright, I threw in my bank and credit card information to start the analysis process. When it finished, I was presented with a pie chart and a bar graph detailing all the money coming in as well as the money going out.
Outright displayed my YTD net amount as a gain or a loss depending upon the information provided, including general information on income levels from the sources provided, as well as a thorough breakdown of each deposit and withdrawal on the tabs that followed the main screen.
If you would like to download your Profit and Loss statements for further examination and editing, Outright offers an export feature which generates a CSV file, which can be opened in Google Docs or Microsoft Excel. The months in the fiscal year are represented in each column while income and expenses that you define appear in the rows of the spreadsheet.
Because of this style of income/expense categorization, Outright reminded me of another Web product called Mint.com from Intuit. However, what differentiates Outright from Mint.com is what it brings to the tax calculation department. Outright will calculate federal, state, and local taxes, including Medicare, Social Security, and other required taxes. This is fantastic in a number of ways.
For instance, when I perform any solo contract gigs, I would rather dedicate more time to my client's needs then to my tracking of receipts and payments, thus Outright would have me covered, saving precious time. There is a bit of a catch though. In order to manage the tax side of the equation, you are going to have to pony up for an upgrade of Outright.
The paid version of the service called Outright Plus is available for $9.95 per month, and it contains extras like more reporting modes with finer granularity as well as "annual, quarterly, and sales tax tracking". Keep in mind though, that even with the added price premium, Outright doesn't have any means to actually pay your taxes directly when the time comes, as it is simply meant to be a bookkeeping tool.
At the end of the day, if you are running your own business or are looking for a bookkeeping solution for small companies, Outright is worth a look. For the road warriors among us, an iPhone app is also available directly from the App Store at no extra charge.