Should I Use QuickBooks Self-Employed?

QuickBooks Self Employed is part of the Intuit family of self-service financial products. Like other versions of QuickBooks, the program helps users prepare and file tax returns and handle basic accounting tasks. QuickBooks Self Employed includes additional benefits for self-employed workers.

 QuickBooks Self Employed Features

Because self-employed workers must pay taxes on their own, it’s essential to stay organized throughout the year. QuickBooks Self Employed provides several features designed to help untaxed, self-reported income workers:

  • Income tracking
  • Estimated quarterly tax calculator
  • Expense tracking, including Schedule C category selection
  • Mileage tracking
  • Deduction maximizer
  • Online banking
  • Invoicing
  • Basic financial reports
  • Clear separation between personal and business expenses
  • TurboTax plug-in for easy tax filing

QuickBooks Self Employed Pros and Cons

As you decide on the right software program to track your self-employment finances, carefully consider these QuickBooks Self-Employed benefits and a few reasons you may want to look elsewhere.

QuickBooks Self-Employed Pros

  • Easy to Use. QuickBooks Self Employed features a clean dashboard interface. It’s intuitive and straightforward to find what you’re looking for. Information about your transactions, mileage, taxes and QuickBooks reports are all one click away.
  • Accessible from Anywhere. QuickBooks Self Employed is a type of online accounting software, which means you can access it from any device or computer connected to the internet. Another handy benefit of using the cloud is the ability to grant permissions to people like your accountant.
  • Automated Banking Features. You can link all your associated business accounts to QuickBooks Self Employed, and once you’re up and running, automation features do most of the work. The program can record and categorize income and expenses as you pay and receive them, based on your preferences.
  • Quarterly Tax Payment Features. QuickBooks Self Employed will help you determine how much to send the IRS each quarter for quarterly taxes, which you can pay directly from the website or app.
  • Invoicing Features. If you perform work for multiple clients, invoicing can be a challenge. QuickBooks Self Employed lets you create, send and track invoices all from the client portal. You can also receive client payments here. Organizing invoices is a simple process.
  • Expense Tracking Information. QuickBooks Self Employed helps you sort expenses into personal and business. As you build up a history, the program begins to learn about your behaviors. At this point, it will automatically categorize common expenses as you input them.
  • Third-Party Merchant Account Integration. If you sell goods on Etsy or eBay or collect payments through PayPal, you can link your accounts to QuickBooks Self Employed. This will help you centralize your income by reducing the number of sites you need to log in and manage.

QuickBooks Self-Employed Cons

  • Somewhat Intrusive Cross-Marketing. Intuit, QuickBooks’ parent company, places ads for other Intuit products at the top of the page, which can become annoying. Some of the ads are distracting or involve a pop-up that you’ll have to close to use the program.
  • Limited Invoicing Capabilities. Sending invoices is easy, but quite basic. You can’t set up recurring invoices or customize the way your invoices look. The main benefit to invoicing through QuickBooks Self Employed is centralization, however, and it’s much easier to invoice through the program than to record invoices you created elsewhere.
  • Limited Reporting Features. You can have QuickBooks Self Employed run a few basic programs — profit and loss statements and tax information, primarily. If you want to dive deeper into topics like inventory control, project management, billed hours and so on, you’ll need to find a more robust accounting program.
  • Inability to Buy the Program Outright. Like many companies, Intuit steers customers toward monthly payment plans for most of its products, effectively forcing you to rent the programs. You can’t download a copy and use it for years to come — you’ll need to keep paying by the month, quarter, or year for the foreseeable future if you want to use QuickBooks Self Employed for the duration. Alternatively, you could purchase more expensive desktop versions of QuickBooks accounting software, but these programs are not cloud-based (that is - unless you use a cloud-hosted QuickBooks service). They are also not as intuitive or geared toward self-employed workers.

QuickBooks Self Employed FAQs

Here are a couple of common questions people ask about QuickBooks Self-Employed.

How Does QuickBooks Self Employed Track Tax Info?

Each time you record and select a category for a transaction, the program includes it as part of your federal estimated quarterly tax payments. This calculation serves as the framework for determining the amount of estimated tax you should send to the IRS each quarter.

QuickBooks Self Employed allows you to categorize your Schedule C (profit and loss) entries. As long as you are diligent throughout the year, when it’s time to file your annual taxes, you should be ready to go.

You can also snap pictures of receipts with the mobile app and categorize them as Schedule C expenses.

What’s the Difference Between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Self Employed?

QuickBooks Self Employed and QuickBooks Online are similar but benefit two different audiences.

QuickBooks Online Is for Small Businesses with Employees

QuickBooks Online is best suited for small business owners who pay employees or contractors. This program offers features like accounts receivable and accounts payable tracking capabilities, as well as extensive reports that give users insight into various aspects of their businesses.

Other QuickBooks Online features include customized income and expense categories, app integration for many popular business-related applications, and over 65 built-in business reports.

QuickBooks Online is an excellent choice for small businesses with employees across many sectors. Product-based businesses, medical practices, e-commerce, trade contractors and restaurants can all benefit from the program.

QuickBooks Self Employed Is for Self Employed Workers without Employees

People who work for themselves will get the most from QuickBooks Self Employed. Common occupations include:

  • Freelance writers and artists
  • Coaches
  • Sole proprietors
  • Bloggers
  • Contract workers
  • Gig-economy workers (Uber, Instacart, etc.)
  • Therapists, counselors, salon owners, and other independent professionals

If you receive a 1099-MISC form at the end of the year that lists all or some of your income and you don’t have employees, QuickBooks Self Employed is likely your best option.

Consider QuickBooks Hosting

If you need more robust options than the ones QuickBooks Self Employed offers, you may be happier with one another QuickBooks product. Summit Hosting lets you access these desktop-based programs from a dedicated cloud server so you can access your data from anywhere and use it just as you would on your home or office computer.

Learn more about Summit Hosting’s QuickBooks cloud hosting solutions.

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