All Your Work, All in One Place: QuickBooks Self-Employed

QuickBooks® Online Accountant (QBOA) has evolved over the past few years to become a dynamic suite of accounting, tax and productivity solutions for accounting professionals. Bookkeepers, CPAs and other professionals that have adopted QBOA in their practice are benefiting from its many features, including the seamless integration between QBOA and Intuit® ProConnect™ Tax Online using the Trial Balance Tool, as well as practice management features included in the Work tab and the free QuickBooks Online Plus company, which includes a free Full Service payroll account for QBOA users. This suite of products allows them to collaborate with their clients, colleagues and team members in a way that we’ve never seen before.

Being on the cutting edge of the accounting technology evolution has afforded progressive accounting pros with flexibility to work where they want and how they want, and has greatly improved both the quality of their client relationships and their quality of life. Because QBOA is cloud-based, pros who use it have become untethered from their brick and mortar offices, eliminated the need for long commutes to meet with clients, and have vastly expanded the geographic area they serve.

QBOA gives accounting pros access to all their clients’ QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Self-Employed (QBSE) subscriptions from one central dashboard. While most people have heard about, or used, QuickBooks Online, many practitioners are still unfamiliar with its cousin, QBSE.

QBSE is a unique accounting product, designed specifically for self-employed individuals who are considered freelancers or independent contractors and file a form Schedule C with their tax returns. Intuit® developed QBSE to meet the needs of solopreneurs who don’t really need a full general ledger accounting system, but need an easy way to keep track of their business income and expenses, including business mileage, estimated taxes and healthcare costs.

QBSE shares many of the features of QuickBooks Online, including Bank Feed functionality, which allows you to connect your online bank and credit card accounts and feed transactions into QBSE, where they can be categorized. You can create Rules to ensure that transactions are categorized to the correct Schedule C category, and even create allocations between several categories, or allocate between business and personal amounts.

Clients can create simple invoices and email them to customers. They can even connect a QuickBooks Payments account to allow customers to pay electronically via ACH bank transfer or credit card.

There are many features where QBSE stands out from QuickBooks Online. For example, QBSE allows you to separate business from personal activity in a single bank or credit card account, and it includes a built-in mileage tracker that uses the GPS technology in your mobile device to track drives automatically. Once miles are recorded in the mileage tracker, you can categorize drives as personal or business and save details about the business purpose. The mileage tracker updates the mileage rate automatically each tax year, and calculates the appropriate deduction based on business miles and includes it in the taxable income calculation.

The home page and reports in QBSE make it simple for clients to see their business spending, profit and taxable income, along with balances in their bank and credit card accounts.

The tax summary report provides schedules that compare actual spending to deductible amounts, while the tax details report is a downloadable excel workbook that includes the tax summary, quarterly summary and individual worksheets that include transaction details for each business category. And, because the categories in QBSE align with the tax lines on the Schedule C, tax pros can use the Tax Summary reports to easily complete the tax return in their tax software.

Many self-employed individuals struggle with the concept of estimated taxes and how to calculate the amount they should set aside for payments each quarter. QBSE solves for that, too. Enter details about the taxpayer in the Tax Profile, including marital and filing status, number of dependents, wages and withholding from employment (both for the taxpayer and spouse), and either the standard or itemized deduction amounts. QBSE uses this information, along with the business profit and calculated mileage, to estimate the amount of taxes due for the Schedule C.

You can enter projected income and expenses by month in the Tax Projections tab to ensure that the estimated tax payments are as accurate as possible. As transactions are recorded and time passes, the projected amounts are replaced with actuals. One of my personal favorite features is the pink box at the top right of the screen, which displays the amount and due date of the next estimated tax payment. This reminds clients how much they should have set aside and reduces the likelihood of surprises!

If you have clients that are solopreneurs who are looking for a simple to use solution to keep their business income and expenses organized throughout the year, you’ll want to take a look at QBSE. You can learn more and take a test drive by visiting this website.

Editor's note: Be sure to check out the other articles in our One Place series: