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Struggling to keep your books balanced or pull together all the information you need at tax time? It can be a real challenge for solopreneurs. You have a business to run and grow, clients or customers to satisfy, and more. While accounting is definitely part and parcel of owning your own business, unless you have a degree, it can be incredibly difficult. What are your options? Should you hire a solopreneur accountant? Should you opt for software?
While you can choose to do it all yourself (either longhand or with accounting software), it might be wise to work with a solopreneur accountant. It ensures compliance, accurate tax reporting, and avoids the time suck of doing it yourself.
Another advantage of an experienced accountant is the advice this professional can offer. While the apps mentioned below offer online advice, it’s usually short-term tax savings advice or where you might find a better car insurance rate. An experienced accountant can look at your overall financial situation and offer broader advice that better positions you for retirement or your next entrepreneurial adventure.
What should you look for in such a partner, though? Actually, it’s not all that complicated.
Obviously, make sure that the accountant has experience handling the books for solopreneurs, as your needs are very different from entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others. Your requirements will also be very different from wealthy individuals who do not own a business. Vet each potential candidate carefully, and make sure that you can trust the one you ultimately hire.
First, a caveat – if you can afford to hire a solopreneur accountant, do so. While it is initially more expensive than buying business accounting software, the advice, guidance, and accuracy provided by a professional accountant will more than pay for itself in the end. However, if you’re just too strapped for cash to work with a pro, or you’re dead set on doing every single thing yourself, you can find a few decent software options on the market.
QuickBooks: Yes, it’s the grandfather of all accounting software solutions, but that doesn’t mean that it’s old and stodgy. It’s experienced. QuickBooks remains one of the most popular accounting software options for solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. I use Quickbooks Self-Employed.(By the way, I signed up for QuickBooks self-employed after I had opened a free Mint account, which Intuit also owns, so much of my information was already in their system. I highly recommended Mint.)
Xero: Xero is billed as an alternative to QuickBooks, and best of all, it works with your mobile devices, allowing you to handle accounting needs while you focus on building and growing your business. It can even help you work with a solopreneur accountant if you want.
Wave: This is the free option. Wave rates an 83 percent positive rating on Gettapp as I write this, so it is certainly not an imposter. There are some paid add-ons, such as payroll, but since we’re talking about options to take the role of your solopreneur accountant, payroll probably isn’t an immediate concern.
FreshBooks: Similar in concept to QuickBooks, FreshBooks has been lauded by authorities like Forbes on its ease of use, and it seems to be a particularly good fit for the service industry. With that being said, it does not provide bank reconciliation, so you’ll still need to do some legwork on your own.
Kashoo: Kashoo is making waves in the small business accounting software niche for its ease of use and lack of complications. Unlike QuickBooks, Kashoo was actually built from the ground up for the small business owner/solopreneur, and delivers pretty powerful features. It offers a free trial.
Whether you ultimately hire a solopreneur accountant or decide to go the DIY route with accounting software, it’s critical that you have a system in place immediately. The future of your business rests on this, so don’t waste time or take chances.