In general, I try to have a coaching conversation with new clients and prospective clients about the reasonable time and cost allocation for bookkeeping in relation to other business factors. We hope to see this allocation consistent with others who are successful within a business niche and, if a significant difference exists, look more closely at the reasons for this variation.
Improving your financial results usually starts with improving your financial recordkeeping. A solid bookkeeping routine taps into the most current technology to minimize your time requirements and makes it easy to get advice on tax advice and wealth accumulation. This post lists popular bookkeeping options for independent contractors and sole proprietors that I’ve personally used for myself of for clients.
QuickBooks* is the most popular at $15 per month. This platform makes it easy for an accountant to share, discuss and work on records. Makes it easy to stay compliant with taxes. If you buy it through my Freedom Benefits service with an ACH pre-authorized payment, I offer setup support at no extra charge. To keep me working on the account permanently will likely cost more, depending on how we agree to work together.
Xero – similar to QuickBooks but easier to learn. I do not currently support Xero simply becasue I don’t have enough clients using it to justify the continued professional education.
Freshbooks* – similar to QuickBooks but more expensive after the first three months.
Banks and credit unions online banking offer improved online systems lately. This is good if you primarily use one bank account. Some clients give me bank access but it is not required.
Mint is free but you are trading your privacy and financial information for marketing purposes.
Quicken is $35 per year. Good self-service but no professional access.
Excel based systems require manual labor and sometimes expert attention. A new version of of Microsoft Money links Excel with banks and downloads transactions. It is technically good but limitations may be annoying.
* I am certified as an accountant in QuickBooks and FreshBooks.