Quickbooks Self Employed (QBSE) is a bookkeeping package designed with the needs of new “gig economy” sole proprietors in mind. Effectively, it provides a basic way to keep track of your money without needing a complete accounting package or the learning curve associated with it.
So, is Quickbooks worth it for your small business? Well, if you are looking at a basic way of tracking business income, separating personal expenses from business expenses and calculating mileage then it might just fit the bill for you. However, for many businesses that are not participating in the new shared “gig” economy, QBSE’s simplicity is actually its downfall.
Firstly, if you are sole trader that makes your own products then Quickbooks Self Employed is most likely not your best option as this package does not include the ability to track inventory or COGS. You’ll need to be looking at their expensive Premier boxed versions to obtain these essential features. This is effectively a deal-breaker for most handmade businesses as QBSE will still bind you into a flaky excel spreadsheet system for years to come.
Invoicing is also a feature not available in the Self Employed version of Intuit’s offering: this can be quite a limitation to many who need to issue invoices and track payments made - if your business requires this option, you’ll again need to factor in using a secondary piece of software for this purpose.
State quarterly tax estimates is also something not available in the Self Employed version so this would need to be calculated in a secondary system.
Another concern reported by other Quickbooks Self Employed users is that their support offering can be quite patchy, with canned responses to questions very much the norm. If you are the type of person that requires some assistance in getting started with software then this hands-off approach may not work well for your situation as you’ll be directed to their knowledge base to solve your own problems.
Speed of the application itself is also sited quite often - due to it’s popularily, users have noticed lags in page updates and difficulty logging on. This may improve if Quickbooks continues to improve their infrastructure, however it can be worth factoring in if you want to access your data reliably.