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Smart Working Tool Review – Outright Accounting Software

by Steve Fisher on October 20, 2009

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IN THE INTEREST OF FULL DISCLOSURE – Outright and Network Solutions partnered up this year for the Unintentional Entrepreneur series of events and have a blog of the same name (which focuses on those who have recently started a business). However this product review is independent and from the perspective of a guy with an accounting degree who signed up for the free service to test it out for his own business.

outright-logo

These days there are many Software as a Service (SaaS) products out on the market. Ones for billing, ones for project management, ones for selling and customer service. There are also a few for handling your accounting needs. This is a very tough nut to crack since many are first reticent to put data into the cloud, much less their financial information, and then they have to contend with the Intuit Quickbooks ownership of the market place.

This is why I was skeptical when I heard about what Outright was planning to do but in true Agile software methodology they started with the basics and have stayed on a constant improvement path adding features and functionality incrementally. My business was evaluating the move off of Quickbooks which is used on our network and doesn’t give access to our team or accountant like the web product does. This provided me an opportunity to evaluate lots of other services (which will be for a later post).

What I liked about Outright

save_time_closeupTwo simple messages – Save Time and Save Money. You are really speaking my language. Accounting package can suck your life away because of the complexity many have and the time it takes to learn everything properly. I want my accountant to be helping me with tax planning and cash flow management not training me on how to properly enter vendors and reconcile the checkbook.

Integration with other SaaS tools – They have started with two big ones – Freshbooks and Shoeboxed. We use Freshbooks for invoicing but our expensing is done separately and shoeboxed is not a vendor of ours.

Techcrunch has a nice update on the addition of Expensify “Getting started with the site is quite easy, because Outright has recently partnered with a number of financial services: you can import invoices from Freshbooks, receipts from Shoeboxed, your PayPal transaction history, as well as your credit card transactions through a deal with Expensify, which supports 94% of US credit cards. You only have to do this once — once you’ve linked your account, they’ll keep automatically updating until you unlink them.

save_money_closeupKiller Tax Planning Tool – One of the big areas many new entrepreneurs and freelancers screw up is in the tax area. For years they have been used to their employer taking out taxes and they just took their W-2 and did their taxes. With a new business there are all kinds of tax benefits to using expenses and also planning your cash flow so the right amount goes to the IRS quarterly so you don’t get spanked the following year with a tax bill plus penalties that make you cry and ask yourself why you are doing this in the first place.

What I didn’t like about Outright (but they can change this and innovate to fix this stuff)

No Connectivity to banking accounts – This was my deal breaker. Despite my love-hate relationship with Quickbooks some times, they do this part flawlessly and I am able to quickly go through the month and match deposits to client billing and categorize the expenses with a final reconcile button that takes me about 60-90 minutes a month to do my books.

Granted, I think I have become spoiled to this functionality because Quickbooks has been doing it for so long and I can get this online though the personal budgeting tool Mint.com so I am really kind of expecting it. Despite the enormous complexities of integration behind the scenes I am willing to wait for this but many other non-technical people who have this in other products will look for it.

Then again, this product is FREE and has some great functionality already so I can’t completely put them to task.

Tax planning only covers Schedule C – For the uninitiated, Schedule C is for a Sole Proprietorship and not partnerships or corporations. I won’t go into a business law discussion but a sole proprietorship is the most basic form a business and many firms are usually formed as LLC or Subchapter-S corporations for liability protection and tax advantages. My firm is S-Corporation and all partners get K-1′s at the end of the year that go into our tax returns.

Inability to bring in balance sheet items from previous year – You may go, huh? The plain english translation of that statement is basically this could be old receivables from customers that haven’t paid yet (or may never pay) that you will need to write off. This can offset your tax liability in a big way so your estimated taxes in the tax planner are just that – estimated. If you have complexities like this you should engage an accountant who can give you a better picture of tax planning for this year and next.

Who is this Smart Working Tool for?

I would say at this point in their life, Outright absolutely perfect for the independent contractor or freelancer who has a very simple cash-in, cash-out approach with no employees. Outright is FREE, which takes away any cost objections. Plus, if you can leverage Freshbooks and Shoeboxed to automate the sync to Outright, this can work really well. Oh yeah, did I mention that is FREE to use?

Check it out today and if you are current user of Outright, please leave a comment on your opinion of the service and if we missed anything.

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    • http://outright.com/ Paul @ Outright

      Thanks for the review Steve!

      I'll make a deal with you… we'll have those gaps you concerned filled before you know it. Much more to come so check us out and please, share more thoughts on what we can do for you.

    • warsidi

      I just copy and print your article.Thanks.

    • http://www.chicagocprnow.com/ Jason

      Agreed, if I could balance my checkbook with outright I would bail on Quickbooks and never look back! I only say that because I am a single-member LLC. I have another business that is an S-Corp with multiple employees. I dont think that Outright would fit the bill for that one. At least not yet….

    • http://www.chicagocprnow.com/ Jason

      Agreed, if I could balance my checkbook with outright I would bail on Quickbooks and never look back! I only say that because I am a single-member LLC. I have another business that is an S-Corp with multiple employees. I dont think that Outright would fit the bill for that one. At least not yet….

    • Jim in Atlanta

      Just stumbled across this article after signing up with Outright. Found 'em through Freshbooks. Anyway, I couldn't agree more with both the positives and the negatives noted here. A well written and comprehensive column.

      I'm gong to stick with my implementation for now to give this whole “thing” a fair try, but, and it's a REALLY BIG BUT, is the fact that Outright lacks Connectivity to banking accounts. I mean, really; at the end of the day, what do we all survive on? Our checking bank accounts.

      I too, have two multi member LLC's and this addition would be nice. Actually, in today's environment, with taxes for sure going up, you have to be inexperienced to remain a sole proprietor for long. Or, you could always have more money than brains like any number of folks in DC. But, I digress.

      This article points out the current failings of Outright; with these fixes, there is no reason to use Quickbooks unless you have employees or inventory or both. In the service business, using collaboration and outsourcing, nothing more is needed.

    • http://www.appsolve.com Steven Fisher

      Jim,

      Thanks for your response and thoughtful feedback. You are right in that we survive on the checking account and this automation, while very complex from the software development side, is what is needed to compete with the big installed software packages.

      Software development is an iterative process and I know they are working hard to evolve their product. I hope they do see my article and your comment and take it to heart. You are right that if they have those fixes a more complex and feature filled (expensive) product like QB is not necessary for many businesses.

      -Steve

    • Jennifer

      For me as a freelancer, I don't want to import my bank checking account – I do all my business purchases through my credit card. Since I can import this data it makes Outright the perfect solution for my business. Easy to enter those few transaction that my credit card doesn't have on it – a way for me to keep track if my expenses are where they should be to reduce my tax burden at the end of the year – a way for me to see at a glance where I stand that month. It really is a great product – I hope they don't muck it up with a whole bunch of features – it works just fine right now.

    • http://www.softwareshortlist.com/products/accounting_software_reviews.html Accounting Software Reviews

      Such kind of software can help a lot in making your accounting job much easier, well plenty of softwares are popping out in the market and if you are planning to use one it would be a better idea if you could visit several software review sites.

    • http://www.magicaccounts.co.uk/our-packages SmallBusinessAccountant

      Most shopping cart solutions come with Google Analytics integration or various reporting tools, but for some merchants, a more robust analytics package is a must. Because of this, you may want to consider the variety of analytics tools available for your small business online. Learn about top analytics tools for your online store.

    • http://www.replicon.com/olp/task-management-software.aspx Phick Steven

      Hi Steve,

      A really impressive and creative blog in fact I would say. Managing account needs a software and in the same manner managing expense also needs a software where as both of them are from the same ground as such.

      Even my company was following the rule of using various softwares for various tasks. And time by time that process goes on becoming more and more complicated and and which ultimately outlines a hectic schedule for the employees of my company. I then thought of why not to reduce the work status as low as possible. And then from I am in search of some thing really interesting seeing to the service of which mind will say wow.

      Lets say for managing the tasks I use basically jira, for expense management I use Replicon, For account management I use quickbooks and so on.

      Among all these you know I mostly like Replicon because whatever may be the clause and case the ultimate bottom line is money. No world runs with money and all what is happening also because of money. Hence Replicon’s cloud based expense reporting software has its image I would say.

      Which technique you follow by the way. Do let me know so that I can get some help from you.

      Thanks,
      Phick

    • http://www.cloudstaff.com/ Luetta Fox

      Thanks for sharing this article about this accounting software. The information herein are indeed helpful to a lot of businesses. Cheers!