The number of online accounting websites out there seems to be increasing by the day. They are popping up all over the place. One that I recently had the chance to take a look at is Outright. Their claim is that with their website you can “free yourself from accounting.” Outright is designed for sole proprietorships and single member LLCs. In layman’s terms, they are designed for the self-employed and small business owners. And, as an owner of two small businesses myself, I can tell you from personal experience the absolute need for something like Outright. And Outright seems to handle it all.
Outright’s Focus on the Small Business
When you own a small business, the last thing you want to spend a lot of time on is the accounting end of things. Depending on how successful your business is, you may or may not be able to afford an accountant. Personally, I cannot. Therefore, it all falls on me. Well, the time I can spend growing my business is significantly reduced when I am tracking my expenses, or calculating my gross profit for last month, or any of the mundane accounting tasks that need to be done. Outright takes care of all of this and more.
Outright records your income and expenses automatically, it will categorize your transactions to maximize your deductions at tax time, and even helps you prepare your estimated taxes and year-end taxes so you can get back to focusing on your business. As a small business owner, you may not be aware of all the tax breaks that are available to you. Outright will assist you with this process.
It does not guarantee the complete accuracy of your estimated taxes, but who can? They tell you this outright, but also mention that they will provide you with a conservative estimate of them so, if anything, you will do better than their estimate.
How It Works
Inputting your business information to Outright is safe and secure. Their web pages are encrypted and password protected, so security is never an issue.
The site is set up strictly for sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs. You may find this to be limiting, but I actually think it is a positive. This allows Outright to focus on the people it serves the best, the small business owner. They have received inquiries from large corporations to expand their services and have resisted so far.
With regards to taxes, it’s important to note that Outright is designed for the US tax-based system only at this time.
Also, the site is very conducive and user-friendly towards eBay sellers. They have entire sections devoted to eBay re-sellers and I’d imagine that if you dabble in eBay or are a major player in this area, Outright would be perfect for you.
Within Outright, you will see tabs for income, expenses, taxes, and reports. These tabs give you the breakdown of each of these categories. These tabs give you easy-to-read, highly user-friendly access to reports where you can view your total income or loss, as well as your income and expenses broken down by category, customer, and vendor. It’s a very organized and streamlined process that allows you to view your business from various angles.
Outright even has a function where you can invite a bookkeeper or an accountant into your business records. I think this is a sharp business idea. This way you can invite someone in to take a look at a snapshot of your business over a particular timeframe or an accounting issue you may need some assistance with.
While Outright used to be completely free, it is still extremely reasonable at $9.95 per month after a 30 day free trial. I would definitely suggest taking advantage of the free trial, after which I’m confident you’ll find that Outright is a quality product that can do wonders for your business accounting.
With the recent health care reform, a provision that somehow made it in there will require you to file a 1099 with any company with whom you spent more than $600 in a particular year. I believe this goes into effect in 2011, and any small business owner will tell you that this is going to be a nightmare. Regardless, Outright has even handled this little obstacle for you. Although it is fee-based, Outright offers a simple and easy way to e-file your 1099s directly with the IRS. The cost is $5 per 1099, but come next year I think the users of Outright are going to find this service invaluable.
Outright offers one of the most extensive sections on resources that I’ve come across. The section at the bottom of their home page entitled “Resources” contains a wealth of answers to just about any question you might have. There is the Q&A based “Answers” tab, and there are also forum-based discussions. They also provide several tax-based tabs that will answer just about any question you might have on taxes. However, their resources do not end there. Their section entitled “Entrepreneurs” also offers a forum-based discussion on a variety of topics that are specific to certain types of small business owners. The information there is mostly relative to eBay sellers, but there is relevant material there regarding other sites and other small business owners as well.
They also have a blog which I was very impressed with. I actually spent a good bit of time there reading several of the articles. There I found out some great new information on the upcoming changes to the 1099 reporting procedures. I think you could count their blog as a valuable business resource as well.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that I would highly recommend Outright. I can also say that I have personally begun to use them and am extremely satisfied so far. As I said before, if you are considering becoming a small business owner, especially with an online business, get started with some accounting software on the front end. From there, Outright takes care of it all. It tracks and records your income and expenses for you, and goes a long way in assisting you with all of your year-end tax needs as well as your estimated taxes. Their sign-up process is simple and if you decide to try them, in a very short period of time you could be looking at the success of your business through professional looking, easy-to-read and graphs, rather than the mess of paperwork you may currently be digging through.
Is anyone currently a user of Outright? Your comments and feedback are always appreciated.