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Outright Review – The Best Free Small Business Accounting Software Online

By David Bakke

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.

Main Features

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.

Costs

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.

Other

1099s

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.

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Resources

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.

Blog

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.

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David Bakke
David started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called "Don't Be A Mule..." Since then he has been a regular contributor for Money Crashers. He lives just outside Atlanta, GA and most all of his free time is taken up by his amazing three year old son, Nicholas.

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  • http://www.financiallypoor.com Kevin

    I love outright. It’s so easy to use. I just love the setup and the reports that are available. I’m a big fan if you can’t tell.

    • 1buckblinn

      I love outright. It is teriffic.

      • Davidbakke

        Glad you like it and thanks for commenting1

  • Laura

    Sounds like a fantastic service! I’d love to try it and need an alternative to Quickbooks

    Not worth including a link though?

    • David

      Laura

      Terribly sorry about that….

      I’m sure you’ve already got it but, just in case…

      http://outright.com/

  • http://outright.com Jennifer @ Outright

    Wow, David. Thank you for sitting down and taking the time to thoroughly explore Outright and write up this review! This is quite the shout out and you have really captured what Outright is all about – namely making taking care of pesky business finances and taxes simple and painless. I hope you find the time to migrate your books over to us soon. I know you said you’re going it alone right now, but if you decide you need some help, we have plenty of Outright bookkeepers over at the site. They are signified with a “Certified Bookkeeper” badge here in our Directory: http://entrepreneurs.outright.com/directory.

    (And, hey, personally I really appreciate the shout out to the blog! I’m their blog manager and am so glad you’ve found it useful!)

    If you ever have any questions or suggestions to improve Outright, feel free to contact me or, better yet, leave them over at the Entrepreneur Community. We’d love your input. Thanks again!

    • David

      Jennifer

      Thanks for your kind words.

      I do my best to review sites objectively, and Outright certainly looks like a quality site that could add value to the lives of our subscribers and visitors.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • http://www.castocreationsjewelry.blogspot.com megscole64

    THANK YOU!!!! Since I’m now a 1099 employee myself the thought of accounting filled me with dread. I need to get on top of my expenses and income though and this may be a great way to do that. :)

    • David

      Meg

      I think its definitely worth looking into.

      Getting a hold on the accounting end of my side business has been a thorn in my side for a long time too!

      Thanks for chiming in!

  • A. J. Campbell

    I have read the review on outright and every seems to be good. However I have been unable to determine whether outright will handle an investment porfolio as efficiently as Quicken or Microsofts Money do or rather did..

    I used Quicken for years and until I was no longer able to migrate to a new computer. I then replaced all recording of my financial affairs by migrating into Money. And then that stopped. So it seems that Outright might be my next move if it also handles investments. Can I get an answer that will save me trying thru’ trial and error?

    Thanks in advance

    • David Bakke

      A.J.

      I don’t know the answer to your question, but the link below should get you to a forum that Ouright sponsors. I’d try posting the question there and see what kind of repsonse you get.

      Hope that helps…and thanks for commenting

      http://entrepreneurs.outright.com/is-it-possible-to-setup-a-dummy-bank-account

  • http://www.wellnessonless.com/ Stephanie Taylor Christensen

    Thanks for this detailed review. I am also embarrassed to say my accounting thus far is based on excel sheets and I know it needs to change. I will definitely check Outright as an option!

    • http://www.moneycrashers.com David/moneycrashers

      Stephanie

      Its definitely worth checking out.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • Jessica’s bullet

    I can not get the download from the website to work. And it does not look like it is free any longer, only a free trial period then a monthly charge

  • Cgwhitham

    I appreciate your review. I nearly jumped off a cliff just trying to START to use Quickbooks. I long gave up after purchasing it. Here are a couple of questions:
    1. Will Outright work with credit unions and small banks? I don’t want to jump through hoops and discover that my accounts cannot be accessed.
    2. I don’t have an online business. I am a therapist who takes in checks at time of service. I do need to generate receipts and occasionally invoices. I do some sales of my 2 books which are out of print except for 2000 books that have reverted to me from the publisher. How does Outlook work for a small sole proprietor S-corp like mine?

    Thank you for your time.

    • Comptex

      I was able to set up Outright with my credit union which is pretty small, its based only in san antonio.

  • http://www.nfppartners.com/ Lauren Edith

    It’s a good thing that companies are creating software like this exclusively for small businesses owners. Through this, they can properly monitor their base income, daily expenses, and unpaid taxes. This can help minimize overdue payments, or miscalculation of taxes and payrolls. By the way, is there a free demo for this software?

  • Thurston217

    Awesome product. HORRIBLE customer services. You will wait days for them to get back to you on a very simple question. They don’t seem to understand that customers will pay extra to get better customer service. I would be happy paying three times what I pay now if they would just hire a couple more customer service reps for the company.

    The stress of waiting days for a returned email is not worth this product! I don’t care if they were paying ME to use it.

  • J D

    Looked like a good thing and I guess it’s not to bad for something free. But it seems like they are still getting things setup and running. I guess it’s just not as easy to use as I was hoping. Maybe I’ll try it after they get a few more things added.

  • Steve

    I’ve been a paying customer since January and have been very happy. One drawback at the beginning was the inability to split transactions, but that has now been remedied. The program works as advertised and is very simple to use. I would recommend using Outright to any micro- or small business owners who feel QuickBooks is overkill.

  • Ronald Jackson

    Outright is a decent product, but a major warning to those using the Free version: You can NOT do reporting. When tax time comes around in April, you’ll be screwed. Reporting ONLY comes with the paid version.

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