A frequent question that new business owners ask is some variation of this: Finally getting serious about tracking inflow / outflow. Bookkeeper? Quick books? Quicken? All insight appreciated. Do your books yourself or have a someone else do it?
There’s a very narrow window where it makes sense for a business owner to do their own books; it depends on your business model, your industry, your attention to detail, and your interest. And the fewer moving parts the better.
Here’s the narrow window: soloprenuer, no payroll, no inventory, cash basis, service-based. If you meet all of these criteria AND you have the discipline and interest in the consistent, detailed work, then I say, give it a go.
The minute you start getting into payroll, even if it’s just for yourself, you need outside expert help. The ways that payroll reporting and tax compliance can be screwed up are legion and just too costly to even consider doing yourself. I don’t care what marketing QuickBooks does saying that their payroll service is easy, it’s just not.
If you have any kind of inventory, either because you manufacture a product or are a reseller, this kicks you into having to do your accounting on the accrual basis to comply with the IRS. Accrual is complicated and if not done right (and it’s usually not done right by beginners) gets you into more costly trouble to have an expert sort out.
If you are in the trades, say a building contractor or plumber, then you need to track time and costs against specific jobs…and again, that adds a layer of complexity that if done incorrectly, will cost you big to untangle.
QuickBooks, not Quicken for sure.
If you fall into the narrow criteria I’ve mentioned, you might be interested in the online class I’m teaching called “Financial Fundamentals for Soloprenuers: DIY QuickBooks Online Plus.” Want more info? Ping me on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see if it’s a good fit for you. Next class starts in February.