Single-employee corporations: What software do you use for bookkeeping?
August 28, 2018 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Owners/operators of single-employee corporations: How do you manage bookkeeping, payroll, expenses, and taxes?

I operate a single-employee S Corporation, and am curious what options are out there for bookkeeping.

What software do you use for bookkeeping/accounting? Do you outsource to an external bookkeeper for week-to-week finances? Or work with an accountant as the need arises?

Would love to hear what y'all work with for your single-employee companies.
posted by huskerdont to Work & Money (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I use a mac program called Easy Invoice for invoices, then just use YNAB (You Need a Budget) for "bookkeeping", where "bookkeeping" is just making sure all credit card / bank expenditures are correctly categorized.

Then in Feb or March I have a CPA who provides a questionnaire, which I fill out by going through YNAB and looking at the various categories.

I have very few business expenses as a software developer, so this seems to suffice.

I used to use Quickbooks, but it was needlessly complex for my use case, and expensive.

I suspect I could replace Easy Invoice with something simpler and cheaper.
posted by condour75 at 1:11 PM on August 28, 2018

For clarification's sake, are you the sole owner/employee, or do you employ one person other than yourself?
posted by BostonTerrier at 1:12 PM on August 28, 2018

I am the sole owner-employee of the corporation (Ghostwriting/marketing communicatons consulting biz with very little overhead and expenses) -- I'm the only employee and write myself a paycheck, etc. etc.
posted by huskerdont at 1:41 PM on August 28, 2018

I have a similar business with just a handful of invoices and expenses per month. I use a simple Excel spreadsheet with three tabs: income, expenses and journal.

My accountant advised on initial set up e.g. what expense categories to set up and what a journal looks like. They do my monthly payroll (one check to me, with them taking care of the withholding and tax payments).

At the end of the year I complete their questionnaire and upload the Excel file. Seems to be sufficient. I once asked if I should do QuickBooks like their other clients and they assured me it would be more than I need.
posted by evilmomlady at 2:00 PM on August 28, 2018

So to answer the other part of the question: I do my own bookkeeping, and outsource monthly payroll and all taxes to my accounting firm.
posted by evilmomlady at 2:05 PM on August 28, 2018

Is there a reason not to just use Wave? It's free, and they make their money if you choose to invoice through Wave and your client chooses to pay by clicking the Pay Online bit of their invoice (and I think you can even turn that off.)

I'm a fan and I really like the "take a photo of the receipt as you get it and it files automatically" feature.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:17 PM on August 28, 2018

I like Freshbooks for what you describe!
posted by mccxxiii at 2:20 PM on August 28, 2018

Freshbrooks also came to mind for me, and that’s because they advertise extremely heavily in the small entrepreneur (podcast) space. Look around for codes for free trials or whatnot.
posted by cgg at 3:26 PM on August 28, 2018

I got quickbooks desktop edition because my tax pro told me to.
posted by tilde at 4:54 PM on August 28, 2018

This is from a few years ago, but I used QuickBooks for accounting and Turbotax Business for the S-Corp taxes and schedule K-1s. My recollection is that the two integrated reasonably well.

I did the taxes myself because I'm reasonably good at that (ok, probably very good outside of pro tax preparers), and used an accountant because I had multiple shareholders and thought it prudent to have independent oversight over the company checkbook (the accountant and I both used Quickbooks)
posted by zippy at 5:19 PM on August 28, 2018

If you think there is any chance you'll want an accountant to handle your taxes or or part of the bookkeeping, find one now and use whatever they recommend. That way neither of you are wasting time and money converting/importing/whatever and verifying there were no errors in that process.

A decade ago most everybody was set up to deal with one or both of QuickBooks or Peachtree, but with the changes brought by all the competition from SaaS packages and whatnot I get the impression the market is a lot more fractured these days.
posted by wierdo at 5:44 PM on August 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

I’ve used Xero for quite a while and like it fine. But, they did just announce a significant price increase if you use them for payroll also (through a partnership with Gusto where previously they had their own payroll service). My cost will go from $30/m to $75/m so I will be looking at other options.
posted by entropic at 9:25 PM on August 28, 2018

I used to use Quickbooks, but switched to Moon Invoice. I like that they use iCloud to sync between the desktop and phone versions. So my laptop, desktop, and iPhone all have my invoice stuff on it without it being in their cloud (just in Apple's).

Its also super cheap compared to Quickbooks.
posted by creiszhanson at 6:53 AM on August 29, 2018

One possibility is to ditch the S-corp and go with a simple sole proprietorship for what sounds like a simple business. This will greatly simplify your bookkeeping requirements, eliminate payroll reporting and reduce tax returns.
posted by JackFlash at 2:47 PM on August 29, 2018

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