QuickBooks Online Self-Employed is a thinned-down version of QuickBooks Online with a very specific focus: Sole proprietors and small business owners who mix business and personal accounts, who pay quarterly taxes, and who need to do quick triage on business and personal income and expenses. QuickBooks Online Self-Employed performs its magic with the combination of a Web app and an iOS app and makes it easy to quickly separate your business and personal expenses.
QuickBooks Online Self-Employed is small business focused, which is to say that it's aimed at business owners who are sole proprietors or LLC owners without partners, and who write off business expenses using a Schedule C when filing their personal taxes. The assumption on Intuit's part is that the people who own these types of businesses often have a commingling of business and personal credit card and bank accounts and that it is often difficult using traditional accounting applications to quickly and easily separate business expenses from personal expenses.
To begin using QuickBooks Online Self-Employed you first need to link the bank and credit card accounts you want the application to track. Adding accounts is simple: Use the search field to find your bank, enter your login information, then select the accounts you want to use. As is the case with QuickBooks Online, once you link accounts, QuickBooks Online Self-Employed will continue to automatically import all transactions associated with those accounts.
After your initial import, you have a few tasks. First, you need to categorize your expenses, just like you would in a desktop financial application. Once you categorize an expense from a particular vendor, QuickBooks Online Self-Employed continues to categorize expenses from that vendor in the same way. Every time new transactions are imported, you can verify the expense and make sure the categorization is correct.
The fun begins once categorization is complete, as that's when you split your expenses into two piles, one for business expenses and the other for personal expenses. (I hereby admit that my "fun" bar is pretty low.) For this task I highly recommend using QuickBooks Online Self-Employed's iOS app, as it's much faster and a little like playing a game dealing cards from a deck. As the app presents an expense, you swipe left to mark it as a business expense or swipe right to make it a personal expense. It is possible to perform this same task using the Web app, but I found the process less efficient, particularly when using the QuickBooks Online Self-Employed home screen, as it often hung after one or two clicks.
Once you've split your transactions into personal and business expenses, QuickBooks Online Self-Employed hides your personal expenses and only displays your business information. Graphs display your business income and expenses and provide information on your estimated quarterly tax payments. You can also see a breakdown of your expenses by category and a full Schedule C breakdown of your income and expenses.
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