Helping my mom with quickbooks, quicken, and turbotax
My mom is one of those people who are pretty clueless about computers. She manages a cafe and does most of their accounting. Years ago, I helped her set up an accounting program called Quickbooks. Now, I don’t know all that much about accounting, but used to have a summer bookkeeping job where I used the very same program. I recommended to her that she use Quickbooks for her business and Quicken for her personal accounting. Both products are made by Intuit and are considered top software in the finance industry.
The cool thing about Quickbooks is how easy it is to use, especially for small business owners and people who aren’t all that familiar with accounting or finance. I think if you get an introductory accounting textbook and play around with the software, you could get pretty adept with it in a week or so. Incidentally, despite it’s simplicity, Quickbooks has a lot to offer. It supports both cash and accrual accounting, and you can even manage payroll with Quickbooks, although if you want to activate payroll services, it does cost a bit extra. Nevertheless, it is still a lot cheaper than using payroll services such as Paychex.
All said, I do recommend Quickbooks, even though they are no longer the cheapest accounting software out there. Nevertheless, you can get a trial version of Quickbooks and check it out for a month. This free trial is only available with the online version of Quickbooks. However, more and more, this is the version you want to be using anyway because of the many benefits it offers, such as the ability to work on your accounting from any computer in the world. I also like Quickbooks online since you can pay for it on a month to month basis, spreading out the cost into manageable chunks.
When it comes to managing your own finances, I suggest using Quicken. This software has many different versions, but they all allow you to budget and manage your bank accounts. I love the pie charts and other graphs the software provides. If you do investing, you will find many tools to help you diversify your stock portfolio and make sure it is well balanced. Honestly, I cannot live without either program, and suggest you at the very least take a look at Quicken to get your own financial house in order.
Finally, once a year, My mom files taxes, both for herself and for her business. Once again, Intuit comes to the rescue with its excellent tax preparation software called TurboTax. This program is simple to use, as all you need to do is log onto the site online and start answering a series of questions. As you provide answers to the question, TurboTax completes the complex IRS forms on your behalf. At any point, you can view the form for yourself if you want to see how it is being filled out. You can see for yourself how the program works by using the risk-free trial edition of TurboTax online. Best of all, you can e-file most returns over the Internet, saving you a trip to the post office. Starting your returns is free, but most users will need to pay for a small upgrade if they want to file their returns. On average, it takes my mom two or three hours to complete both her business and individual tax returns.