Review #1: Outright.com

Outright is a simple, straightforward, and free accounting package geared towards Schedule C filers. Outright will keep a cash basis profit and loss and also help you generate what i would call a ‘preliminary’ Schedule C to aid you (or your accountant) in filing your taxes.

Goal: Focus on maintaining cash basis income and expense records with minimal accounting experience to provide accurate records for tax estimation and preparation.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Simple interface (easy for non-accountants to operate)
  • PayPal auto-import
  • Auto-import major bank accounts
  • Automatic Integration with Freshbooks, Shoeboxed, Xpenser, Ebay
  • 1099 Service (may become more valuable with new 1099 regulations)
  • Categories pre-set to match Schedule C – prepares preliminary Schedule C for you
  • Easy to share with your book-keeper or accountant

Cons:

  • May mislead you that your Sch C is correct – you can still mess up this system in several ways: Capital Expenses, Depreciation, Amortization, etc. – fixed asset expenditures cannot be input in a way that does not show up as an expense, draws don’t have an equity account to put them to, etc.
  • Rather limited report options (no smmarized Profit/Loss – separate income and expense reports – only summarized P/L is the preliminary Schedule C)
  • Limited manual import options – must import income and expenses separately according to a preset form (does not take the standard manual imports that most banks offer)
  • The cash basis, without consideration for accounts receivable or accounts payable, may mislead you about your actual financial position in any given period

Summary

Outright is definitely a step up from using and Excel spreadsheet to track your income and expenses (and leaps and bounds above using green ledger books). The simplicity of the system may make it preferable to Quickbooks for many Schedule C filers as you don’t have to sift through a lot of the clutter to get to the information that you actually need.

If Outright is capable of providing you all of the information that you want and need, I would consider the lack of advanced features to be a plus as there are less ways to make a mess of the books that will take additional time and effort to clean up at the end of the year.

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