Outright: Simple Online Bookkeeping for Sole Proprietors

Outright is a simple, online bookkeeping service.

Key in on the term “simple.” I’ve never seen an easier financial tool for a business owner. That’s not me gushing over this product, but stating the obvious. If you have a bookkeeper now, this tool lets you see daily progress instead of waiting for that in-person meeting at the end of every month or quarter.

Let me jump to the first page screenshot after you sign up. It doesn’t get any more clear and concise.  You know exactly where to start — either money coming in, or going out:

Outright - simple bookkeeping

This short description from their home page sums up their focus and mission:

“Streamlining the work involved with owning a business, helping entrepreneurs pay the right taxes, record financial transactions, and keep their businesses on track and growing. Created after watching a number of small businesses, like ourselves, struggle to capture business deductions, often piecing together different solutions. Believing business owners spend too much time and effort on the least enjoyable part of running one’s own business, our goal is to make it simple, helping entrepreneurs track all of their income and expenses to get their taxes done accurately.”

The main benefit of Outright is that it asks you to keep track only of the income and expenses; it does the rest. Of course, lots of programs do that, but Outright has only those items asking for your attention in its streamlined dashboard. If you’re busy, and I know you are, then seeing only two choices on the screen (above) makes it a breeze to navigate and take care of an item.

There are only four tabs: Income, Expenses, Taxes, and Reports. I can quickly wrap my head around that and feel less intimidated than I do with other financial software packages.

I like that it integrates with a few other useful services, such as, Freshbooks for your invoices, Shoeboxed for your receipts, and oDesk for income payments. I’d love to see eLance and Guru added to the mix as I use those two more than oDesk. They also mention that they are building an import tool to bring in credit card statements, but that it is still in test mode.

On the Tax tab, Outright estimates how much tax I owe this quarter and even has a “Pay” button at the bottom. My immediate reaction is, “wow, I can pay my quarterly taxes from here.” What it does is enter that transaction into your Outright register as an expense. Useful and logical, but it left me a bit disappointed. They should probably have some sort of explanation pop up or beside that feature.

Tax calculations in Outright

When you hover over the blue circle with the “i”, you get a breakdown of income, expense, and profit for that specific income item. Nice shortcut instead of having to wait for it in a report later.

If you are constantly scrambling to get your taxes done each quarter and at the end of the year, then Outright might be the simplified bookkeeping solution you need. If you find that you get overloaded looking at the dashboards of more robust, comprehensive financial software packages, then Outright might ease your headaches.

Who Should Use Outright?

According to the company’s FAQ, Outright is designed specifically for sole proprietors and single-member LLCs — those who file a Schedule C on their U.S. tax return. That rules out partnerships or large companies, which need a more robust solution anyway.  There’s no reason why a small microbusiness with a few employees couldn’t use it for the basics, but without a payroll feature you’re limited in managing your company books. Payroll is on the future feature list, though.  But if you’re a sole proprietor, or a new entrepreneur, or you run a small home-based business, Outright is a great place to start keeping your books.

Learn more about Outright.