A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.
Henry Ford

I guess that if one were to measure success by convincing a primary target audience that the cannot operate without a product its primary target audience really doesn’t need, Intuit is the winner in the “micro business” category.

QuickBooks promises “save time.  get organized.  get paid faster”.  Who couldn’t believe in such a product?

Here’s the problem.

If you aren’t organized already, QuickBooks won’t do it for you.

If you think that something will save time you are already not investing, you’re wrong.

If you have trouble sending out invoices, establishing workable payment structures and getting paid - QuickBooks won’t change anything.

Before you lay out another couple hundred for the latest version of QB, think about a couple of things:

  • How good are you at keeping and organizing your financial records now? (QB doesn’t change that)
  • How good are you about entering order/invoice/payable information right away? (QB doesn’t change that)
  • How good are you about maintaining up to the day financial records? (QB won’t change this)
  • Do you need motivation to keep things running more smoothly? (QB won’t provide it)
  • Do you understand fully double entry book keeping?  Do you understand that a new bill you receive is entered as a positive number and a new client payment is entered as a negative number?
  • Do you understand fully the concept of Cost of Goods sold? (QB won’t change this)
  • Do you understand the difference between accrual and cash systems? (QB won’t tell you)

Most micro businesses want for their $250 is a pony that gathers up all of their accounting and waves a magic wand over the dust motes and faded receipts that constitute their book keeping, and spits out perfectly ordered tax returns that drawn no red flag attention, show banks that the business is profitable and growing, and shows the IRS that not a taxable penny was earned.

What you want is a pony.  A magic pony.  The same one about which you’ve been writing to Santa and fpr which you’ve been praying to God/Allah/FSM/Mother Earth since you were four years old.

Newsflash: This pony no more exists than does Santa.

The biggest challenge that renders most micro-businesses impossible is their accounting, and a fundamental lack of understanding when things aren’t working.

It can be that you could see where you are losing sales, losing revenue, losing profit IF you had the numbers clearly laid out before you.  IF someone came into your business and waved said magic wand, creating your pony, they would likely USE QB and do so with wonderful effect.

It’s just not a free service.

For ten years now, I’ve been watching the owners of micro-business drive themselves into debt and despair because they thought that a $250 piece of software would settle everything that they didn’t already know how to do well.

What you need is a book keeper.  If you can’t hire one, hire a contract service.  Sure, have them use QB for you.  But, outsource it early and let it be done with.  Pay them gladly and faithfully, because they will provide you with the information that will prevent you from going into debt and having to move back home with your parents.

Just this year, I’ve had to pull together ten or so business tax returns based on QB train wrecks.  The business people who brought me this carnage had every good intention, and had no conscious indifference to running their businesses well.

They still don’t have functional QB data.  I can’t do that without having every single piece of paper you’ve ever generated AND a lot of time AND big, fat, honking checks.

However, for a more modest (but still stout) fee, I can create some tax records for them.

If you have a micro-business (fewer than 250 employees) - do yourself a New Year’s favor.  Hire a qualified, certified QB accountant to handle your accounting.  Pay them what they ask for.  Write the check with love; they are better insurance than is Allstate.

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