How to Learn QuickBooks: A Software for Bookkeeping and Accounting.

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Whether you’re a freelancer or business owner, you’ve probably heard of Quickbooks, but may not be sure what is or how it’s used. Quick books can make a huge difference in the way your business handles its finances, making accounting easier, and as the name suggests, quicker. As a business owner or freelancer, anything that can save you time and money is worth learning about, so let’s explore what Quickbooks is capable of and how you can start to fully take advantage of everything it has to offer. 

What Is Quickbooks?

Quickbooks is a software created by Intuit , the company behind several other well-known accounting software such as Turbotax.  Originally launched in 2002, Quickbooks has grown to become the most popular accounting and bookkeeping software available, with 2 million users around the world.  Quickbooks is designed to make it easier for both businesses and freelancers to manage their finances.  With Quickbooks, you will have access to many different tools, helping you accomplish tasks such as managing payroll, creating financial reports, and everyone’s favorite, preparing your taxes, all while saving you time and money. 

Who Is Quickbooks Made For?

As mentioned above, Quickbooks is a great tool for both small business owners and freelance workers looking for an easier way to manage their finances. Quickbooks offers two different versions, one for self-employed workers and one for small businesses. Within both of these categories, there are different tiers offering different features. Let’s break down what each version offers so that you can decide which version of Quickbooks will be the best fit for you. 

QuickBooks Self-Employed

For freelancers, Quickbooks Self-Employed is an excellent tool that allows you to generate and track invoices, as well as manage your expenses. Most freelancers don’t have a team of accountants tracking their finances, so having software that minimizes manual date input and keeps all of your documents organized in one place can be a huge time and headache saver.  Quickbooks Self-Employed offers fewer features than the business version, however, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The self-employed version places an emphasis on tools that are specifically useful for freelance workers. Plus, not having all the extra features offered by the business version makes the software more streamlined and easier to navigate. The self-employed version also costs less than the business version, which we can’t complain about. 

Functions of Quickbook Self-Employed


With Quickbooks, you can say goodbye to keeping a cabinet filled with folders upon folders of receipts. Now you can have all of your transactions easily accessible at all times in one place. Plus, if you link your bank account, you won’t have to enter any transactions manually.  Once your bank account or credit cards are linked, you will be able to use Quickbooks software to determine which transactions are for business and which are personal. While using the available app, this is as simple as swiping right on personal transactions and left for business. (much like a certain dating app). Once a business transaction is listed, you will be able to sort it under a more specific subcategory. Having all of your transaction records separated by type is particularly useful during tax filing season.  You also have the ability to link receipts to specific transactions. Quickbooks makes this easy as well, allowing you to simply snap a picture of the physical receipt or forward email receipts via a linked email address. 


Whether you’re a photographer who travels from shoot to shoot, a realtor who drives clients from property to property, or any kind of freelancer who travels for work, Quickbooks has you covered. Freelance workers are able to deduct their work-related mileage while filing their taxes. However, it can be tedious to keep track of all of your miles trip after trip, especially if you travel frequently. To make keeping track of miles easy, Quickbooks offers automatic mile tracking through the app, so you don’t have to worry about checking the odometer. Of course, you are also able to manually enter miles as well as a description of what they were used for. Perhaps the most useful element of tracking mileage through Quickbooks, is that it automatically calculates how much you are able to deduct from your tax return. This way, you don’t have to worry about sifting through records or crunching numbers when it comes time to file.  Considering you are able to write off roughly $0.56 per mile , this feature can save you literally hundreds of dollars each year. 


One of the biggest time savers and money savers from Quickbooks is its tax management functionality. Let’s face it, no one is jumping out of their seats to file their taxes. However, since all of your financial records are stored in Quickbooks, gone are the days of frantically sorting through your financial records come April.  Quickbooks automatically tells you how much you are able to write off, based on all of the purchases and miles that you’ve tracked. This means that it calculates how much is deductible from all of your expenses by type , including home office, mileage, and general business expenses. If managing taxes is the main reason you are looking into accounting software, you may want to consider upgrading to Quickbooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle, Or the Quickbooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle Live, both of which feature more comprehensive tax filing services for an extra cost. 


QuickBooks Self Employed comes with a pre-generated invoice template, making it a great option for freelancers who are new to sending invoices to clients.  Additionally, you can set up online payments, making it easier for your clients to pay you directly. Quickbooks can also save their bank information, which is a timesaver for recurring clients

Quickbooks Small Business

As mentioned above, Quickbooks offers an alternative version called Quickbooks Small Business , which is catered towards, you guessed it, small businesses.  Owning a small business comes with its own unique set of time-consuming challenges from securing funding to staffing and managing employees. Quickbooks Small Business can alleviate the additional stress of bookkeeping and accounting so that you can stay focused on growing your business.  The small business version of Quickbooks comes in four tiers, which are the Simple Start Plan, the Essentials, the Quickbooks Plus Plan, and the Advanced Plan. The Simple Start Plan is similar to the Self Employed service mentioned above with a few minor adjustments directing it towards small businesses.  However, as you move up in the tiers, more and more features are added. While each tier goes up in cost, it may be worth it depending on the needs of your business. Let’s take a look at some key features included in each tier so that you can determine which is the best fit for you.

The Essentials:

  • Provides easy bill management and payment
  • Tracks employee hours
  • Allows up to 3 users

The Plus Plan:

  • Generates profitability reports
  • Allows you to track and manage inventory 
  • Allows up to 5 users

The Advanced Plan gives you the ability to:

  • Have up to 25 users
  • Manage & Pay Bills
  • Business Analytics & Customizable reports
  • Batch together Invoices & Expenses
  • Customize Access of sensitive information to different users
  • Customize fields for reports
  • Automate tasks and reminders
  • Access on-demand online account training

With the Advanced version, you also receive a Dedicated Account Manager specific to your business, who you can contact directly for financial guidance. 

Getting Started

Now that we’ve explored each of the various versions that Quickbooks has to offer, let’s go over what you’ll need to do in order to start using Quickbooks today. First, you’ll have to log onto your Quickbooks account, or if you are using the desktop version, you’ll start by downloading the software.  Next, you’ll have to set up a company profile. In order to do this, you’ll need some information handy, inducing your: 

  • Business Name
  • Business Address
  • Email Address
  • Website Address
  • Tax ID/Social Security Number 

Once this is completed, you can go to the settings tab to update your company information. This includes things like your company logo and contact information. Under your settings, you can also customize other things like invoices, sales forms, expense, and purchase forms.  On the left side of the Quickbooks homepage, you’ll see a grey dashboard with categories for everything you need for day-to-day business. This includes invoices, cash flow, and payroll. By clicking these categories, you’ll be able to manage, monitor, and update information in regards to each one.  The main part of the Quickbook homepage features several forms, making it easy to quickly check up on things like cash flow, expenses, profits and loss, and sales. 

Final Thoughts On Learning Quickbooks

Running your own business, or managing a career as a freelancer can be overwhelming. Luckily, using online accounting services like QuickBooks can help take the weight of managing your finances off your shoulders.  Not only does QuickBooks help you maximize your tax deductions, but it also saves you money on accountant’s hours and payroll services, all while helping you and your business be more productive. While Quickbooks isn’t free, the services it provides can be invaluable. Now that you know the basics, what comes next is up to you. Start saving time and money with Quickbooks today.  Sources:

Intuit | Company Information

Quickbooks | Quickbooks Self Employed

Quickbooks | Quickbooks Small Business

IRS | Standard Milage Rates

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