View Full Version : Expense and depreciation tracking software?

Darin Boville
27-Feb-2014, 00:49
I'm using Square for sales. What do you guys use to track expenses and depreciation? I've looked at a dozen options now and each are incredibly complicated or incredibly expensive, or both. I just need to track expenses and depreciation to make tax time easier. I don't ned billing, etc. I would like some sort of icloud or dropbox integration to enable me to access the data from a different computer or even an iPad, but that' snot critical.

What's the standard for one-man-shop photographers?


Jim Andrada
27-Feb-2014, 10:39
Whatever you use, avoid Quickbooks - worst piece of Sh-- software I've ever seen. Dangerous. Let's you just do anything which sounds easy - in fact it IS easy - easy to screw up. Enter the wrong year when posting a receipt - Quickbooks obligingly shows an invoice issued in 2012 as paid in 2011. The IRS will not be amused. I speak from unpleasant experience. Very unpleasant.
It's what my FORMER accountant used so I used it.

An Excel spreadsheet is better. Also - are you sure you need to worry about depreciation? A lot of stuff can be fully expensed in the year you acquire it. It all depends.

Keeping the files on Dropbox is no big deal - that's what I do. Just a matter of telling the software which directory to save stuff to.

bob carnie
27-Feb-2014, 10:43
funny I was going to recommend Quick Books for Mac.

Nathan Potter
27-Feb-2014, 10:56
Quickbooks is very widely used. My wife uses it with fine success. I just think one needs to be familiar with it, and it helps to be obsessive about entering data - like an accountant. The universality is an advantage if you need to interact with a tax advisor.

Excel can be made to work fine also and has the universality advantage.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

27-Feb-2014, 12:31
When I was self-employed I used cloud-based software called Freshbooks (http://www.freshbooks.com/) for billing and expenses. You can access it from the desktop or mobile. I highly recommend it as a total solution although if you only want to use it for expenses it might not be worth it.

The other option is just to set up a Google Docs spreadsheet.

27-Feb-2014, 13:25

Jim Andrada
27-Feb-2014, 17:21
Yes Quickbooks is widely used. Still a P.O.S. I think my biggest gripe with it is that at heart it isn't a true double entry app in which things can't just materialize - they have to come from somewhere and go somewhere and balance. QB doesn't care if things balance or not. The idea of opening and closing a year in which you can only enter stuff into a single year at a time is not it's native/default mode. Also be careful - REALLY careful about setting defaults to CASH if you operate on a cash accounting basis. Default is accrual and that can trip you up big time if you forget to do it when you set up your company and then change to "cash" when doing a P&L. Forget to do it once and you'll have loads of fun later. Not. Again, the IRS will not be amused. Trust me on this one. This one little "feature" cost me over $10k one year.

27-Feb-2014, 17:25
I'm using Peachtree (don't know if it's still available). Works great.

It's a job-oriented program, which is what you want for anything other than retail.

Regarding accounting method...
You want cash method rather than accrual unless you're a very large company.
Confirm this with your tax accountant.

- Leigh

27-Feb-2014, 21:51
Er....yeah... I strongly recommend quick books. It is the de facto standard. Like anything, garbage in...garbage out.

Darin Boville
27-Feb-2014, 22:24
I *think* that at this time all I need is a simple way to track expenses, and categorize them by IRS expense category so that at tax time I can just transfer the numbers. I don't have a vehicle or employees (yet) and I'm worried that programs like Quickbooks will take too much time to learn (as well as suck my will to live).

Is there a way to do this easily with Numbers on the Mac? This is one (or several) areas of software where I have virtually no experience...


Henry Ambrose
27-Feb-2014, 22:53
Works like what its called.


You can categorize everything and generate reports.
Totally simple.

Darin Boville
27-Feb-2014, 22:59
From their product description:

"Medieval torture devices like QuickenŽ..."

I'm liking what I see so far! Thanks, Henry.


Kirk Gittings
28-Feb-2014, 08:42
Er....yeah... I strongly recommend quick books. It is the de facto standard. Like anything, garbage in...garbage out.

Agree but for total brain dead ease of use for tracking expenses I use NeatReceipts. Couldn't be easier.

Erik Larsen
28-Feb-2014, 08:53
I don't know if quicken is around anymore, but if you are working out of a single account and not invoicing it is all you would need. It categorizes everything and is pretty idiot proof and looks just like your checkbook ledger. It has all kind of reports to make tax time easy. I've been happy with it, but it's all I've ever used besides quick books so I can't compare.

28-Feb-2014, 11:36
Agree but for total brain dead ease of use for tracking expenses I use NeatReceipts. Couldn't be easier.

oh, yeah! That's a good one too. I used to use it when I travelled on company business.