.: on the frontiers of venturing and venture investing :.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Awaiting the accounting revolution.

I've been twittering my frustrations today.  I have a fairly simple financial situation and have 2 companies that I process both Shawna's and my work through.  There's nothing complex with either of them so I've been filing the taxes and handling the bookkeeping myself since the beginning except for a short stint where I outsourced the annual filings. 

My frustration is that doing it myself is harder than it should be. Bookkeeping/accounting software is far more cumbersome and antequated than it should be, and it costs too much for things that should be free (tax table updates and payroll functionality).

Really, all that I need is a basic ability to track expenses to certain accounts, track taxes collected and paid, and as a bonus handle my payroll tax calculations.  The formulas, preferred account structures etc. are all available from the responsible jurisdictions.  I wouldn't even use it anymore for invoicing or time-tracking (I'm already using FreshBooks and Toggl) and it wouldn't even have to worry about importing bank info (I'm using Wesabe for that).  And as far as tax filings, governments are increasingly encouraging electronic filings so that shouldn't even be a big hurdle.

I'm sure I'm not alone. The small business community is growing as we move into a more creative and entrepreneurial economy and established online tools and protocols make interfacing to things like Freshbooks and Wesabe easy.  And when it costs $200-$500 for basic software to cover the range of functions, plus at least $100 per year to keep tax tables updated it sounds like a very attractive online subscription opportunity and generally about $100 per annual return.  I'd easily pay $10-20 per month for something that integrated FreshBooks, Wesabe, and allowed for online tax filings.

With all that I wonder if a big Intuit (Quickbooks) upset is in the works.  With the speed that these services have been made available and they key building blocks in Wesabe and Freshbooks... I'm hoping it's only a matter of months.  In fact, I'm hoping it's before the start of the next fiscal year - even in beta - I'd love to be testing!

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