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Kathy Yakal


My Experience

I write about money. I’ve been reviewing tax software and services as a freelancer for PCMag since 1993. Along the way, I took on reviews of other types of business and personal finance technology. Prior to that, I had spent a few years writing about productivity and entertainment applications for 8-bit personal computers (my first one was a Commodore VIC-20) as a member of the editorial staff at Compute! 

After working at Lawson Associates, now Lawson Software, I switched my focus to accounting but learned that personal computer applications were more progressive and interesting to cover than mainframe solutions. So I served as editor of a monthly newsletter that provided support for accountants who were just starting to use PCs. I still ghostwrite monthly how-to columns for accounting professionals. From there, I went on to write articles and reviews for numerous business and financial publications, including Barron’s and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine.

My Areas of Expertise

  • Small business accounting

  • Personal tax preparation

  • Personal finance

  • Payroll

  • Billing and invoicing

The Technology I Use

My personal needs for financial and productivity applications are simple. I’m a microbusiness and I don’t do much collaborative work with clients, though I give Microsoft Word's Track Changes a workout when I’m updating PCMag reviews. 

I need money management. I have to track invoices and payments. And I must keep good records of my contacts and the financial applications I’ve covered. Since my business is uncomplicated, and because there are so many good solutions supporting personal finance and accounting and tax available, I’m able to move from one product to another occasionally so I don’t get overly familiar with one company’s products. 

Mobile access is critical for personal finance and accounting and personal tax preparation. So I have both an iOS and Android phone for testing companion apps, since versions can vary. I use an assortment of tools for work that doesn’t involve managing money, like my Samsung Galaxy A51 phone, Evernote, Gmail and Google Drive. 

I’m a bit of a Luddite in some ways. I still take handwritten notes during product briefings and I still have cable for both internet access and TV-watching. I do stream shows on an iPad and use an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite for reading books, though. Most of my days are spent staring at screens, much to the vexation of the two senior canines that share my office.

Recent Articles by Kathy Yakal

7 Ways to Start Minimizing Next Year's Taxes Now

Keeping track of your tax obligations throughout the year can save you money at filing time. We show you the best ways to do it.

By Kathy Yakal

The Best Mobile Tax Apps for 2023

We tested the top tax services that let you prepare and file tax returns from your phone. Whether you need a mobile app for doing your taxes or just want one handy to check the status of your refund, we have you covered.

By Kathy Yakal

The Best Tax Software for 2023

We test and rate the top online tax services to help you find the best one for filing quickly and accurately, and for getting the largest possible refund.

By Kathy Yakal

When Side Hustle Meets Schedule C: What Gig Workers Should Know About Taxes

Can you write off a thank-you cake on your taxes? Should you hire a professional tax preparer? We explain what gig workers need to know before filing their taxes.

By Kathy Yakal

Keep the IRS Out of Your Business: How to (Try to) Avoid a Tax Audit

We explain who is likely to be audited by the IRS and what you can do to minimize your chances with tax software and other methods.

By Kathy Yakal