Not everyone is good at managing money, and it's even more frustrating if you're a freelancer with no accounting department. Luckily, the market isn't short of accounting apps for freelancers to make managing money a little more manageable.
From invoicing and time tracking to bank reconciliation and financial reporting, there are plenty of software options that are perfect for freelancers and solopreneurs looking to make sense (not cents) of their finances. It can, however, be difficult to tell whether an app is a great option for a freelancer, for a company, or for both.
With that in mind, we've put together a list of accounting apps for freelancers, all of which are highly-rated by freelancers themselves.
FreshBooks is tailored to small businesses and non-accountants. Because of its strong billing and invoicing features, FreshBooks is ideal for freelancers who need to handle lots of incoming and outgoing payments.
With features for invoicing, expenses, time-tracking, and projects, FreshBooks is a robust solution that's complex enough to handle a bunch of accounting tasks, but not too complicated for beginners to get a hold on their finances. Its dashboard gives a good overview of outstanding and overdue revenue, while its expenses, time tracking, and projects features, accessible through its side panel, give you an overview of different areas of incoming and outgoing cash.
The biggest selling point for FreshBooks is its billing and invoicing feature, which allows for custom invoices and automatic late payment reminders. As one GetApp reviewer notes:
"As a freelancer who handles a large number of clients with different billing terms, Freshbooks has become an indispensable tool to my business. I'm able to easily collect payment in a variety of different formats without having to do much. The automated payment reminders have been a boon and are keeping my cash flow moving, instead of waiting around months and months for clients to pay."
FreshBooks Lite starts at $15 a month, with the ability to bill up to 5 active clients. For $25 a month with the Plus plan, you can bill 50 active clients, while the Premium plan lets you bill 500 active clients for $50 a month.
Zoho's not one to shy away from offering simple and affordable software suitable for freelancers, and Zoho Books is no exception. The accounting solution for small businesses offers everything, from invoicing and expenses to automated banking and inventory tracking.
Zoho Books' automation makes accounting an easy undertaking. If you have to move money from one account to another, perform bank reconciliation, or even keep track of and update stock, Zoho Books has automation features for that. You can also run and create reports (ranging from sales and purchase reports to sales tax reports), as well as keep your accountants in the loop with role-based access.
As one reviewer notes, Zoho Books has a strong multi-currency feature that makes it easy to deal with money coming in from clients all over the world, as well as frequent updates with new and useful features.
"After trying about six other accounting packages for my email marketing agency, I went with Zoho Books. It was the only one that handled multiple currencies seamlessly without requiring the very top/most expensive account level[…] In addition, their support is fast and very, very good[…] Every time I have a question or a problem, they either resolve it or inform me of a workaround (and log a feature request on my behalf) in a minimum of time and without any hassle[…] Their feature set is always expanding - you really do need to read the notes when they announce an update, as often I've found they've added something that makes my life easier that I wouldn't have found on my own."
Zoho Basic starts at $9 per month for one user and one accountant, with five automated workflows and 50 contacts. The Standard package allows for three users and 10 automated workflows with 500 contacts. The Professional package will get you unlimited users and contacts with 10 automated workflows.
FreeAgent is another accounting solution tailored specifically to freelancers (and their accountants) that tracks time, projects, and expenses in order to get paid quicker and keep track of money more seamlessly.
FreeAgent has invoicing features that send automatic reminders, take pictures, and store receipts via expense tracking, and project tracking in order to organize income and expenses into buckets. Because it's geared toward freelancers, it has a simple interface and intuitive design that make it manageable for first-time users or those without much accounting software experience.
FreeAgent has a strong focus on demystifying sales tax confusion, with a configurable sales tax feature, reports, and a knowledge base with handy information about sales taxes (and info on invoicing, banking, expenses, and accounting too). Says one GetApp reviewer:
"When moving to freelancing this was the first product I was recommended and using it has been great. Its nice and clean and I haven't had any issues with getting clients to pay with it past the normal hurry alongs. They have been very quick and clear to answer my accounting questions too. It keeps everything paired down and simple and easy to find. Also feel I have learned more about how to file my taxes with the built in pages and submission. Loading data from my bank account and tagging it saves time too."
FreeAgent has a very simple pricing plan. After a 30-day trial, it costs $10 a month for the first 6 months. After the first 6 months, it'll cost $20 a month.
Wave is an accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning software solution for small businesses and freelancers with the big benefit of being forever free.
Wave has free modules for invoicing, accounting, and receipt scanning. You can create invoices and track their status, monitor income and expenses, and scan receipts to keep expenses up to date. Additional features let you set up payroll (probably not necessary if you're a freelancer), as well as a paid option for the ability to process credit card payments.
It's free! The bulk of Wave's key features are free, making it a good choice for freelancers getting their feet wet with accounting software. Says one reviewer:
"After a tough first year trying to file taxes as a freelancer I wanted something that would help me keep track of everything throughout the year. This app makes keeping my expenses logged in an easy way, and gives me access to various accounting reports."
Another reviewer notes:
"If you're a recently incorporated subcontractor or freelancer, Wave is a great and cost effective (because it's free) choice . From the owner's perspective, Wave gives you the functionality you need for effective invoicing and expense tracking. From your accountant's point of view, you should be able to complete a stress-free year-end as all the important documents such as the trial balance, bank reconciliation and receivables report can be easily exported. If you don't currently have an accounting system, Wave is a great option!"
Wave really tries to hammer home the point that most of its features are free: its invoicing, accounting, and receipts modules are fully-featured and forever free, with no need or option to upgrade. Coming at a slight cost, however, are its payroll and credit card payment features, which are $0.30 plus 2.9% per transaction, and starting at $4 per employee for the first 10 employees for payroll.
As another free accounting option, SlickPie is a robust, all-in-one accounting tool with automated data entry, online invoicing and billing, tax management, and financial reporting features.
Considering the fact that it's free, SlickPie has a ton of features to simplify accounting for freelancers. Its online invoicing feature lets you choose from various templates while sending automatic payment reminders, and its online billing and bank reconciliation keeps you updated on all of your accounts. For more insight into your financial health, the financial reports show you an overview of all of your accounts with direct link access to source transactions. Another handy feature is its source document uploader, which lets you attach documents to your transactions for easy reference.
Besides being free, SlickPie has a unique technology called MagicBot that automatically enters data into the software through an integration with Dropbox. Save scanned images of receipts or expenses in a Dropbox folder that integrates with SlickPie, and it will automatically read the receipt and input the data into the system for you. This, along with other features, makes it easy to use, as one GetApp reviewer notes:
"I think SlickPie is a straightforward and useful software for freelancers. It only takes a few minutes to set up a company and send an invoice. I enjoy that it's possible for me to change the invoices theme templates so I can send specific types to specific clients. The document upload feature is also pretty handy."
SlickPie offers most of its features for free with its Starter plan, capping invoices at 100 per month. Upgrading to the Pro plan for $9.95 a month will get you unlimited invoices.
If you don't think anything on this list will suit your needs, check out some other accounting apps for freelancers and small businesses.
You can also take a look at some other articles dedicated to making the job of a freelancer easier: