When it comes to book keeping and accounting, creative web design freelancers are not known to be naturals at this largely tedious and non creative task. I guess it’s a left and right brain thing or something related to this!
The problem is you need to get a grip on how you charge and account for work done, so this list is going to be a true gold mine for those seeking to learn more about cool tools that can save you time, headaches and maybe even help you earn more money.
Let us begin.
Freelance Accounting Packages Perfect For Web Designers
Of all the packages and tools I am looking at they all come with the following, though not all offer these in one package.
Invoicing & Expenses: The ability to see reports and generate invoices
Import bank transactions: Make life easier for you when offered and you invoice often.
Reporting: Generate reports based on data contained within your software.
Some of these tools also offer:
Payroll: Keep an account of freelancers or paid staff members wages etc.
Mobile: Accessing data, scanning receipts etc, many tools are embracing mobile technology to make life easier an differentiate their service from the others.
Time Tracking: Useful for seeing how long you take on jobs and showing a client what you have billed for clearly.
Estimates / Quotes: Make quotes an estimate into a full invoice and look professional.
This comparison will take into account usability, features and other areas that are worth noting on a per case basis.
Then it is up to you to decide which, if any (or combination) of these accounting tools for freelancers you want to use and implement into your work life.
So without further messing about let us look at the first accounting package for freelance web designers.
FreshBooks comes pretty close to supporting all the features listed above and is perfect for Freelance Web Designers, except for payroll. And right now appears with a 30 day free trial offer.
Though there does appear to be support for payroll as an additional add on via a third party application such as Zen Payrol.
So Why choose FreshBooks?
FreshBooks On Your Mobile
The FreshBooks app is a pretty nifty tool that is going to allow you to do many useful things such as take photos of invoices and add the to the account package, and also track your time, and will sync to your desktop perfectly. More features are being added all the time to this application.
FreshBooks Timed Invoice
Cool for those of us who freelance using per hour rates, here you can simply start the application when you are working on a project and then after you have finished your task you can send detailed invoice report to your client with the total to be paid. Nice.
All in all a feature rich and well integrated choice that many freelance web designers have chosen to go with.
WaveApps deliver small business accounting in a visually appealing and ever growing manner Of useful ways, they have an affordable payroll add on for instance and you can create unlimited invoices on the basic package.
Without time tracking features, I am a little disappointed at the omission, but they do have a feature where you can bring your personal finance into the mix and check your investment and other accounting needs that link to your business, nifty but not a feature leader.
Why choose Wave?
Invoices / Recurring / Estimates
Any package now needs to be able to automate and generate invoices that look professional and save time, wave offers this feature so you can turn your estimates into invoices no problem and set up recurring billing and collect payments via credit card for your services or products.
Automated transaction imports
If you use a bank that supports automated transactions (PayPal works) you will once hooked up get a list of your transactions in the software automated, useful to save time.
Let us say you obtain a receipt for anything, charges, expenses etc, and you email this in using your account email address, wave will process this and apportion it to the right area so you can keep track of that receipt as an expense, categorised usually.
Zoho as a company offer many features and services, Zoho books is one of their accounting arms and is great for large teams who need to keep track of time.
With unlimited users on one account this feature is open to all who have a login, most features are standard which as expense, payments, and invoicing features.
Zoho Books is the second contender to offer all features except for payroll. You can set up automated bank imports, and categorize them easily.
The mobile app also allows you to use the service much like desktop PC.
The Zoho Client Portal
Let us say you need your customer to login to see what is going on with the account, your estimates and invoices are visible to them.
And when they login and view these this gets logged as an action and they can comments right their about the estimate or invoice. Nice,
Zoho Ease Of Use
Zoho Books is a great tool for usability and has a mobile app to rival all the other applications, all the services that you would usually want to see featured are simple to use and intuitive which is important when you might want many people to get involved with the software from colleagues to clients, ease of use is vital, big thumbs up here.
The old hand in the accounting software market, QuickBooks is a well supported and large package that will be suitable for many businesses right up to large corporations.
There appears to be many things you can do with QuickBooks that you would expect from an accounting software package, but simple functionality such as time tracking and payroll is not included off the bat and will in some cases cost quite a bit more it utilise.
Why choose QuickBooks?
QuickBooks is a well established online accounting software service, they have a huge client base and generally favourable reviews.
So what might be the reason you would choose QuickBooks as your Freelance Web Designer accounting package?
Living up their name it seems that QuickBooks does have a lightning fast method of importing transactions into your account from the likes of PayPal.
The software allows offers really nice reporting features with a very well honed dashboard that shows the companies establishes stats and the fact that they have developed and grown aesthetically as well as functionally.
With QuickBook (Vendors) you can also list your clients/vendors and see who owes you what, a nice features not as yet seen in other packages.
Kashflow has been a long standing product that was a little UK focused initially, and perhaps still is. It usually comes with a free trial option and does at time of writing this article though that seems to change in duration and offer type.
The great thing about this tool is the ease of use and integration features you can utilise with other software that you might use in the office and as a freelancer.
It is very much geared toward small businesses but does not lack power that a larger business would require.
KashFlow really does seem to try to be friendly with many other apps and can be used as a great hub for your business, whatever you are providing.
So if you are seeking high quality accounting software for your freelance web design business, you will not go too far wrong with any of the above options, of course there are others too, but they look a little more high powered to me than what I need.