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No matter what type of business you’re in, staying on top of your finances when your self employed is an absolute must. The best way to help you do that is by getting an accounting software.
Picking the right one automates a lot of your mundane financial admin and even files your tax return directly with HMRC on your behalf.
That’s where Freeagent comes in!
Freeagent is relatively small compared to the likes of Xero and Quickbooks, but it’s no less powerful. In fact, it beat Xero and Quickbooks in the 2018 Accounting Excellence Software Awards to scoop ‘Small Business Accounting Software of the Year’. Impressive.
Use this in depth review of Freeagent to find out how you can use it to keep your finances organised and save hours of valuable time.
What is Freeagent?
Freeagent is a UK Cloud Accounting Software designed specifically with the self employed and freelancers in mind.
Their platform is intuitive, easy to get started with and pre loaded perfectly designed reports for anyone who is self employed.
It focuses on relieving the main causes of stress for self employed individuals like:
- Time tracking;
- Tax calculations and estimations;
- Filing Self Assessment Tax Return Forms;
- Expense tracking (with the ability to photograph your receipts on the move);
- Automated bookkeeping with bank feeds.
What I love about Freeagent is the clean and easy to understand dashboard.
The Freeagent Dashboard tells me all the key information I need to know about my business in one place, all updated in real time:
- My bank balance;
- Who owes me money;
- My business profit;
- How much tax I owe;
- Reminders of when my tax is due.
One of my favourite features about Freeagent is the ability to log my time using their in built time tracker.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve forgotten to note down a visit to a client or the number of hours I spent working on a project.
I can access the time tracker online or in their app. So all I need to do is press a button to start the timer. Then when invoicing time comes, I can convert my time spent into a professional looking invoice and email it straight to my clients.
Freeagent integrates with Stripe. Stripe allows my clients to pay my invoices by credit card. And this has slashed weeks off the time it normally takes me to get paid.
The Freeagent App
The Freeagent App is a great tool. It gives me complete freedom to manage my business finances on the go.
Within minutes I can update my accounts, catch up with my invoicing and update my expenses.
The app helps me make some quick decisions like whether I can afford to buy something, if a client has paid me or just check my bank balance.
Best of all it has the facility to snap and save receipts – no more walking around with a handbag full of paper receipts!
How to Use Freeagent in Your Small Business
Freeagent has some really powerful features all contained in a simple Cloud Accounting Platform & App. It can benefit a wide range of small businesses in lots of different ways. Here’s how:
Freeagent allows you to invoice your customers directly from the platform – so you can forget about using word or excel templates.
There are 8 ready made templates to choose from. You can add your logo and business details meaning everything you send out is personalised.
Invoices can be emailed straight out from the platform with the option to add a link so your customers can pay you by credit card. You’ll need to open up a stripe or paypal account (which tends to attract charges).
You’ll then be able to find a summary of all unpaid customer invoices on the Freeagent Dashboard. Making it easy for you to keep any eye on who owes you money.
Save You Hours of Time
Freeagent puts everything you need to manage your business finances in one place. Saving you hours of stress and work.
Gone are the days of complicated spreadsheets and asking an accountant to do your taxes.
Freeagent automates your bookkeeping, tax estimation and tax return filing for you. Giving you back hours of time.
Freeagent is perfect for Freelancers and Self Employed Consultants (or Accountants like me) who bill for their time.
The in built timer is super simple to operate. Just go online or on the app to press start and record your time, down to the second.
You’ll never forget to invoicing a client again. Or spend hours trawling through your diary trying to figure out which clients you worked on and how long you spent.
Syncing Bank Accounts
Freeagent links with most of the UK bank accounts (known as ‘Bank Feeds’). That means bank transactions are pulled everyday into Freeagent automatically.
Saving you whole load of time because you don’t have to time in entries one at a time.
It goes one step further to even suggest how payments should be allocated and which customers have paid you. Then you just have to hit approve.
Here are some of the bank accounts you can link with Freeagent:
- Metro bank
And thousands more.
As an accountant, I’ve worked with a number of different accounting softwares. Each one has their own bank of pre loaded reports appealing to accountants, big businesses, limited companies and many more people. It just makes it confusing to find specific reports or makes them more complicated than they need to be.
What I love about Freeagent is that there are just 9 reports on offer. Just the 9 essential reports anyone who is self employed needs.
- Profit and Loss so you can see what you’ve made
- Balance Sheet to check your net asset position
- Aged Debtors to help you chase people who owe you money
- Customer Sales to identify your biggest customers
- Aged Creditors so you know who you owe money to
- Spending Categories giving you a breakdown of how you spend your cash
- Capital Assets which is a list of all the fixed assets you own (handy for insurance purposes)
- Show Transactions so you can see details of all your postings.
- Trial Balance a snap shot off all your balances at a particular date
Self Assessment Tax Return Filing
What people find most attractive about Freeagent is that it calculates and files your self assessment tax return straight to HMRC.
It calculates your tax liability in real time based on the numbers you enter into the system. Making it easy to budget for your tax bill.
Freeagent is rapidly growing in popularity. So if you choose to bring in a bookkeeper or hire an accountant as your business grows you can add them as users.
Freeagent lets you choose user permissions with a slider that runs from 0 to 8, reflecting the level of access they are allowed.
Sending out an estimate to your clients before you start work is an easy way to agree pricing up front. It’s also an easy way to eliminate any payment issues down the line.
Create professional estimates for your clients and then, once accepted, convert them to an invoice.
Photograph & Upload Receipts From Your Phone
Do you have a bag full of receipts? Or a pile sitting on your desk waiting to be entered into an expense claim form?
Well, say goodbye to that problem.
With Freeagent you can snap and save your receipts on the go. Automatically creating your expense claims.
Making Tax Digital Approved
Making Tax Digital is one of the biggest shakes ups to happen to the UK Tax System ever.
It means everyone will need to use an approved accounting software to handle their taxes and bookkeeping.
It all kicks off from April 2019 for VAT registered businesses. But will be introduced for almost anyone who is self employed after that.
Getting set up on Freeagent will future proof you now and avoid headaches once the new laws are put in place.
How Much Does Freeagent Cloud Software Cost
Freeagent has a lot of great features. You can start with a 30 day FREE trial (no credit card required) to see if you like it.
Monthly pricing is based on your tax status. Once the 30 day free trial you still get 55% off for your first six months and then 10% off for life. So if you are self employed the cost is £8.55 plus VAT to start.
You always need to be online to use it, but most of my work requires an internet connection so that doesn’t really bother me.
If you are a Landlord, it does not have functionality to file your tax return if you need to declare UK Property Income. So that makes the functionality to file your tax return and estimate taxes limited. There is currently no timescales for Freeagent to make this available either. But no accounting software offers that, so it’s not behind the curve.
Freeagent is definitely my favourite cloud accounting program. I love it’s simplicity and that every function is designed with the self employed in mind. Click here to try Freeagent Free for 30 Days.
Anita is a Chartered Accountant with over a decade of experience taking self employed business owners from financially confused to business savvy.
She is the creator of the ‘Go Self Employed’ website, which her corner on the internet where she makes self employment less terrifying.