If you’re anything like me, you’re more of a word-person than a numbers-person.
And that can make the accounting side of running your editorial business seem daunting. I was daunted by it too – until I started using FreeAgent.
FreeAgent is a cloud-based accounting product for freelancers and micro businesses based in the UK. I’ve been using them for years now. I can’t imagine running my business without them. I signed up to keep my accounts in order, but there are so many handy features that help me, specifically, as a freelance editor.
Generate (and keep track of) professional invoices
You can select a well-designed template, add your logo, select a numbering system, link invoices to specific clients and projects, create a price list, and see at a glance whether an invoice has been paid or not. On top of that, you can generate template emails for sending invoices, automatic thank-you emails when an invoice is paid, automatic reminder emails if an invoice goes unpaid, and …
You can link your PayPal account and Stripe account to FreeAgent so your clients can pay your invoice at the click of a button. Again, it’s all automatically generated for you. I’m pretty sure this feature, with the feature above, has resulted in me almost always getting paid on the day of sending an invoice. Which is a great feeling. And yes, you can take international payments!
Manage clients and projects
You create your own address book in FreeAgent so you can link together clients with invoices and projects (for which you can set budgets and schedules). It makes everything so neat and organised, and I love having all this data together in one secure place.
Link your bank feed
Now for the actual accounting part …! You can manage all your incomings and outgoings by linking your bank feed to FreeAgent. You just have to work through the feed every now and again to add explanations to each transaction. You can upload receipts too, so you don’t have to keep a box of paper in your desk drawer. This then creates an overview of where your money is coming from and going to, so you can see if you’re spending too much in one particular area or whether you’ve got a client who gives you most of your work! You can also see your yearly operating profit.
Submit your tax return
FreeAgent does much of the heavy lifting for you, so you can submit your tax return directly through the software. Personally, I’m pretty paranoid about making my return is exactly right, so I hire an accountant to do this for me – but my accountant is versed in FreeAgent and I give them special access through the software to do this. There are loads of FreeAgent-friendly accountants listed on the site.
I’ve already mentioned that you can create and keep track of projects, but FreeAgent’s time-tracking feature is one of my favourite things about this software. You toggle on and off the timer related to a specific project (or enter data manually) so you can easily keep track of how much time you’re spending on a project. You can also break this down by task. I use this feature all the time when editing so I can see how fast I am on average, and this helps me set my rates.
If this sounds like a bit of a sales pitch, it’s because it is. FreeAgent doesn’t offer all this for nothing, but they do have a fantastic referral scheme: you and whoever you refer get a 10% lifetime discount (as long as the person you refer remains a member). Refer ten people, and your subscription is free. Not bad at all!
So if you think this sounds like something that would help you run your business, take a look and sign up. You can always cancel your subscription if it doesn’t work for you.
Use FreeAgent discount code 43g3im21 when you sign up, or use this link: FreeAgent.com.
Honestly, I wouldn’t promote FreeAgent if I didn’t think they were great. They were voted the number one accounting software in the UK last year, and I’ve personally always received fantastic customer service from them too.
They definitely make managing my accounts (and my business) so much easier.