Let’s be honest: not all parts of running a freelance business are fun.
There are some tedious, headache-inducing tasks that come with running a business that are simply unavoidable…like bookkeeping.
Keeping track of all your business-related income and expenses can be tricky while balancing all the other responsibilities of maintaining a freelance career, but luckily there are plenty of tools to help.
There is a wide variety of accounting software tools available to help you stay on top of your finances without a lot of fuss. We’ve put together a guide featuring the best freelance accounting software with selections for every budget and need.
We’ve also compared some of the most popular programs side by side, so you can better understand what each of them does best, and which one might be best suited for your needs. This makes it very easy to compare Freshbooks, Quickbooks, Wave, and other major accounting software.
Features to consider when choosing an accounting software
There are a variety of features to consider when choosing the best accounting software for your freelance writing career.
Easy to use
For one, you want to find an app that is easy to use.
You have enough to worry about when you’re juggling all the duties and responsibilities of a freelance writer, so you don’t need to spend hours learning accounting software.
Robust billing capabilities
In addition to ease of use, you’ll need standalone accounting software that can easily track and manage invoices.
If you’re billing multiple clients, be sure to use freelance accounting software that keeps track of multiple invoices.
Our favorite of the bunch is cool bookswhich offers a wide range of billing tools for freelancers, including automatic reminders for overdue invoices and a variety of methods through which your clients can pay you.
Freshbooks also has billing templates and customization options to make the whole process a breeze.
Plays well with other programs
Finally, find accounting software that fits your workflow and can integrate with your existing applications or tools.
Many accounting software packages offer mobile app integration with receipt capture and mileage tracking, or automatic quarterly tax calculations, for example.
With so many options to choose from, be sure to find the right freelance accounting software for your unique needs.
Our picks for the best accounting software for freelancers
Best General Ledger Software for Freelancers: Freshbooks
Overall, our top pick for the best accounting software for freelance writers is Freshbooks (30-day free trial).
Freshbooks offers real-time invoice tracking, cloud support for seamless access from any device, automatic payment reminders for customers who don’t pay on time, multiple payment options, expense tracking, and best of all, it’s Easy to use.
Freshbooks does require a small subscription fee: $15/month for up to 5 clients or $25/month for up to 50 clients, but that fee ensures your books will be in the best possible hands. You can also get a discount by paying for a yearly plan instead of month to month.
You can try FreshBooks free for 30 days to see if it’s the right choice for your freelance business.
If you’re weighing a decision between Freshbooks, Quickbooks, and Wave or any of the other options on our best free software list, be sure to take a full look at the list of features each has to offer to decide which one is best for you. . .
Best Free Accounting Software for Freelancers: Wave
If you’re like many freelance writers, you don’t have hours each week to keep track of your bills, payments, and receipts.
You also probably don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend each year on a reservation service.
Fortunately, there are some free accounting software available.
The best free accounting software we have found is Wave.
Wave offers a comprehensive set of tools to track payments and expenses, manage your invoices, integrate payroll and tax record keeping, and even scan receipts right from your mobile app.
So what’s the catch?
As with everything that is free, there will be some limitations.
The most common complaint about Wave is that their customer support is very limited – email only, no phone or live chat, which can make it a huge hassle to resolve any issues that may arise.
Wave also lacks some useful features like time tracking.
Best Accounting Software for TurboTax Users: Quickbooks Self-Employed
One of the most challenging parts of a freelance writing career is doing your self-employment taxes.
Unlike full-time jobs working for a single employer, a freelance writing career typically involves multiple sources of income without employers or the IRS automatically taking money away for taxes.
As such, freelance writers need accounting software that can integrate the calculation and deduction of a portion of their income for quarterly taxes.
If you’re like the millions of people who use TurboTax to do their taxes online, the best accounting software for freelance writers we’ve found is QuickBooks on your own.
This easy-to-use software can track mileage, classify expenses, organize receipts, send and manage invoices, and even estimate and file taxes.
QuickBooks Self-Employed requires a monthly subscription, but you’ll likely earn it back with the deductions this fully-featured software offers.
When it comes to Freshbooks vs QuickBooks Self-Employed, you’ll find that the two apps offer many of the same features. Many users find Freshbooks simpler for single-employee businesses (like most freelance writers), while Quickbooks Self-Employed can help freelancers who work as part of a team. Take a look at the full list of features for each to see which one is best for you.
The best accounting software for freelancers who need customization:
Another great solution out there is Bonsai (at HelloBonsai.com).
With it, you can quickly create invoices, handle time tracking, keep track of expenses and clients. You can even customize with discounts, integrate everything directly for easy tax, and change your preferred payment methods globally or on a per-customer basis.
Bonsai is quite affordable at $24 per month on the low end. When you consider how much your time as a freelancer is worth, and how much time this software can save you in the daily minutiae of keeping records and following up with multiple clients, it seems like it’s worth the investment.
If you like a highly customizable experience in whatever software you’re using, whether it’s for accounting or any other task, take a look at Xero.
Xero offers the option to automate many of the accounting tasks you perform each month, such as billing or reporting. Xero also offers the ability to sync up with a financial advisor, making decision-making much easier than going it alone.
One of the most unique features of Xero is its ability to integrate third-party applications.
There are more than 800 apps available on the Xero App Market It offers users a wide variety of tools that add additional functionality and greater ease of use.
If you’re looking for a customizable experience that makes your accounting and billing as seamless as possible, look no further than Xero.
Best Accounting Software for Freelancers with International Clients: SlickPie
Today’s world of freelance writing often involves working with clients or vendors from all over the world.
While having an international workforce at your disposal can offer many benefits, it can create a significant headache in terms of accounting due to different exchange rates, tax laws, security issues, etc.
Fortunately, free accounting software SlickPie it offers multi-currency support, bank-grade security, and a variety of payment options that can make working with international clients much easier.
SlickPie has the ability to sync across multiple devices, a mobile app, and even allows users to sync accounts with multiple users and accounts. Best of all, SlickPie offers world-class support to keep your accounting running as smoothly as possible.
Get back to doing what you love
The best accounting software for freelancers is the one that will save you time and energy so you can get back to doing what matters most: making money writing.
Every moment you spend managing your books is a time when you could be finding new clients or completing outstanding projects. Therefore, the more you can automate your accounting process with software, the better.
Do you have a favorite accounting software for freelancers? Share your vision by commenting below.