One inescapable part of running a business that can’t be avoided whether you are a self employed graphic designer, plumber or session singer is a requirement to manage your hours, time and billing effectively and of course do your tax returns.
Sure, we all like seeing the money pouring into our bank accounts, but few of us enjoy the tedious underlying process of making it all happen, which can involve meticulously completing timesheets, book-keeping, preparing invoices, sending out invoices and chasing invoices and doing our tax return at the end of the year. Personally, I used to both loathe and fear the finance side of the business which is why I had an accountant and book-keeper to handle this side of things.
This was effective, but was unnecessarily expensive and did not give me enough visibility into my finances. All this changed when I found and started using online invoicing software. These systems make the financial side of being self-employed almost enjoyable by automating much of the financial process. For example, many of these systems can be automatically connected to your bank account so income and expenses are automatically tracked.
You can also track your time and include clients in your system and quickly generate, send and track invoice payments, all from inside these systems. These cloud based invoicing systems allow you to store receipts and act as an automated book-keeping system and at the end of the year you can automatically generate itemised profit and loss statements making it quick and easy for you to use your tax return.
As a result of moving to cloud based invoicing, my personal accounting requirements reduced meaning that I could reduce my accounting fees by half by moving from an face-to-face traditional accountant to a virtual accountant. Below, you can find:
3 Free or Affordable Web Based Invoicing Tools For Freelancers and Small Business
1.Zoho Invoice. This is a market leading, web-based invoicing software tool. It comes feature-loaded and includes key functionality such as: simple web-based invoicing, ability to accept card payments, pricing estimate tool, time-tracking, expenses and a client portal. Pricing is free for 1 user and up to 25 customers, so perfect for solepreneurs, with prices starting at £5 a month for 1 users and 25 customers.
2.Freshbooks. This comes with a no credit card, 30 day free trial and costs just a few dollars/pounds a month to use thereafter and is very affordable, given the savings you can make from making a reduced use of your accountant. This comes with with an inbuilt time-sheet so you can track billable time each month and invoice at the end of the month, from within the system.. It also has a system for you to easily capture expenses. They claim that Freshbooks customers spend less time on paperwork, free up 2 days per month and they are paid on average 5 days faster.
3.Actitime.This is another free or affordable invoicing tool which allows you to track time and expenses and prepare accurate invoices and send them to clients, although the invoicing features are only available with the premium addition. It also has some in-built task and work-flow management tools and excellent reporting capabilities.
5.InvoiceASAP. If you simply need an invoicing tool, but don’t need a timesheet system, then Invoice ASAP may be just for you as this is an efficient and easy to use tool that enables to quickly prepare and send invoices from the comfort of your Smart phone if desired.