This article is provided on behalf of McKinley Plowman, expert business and tax accountants in Perth. The views in this article do not constitute professional advice and are the writers opinion only.
When faced with the prospect of returning to billing as a business again, I remembered some of my fundamental weaknesses that I seem to have when running a business.
- I don’t invoice promptly for my work
- I’m not good at keeping paperwork
- I dislike updating spreadsheets
These weaknesses combine together to create an accounting nightmare. It’s a bad dream that I would have to occasionally visit when I realized that I needed more money to come in. I would sit down in front of my computer, start painfully plugging numbers into invoices and then copying those numbers into the columns of a spreadsheet. I would sent out this invoices, and eventually be able to review my data in the spreadsheet I had kept of my invoices.
What is so hard about this you ask? Well, if you are working in a small business where you do 3 jobs per day then issuing invoices, recording the data and following up on payments can be very time consuming and painful.
It was suggested to me that I use FreshBooks, at first I was somewhat against it. Cloud Based? To me that means it’s going to be slow, but at least I can invoice quickly while on premises with the client, if I actually end up doing that. The cost? There is a generous free trial for sole traders with a limited number of clients, that serves me perfectly. So the price is right.
Begrudgingly, I disengaged the spreadsheets and took on FreshBooks. It turned out the be one of the best decisions I have made.
The simplicity of the invoicing is excellent. I simply pick a client from the dropdown, then put in a task, or enter a new task type, then some notes, a rate, time spent and any taxes that are applicable. FreshBooks simply works that all out, and then when I’m finished, I hit “Send by Email” to the client, that sends them a link where they can see the invoice totals. Clients love this software too as it gives them a feeling of interactivity with the payment process. So FreshBooks can actually help you get paid faster.
If by some chance, there is a client who has not paid, traditionally it would have taken me a while to notice, and chase up on. FreshBooks provides an accounts aging report, so I can see who hasn’t paid in 30 days or more, and follow up these accounts.
Come tax time, it is going to be a breeze as well. The easy to find and use reports will simply allow all the income levels to fall into place for a painless tax submission.
In conclusion, FreshBooks is simply a cloud based accounting package, but where it excels is in its speed and user interface. These two things make it a joy to use, and I highly recommend it to any small business looking for an accounting solution.