As a freelancer, I’m required to submit an invoice for hours and/or projects worked. There are a million and one invoicing solutions available, and I’ve tried a few of them, but I always come back to the same one. Before I tell you which one it is, I want to take a minute and go over the top 3 platforms I’ve worked with and give you the good, the bad, and the ugly.
This one is nice, mainly because it’s free. You can add your bank account, credit cards, and even PayPal so that it all syncs together. It will break it down into business and personal so there’s no confusion as to which expense/income belongs where. There’s also an app available so that you can take your accounting on go.
But, here’s what it’s missing. In order to add receipts, you have to download yet another app. Then you have to approve the receipt manually. Because we all have time to sit around to wait for that. Since most of my work is hourly, it’s also missing a time tracker and a way to bill clients for expenses incurred outside of hourly work.
QuickBooks Online – Self-Employed Version
This isn’t free but there is a 30 day free trial available. Thank goodness for that because I would have been pissed if I had to pay for this. I signed up for the free account and wanted to download the app to my Macbook and my iPhone. Well, each time I tried to sign in via the app, I would get an error message saying that I didn’t have an account. Wtf?! Moving on…
This platform allows you to add your accounts and Paypal, too, for syncing. The feature I love the most about this is the estimated quarterly tax amount. I also like that it works to automatically categorize deductions in preparation of tax time. But, once again, this solution doesn’t have a time tracker or an easy way to assign expenses to clients.
I started using this solution way back in the early 2000s, and, you guessed it, it’s the one I always come back to. A free account is available if you only have 1 client, which is great if you’re just getting started. If you have 2-5 clients, the cost if $9.95/month. Although you can’t sync your accounts, there is a time tracker and you can assign expenses to clients. When it comes to invoicing my clients, it couldn’t be easier. It only takes a few clicks and an invoice is sent via email.
FreshBooks also allows you to accept online payments via PayPal of their own payment processing service. I’m a PayPal gal and haven’t tried their payment gateway, but I’ve heard it’s faster and much cheaper than PayPal. Everything is fully customizable and your clients even get their own log in so they can view account history, submit a help ticket, dispute an invoice, and even send you documents.
There’s also a fully functional app available so that you have everything everywhere you go. You can add your expenses and take a photo of the receipt…in the same app! There are accounting reports available so you can see your income vs. expenses, revenue by client, profit and loss, and more. The only features I would add to this platform is the estimated tax payments and the ability to sync accounts.
There you have it – my favorite invoicing platform. I wish I could find out exactly how long I’ve been using FreshBooks but, unfortunately, I can’t see how long I’ve been a “member”. Oh well, it’s not that important. Just know that I’ve been using it since the early 2000s and, no matter how many times I thought I’ve found something better, I always come back. That’s how you know it’s a great service!