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Getting your money organized using accounting software can take your freelance business from a hobby or side-hustle to a full-fledged business.
After all, if you’re not paying attention to your finances, you won’t be in business for long. And without good accounting software, it’ll be hard to watch your finances.
I’ve been there: using a Google Spreadsheet to track all of my PayPal and bank transactions and then hoping that my books all add up at the end of the month. But I’m here to tell you, that’s not the way to do it.
Building a financially viable freelance business—one that survives for a long time—relies on finding the best accounting software for freelancers.
But with so many options out there, how can you possibly know which accounting software to use as a freelancer? After researching dozens of accounting software for freelancers, I’ve narrowed them down to the list below with explanations as to why.
Here’s a quick overview with further details below:
|Pay taxes, bill expenses, & calculate profits, all from a simple user interface.||Starts at $16/mo||Learn More|
Or read our Moxie Review
|Flexible software you can grow with. Lets you share details with your accountant and see in-depth reports.||Starts at $8.50/mo||Learn More|
Or read our Freshbooks Review
|Widely accepted software means no matter who’s doing your books, chances are, they’re familiar with it. Easy-to-export reports.||Starts at $7.50/mo||Learn More|
Or read our Quickbooks Review
|Built for freelancers, by freelancers with a number of bookkeeping and invoicing tools working together.||Starts at $17/mo||Learn More|
Or read our Bonsai Review
|Save as much as $10,000 per year with Collective’s help. LLC filing, S-Corp election, bookkeeping and taxes all in one place.||$299/mo||Learn More|
|Track income and expenses for free and simply with a clean interface.||Starts at $0||Learn More|
|Enjoy advanced bookkeeping features like machine learning and auto-categorization.||Starts at $9/mo||Learn More|
1. Moxie (formerly Hectic)
Let’s talk about Moxie.
It’s called “The Freelancer OS” because from the Essentials plan and above, Moxie was designed to fulfill all of your needs as a freelance business owner.
Of course, the accounting part of it wasn’t left behind. Moxie makes it easy to stay on top of every financial detail so that you can pay taxes, bill expenses, calculate profits, and more—no sweat.
Moxie Accounting Features
Ultra organized expenses
Never forget who owes you what for what again. In Moxie, you can categorize expenses, attach receipts, and assign costs back to specific clients.
Getting reimbursed has never been simpler. See what any client owes you at a glance, and attach expenses to invoices in just a few clicks.
Put your finances on autopilot with Plaid
Just attach your business credit card or checking account with Moxie’s Plaid integration and let your expenses auto-populate.
Seamless third-party compatibility
Need to finish off your finances elsewhere? Not a problem. Moxie plays nicely with all the tools accountants love, like Xero, Quickbooks, and more.
Is Moxie free?
Moxie supports two paid tiers, Pro and Teams. Starting at $16 monthly, they have everything you need to run your freelance business without any limits.
Click here to get started with Moxie.
Next up on our list of best accounting software for freelancers is Freshbooks. While Freshbooks has grown to service companies of all sizes, it has a long history of working with freelancers.
Their founder, Mike McDerment, started Freshbooks to solve his own invoicing and accounting issues as a web design freelancer. The simple-yet-powerful features make Freshbooks one of the very best accounting software for freelancers on the market today.
Freshbooks Accounting Features
Here are just a few stand-out features you can expect from Freshbooks’ accounting service if you sign up as a freelancer.
Freshbooks uses double-entry accounting practices which means everything is accounted for on both the credit and debit side of your financial records. This reduces chances for error come tax time and helps you be assured your records are accurate.
Planning & forecasting
Freshbooks helps you forecast your financial future which means you can easily decide if you can afford to hire subcontractors or employees, invest in marketing, or add a little extra to company profits down the road.
Pre-payment and overpayment tracking
If you’ve ever needed to refund a client or tried to send them a discount, you know that can disrupt your financial records. Freshbooks has a “Credits” feature that lets you track overpayments, client credits, or prepayments and then apply their amounts to future invoices.
Freshbooks Pricing & Other Details
Now that you’ve seen a few unique things Freshbooks can do for you as a freelancer, let’s take a look at their pricing.
Does Freshbooks come with a free trial?
Yes. Freelancers can sign up to try Freshbooks completely free. You don’t even have to put in a credit card to sign up. Freshbooks’ free trial lasts 30 days.
How much does Freshbooks cost?
Once you’ve used the 30-day free trial, Freshbooks costs anywhere from $6/mo USD to $20/mo USD if you pay annually and depending on which accounting features you want to activate.
Click here to try Freshbooks free for 30 days
One of the best accounting software for freelancers is, without a doubt, the classic Quickbooks.
While lots of Quickbooks alternatives have popped up over the years, this accounting app holds its ground as one of the best options for businesses of any size.
Quickbooks Self-Employed is particularly good accounting software for freelancers.
Quickbooks Accounting Features
While a few other accounting apps on this list also include features like proposals, Quickbooks focuses more strongly on the most important accounting features you’ll need as a freelancer. Here are a few that matter:
Manage multiple bank/online accounts
If you’ve got multiple bank accounts you need to manage all from one spot, Quickbooks is a great option for you. You can connect virtually any bank account or online account including all major banks, many smaller entities (like credit unions) and even your PayPal account.
Track mileage & receipts easily
If you find yourself driving to client meetings or purchasing physical goods for client projects or for the office, Quickbooks’ mobile apps will be a big help, allowing you to snap a receipt or track mileage which can be deducted from your taxes later.
Assistance with quarterly taxes
As a freelancer, you know you have to submit taxes (at least in the U.S.) every quarter. Sometimes, quarterly tax payments can get a bit confusing or overwhelming. Quickbooks helps you estimate your payment and remember to pay it on time.
Quickbooks Pricing & Other Details
Of all the accounting apps for freelancers we’ve covered so far, Quickbooks seems to have the most complicated pricing. It’s still affordable, but figuring out which plan suits you best can be a bit complicated.
You may want to review the various options in our comparison of Freshbooks vs Quickbooks.
Does Quickbooks come with a free trial?
Yes. Quickbooks has a 30-day free trial. However, if you choose not to go with a free trial, you can also sign up for Quickbooks at 50% off for the first 3 months. Either is a good option for freelancers.
How much does Quickbooks cost?
If you choose not to go with the free trial, Quickbooks is 50% off the first 3 months which means their lowest plan is $12.50/mo USD for the first 90 days. After that, it jumps to $25/mo USD for their most basic plan.
It’s a bit on the expensive side, but it’s one of the best accounting software for freelancers who are serious about managing their finances.
Click here to try Quickbooks free for 30 days (or save 50% on your first 3 months)
Fourth on the list is Bonsai—an all-in-one business solution for freelancers. While Bonsai does a lot more than accounting for freelancers (you can read our full Bonsai Review here) their accounting features are top-notch.
Bonsai is built specifically for freelancers (as opposed to competitors like Quickbooks or Freshbooks who target businesses of all kinds and sizes) which makes it an especially powerful freelance accounting app.
Bonsai Accounting Features
Here’s are some winning features you can expect from Bonsai:
Important accounting reports
If you don’t know your numbers, you can’t improve your business. So Bonsai provides freelancers with important accounting reports like Profit & Loss Statements or Balance Sheets.
Customized expense categories
In order to generate accounting reports that actually help you as a freelancer, Bonsai lets you customize your own expense categories. Along with the typical categories (marketing & advertising, office expenses, etc.), you can also add custom categories like the cost of goods sold or client gifts.
Shareable accountant access
Best of all, Bonsai lets you hand off your accounting work to a professional by allowing you to give access to your own accountant. With Bonsai’s accounting software, you can do quite a bit yourself. But if you’re nervous or simply don’t have the time, adding your accountant is a great option.
Bonsai Pricing & Other Details
It’s clear Bonsai has some great features, making it one of the best accounting software for freelancers. Now, let’s take a look at some of the pricing and other important program details.
Does Bonsai come with a free trial?
Yes. Bonsai for freelancers comes with a 14-day, risk-free trial where you can test out all their accounting features for freelancers.
How much does Bonsai cost?
After the 14-day free trial, Bonsai starts as low as $19/mo USD for freelancers.
Click here to try Bonsai free for 14 days
If you’re looking for more than just a simple DIY accounting software, take a look at Collective. Collective (formerly Hyke) is an all-in-one accounting, bookkeeping, tax solution for freelancers making more than $60,000 annually.
Why does that number matter?
Because if you’re making more than $60k/year, you can save as much as $10,000/year by using Collective to form an LLC and make an S-Corp election which can save you loads of self-employment tax.
On top of that, Collective handles your monthly bookkeeping, annual tax filing, and lots of little things in between.
Collective Accounting Features
What you’ll get as a Collective customer that you won’t get anywhere else on this list is a full team of accounting experts to help you with your bookkeeping, accounting, and taxes. This justifies the significantly higher price compared with other tools on this list.
Premium Customer Service & Attention
As a Collective customer, you receive monthly updates from your accounting team and monthly status reports from your bookkeeping team. At tax time, they handle everything so you can focus on your business.
Payroll features also included
Collective will also help you make the most of your payroll (even if it’s just paying yourself) in order to maximize deductions and pay as little tax each year as possible.
Collective Pricing & Other Details
Collective is significantly more expensive than the other options on this list, but with good reason (see above).
Does Collective come with a free trial?
No, Collective does not have a free trial. And it’s also invite-only, so you’ll have to apply to get in.
How much does Collective cost?
Collective is $299/mo which seems like a lot, but for what you’re getting it’s a pretty good deal. Essentially, you’re hiring a team of accountants, bookkeepers, and tax professionals all for one flat monthly fee.
Click here to sign up for Collective.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use accounting software that also happens to have a lot of great features for free, then maybe Wave is your best choice.
With Wave, you can easily and quickly set up your account including linking an unlimited number of bank accounts in order to track every single expense or income generated by your business. From there, it helps you create important reports such as Profit & Loss Statements, Balance Sheets, or Cash Flow Reports.
Wave Accounting Features
The nice thing about Wave is 100% of their accounting features are free. There’s no limitation on number of accounts or clients—there’s really no limitation at all. Wave makes it’s money by taking a small percentage of payments you process through their software when you process client payments. Here are a few more details about Wave:
100% Free Invoicing & Accounting
All invoicing and accounting tools are completely free with Wave. They take a small percentage of your payment and have other services such as payments, payroll, and advisors which you can upgrade to at a reasonable rate.
Unlimited Credit Card or Bank Connections
There’s no limit to the number of connections you can make with your Wave account. That way you never miss a transaction in or out of your business.
Wave Pricing & Other Details
Wave is definitely a unique option on this list when it comes to price. Let’s take a closer look:
Does Wave come with a free trial?
Technically, Wave doesn’t come with a free trial. But that’s because you can’t add a free trial to a product that is already 100% free. So, in a way, yes. It’s just free forever.
How much does Wave cost?
As mentioned before, Wave is $0. It’s completely free. However, if you’d like to incorporate payments (ie: allowing clients to pay directly from your invoice) you’ll incur a fee starting at 2.9% + $0.60 USD per transaction. There’s a 1% fee on bank payments from clients as well.
Advanced features cost more. Payroll starts at $20/mo and advisory/coaching starts at $149/mo.
Click here to sign up for Wave.
There’s one accounting app for freelancers that’s not as well-known as brands like Quickbooks or Freshbooks, but it’s a real powerhouse and easily one of the best accounting software for freelancers on the market. It’s called Harpoon.
Harpoon has a powerfully unique approach to freelance accounting. They automatically track your work and build out a financial forecast so you can quickly and easily see how much you’ll generate over the next months. Their reports centre around your own financial goals and help you improve over time.
Harpoon Accounting Features
Harpoon is such a unique and powerful accounting app for freelancers and small businesses. There’s a lot to be amazed by. Here are just a few of the best features you can leverage to grow your freelance revenue:
Financial Goal Tracking
Probably the best thing about Harpoon is its focus on your financial goals. Their reports are built around goals you’ve set for your business and are engineered to help you hit your financial goals ahead of schedule.
Real-Time Revenue Forecasting
Instead of just tracking what you’ve done in the past (like many accounting apps) Harpoon also helps you focus on the future of your business by building reports to outline where your freelancing is headed financially.
Responsible Project & Expense Budgeting
One obvious element of successful freelancing is to spend less than you make through your work. Overspending on projects can lead quickly to a financial mess. Harpoon helps you predict how much you’ll make and how much you can spend on a project-by-project basis and also helps you keep your overall spending under control.
Harpoon Pricing & Other Details
It’s clear to see after glancing at some stand-out features why Harpoon is at the top of this list of best accounting software for freelancers. Let’s break down what you can expect to pay for Harpoon.
Does Harpoon come with a free trial?
Yes. Harpoon App comes with a 14-day free trial so you can add your financial goals and test out the unique features of this accounting app.
How much does Harpoon cost?
After the 14-day free trial, Harpoon’s freelancer-tier package starts at $19/mo USD which is pretty affordable for all the great financial forecasting it does for you.
Click here to try Harpoon free for 14 days
How to choose the best accounting software for freelancers
After reviewing this list of best accounting software for freelancers, you might find yourself overwhelmed still at facing this important decision.
If you’re not sure, even after reading the details above, here are a few more things you can do to find the best accounting software for your freelance business:
Ask your accountant
If you’ve got an accountant who already helps with your finances, they may already use some accounting software and doubling up would be more detrimental than helpful.
Ask a financially literate friend
If you’ve got it whittled down to just a few options and you’re not sure how to proceed, consider asking someone who knows more about accounting than you do. Most of us have a friend or two who either work professionally with money or at least geek out over finances.
Ask a fellow freelancer
Finally, you can ask a fellow freelancer which accounting software they use to run their freelance business. If you don’t know any fellow freelancers, you can tap into our mastermind (currently over 10,000 members) for FREE and ask there.
Whichever you decide on, finding quality accounting software is better than none at all. So, just dive in, give it your best shot. You most likely can’t go wrong with any of the options on this list.
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