5 Freelance Accounting Software Solutions Perfect for Busy Schedules

by:
on September 26, 2019

For freelancers, time is literally money.

All those hours freelancers/independent contractors spend scouring the internet for the perfect freelance accounting software solution? Not billable, unfortunately.

And when you’re juggling clients and projects and contracts and invoices, the last thing you need is to invest in an inefficient (or insufficient) system.

That’s where we come in.

Because we want you, the intrepid modern freelancer, to spend less time worrying and more time doing your best work, we analyzed thousands of Software Advice user reviews to find the top-rated accounting solutions that offer freelance-friendly features and price plans. The results are presented below in alphabetical order (read our methodology here).


360 Cloud Accounting

  4.46/5
25+ reviews

Invoice creation in 360 Cloud Accounting (Source)

Overview: 360 Cloud Accounting is, as its name implies, a cloud-based accounting system for businesses of all sizes. The software is priced in three tiers, with a “basic” version available for $9 per month or $90 a year.

This system, however, is anything but basic. Not only is it easy to navigate and install, it features an array of automation-driven functionality ideal for freelancers, including its signature Smart Data Capture which helps convert invoices and receipts into data.

Other features include:

  • ✔ Automated invoice creation and distribution
  • ✔ Data-driven reporting and dashboards
  • ✔ Cash flow and expense management
  • ✔ Integrated project tracking
  • ✔ Electronic document management

FreshBooks

  4.46/5
3,000+ reviews

Expenses in FreshBooks (Source)

Overview: This web-based (and FrontRunners-approved) accounting solution has a fittingly fresh feel, with an intuitive interface and a family of mobile apps for easy on-the-go access. Freelancers will find much to admire about FreshBooks’ “Lite” version, which—at $15 per month—offers a lot of bang for a little bit of buck.

Though limited to five active clients, FreshBooks Lite has several features of the unlimited variety—invoices, expenses, time tracking, and estimates among them. It also integrates with popular third-party applications such as PayPal, MailChimp, and Basecamp, making it a well-rounded accounting solution for industries of all stripes.

Other features include:

  • ✔ Recurring invoice automation
  • ✔ Time tracking
  • ✔ Receipt and expense photo capture
  • ✔ Online payments
  • ✔ Expense categorization

QuickBooks Self-Employed

  4.06/5
30+ reviews

Reporting in QuickBooks Self-Employed (Source)

Overview: As parent company Intuit’s flagship business product, QuickBooks has a virtual stranglehold on the accounting software market. And starting at just $5 per month, cloud-based QuickBooks Self-Employed is an affordable option for independent contractors and freelancers.

The entry-level version boasts features such as invoice tracking and distribution, expense management, and other basic accounting processes. But the Self-Employed Tax Bundle ($12 per month) and Self-Employed Live Tax Bundle ($17 per month) offer advanced tax management functionality, thanks in part to seamless integration with Intuit’s ever-popular TurboTax software.

Other features include:

  • ✔ GPS mileage tracking
  • ✔ Receipt scanning and organization
  • ✔ Job-costing and profitability tracking
  • ✔ Sales tax management
  • ✔ Financial statements and reporting

Wave

  4.41/5
800+ reviews

Dashboard in Wave (Source)

Overview: Designed with entrepreneurs in mind, web-based Wave offers accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning solutions for—get this—a whopping $0. Online payments (pay-per-use) and payroll ($20-$30 per month) functionality will cost a little bit of cash, but everyday freelancers will find a lot to love about this affordable and intuitive software.

It all starts with a user interface that’s to-the-point and easily navigable, and ends with more advanced features such as integration with PayPal, Shoeboxed, and Etsy. In short: Wave’s accounting functionality is easy on the eyes, the brain, and the bank account.

Other features include:

  • ✔ Unlimited bank connections and income/expense tracking
  • ✔ Automated billing and invoicing reminders
  • ✔ Dashboards with cash balances and invoice status
  • ✔ Bulk transaction updates
  • ✔ Support for foreign currencies

Xero

  4.32/5
1,700+ reviews

Bank reconciliation in Xero (Source)

Overview: Xero, a web-based accounting system for small and growing businesses, is a powerful yet flexible option for the contemporary freelancer. Starting at just $9 per month, users can manage their finances from their desktop, smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch, with access to certified, industry-specific advisors to help with your accounting needs.

This system has a lengthy list of features to boot, including online invoicing, project management, and customizable dashboards. Xero also prides itself on its security practices, headlined by multiple layers of encryption, so you can do your job confidently and comfortably without worrying about a data breach.

Other features include:

  • ✔ Transaction categorization
  • ✔ Automated invoice reminders
  • ✔ Inventory tracking and stock management
  • ✔ PayPal and Stripe integration
  • ✔ Multi-currency support

Next steps: Finding the right software fit

Hopefully we did our job and you’re ready to roll with one of the accounting solutions above. But whether you’re dead set on a particular system or still on the fence, here are some things you can do right this second before implementing the freelance accounting software of your dreams:

  • Define your functionality requirements. If you haven’t already, make your wish list official with an overview of your current challenges and desired features. This will make it easier to find the accounting software that best meets your needs.
  • Read our vendor evaluation guide. After the ink on your wish list dries, check out our Ultimate Software Vendor Evaluation Guide. Complete with essential features, pricing models, and other critical points of interest, this guide will arm you with the knowledge you need to make an informed and profitable decision.
  • Give us a call. If you still need help choosing a specific accounting system, our advisors are here for you. Advisors provide free, fast, and personalized software recommendations, helping companies of all sizes find products that meet their business needs. Schedule an appointment with an advisor here.

^Methodology: To identify the software featured in this article, we analyzed accounting systems with features and price plans appropriate for independent freelancers and contractors, and included the five products with the highest Software Advice user ratings, with a minimum of 20 reviews between September 10, 2017 and September 10, 2019.

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