What accounting software freelancers use is a hugely popular question in the Freelance Jungle. We get that one at least every month. And even more when BAS or EOFY rolls around.
We’re taking the popular choices and putting them in blog format to help you make the right decision for your business. Like any remotely financial advice, it does have it’s limits though. Always make sure you do your due diligence and consult an accountant to make sure you are choosing the right accounting software for your freelance needs.
Here’s what accounting software freelancers regularly choose in the Freelance Jungle
Rounded is Australian owned and operated. It’s built to manage both GST registered and non-GST registered freelancers. And it’s an accounting software freelancers choose because it’s simple to use. You can send invoices, quotes, reconcile your expenses and use it for BAS reconciliation. It also comes with time tracking abilities, full reporting across clients and expenses, and your accountant can also login into the system.
Plus, they routinely win praise for switched on customer service across customers, freelance groups and review sites alike. Downside may be that they are growing all the time and therefore adding features as they grow. However, even this isn’t such a drawback as it’s keeping the software nimble, and they listen a lot to what freelancers ask for as part of their business model.
The Freelance Jungle also has a member deal with Rounded.
If you are new to Rounded, you can get a 4-week trial of Rounded simply by being in the Freelance Jungle.
Use the code below so we can track sign ups and grab the offer
This is for new users only so not for any existing Rounded users. It offers a 4-week trial (double what you normally get without Freelance Jungle power).
So, if you are thinking of trying it out, do it with Jungle freedom of a 4-week trial.
By way of disclaimer: I use Rounded as my accounting software as choice because as someone with a lifelong fear of maths and making financial errors, the customer service plus the design helps me not hyperventilate as I get things ready for my long-suffering accountant.
Xero is probably the most well known of accounting software freelancers routinely turn to. It’s been around since 2006 and is a New Zealand software that has been exported to Australia, UK and USA.
As it’s been around for so long, Xero straddles the best of both worlds. It was created when cloud accounting started to gain traction. So, it’s not as nerdy or cumbersome as programs like MYOB or QuickBooks. It’s also got a long time under its belt and isn’t in a state of perpetual roll out of features like Rounded or the MYOB lite version, Remote One.
Xero also scales well with the business. The main tiers reflect Australian business growth from non-GST registered freelancer right through to business payroll for small to medium-sized business. And it includes about 300 app integrations. It also does automatic currency conversion, automated bank fees, and integrates with a lot of other popular apps (some of whom are listed below).
Where Xero loses a little ground is through price compared to other apps. It is the premier package and is more expensive than other options when you do an access and feature comparison. Plus, the younger companies offering accounting software freelancers love like Rounded offer more tailored customer service, though Xero no slouch either. And I am never a fan of accounting software freelancers are meant to use in early stages limiting the number of invoices, which Xero does with its cheapest level.
Wave App was known as the accounting software freelancers chose for making a beeline to things like invoicing. Its popularity lies in it getting straight to the heart of what you need day-to-day.
Despite having fairly slim reporting and servicing beginner freelancers well, Wave App was a popular choice among freelancers who aren’t registered for GST (it doesn’t support GST) until recently. The change has come about because they have decided to focus on US and Canadian businesses only.
That means Wave’s Stripe connection will end on June 30, 2021, for businesses outside the US and Canada. Many an Australian freelancer feels no small amount of shock on hearing that news in the Freelance Jungle. Which is part of the reason why this blog is being written in the first place. Saving us 50 or so future threads of crying come EOFY.
So, while many people sing the praises as current customers of Wave App, it’s unlikely they are accepting new clients from Australia. And that any support given will wane and reduce over time as they actively seek to discourage their current base. This is demonstrated in not having a live connection to bank accounts since December 2019. Though you can still manually import data, which is kind of clunky and may even defeat the purpose of cloud-based accounting in the first place.
You have to feel for MYOB. They have been a leading accounting program since the 1980s. It took the world from spreadsheets to consolidation and helped businesses grow with them.
They’ve been managing payroll since 2006 (the year Xero was born) if this gives you an idea of their longevity and their knowledge level.
Like most scaling companies, MYOB did lose ground when cloud accounting software freelancers needed started gaining traction. MYOB was seen as intimidating and still an accountant’s software. There’s something to be said for ‘less is more’ when dealing with the freelance market.
However, where the MYOB version of less is more seems to be reflected is in capping the number of invoices and quotes to five a month on the entry level. It links to bank accounts, but then limits this to 25 transactions.
Considering how many fun-size invoices and multiple clients freelancers tend to manage in their starting journey, this approach seems counterintuitive when found in any freelance accounting software. The step from the beginner software to sole trader small business supplies much more flexibility.
Still, it’s not going anywhere. And MYOB integrates with 300 apps, offers payroll and easily scales with your freelance business as it grows. But be warned, it is a little dusty and over-complex. With even MYOB Essentials (their cloud accounting competitor) bemusing many a freelancer. And with it, it increases the margin of error. And it’s not exactly price competitive. But it’s still here!
Do you know how car companies use the bulk of their parts to make other cars in different markets? Well, ReckonOne is a rebadge of QuickBooks, kind of in the same way many Skoda are a VW. And ReckonOne is sort of a Polo to a Reckon’s Golf.
Confused? Me too. QuickBooks is also still here but looks like it’s a tad more interested in non-freelancing small business through kilometre tracking, supplier management and inventory tracking. Unless you are travelling a lot for freelancing, run contractors and potentially have an army of robot-contractors in the mix.
But I digress (this happens often when I am confused).
ReckonOne is a lightweight, stripped back version that the accounting artists formally known as QuickBooks have released to challenge Wave App directly. And one can assume to pick up that market now it’s focussing on North America.
What to expect from ReckonOne is a cheap price point (currently $8 a month) for basic offerings across invoicing, reconciliation and reporting.
Oh, and ReckonOne are pretty delightful in their promotional offerings. In fact, they are happy to help any Wave clients shift with three months free if you move before 1st April 2021.
So, why hasn’t ReckonOne (or Reckon) ended up on the Freelance Jungle radar? It might be a case of no marketing to the right people. Or that QuickBooks (like all older cloud accounting software freelancers use) may seem a tad uncool through age.
This is targeted to small to medium business. Some freelancers use it, however it’s not so user friendly. A lot of room for user error, and like MYOB, often results in higher accounting and bookkeeping fees to rectify issues.
If you’re not the most confident person with accounting, there are stronger, more intuitive options.
Billcue is an interesting player. You can literally split out invoicing from the whole accounting package via Snap Invoicing. This mini version of accounting software freelancers want via the Wave model seems to be a decent streamline competitor.
Or you can use it as accounting software with reporting, reconciliation, BAS and more. You can receive PayPal, Stripe, Securepay, Eway Pay ID and Bpay payments through integration as well.
Billcue is also interesting because it is $12 a month without visible caps on clients, invoices issued, and transactions made. At that price, it almost looks too cheap and makes suspicious old cats like me worry if one day, Billcue will grow and so will the price. But let’s live in the present for now.
Harvest offers great time tracking abilities for billable hours plus invoicing capability. You can see where time goes for projects to improve your estimations. Agencies use it to help manage their freelancers, too and aid in ye olde client transparency.
I’ve been using it due to an agency client requiring it to help with client management and find it super simple.
You can copy it across to Xero or QuickBooks Online, too.
HNRY are an interesting concept that fits in with accounting but not directly as an invoicing or reconciliation software. In essence, this clever New Zealand company is about saving your butt from big debt. It manages your estimated tax deductions so that you don’t get hit in the money sack each quarterly or yearly reconciliation. Plus, it helps you invoice- and then chase up those invoicing – through advice, software and education.
They also look after self-employed tradies, independent contractors, recruiters and agencies as well as freelancers and creative types.
So, it’s less an accounting software freelancers can use and more a “keep your arse out of debt” solution with invoicing capabilities.
By way of disclaimer, I am (potentially) writing some content for them in the near future.
Invoice2Go gives the game away in the name. And yeah, it looks like another Wave App alternative. It’s about sending invoices, sending estimates, accepting payments and some reporting.
Appends to Xero for the rest of the party but it does allow you to do rapid fire invoicing at a low price.
I love it when the label matches the packet. In their own words, Invoice Ninja is an “open-source online invoicing app for freelancers & businesses. Invoice, accept payments, track expenses, create proposals, & time-tasks.”
At this point, I am beginning to wonder where the line between invoicing software and accounting software freelancers can use blurs.
It offers a free level that limits branding and some features and scales up from there.