Being self-employed is a way of life that offers freedom, financial stability
It’s common for self-employed people to use spreadsheets, diaries and other forms of data recording to keep up-to-date with their financial outgoings and profits. As you can imagine this can get very time consuming and difficult to keep up with and with the range of small business accounting software out there it can be quick tricky to know where to look when choosing a small business accounting package.
From Xero Accounting software through to Sage Accounting software and everything in-between (even free accounting software) there truly something for everyone so it can be hard to know which online accounting software we should be using to do our small business accounting.
As the end of the financial year approaches, you may now be looking at those difficult spreadsheets and pages of numbers wondering just how will you get your finances in order. That’s where FreeAgent comes in, offering you the opportunity to get away from those nasty spreadsheets and excel calculations and move to a new, easier way to keep on top of your finances.
What is FreeAgent?
FreeAgent is a service specifically designed to help self-employed people keep track of their business. It covers everything from keeping track of bills, creating invoices and even offers help when submitting tax returns at the end of the financial year.
FreeAgent takes away the difficulty and stress from being self-employed and allows you to make the most of your valuable time doing something more productive and certainly more interesting and as you can see below it looks nothing like the days of old when we all used to use Sage line 50.
How Do I Get Started?
Getting started with FreeAgent is simple and there are several ways that you can get started:
- £9.50 per month for 6 months then £19 per month if you are a sole trader
- £12 per month for 6 months then £24 per month if you are in a partnership
- £14.50 per month for 6 months then £29 per month if you have a Limited Company
You can actually get the cost down as a new user you will be entitled to a 50% discount on the annual price and if you use our link to FreeAgent you will
Luckily, FreeAgent offers a 30-day free-trial for anyone interested in getting to know the platform before subscribing. The 30-day free trial gives you the chance to scope out the site before signing up to any subscriptions or paying any money, you can take the time to get to know the site, sample the services and training provided and be able to make an informed decision when your free trial comes to an end.
The sign-up process is very simple, taking only a few minutes to add in your details and company information. After putting in your details you are presented with a home screen that offers to hold your hand when setting up your profile. This includes how to send an invoice, record an expense, link your bank account and how to start your first project. FreeAgent are keen on giving you as much help as possible, making sure that keeping track of your finances is a pain-free process.
As well as giving you an initial introduction of the site, FreeAgent offer all users the access to their ‘Knowledge Base’. This is where you’ll find just about anything you could ever need when using this site. There are in depth videos and tutorials that give guidance and support to new users. The Knowledge Base provides practical and helpful support to get you started on the right tracks, saving you time in the long-run and helping you get your account up and running in no time. The advice, support and guidance given by FreeAgent is unparalleled meaning that you have no reason to stick to those old spreadsheets and databases anymore. You can even book onto a phone consultation to get the most out of your free trial!
How Exactly Can I Use FreeAgent?
FreeAgent have a variety of things you can use to make being self-employed really easy.
One of the first things that you should do is to link your bank accounts, whether it’s your business account or a more general account that you use for both personal and business. Doing so will mean that you can build up a picture of your incomings and outgoings and be able to have a clearer understanding of your financial status.
The ‘Contacts’ section allows you to input the details of any of your customers and clients, meaning that you can easily set up a bill or an invoice and send it to your customer without the hassle and even better, all of your essential contacts are stored in one place. You can set up these contacts manually or by importing them from your email list.
You can create estimates for your clients too. Should you need to give a rough price for a custom-made service that you’re providing then you’ll be able to send your client a price before beginning any work for them. This can come in handy if you’re freelancing and need to be more specific with your clients’ orders for example. Let’s say you’re a freelance writer and a client asks for you to create them a blog article, you could use this service to send across a generic quote for your writing services, whilst waiting on the client’s specific instructions in order for you to give a more detailed, appropriate quote.
Creating a project on FreeAgent is a great way to organise a large project that you have in mind for a client. By choosing to create a project, everything you will need will be in the one place. That’s all the estimates, billings, tasks and notes all kept in the one place. Beforehand you may have kept a note somewhere, or updated your self-made spreadsheets, now everything is in one handy, easy to use, place.
Sometimes, keeping track of your finances just isn’t enough. Keeping track of your time is just as important, especially if you work in a per-hour capacity. You can use this tool to see how you’ve spent your time across your projects, making it easier to invoice clients for the correct amount of time rather than having a guess and potentially loosing out on your hard-earned cash.
When you’re self-employed, one of the most important aspects of your business is invoicing, without it you simply wouldn’t get paid. FreeAgent has a handy tool that helps you set up and send invoices via their platform. You can send your invoice to someone direct from your customer list, giving all the necessary details to get paid on time. Let’s say your client doesn’t pay you on time, you even have the option to send reminders and a thank you note when they do pay, everything can be done at the click of a button. This is one of the most useful features and probably one that you would use the most as a self-employed person, it could save you a lot of time and effort.
No-one likes to pay bills, but it’s just part of life. FreeAgent allows you to set up bill payments to people who you need to pay. This wouldn’t be relevant if you had to pay someone straight away, however for something that needed paid in a few weeks, you could set this up as a reminder to pay any money owed. This is another great feature that allows you to keep track on your spending and outgoings, meaning you’ll never have to worry about not paying your bills ever again.
As a self-employed person you may find yourself, from time to time, spending money out of your own pocket, which isn’t ideal. However, FreeAgent has an ‘Expenses’ section where you can add in any expenses that are owed to you. So, let’s say you bought a train ticket to a business meeting from your own pocket, you could add that into your expenses and essentially pay yourself the money back straight away. You can also create mileage claims by creating a separate expense claim for the miles that you drove, it’s really that simple.
Alongside the drove of information and services that are available to use on FreeAgent, it’s worthwhile taking a look into the reports section. This section gives you every piece of information you will need to understand your business’ performance. Here are a few reports that you can look at to build a picture of your business:
- Profit and Loss
- Balance Sheet
- Customer Sales
- Spending Categories
- Capital Assets
- Show Transactions
These reports can go into great detail to give you a more thorough understanding of your business’ financial structure. These reports could prove invaluable in the long-term, giving you the chance to see areas for improvement and how to make a more positive impact on your business.
What About the Tax Assessment?
Self-Employment tax assessments always seem to strike fear into many, however, the process itself is relatively simple. However, should you feel uneasy at the thought of collating and processing your accounts for the year, then fear no more, as FreeAgent is on hand to help.
Alongside all the other tools that are available to use, you can also submit your tax assessment entirely though FreeAgent, meaning that you can easily submit your tax returns, all without breaking a sweat. All of the information that you input into FreeAgent throughout the year is stored, and you can go back and check the history of everything that you have added. No longer is the need to worry about missing information and unreliable figures, everything is easy and very simple to use.
Should you need more advice there is a specific ‘Accountants’ tab where you can find the names of accountants from across the UK, meaning that you can get face-to-face guidance and support to help you through your self-employed tax assessment.
How Can FreeAgent Help Me?
Being self-employed has a lot of benefits, however has a lot of considerations to be made before taking the leap from a conventional job role.
You could be running your own business in the real world, have a blog or website that brings in money or you could provide services online such as freelance writing or design. All of these require dedication and commitment, which includes keeping records concise and up-to-date.
Many people choose to keep their own records, in a spreadsheet or a database of some sort, anywhere really that means they can keep a log of their profits. However, doing this can be very time consuming and hard to keep track of as your business/service grows. The last thing you need is to be getting confused and lose track of everything.
FreeAgent has everything in one place, providing not only convenience but peace of mind as you know exactly where everything is kept. For self-employed workers new and old, this gives you an easy to use method of keeping control of your business.
Beforehand you may have spent hours on end entering data into a spreadsheet, doing calculations and tweaking it so it makes sense. Now you have the choice to make your life easier, and we could all be doing with that! Time is money and by having all your information being put into this easy to use platform, you could find yourself with an extra few hours each month.
There are many companies and services out there which aim to help you with your business’ finances, helping with tax assessments and keeping track of expenses.
FreeAgent offer free consultations to anyone who signs up via their free trial. This gives you the chance to take a ‘try before you buy’ approach and you’ll get to ask any questions and receive top quality advice from a consultant to make sure that you get exactly what you need for your business.
There are a host of training materials within the site for you to feast your eyes on. If bookkeeping and self-assessments are something which is new to you then taking a look at some of the many training videos and guides on FreeAgent would be a great benefit in getting you off the ground running. Even if this is something that you have done before there may be something which you could improve on, it’s always worth a look.
Here are a few more reasons why FreeAgent have been recommended by so many people:
You have no restrictions
You are not restricted by the number of clients that you have within your contacts or even the number of projects that you have ongoing. This means you have access to unlimited services, you simply pay your monthly fee and do the rest without a hitch.
There are no contracts or set up fees
Top Class Customer Services
FreeAgent have UK based customer advisors on hand to deal with any queries. They have accountants on hand to deal with your every need, there’s no need to wait around for hours to get your answers.
Pay for 12 months and save even more
Alongside the monthly payments, FreeAgent
FreeAgent has a strong reputation for helping to build and
You may be thinking, ‘what’s the point?’. Afterall the spreadsheets are working for you right?
With more and more people now becoming self-employed there is an increasing need for services that offer advice and guidance on how to sustain this self-employment. Statistics show that there has been a rapid growth of people registering as self-employed in the UK, which is fantastic as more people can now lead their own lives and fulfil their destiny’s. However, with the rising figures in self-employment there are many who simply can’t find the time or commitment to keep accurate records of their incomings and outgoings. FreeAgent has been set up in order to combat this issue and gives people the freedom to continue running their own business without the hassle and worry. The site is very easy to use, simple to set up and efficient to maintain on a regular basis.
The 30-day free trial of FreeAgent gives you the chance to explore the platform and get to grips with the software that is available. Winner of the ‘Best Financial Services Product or Service 2017’ Award shows that FreeAgent have the credentials to keep you on the right path.
Currently FreeAgent have a 50% off deal for any new customers for the first 6 months of the subscription and already supported by over 70,000 small businesses means you don’t have to worry about loosing out in your investment as it will save you both money and time in the long-run.
So, if you’re currently self-employed, sitting with a spreadsheet in front of you, wishing you hadn’t started it or maybe you’re considering moving into self-employment and looking for a service that will help you with your accounts, then FreeAgent could be the site for you. This platform really is a simple, easy to use service with everything you could possibly need to get you started.
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