You have decided to become a freelancer. You are the boss of your own time, your business and the projects you choose to work on. A lot happens, from finding new customers to managing your workload. The truth is … you have to do everything, especially when you’re just getting started.
To maximize your chances of success, one of your first decisions as a freelancer is how to manage your processes – especially your invoices, accounts, customers and projects.
To find, maintain and receive brilliant reviews from clients, you need an efficient and scalable way to keep track of billing, accounting, time tracking and client management. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to ignore the billable tasks that build your business and always play catch-up.
After a lot of testing, here is our selection of the best freelancer apps to manage your business and prime your freelance career for maximum results.
7 best apps for freelancers in 2021
FreeAgent is a popular, all-encompassing accounting tool that tracks your time, manages projects, sends invoices and prepares your tax return. It is especially powerful for freelancers and small businesses in the UK.
Although the FreeAgents user experience is a bit more old-school than some of the other freelance apps in this post, it works remarkably well in a wide range of usage cases.
If you are paid in multiple currencies and use an app like TransferWise to receive and convert money, FreeAgent provides an easy way to streamline accounting. It is simple to bill clients in the right currency, then record payments in that currency and also instantly convert to your home currency.
Since FreeAgent connects to many popular banks, it is easy to automatically add expenses incurred on a business card. Or you can import a CSV of bulk expenses.
The FreeAgent Dashboard provides a quick overview of all your freelance business key figures:
FreeAgent has separate websites for the UK, US and the rest of the world to provide you with the most relevant information. For FreeAgent users in the UK, you can use the software to prepare your self-assessment forms and see a handy timeline of your tax estimates at any time of the year.
FreeAgent may be the best freelancer software for you if:
- You are based in the UK and want built-in self-assessment and tax deadlines
- You will be paid in several currencies
Xero is one of the most popular accounting systems on the market and offers freelancers an advanced solution to manage their pipeline and accounts.
Along with QuickBooks, Xero is one of the most popular accounting tools on the market. It is extremely user-friendly, beautifully designed and is perfect for freelancers planning to scale their business in the next few years. You can just switch to the next plan when you are ready for more power from Xero.
Xero is laser-focused on saving you time as a freelancer — connect directly to your bank, create and follow up on invoices quickly, and integrate with your favorite business apps. With Xeros Hubdoc data capture and auto-enter tool, you can cut paper and save even more time.
As a freelancer, you can choose from Xeros’ three plans: Early ($ 9 / month), Growing ($ 30 / month) and Established ($ 60 / month). However, we recommend the most expensive of these three levels — the established plan — as this is the only plan that includes features for multi-currency, time tracking, and project costs.
Xero is also valuable for freelancers with a growing retail business. The accounting platform seamlessly connects with leading e-commerce apps to points of sale (eg Square), inventory (eg CIN7) as well as payment systems such as Stripe and PayPal.
Xero may be the best freelance software for you if:
- You want strong native integrations with your other favorite apps
- You want instant bank reconciliation for transactions
- You want retail app integrations
- You have an accountant who is a Xero partner
3. QuickBooks Self-employed
QuickBooks is the market leader in accounting software and is suitable for many small businesses, although freelancers may have a hard time finding the perfect plan.
If I ask you to name an accounting software, there is a high probability that QuickBooks will come to mind. With QuickBooks Self-Employed, freelancers can access an easier plan than the most popular cloud-based product (QuickBooks Online) offers.
However, QuickBooks Self-Employed has its limitations. Although you can send and track simple invoices, track mileage, and separate business and personal expenses, there is limited customization and no time-tracking functionality in this plan. For this, choose a QuickBooks Online plan for small businesses instead.
Once you have chosen a QuickBooks plan, your freelance business has a good position to scale: you can switch plans and products whenever and when you need it.
QuickBooks is also one of your best choices if you want a wide range of integrations and a comprehensive feature set.
QuickBooks can be the best freelancer software for you if:
- You plan to scale your freelance business in the next few years or become an agency
- You want strong native integrations with your other favorite apps
- You want immediate bank reconciliation
- You have an accountant who is a QuickBooks partner
Designed to give freelancers a clearer overview of their workload and availability, Cushion improves cash flow and offers powerful billing and time tracking features.
Cushion promises “peace of mind for freelancers” that provides beautiful UX and unique features to help you avoid taking on too much work. It is easy to visualize future workload, earnings, expenses and invoices so that freelancers can predict their financial situation in advance.
Where Cushion Shines is like an app for freelancers to keep track of their workload, improve cash flow and find valuable balance. It’s also easy to track time and bill clients with the app.
However, you will need another app to manage key accounting needs, such as preparing expenses and income for the tax year. The pillow integrates easily with FreeAgent, FreshBooks and Xero to enable this.
Pillow may be the best freelancer software for you if:
- You do not need comprehensive accounting software right now, or you have another system that syncs with Cushion (FreshBooks, FreeAgent or Xero)
- Your goal is to get a clearer overview of your workload and avoid taking on too much work
As a powerful all-in-one small solution for business accounting and invoicing, FreshBooks is a simple yet powerful software choice for freelancers and entrepreneurs.
FreshBooks has a great all-round feature set while still being easy to use. For the $ 15 / month Lite plan, you get unlimited custom invoices, expenses, time tracking, estimates, online card payments and bank transfers. You also get insightful tax time reports.
With the Plus plan (from $ 25 / month) you can add more automation to your freelance business, e.g. With scheduled late payment reminders, recurring invoices, and late fees. You can also access client holders. The premium plan is for growing companies that need to manage up to 500 customers.
FreshBooks may be the best freelance software for you if:
- You need low-cost time tracking functionality
- You will have unlimited invoices, estimates and card payments
- You prioritize simplicity and ease of use
AND.CO is a powerful all-in-one tool for freelancers to manage and grow their business. The platform was acquired by Fiverr in 2018.
AND.CO is perfect for freelancers who have just started. Self-titled “the one app to run your freelance business or studio”, over 300,000 companies use AND.CO to submit proposals, bill clients, get paid and manage their time, expenses and tasks.
Once called “free forever”, AND.CO changed pace and introduced payment plans after being acquired by Fiverr in 2018. You can still get started with its free plan, but this only supports an active client – who will not cut into it for most freelance companies.
For $ 18 / month, you can manage unlimited customers, remove AND.CO branding, edit contracts and pay 2.9% + 30 cents for online payments. You can also connect to up to six bank accounts to keep track of when invoices are paid.
AND.CO integrates nicely with your other favorite freelance apps, including Mailchimp, Spotify and Stripe.
Extra tip: For added value from AND.CO whether you are a customer or not, you can listen to The Six Figure Freelancer audio course for free. AND.CO opens the microphone for leading professionals who share their formulas for success in starting, growing and maintaining six-digit freelance careers.
AND.CO may be the best freelancer software for you if:
- You want to manage unlimited clients
- You do not need advanced accounting features
- You want a simple user experience
7. Wave Accounting
Financial software that offers freelancers the most value at the lowest price point – you need an exact zero budget to get started.
Wave is a very popular tool for freelancers for good reason – it’s free. The Entrepreneur Financial Software offers the basic accounting, billing and receipt scanning features you need to make running your freelance business easy. You can pay per. Need access to online payments if required.
Here’s a glimpse of the Wave integration with Stripe to track cash flows, profits and losses and overdue invoices:
Wave may be the best freelancer software for you if:
- You have a limited budget and are looking for a free app to run your freelance business
- Your focus is on invoicing, basic accounting and receipt scanning
- You do not need to track mileage, time or inventory
Do you want to streamline your processes even more? A two-way data synchronization solution keeps data flowing freely to the right places in your small business, from your freelance management tool to your email marketing provider and CRM.