Last editedJun 20222 min read
Accounting isn’t always at the top of your to-do list as a freelancer or contractor, but it’s important to make time for financial tasks. You can eliminate much of the busywork by using today’s invoicing apps. Often, they're suitable for businesses of many sizes, from big operations down to individual contractors.
Create invoices and keep clean financial records with user-friendly software. With the transition to HMRC’s Making Tax Digital initiative, it's a good time to automate your accounting processes online. Here are our top five choices when it comes to contractor accounting apps, each offering features to ensure compliance and improve your customer experience.
What invoicing and accounting apps are available?
Xero is one of the easiest accounting tools for freelancers to get a handle on, even if you’re completely new to bookkeeping. This intuitive software sets out all your tools in a clear, user-friendly format with a central dashboard. There are several tiered pricing plans to choose from. At the most basic level, contractors can enter bills, create invoices, submit price quotes, and reconcile bank transactions. The software also automatically calculates Construction Industry Scheme deductions for those in the industry. To reduce tax headaches, it also submits your VAT returns directly to HMRC.
Another popular option is Intuit QuickBooks. Although it’s not specifically designed as a contractor invoice app, it certainly offers plentiful features to entice the smallest of businesses. You can connect your bank account directly to reduce the chance of manual errors and keep up with real-time transaction reporting. When it comes to invoicing, QuickBooks lets you update all your invoices in a central dashboard, automating the process to chase up on payments. This is also one of the best accounting tools for freelancers because it includes a Making Tax Digital for VAT category of membership to take all the guesswork out of tax compliance.
If you’re looking for smaller invoicing apps for freelancers that are UK-based, KashFlow ticks the boxes. Like others on the list, it links directly to HMRC for submitting tax returns. The software will create VAT returns and EC sales lists, filing them automatically so no paperwork is left incomplete. In terms of invoicing, KashFlow lets you turn your price quotes into complete invoices. You can sign up for automatic alerts when payments are late, giving you the chance to chase up on them at the earliest opportunity.
Part of the wider Zoho family of cloud-based business apps, Zoho Invoice fine-tunes the invoicing process for small businesses. Contractors and freelancers will find it particularly useful, even if you have never created an invoice in your life. Pick and choose from a selection of templates to help you get started, setting up a professional invoicing system at home. In addition to regular sales invoices, Zoho Invoice also includes templates for price quotes, estimates, and retainer payments. Businesses with under five customers can use the app for free, and as your business grows you can upgrade to the Basic plan that can handle invoicing for up to 50 customers. If you want accounting capabilities as well as invoicing, you can also include the Zoho Books package to tackle bookkeeping and tax compliance.
It’s easy to collect invoice payments with GoCardless. To get started, businesses send a form requesting payment details. Customers only need to provide these details once, with everything securely handled online. This then allows the business to collect one-off or recurring payments whenever they’re due, greatly reducing the chances of overdue invoices. It’s easier both for the customer and contractor, who doesn’t need to waste time chasing up on late payments. GoCardless also partners with other major invoicing platforms like Xero and QuickBooks for a more comprehensive solution as your business grows.
We can help
GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.