3 online accounting & invoicing services on trial
I'm fed up of managing my accounts in Excel spreadsheets and creating invoices in Pages, so I thought I would have a look at some of the online accounting and invoicing tools available. The extra benefit of managing this online is that I will be able to access all my accounting info from anywhere and from any computer - which is great as I am often travelling with my laptop, while all my accounts are locked away on my desktop in my office. I had a good long look at all the different web applications currently available, and narrowed it down to 3 that I felt were most appropriate for my needs: Blinksale, LessAccounting and FreshBooks. They all do invoicing, and some do a lot more. One of them even allows your accountant to access your accounts directly through the system - and anything that takes the hassle out of bookkeeping gets a big thumbs up from me. There are dozens of others, but I chose these 3 to trial for different reasons:
Blinksale is an invoicing tool and nothing else. I like the simplicity of the interface, and the ability to send clients reminders when payments have gone overdue. Sometimes simpler is better... only time will tell. Full details of Blinksale features here.
LessAccounting handles invoices AND expenses, plus it allows you to keep track of sales leads and business proposals, too. The real selling point for me on this one was the ability to take photos of business expense receipts on your iPhone and upload them directly to LessAccounting. Nice! Full list of LessAccounting features here.
FreshBooks is similar to LessAccounting insofar as it handles all the usual accounting stuff (invoices, expenses, reports, etc), but it also integrates a handy time-tracking tool that means you can easily track time spent on a project and then invoice for that time. Full list of FreshBooks features here.
I reckon I will give them all a whirl for a few months before I decide on the right tool for me. In the meantime, if you have used any of the above and would like to share your opinion, please do so. I did look at quite a few other tools, and decided against them for various reasons, but I am willing to try another if there's one you really love.