It’s perfectly proper to keep records in a book or an Excel spreadsheet. Though that’s a cost-effective option, it’s worth exploring accounting software, too.

On the surface, this software can appear to be an expensive way to keep track of invoices and expensives. But good accounting software is worth its weight in gold.

Here are genuinely useful features to look out for:

  • Always up-to-date tax forecasts: Know how much you’ll pay and when.
  • Create and send invoices: No more wrangling of Word documents and copying/pasting client details.
  • Recurring invoices: Got a retainer? Send the same invoice every month, automatically.
  • Invoice follow-up: Client not paid? Send them an automatic reminder.
  • Bank account reconcilliation: Pull in bank feeds from your main account, PayPal, Transferwise, wherever. Mark invoices as paid or expenses in the app: no more copying and pasting.
  • Reports: See who your most profitable clients are.
  • Projects & time-tracking: Keep your projects on track.

Individually, these features save small bits of time, but together they save a great deal of hassle.

Aside from these, some accounting software will let you:

  1. Share access with an accountant
  2. Submit your accounts through the app

Both of these features are handy.

In the UK? Check out FreeAgent (an affiliate link: you get 10% off for life and so do I).

Pro tip

If possible, choose accounting software that’s based or developed in your country. That increases the likelihood that the company will be:

  1. On top of local tax laws
  2. Tailoring the app to your needs

I didn’t do this initially: I used software based in another country because it was simple and looked cool. Ultimately, that turned out to be a poor decision and I had to manually replicate nearly a year’s worth of invoices when I migrated.