Working full time and managing a freelance business that generates sales equivalent to a full-time salary is a juggling act. Most lunch breaks are sacrificed for telephone interviews. Vacation time is often used for client appointments and countless hours on the couch after work are spent actually doing the work.

Getting the work done is imperative.  Getting paid is too.

Prior to 2017, I generated invoices from a word template. It could only be done on my home computer. Each invoice required manual entry for dates, invoice numbers, editor contact info and rates. Then every invoice number was logged in an Excel spreadsheet and an email sent off requesting payment. I’d spend an hour a week or more just on invoice creation and payment tracking.

It was painstaking!

A cloud-based accounting system has saved my life. I use Freshbooks, a friend uses Harvest. There are countless other options. Now I can invoice from my phone. It automatically stores client information and generations sequential invoice numbers. I’ve gotten savvy enough to set up the rates by client so it auto populates. Once finished, I hit send and it zips across the internet to the payee.

I can also log payments with check numbers instantaneously. A user-friendly dashboard shows me which invoices are past due and the total outstanding balance. Multiple PDF reports are available for monitoring sales by client, dates and more.

It’s also made tax preparation less painful because it includes an expenses module. It used to take me two weeks to log each expense from the previous year into a messy excel spreadsheet tabulation for my accountant. As soon as I spend money, I add it to the system, categorize it and upload a copy of the receipt. Reports can show me which expense categories I spend the most money on and for which clients.

Subscriptions are based on the size of your client list. You can “cheat” the system by deleting and adding clients, but I don’t have time for that. The $25 a month has been well worth the investment.

Want more free time to chase new business or enjoy time with family? Find an accounting system that works for you.