Can I do it? Sure. I can do lots of stupid stuff… like plucking the hairs off my legs rather than shaving them. Or like calculus for example. Been there, done that. But it’s not my favorite activity. Calculus is tied with root canals on my extensive list of things I enjoy in life — albeit these two contenders are rather LOW on that list. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should — and it doesn’t mean you want to.
At my age, I’d prefer if my math were simple and my books were even more so.
While looking around for easy invoicing options, I found a few solutions that may be of interest to others who are trying to do the same or others who are tired of required updates from Quickbooks, battling with Peachtree or trying to figure out Microsoft Small Business Accounting or the Linux baby: GnuCash.
Maybe you just want an easier way to send and track time and invoices. Or maybe you don’t want to be tied to a particular computer or geographic location. In any of these cases, you may want to check into these online invoicing options:
http://lessaccounting.com/ – online monthly subscription simple accounting program. Cost $19.95 per month. Free accounts for part-time freelancers or remote professionals who have fewer than five clients to invoice. Limits on invoices, expenses, mileage, etc exist for the free account, but it may work if you are just getting started.
http://www.freshbooks.com/ – an online accounting and time tracking program combined. Pricing ranges from $14 per month to $149 per month (most independents can do fine with the $14 plan). It adds automated features to lessen the “hands on” time to collect money and also offers a freebie account for anyone who handles three clients or less.
http://www.billingorchard.com – an automated online invoicing system that costs $14.95 for less than 250 transactions per month (and a sliding scale for larger operations). It integrates automatic payments (if desired) including PayPal. Timing for consulting work or hourly fees is done manually.
http://www.invoiceplace.com/ – automates the invoicing process with an online solution that starts at $12 per month for 20 clients or less. Freebie account for 3 clients or less (other frequency restrictions apply).
http://www.blinksale.com – another low-priced online invoicing option. Freebie accounts will handle three clients, but up to twenty clients can be logged for $12 per month. You have to get a higher-end account to send invoices as a PDF, however.
(As an aside: I eventually decided to go to a paper system to keep my books. Yep, you heard right — pencil and paper — in a dedicated notebook with old fashioned accounting-style columnar pad paper. It’s simple, it works and it’s low hassle.)
I don’t need fancy reports, I need a calmer existence. My backup is scanning the pages I’ve hand written into the computer for my data backup files and printing off a copy to keep off-site. Sometimes the best answer is the simpliest one, eh?
With that said, I still use a computer based timer and invoicing system. It just makes sense.