FinancesTop 10 Self Employed Accounting Software: An In-Depth Review for 2024

Top 10 Self Employed Accounting Software: An In-Depth Review for 2024

Managing your finances and accounting can be time-consuming and even daunting. If your self-employed work generates more than a modest revenue or is in addition to a full-time job, then you’ll need to deal with the complexity of tax regulations and possibly even VAT registration. So the need for accurate financial record-keeping and using good accounting software is important. In this guide, I look at the top 10 self-employed accounting software solutions, exploring their features, benefits, and drawbacks to help you make an informed decision.

Self-employed accounting software is designed to streamline financial management processes, from tracking income and expenses to invoicing clients and preparing tax returns and quarterly VAT submissions. These tools are tailored to meet the unique needs of freelancers, consultants, contractors, and small business owners, offering a range of features to simplify accounting tasks and ensure compliance with tax regulations.

The benefits of using accounting software

Investing in a the right accounting software solution has a number of advantages:

  1. Time-saving: By automating tedious tasks such as invoicing, expense tracking, and tax calculations, accounting software can save you countless hours, allowing you to focus on growing your business.
  2. Improved accuracy: Manual data entry and calculations are prone to human errors, which can lead to costly mistakes. Accounting software minimizes these errors, ensuring accurate financial records and tax calculations.
  3. Better organization: With accounting software, you can centralize all your financial data in one place, making it easier to access and analyze information when needed.
  4. Tax compliance: Many accounting software solutions are designed to comply with the latest tax regulations, helping you stay up-to-date and avoid penalties or fines.
  5. Insights and reporting: Most accounting software provides robust reporting and analytics tools, allowing you to gain valuable insights into your financial performance and make data-driven decisions.

Key features to look for in accounting software

When evaluating accounting software for your self employed financials, consider the following features:

  1. Invoicing and billing: Look for software that simplifies the invoicing process, allowing you to create professional-looking invoices, track payments, and send reminders to clients.
  2. Expense tracking: The ability to easily record and categorize expenses is essential for accurate bookkeeping and tax preparation.
  3. Bank and credit card integration: Seamless integration with your financial accounts can save time by automatically importing transactions and reconciling accounts.
  4. Tax management: Look for software that can calculate estimated tax payments, generate tax reports, and support various tax forms and schedules.
  5. Project and time tracking: If you bill clients based on hourly rates, project and time tracking features can help you accurately record billable hours and manage projects more efficiently.
  6. Mobile accessibility: With many self-employed professionals working on-the-go, mobile apps or responsive web interfaces can be invaluable for managing finances from anywhere.
  7. Reporting and analytics: Robust reporting and analytics tools can provide valuable insights into your financial performance, helping you make informed business decisions.
  8. Customer support: Reliable customer support, whether through live chat, email, or phone, can be crucial when you encounter issues or have questions about using the software.

How to choose the right accounting software

Selecting the right accounting software for your self-employed business can be a challenging task. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Identify your specific needs: Evaluate your business requirements, such as the number of clients you serve, the complexity of your finances, and your industry-specific needs.
  2. Consider ease of use: Look for software with an intuitive user interface and a reasonable learning curve, especially if you have limited accounting knowledge.
  3. Evaluate pricing and scalability: Compare pricing plans and ensure the software can grow with your business as your needs evolve.
  4. Check for integration capabilities: If you use other business tools or applications, ensure the accounting software can integrate seamlessly with them.
  5. Read reviews and seek recommendations: Consult online reviews, forums, and industry peers to gather insights into the software’s performance, reliability, and customer support.
  6. Test the software: Many accounting software providers offer free trials or demos, allowing you to explore the features and functionality before committing to a purchase.

With these considerations in mind, let’s dive into the top 10 self-employed accounting software solutions for 2024.

1. QuickBooks Self-Employed

QuickBooks Self-Employed, a product from the renowned Intuit family, is a comprehensive accounting solution tailored specifically for self-employed professionals and freelancers. With its user-friendly interface and robust features, QuickBooks Self-Employed aims to simplify financial management tasks.

Key Features:

  • Income and expense tracking: Easily categorize and track your income and expenses, ensuring accurate financial records.
  • Mileage tracking: Automatically track your business mileage using your smartphone’s GPS, making it easier to claim deductions.
  • Invoicing and payments: Create professional invoices and accept payments directly from clients through various payment gateways.
  • Tax preparation: QuickBooks Self-Employed integrates with TurboTax, allowing you to seamlessly transfer your financial data for tax filing.
  • Reports and insights: Generate customizable reports and gain valuable insights into your business’s financial performance.

Pros:

  • Intuitive and user-friendly interface
  • Seamless integration with other Intuit products (e.g., TurboTax, QuickBooks Online)
  • Excellent mobile app for on-the-go tracking
  • Robust customer support and resources

Cons:

  • Limited project management and time tracking capabilities
  • Relatively higher pricing compared to some alternatives
  • Limited customization options for invoices and reports

Overall, QuickBooks Self-Employed is a reliable and feature-rich solution for self-employed professionals seeking a comprehensive accounting tool backed by a reputable brand.

2. FreshBooks

FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting software designed specifically for small businesses and self-employed professionals. With its modern and intuitive interface, FreshBooks aims to simplify invoicing, expense tracking, and time management tasks.

Key Features:

  • Invoicing and billing: Create professional-looking invoices with customizable templates, track payments, and set up recurring invoices.
  • Expense management: Easily capture and categorize expenses, including the ability to scan receipts using the mobile app.
  • Time tracking: Track time spent on projects and tasks, either manually or using the built-in timer, for accurate client billing.
  • Project management: Organize and manage projects, assign tasks, and collaborate with team members or contractors.
  • Reporting and insights: Access customizable reports and dashboards to gain insights into your business’s financial performance.

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface and intuitive navigation
  • Robust invoicing and billing capabilities
  • Excellent time tracking and project management features
  • Seamless integration with popular payment gateways and third-party apps
  • Responsive customer support and extensive knowledge base

Cons:

  • Limited accounting and bookkeeping capabilities compared to some alternatives
  • Relatively higher pricing for advanced features and add-ons
  • Lack of robust tax management features for certain regions or industries

FreshBooks is an excellent choice for self-employed professionals and small businesses seeking a comprehensive solution for invoicing, time tracking, and project management, with a strong focus on user experience.

3. Xero

Xero is a leading cloud-based accounting software solution that caters to the needs of small businesses, including self-employed professionals. With its robust features and seamless integration capabilities, Xero aims to streamline financial management processes.

Key Features:

  • Accounting and bookkeeping: Manage your general ledger, reconcile bank transactions, and generate financial statements with ease.
  • Invoicing and billing: Create customizable invoices, track payments, and set up recurring invoices for clients.
  • Expense management: Capture and categorize expenses, including the ability to upload receipts and connect bank accounts for automatic transaction import.
  • Payroll management: Streamline payroll processes, including calculating and filing taxes (available in select regions).
  • Inventory management: Track inventory levels, manage stock orders, and generate inventory reports.
  • Reporting and analytics: Access a wide range of customizable reports and dashboards to gain insights into your business’s financial performance.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive accounting and bookkeeping capabilities
  • Robust invoicing and billing features
  • Excellent integration with third-party apps and financial institutions
  • Scalable for growing businesses with advanced features and add-ons
  • Strong security and data protection measures

Cons:

  • Steeper learning curve compared to some alternatives
  • Limited project management and time tracking capabilities
  • Certain advanced features may require additional add-ons or subscriptions

Xero is an excellent choice for self-employed professionals and small businesses seeking a powerful and scalable accounting solution with robust features and seamless integration capabilities.

4. Zoho Books

Zoho Books is a comprehensive cloud-based accounting software solution that caters to the needs of small businesses, freelancers, and self-employed professionals. With its intuitive interface and extensive feature set, Zoho Books aims to simplify financial management tasks.

Key Features:

  • Accounting and bookkeeping: Manage your general ledger, create and track invoices, reconcile bank transactions, and generate financial statements.
  • Invoicing and billing: Create professional-looking invoices with customizable templates, track payments, and set up recurring invoices.
  • Expense management: Capture and categorize expenses, including the ability to upload receipts and connect bank accounts for automatic transaction import.
  • Project and time tracking: Track time spent on projects and tasks, either manually or using the built-in timer, for accurate client billing.
  • Inventory management: Track inventory levels, manage stock orders, and generate inventory reports.
  • Reporting and analytics: Access a wide range of customizable reports and dashboards to gain insights into your business’s financial performance.

Pros:

  • Robust accounting and bookkeeping capabilities
  • Excellent invoicing and billing features
  • Comprehensive project and time tracking tools
  • Seamless integration with other Zoho apps and third-party services
  • Affordable pricing plans with scalable options

Cons:

  • Limited payroll management capabilities in certain regions
  • User interface may feel cluttered or overwhelming for some users
  • Lack of dedicated mobile apps for certain platforms

Zoho Books is an excellent choice for self-employed professionals and small businesses seeking a comprehensive and affordable accounting solution with robust features and seamless integration capabilities.

5. Wave

Wave is a free cloud-based accounting software solution designed specifically for small businesses, freelancers, and self-employed professionals. With its user-friendly interface and essential features, Wave aims to provide a cost-effective solution for financial management.

Key Features:

  • Invoicing and billing: Create and send professional invoices, track payments, and set up recurring invoices.
  • Expense tracking: Capture and categorize expenses, including the ability to upload receipts and connect bank accounts for automatic transaction import.
  • Bank and credit card integration: Connect your financial accounts for seamless transaction import and reconciliation.
  • Reporting and insights: Access basic financial reports and dashboards to monitor your business’s performance.
  • Payroll management: Wave offers a separate payroll service for an additional fee (available in select regions).

Pros:

  • Completely free for core accounting features
  • User-friendly interface and easy setup
  • Excellent invoicing and billing capabilities
  • Seamless integration with popular payment gateways
  • Responsive customer support and extensive knowledge base

Cons:

  • Limited accounting and bookkeeping capabilities compared to paid alternatives
  • Lack of advanced features like project management and time tracking
  • Payroll service and certain add-ons require additional fees
  • Limited customization options for invoices and reports

Wave is an excellent choice for self-employed professionals and small businesses seeking a free and user-friendly accounting solution with essential invoicing and expense tracking capabilities.

6. Sage Business Cloud Accounting

Sage Business Cloud Accounting is a comprehensive cloud-based accounting software solution designed for small and medium-sized businesses, including self-employed professionals. With its robust features and scalability, Sage aims to provide a powerful financial management tool.

Key Features:

  • Accounting and bookkeeping: Manage your general ledger, create and track invoices, reconcile bank transactions, and generate financial statements.
  • Invoicing and billing: Create professional-looking invoices with customizable templates, track payments, and set up recurring invoices.
  • Expense management: Capture and categorize expenses, including the ability to upload receipts and connect bank accounts for automatic transaction import.
  • Inventory management: Track inventory levels, manage stock orders, and generate inventory reports.
  • Project and job costing: Track project costs, including labor and materials, for accurate job costing and profitability analysis.
  • Reporting and analytics: Access a wide range of customizable reports and dashboards to gain insights into your business’s financial performance.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive accounting and bookkeeping capabilities
  • Robust invoicing and billing features
  • Excellent inventory management and job costing tools
  • Scalable for growing businesses with advanced features and add-ons
  • Strong security and data protection measures

Cons:

  • Steeper learning curve compared to some alternatives
  • Limited project management and time tracking capabilities
  • Relatively higher pricing compared to some competitors
  • Limited customization options for certain features

Sage Business Cloud Accounting is an excellent choice for self-employed professionals and small businesses seeking a powerful and scalable accounting solution with robust features and industry-specific capabilities.

7. FreeAgent

FreeAgent is a cloud-based accounting software solution designed specifically for freelancers, consultants, and self-employed professionals. With its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features, FreeAgent aims to simplify financial management tasks.

Key Features:

  • Invoicing and billing: Create professional-looking invoices with customizable templates, track payments, and set up recurring invoices.
  • Expense management: Capture and categorize expenses, including the ability to upload receipts and connect bank accounts for automatic transaction import.
  • Time tracking: Track time spent on projects and tasks, either manually or using the built-in timer, for accurate client billing.
  • Project management: Organize and manage projects, assign tasks, and collaborate with team members or contractors.
  • Tax management: Estimate and manage tax liabilities, generate tax reports, and support various tax forms and schedules.
  • Reporting and insights: Access customizable reports and dashboards to gain insights into your business’s financial performance.

Pros:

  • Intuitive and user-friendly interface
  • Excellent invoicing and billing capabilities
  • Comprehensive time tracking and project management features
  • Robust tax management tools for self-employed professionals
  • Responsive customer support and extensive knowledge base

Cons:

  • Limited accounting and bookkeeping capabilities compared to some alternatives
  • Lack of inventory management features
  • Limited integration options with third-party apps and services
  • Relatively higher pricing compared to some competitors

FreeAgent is an excellent choice for self-employed professionals and freelancers seeking a comprehensive solution for invoicing, time tracking, project management, and tax management, with a strong focus on user experience.

8. Kashoo

Kashoo is a cloud-based accounting software solution designed specifically for small businesses, freelancers, and self-employed professionals. With its intuitive interface and essential features, Kashoo aims to provide a user-friendly solution for financial management.

Key Features:

  • Invoicing and billing: Create and send professional invoices, track payments, and set up recurring invoices.
  • Expense tracking: Capture and categorize expenses, including the ability to upload receipts and connect bank accounts for automatic transaction import.
  • Bank and credit card integration: Connect your financial accounts for seamless transaction import and reconciliation.
  • Tax management: Estimate and manage tax liabilities, generate tax reports, and support various tax forms and schedules.
  • Reporting and insights: Access basic financial reports and dashboards to monitor your business’s performance.

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface and easy setup
  • Excellent invoicing and billing capabilities
  • Robust expense tracking and bank integration features
  • Comprehensive tax management tools for self-employed professionals
  • Affordable pricing plans with scalable options

Cons:

  • Limited accounting and bookkeeping capabilities compared to paid alternatives
  • Lack of advanced features like project management and time tracking
  • Limited customization options for invoices and reports
  • Lack of dedicated mobile apps for certain platforms

Kashoo is an excellent choice for self-employed professionals and small businesses seeking a user-friendly and affordable accounting solution with essential invoicing, expense tracking, and tax management capabilities.

9. Bonsai

Bonsai is a cloud-based accounting and project management software solution designed specifically for freelancers and self-employed professionals. With its comprehensive features and user-friendly interface, Bonsai aims to streamline various aspects of running a freelance business.

Key Features:

  • Invoicing and billing: Create professional-looking invoices with customizable templates, track payments, and set up recurring invoices.
  • Project management: Organize and manage projects, assign tasks, track time, and collaborate with clients or contractors.
  • Proposal creation: Generate professional proposals with customizable templates and streamline the client acquisition process.
  • Contract management: Create and manage legally binding contracts, including e-signatures and secure document storage.
  • Time tracking: Track time spent on projects and tasks, either manually or using the built-in timer, for accurate client billing.
  • Expense management: Capture and categorize expenses, including the ability to upload receipts and connect bank accounts for automatic transaction import.
  • Reporting and insights: Access customizable reports and dashboards to gain insights into your business’s financial performance.

Pros:

  • Tailored specifically for freelancers and self-employed professionals
  • Comprehensive project management and time tracking capabilities
  • Streamlined proposal and contract management features
  • User-friendly interface and intuitive navigation
  • Robust invoicing and billing capabilities

Cons:

  • Limited accounting and bookkeeping features compared to dedicated accounting software
  • Lack of advanced tax management tools for certain regions or industries
  • Limited integration options with third-party apps and services
  • Relatively higher pricing compared to some competitors

Bonsai is an excellent choice for freelancers and self-employed professionals seeking a comprehensive solution for project management, time tracking, invoicing, and client management, with a strong focus on streamlining the freelance workflow.

10. AND CO

AND CO (formerly HoneyBook) is a cloud-based platform designed specifically for freelancers, consultants, and self-employed professionals. With its comprehensive features and intuitive interface, AND CO aims to streamline various aspects of running a freelance business.

Key Features:

  • Client management: Manage and organize client information, communication, and project details in a centralized location.
  • Project management: Create and manage projects, assign tasks, track time, and collaborate with clients or contractors.
  • Invoicing and billing: Create professional-looking invoices with customizable templates, track payments, and set up recurring invoices.
  • Contract management: Create and manage legally binding contracts, including e-signatures and secure document storage.
  • Proposal creation: Generate professional proposals with customizable templates and streamline the client acquisition process.
  • Reporting and insights: Access customizable reports and dashboards to gain insights into your business’s financial performance.

Pros:

  • Tailored specifically for freelancers and self-employed professionals
  • Comprehensive client management and project tracking capabilities
  • Streamlined proposal and contract management features
  • User-friendly interface and intuitive navigation
  • Robust invoicing and billing capabilities

Cons:

  • Limited accounting and bookkeeping features compared to dedicated accounting software
  • Lack of advanced tax management tools for certain regions or industries
  • Limited integration options with third-party apps and services
  • Relatively higher pricing compared to some competitors

AND CO is an excellent choice for freelancers and self-employed professionals seeking a comprehensive solution for client management, project tracking, invoicing, and contract management, with a strong focus on streamlining the freelance workflow.

11. ZipBooks

ZipBooks is a cloud-based accounting software solution designed specifically for small businesses, freelancers, and self-employed professionals. With its user-friendly interface and essential features, ZipBooks aims to provide a simple and affordable solution for financial management.

Key Features:

  • Invoicing and billing: Create and send professional invoices, track payments, and set up recurring invoices.
  • Expense tracking: Capture and categorize expenses, including the ability to upload receipts and connect bank accounts for automatic transaction import.
  • Bank and credit card integration: Connect your financial accounts for seamless transaction import and reconciliation.
  • Time tracking: Track time spent on projects and tasks, either manually or using the built-in timer, for accurate client billing.
  • Reporting and insights: Access basic financial reports and dashboards to monitor your business’s performance.

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface and easy setup
  • Excellent invoicing and billing capabilities
  • Robust expense tracking and bank integration features
  • Time tracking capabilities for accurate client billing
  • Affordable pricing plans with scalable options

Cons:

  • Limited accounting and bookkeeping capabilities compared to paid alternatives
  • Lack of advanced features like project management and tax management
  • Limited customization options for invoices and reports
  • Lack of dedicated mobile apps for certain platforms

ZipBooks is an excellent choice for self-employed professionals and small businesses seeking a user-friendly and affordable accounting solution with essential invoicing, expense tracking, and time tracking capabilities.

Comparison of accounting software for self-employed

To help you make an informed decision, here’s a comparison table highlighting the key features and capabilities of the top 11 self-employed accounting software solutions:

SoftwareInvoicingExpense TrackingTime TrackingProject ManagementTax ManagementInventory ManagementMobile Apps
QuickBooks Self-Employed
FreshBooks
Xero
Zoho Books
Wave
Sage Business Cloud Accounting
FreeAgent
Kashoo
Bonsai
AND CO
ZipBooks

This table provides a quick overview of the key features offered by each software solution, allowing you to easily compare and identify the best fit for your specific needs.

FAQs about accounting software for the self employed

As you navigate the world of self-employed accounting software, you may have some common questions or concerns. Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers:

  1. What is the difference between self-employed accounting software and general accounting software? Self-employed accounting software is specifically designed to cater to the unique needs of freelancers, consultants, and self-employed professionals. These solutions often include features like invoicing, expense tracking, time tracking, and tax management tailored for self-employed individuals.
  2. Can I use self-employed accounting software for my small business? While self-employed accounting software is primarily designed for freelancers and sole proprietors, many solutions can also be suitable for small businesses with a limited number of employees or contractors.
  3. How much does self-employed accounting software typically cost? Pricing for self-employed accounting software can vary widely, ranging from free options with basic features to more comprehensive solutions that can cost several hundred dollars per year. Many software providers offer tiered pricing plans based on the features and number of users required.
  4. Is it necessary to have accounting knowledge to use self-employed accounting software? Most self-employed accounting software solutions are designed with user-friendliness in mind, making them accessible even for those with limited accounting knowledge. However, having a basic understanding of accounting principles can be helpful in effectively utilizing the software’s features.
  5. Can self-employed accounting software help with tax preparation? Many self-employed accounting software solutions include tax management features that can assist with estimating tax liabilities, generating tax reports, and supporting various tax forms and schedules. However, it’s always recommended to consult with a tax professional for complex tax situations.
  6. How important is mobile accessibility for self-employed accounting software? Mobile accessibility is becoming increasingly important for self-employed professionals who frequently work on-the-go. Many software providers offer mobile apps or responsive web interfaces that allow you to manage your finances and access important information from your smartphone or tablet.
  7. Can self-employed accounting software integrate with other business tools or applications? Integration capabilities vary among software solutions, but many offer integration with popular payment gateways, financial institutions, and third-party apps or services. This can help streamline your workflow and avoid data entry duplication.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, be sure to consult the software provider’s documentation, customer support resources, or seek advice from experienced professionals in your industry.

Recommendations

Choosing the right self-employed accounting software can significantly impact the efficiency and success of your business. As a self-employed professional, it’s crucial to select a solution that aligns with your specific needs, budget, and workflow.

Based on the in-depth reviews and comparisons provided in this article, here are my top recommendations:

  • For comprehensive accounting and bookkeeping capabilities: Xero and Zoho Books stand out as robust solutions with strong accounting and bookkeeping features, making them suitable for businesses with more complex financial needs.
  • For project management and time tracking: FreshBooks and FreeAgent excel in project management and time tracking capabilities, making them ideal choices for freelancers and consultants who bill clients based on hourly rates.
  • For user-friendliness and affordability: Wave and ZipBooks offer user-friendly interfaces and affordable pricing plans, making them excellent options for self-employed professionals seeking essential accounting features without breaking the bank.
  • For freelance workflow management: Bonsai and AND CO are tailored specifically for freelancers, providing comprehensive solutions for client management, proposal creation, and contract management, in addition to invoicing and time tracking.

Remember, the “best” self-employed accounting software will ultimately depend on your unique business requirements, budget, and personal preferences. It’s always a good idea to take advantage of free trials or demos to thoroughly evaluate the software before making a commitment.As a self-employed professional, staying on top of your finances is crucial for the success of your business. If you’re looking for a reliable and user-friendly accounting solution, consider trying one of the top-rated self-employed accounting software options mentioned in this article. Many providers offer free trials or demos, allowing you to explore the features and functionality before making a commitment. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of these opportunities and find the software that best suits your needs. Investing in the right accounting tool can save you time, improve accuracy, and provide valuable insights to help your business thrive.

In conclusion, the self-employed accounting software landscape is diverse and ever-evolving. By carefully evaluating your needs and exploring the options presented in this guide, you can find the perfect solution to streamline your financial management processes and focus on growing your business.

Written by

Anna Thornhill
Anna Thornhillhttps://gosmallbusiness.co.uk
Anna Thornhill is one of our expert writers. Anna is our specialist editor covering business growth and marketing and makes it her mission to provide small business owners with practical guides that help you step-by-step to grow your business. Anna’s an experienced sales and marketing professional who moved to writing and editorial and helps startups and small business owners with practical advice in growing their business with the latest sales and marketing techniques plus guides to choosing and using sales and marketing technology.

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