Top 10 ways to optimise FreeAgent accounting software

Jordan Macey

September 2, 2021

Top 10 ways to optimise FreeAgent

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Small Business Accounting

Getting started with FreeAgent

As previous consultants and small business owners we tried and tested a range of different accounting software. We found that FreeAgent was definitely the most user friendly, had the best mobile app and made for the simplest yet most comprehensive accounting software.

There are a whole range of features within accounting software like Xero and Quickbooks but we found the features below to be the most useful to us.

To get an idea on some basic functionality like the FreeAgent dashboard, mobile software and recording expenses - you can see a quick and simple FreeAgent onboarding guide here.

1. Download the Mobile App

What is it/ How it helps:

The FreeAgent Mobile App makes it really easy to manage your accounting on the go. It helps you:

  • Send and track invoices easily: create invoices whilst you’re on the go, add new clients and email them the invoice.
  • Check your balances and tax: see your current bank balance, check the amount of tax you owe, see your cashflow and check
  • Reconcile your transactions: got a few minutes spare on the train? Just login and reconcile any of your outstanding transactions.
  • Upload receipts: take pictures of your receipts on your phone and add them to your expenses easily.

How it works:

The app is available on both iPhone & iOS and Android. Once you’ve created your account then you just need to login and all your data is automatically synced in your dashboard.

2. Sync your bank account

What is it/ How it helps:

The bank feed on FreeAgent allows you to automatically import all your daily transactions from your bank account into your FreeAgent account. You can also manually upload your electronic bank statements if you want to. It also supports multi-currency bank accounts.

This allows you to link your finances seamlessly as we’ve made the most of the latest industry innovations.

How it works:

It builds real time accounts in the background for you.

Upon connecting your bank account to FreeAgent, go to the ‘banking’ tab and select the bank account you want to enable the feed for from the list. Then enable bank feed, select your bank and give consent for the connection. After authorising the connection with your bank, simply choose an account and transaction start date.

Just like that, you are now connected - All you need to do after is give consent every 90 days to allow your bank transactions to automatically import into FreeAgent.

3. Add tax & invoice deadlines to your calendar

What is it/ How it helps:

You can synchronise your Google, Outlook or iCal calendar with the FreeAgent Tax Timeline.

The FreeAgent Tax Timeline shows you how much money you owe to HMRC and when the due date is. This way, you’ll be able to prepare for and set aside any tax bills. 

How it works:

To enable the calendar you simply go to ‘Connections’ and select ‘Manage Calendar feeds’. After enabling the calendar feed, you can download the tax timeline. To do that, you select ‘Copy Link’ next to the ‘Tax Timeline’ link. Once the tax timeline has been downloaded you can now link it to your calendar.

4. Create separate projects to track client expenses, invoices and time

What is it/ How it helps:

You can easily separate out different clients and projects to help manage particular project or client estimates, invoices, expenses, tasks and track time spent on the project to ensure you bill for the correct hours. You can also track mileage too if you're traveling to meet this client.

This helps act as a mini-CRM for tracking your time and expenses of a project. You'll also get an individual profit & loss to understand the profitability of a particular client and project.

How it works:

Under the "Work" section of your dashboard, go to "Projects". You can create new clients or tag current clients to a project.

Once you've created a project then you just need to go into it and add any new expenses, invoices and more. You can also save invoices as draft so that you can add more to them later before sending.

All invoices and expenses will be added to your overall FreeAgent dashboard.

5. Easily track time spent on client projects

What is it/ How it helps:

It allows you to track time against multiple clients, helping you save time. It helps turn time into money. Simply generate and send an invoice when you have tracked all your time spent on a project.

How it works:

This is the time tracking feature under “Work” → “Time Tracking”.

You can then tag the time worked to a particular client, project and task.

You can change the rate (even if it's free work, it's good to track the hours you're working). You can then pause it if you need and stop when ready.

6. Set up payment reminders

What is it/ How it helps:

This is the ability to set automatic late payment reminders on FreeAgent. You would never forget to catch up on a payment as it is automatically sent on FreeAgent. It could save essential time too which could be spent on doing higher value activities. 

How it works:

Go into "Settings" - "Email Templates" and select "Invoice reminders". Then you can easily add a reminder for however many days you want when an invoice becomes overdue.

Please note that you'll need to ensure you record the invoice as paid once the client has paid you, otherwise they would receive these notifications.

Create an invoice reminder template, set rules for the invoice reminder template, when the reminder should be sent, where the invoice reminder should be sent from and to, what the subject line and email message should be and any attachments included. Just like that, an invoice reminder could be sent using the template.

7. Set up recurring monthly invoices

What is it/ How it helps:

Set up automatically recurring invoices that send themselves.

  • Save time - Can focus on other areas of your business
  • Fewer invoicing mistakes
  • Improved customer relationships - Invoices always sent on time
  • Improved cash flow - Customer will get used to paying invoice on the same day (less awkward conversations)

How it works:

For invoices you send to a client on a regular basis, simply set up a recurring invoice profile and FreeAgent will send the invoices out automatically.

Navigate to invoices, select the invoice that you would like to create a recurring invoice profile for. On the new recurring invoice profile page, review details and then select ‘create new profile’. Finally, choose ‘active’ on the next screen to complete the process.

8. Collect payments on your invoices

What is it/ How it helps:

  • Stripe - Payment processing software which allows you to accept debit and credit card payments for your FreeAgent invoices.
  • GoCardless - Another online payment service integrated with FreeAgent to take payments from your customers via Debit Card.

How it works:

Stripe - Simply go to ‘Connections’, select ‘connect with stripe’ and get signed up. If you already have a Stripe account, sign in to get connected with FreeAgent.

GoCardless - In the ‘Contacts’ section, add a new direct debit mandate. Then complete the information requested and simply ‘send request’ to the customer. When the customer has authorised the details of the Direct Debit mandate, you can start collecting payments on your invoices.

9. Set up automations with Zapier

What is it/ How it helps:

Zapier allows you to automatically send information between you FreeAgent and Google Calendar. This helps automate repetitive tasks.

How it works:

When an event happens in one app, Zapier can perform the same action in another apps.

You can find a full overview of the actions and 3,000+ apps that FreeAgent connects to at the FreeAgent Zapier page here.

You can set up triggers (i.e. when this action is performed in FreeAgent then do X in another App) for things like:

  • New contact created
  • New task created
  • New invoice created
  • New user added

You can set up actions (i.e. when an event happens in a particular app then do X in FreeAgent) for things like:

  • Create a new contact in FreeAgent
  • Create a new task in FreeAgent

This can help enhance your workflows if you're using different tools in for your CRM, task list or prefer to add items to places like Google Sheets.

10. Manage your To-Do list with Basecamp & FreeAgent

What is it/ How it helps:

Basecamp is a project management app that provides you with the tools needed to manage your work and keep track of all your tasks - all in one place! When integrated with FreeAgent you can import all your Basecamp contacts and project data into your FreeAgent account.

How it works:

In FreeAgent, head over to ‘Connections’ from the drop menu and select the ‘Manage Basecamp’ button. Next, click ‘Connect with Basecamp’ in the Basecamp integrations page. After logging in to Basecamp and successful authorisation, you are ready to start importing your contacts and projects from Basecamp into FreeAgent.

Accounting Software Comparison Guide

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Accounting Software Comparison Guide

Accounting Software Comparison Guide

What's Inside:

  • What can accounting software do
  • Why you may need accounting software
  • Benefits of accounting software
  • How to choose the right accounting software
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
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Accounting Software Comparison Guide

What's Inside:

  • What can accounting software do
  • Why you may need accounting software
  • Benefits of accounting software
  • How to choose the right accounting software

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