Hate the financial side of running a business? There are plenty of apps promising to relieve this administrative burden. Some help you keep on top of your expenses, others offer a whole suite of features to save you time and, therefore, money. Here are four top financial planning apps:
Intuit QuickBooks is a big hitter in the freelance financial planning scene. With more than 1.5 million online subscribers, it has an impressive range of intuitive features to give you “the snapshots you need to see the big picture”.
For example, you can connect your bank or credit card to automate your expenses, and a handy coloured bar makes it easy to see which customers have paid and any outstanding or late invoices. The app also claims to save you eight hours a month on accounting tasks and gets you paid two days faster.
Prices start at £6 a month for solo freelancers, £15 a month for small businesses with simple accounting needs and £25 a month for the full feature package. You can also sign up for a 30-day trial, without handing over your credit card details.
“Uncertainty about how much tax you'll owe HMRC at year end can be highly worrying. QuickBooks gives you confidence by providing up to date estimates of how much to save in taxes based on your income, expenses and mileage.” – Keith Arkle, Marketing Manager QuickBooks UK
Harpoon takes a different approach to other apps. It encourages you to set and hit a yearly revenue goal. It’s a great concept and the app is designed around this premise of encouraging financial success.
Harpoon is incredibly feature-rich. As well as invoicing and expenses tools, it has time-tracking software and lets you manage the financial details of individual projects. It also includes in-depth analytics features so you can monitor your business and a new expenses budgeting feature to give you even more control over your financial health.
Andy Johnson, Co-founder of Harpoon, says: “Harpoon is unique in that it combines financial goals, planning, budgeting, time tracking and billing in a single package. This empowers the freelancer to schedule and predict their workload based on their financial goal progress. The result is increased control of your time and money, and a peace and confidence that’s not normally associated with the freelancing lifestyle.”
You can start with a 14-day trial and then you will pay $19(£15) a month for two users, $39(£30) a month for eight users or $99(£80) a month for 20 users.
Loot wants to show you “what you can do, when you can do it and how much it will cost you”. Not just an app, Loot also includes a business bank account.
When you open an account, you get a Mastercard that’s linked to the app. Your expenses are automatically uploaded and categorised to help you understand exactly where you’re spending the most money each month. You can use the card abroad and set budgets to prevent overspending.
The app is yet to launch but if you’re interested you can sign up to the waiting list.
Monizo is “a bank account for freelancers” that you can open in a few minutes. The app will provide instant expense notifications, an automated tax estimate so you don’t get caught out by HMRC, notifications on payment and scheduled reminders for late receipts.
There’s a handy dashboard so you can see your monthly cash flow, and your transactions, including receipts, invoices and bank statements, are all consolidated in one place. You can also send this transaction information to your accountant at the click of a button or just hook it up to your accounting package.
Samuel O’Connor, Co-founder and CEO at Monizo, says: “When we went freelance, we just got fed up with how difficult it was to manage our money. We found we were spending a lot of time digging out receipts and working out if we’d been paid or not. So we used what we know about banking to set up a business that offers freelancers an alternative bank account where the card does the work for you. We wanted it to be really simple to use and to do much more than a traditional bank account, like help us save for tax and integrate with accounting packages.”
Monizo is set to launch this year and you can sign up to get early access to the product or join its waiting list. Definitely one to watch.
Words by tech writer Gemma Church