As an owner of a creative agency, you know that the creative process is very time consuming. So it is obvious you want to spend as much time on actual work as possible. Too bad you still have to deal with those pesky accounting responsibilities. Sometimes you wish for a creative solution that handles everything related to accounting while being easily comprehendible as well, right?
Your wish already came true: let us introduce you to your newest friend, online accounting software. Cloud-based, accessible anytime from anywhere, fast, cheap and super intelligent; these are the key features of online accounting software. They are also capable of handling multiple projects, track how much time you have spent on a task, manage the payroll of your co-workers, record expenses, and serve multiple clients at the same time.
By default, (decent) accounting solutions come with a lot of useful features, such as:
Handle the data of hundreds of clients at the same time by entering said data either manually or by integrating with Microsoft Outlook, Gmail and other tools. Once your clients are in the software, they can be later assigned to complete projects, quotes and invoices on a non-recurring or a recurring basis.
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Speaking of invoices, they can be customized to your own needs or those of your customers with just a few clicks. Most software are capable of turning estimates or quotes into full-fledged invoices, attach further expenses thereto, send them on a single or recurring basis with or without reminders and even allow credit cards and PayPal as a fast payment option.
Need to invoice an expense to your clients? You only need a scanner or the camera of your mobile device, and after thorough processing by the software, you can simply attach said expense to an existing project, invoice.
Projects and Time Tracking
Plan, create and manage several projects at the same time either starting from scratch or after importing existing projects from third-party tools. Furthermore, some accounting solutions allow you to track the time you have worked on your projects, thus you can invoice billable and unbillable times to your customers.
You can have your co-workers record their own work time no matter where they are working from. This (usually paid add-on) feature also allows you to pay your employees by bank remittance or check, and it also automatically prepares and prints your 1099s based on your payroll data.
Accounting software is capable of establishing a constant feed between your bank and your account, thus you will continuously get updates on who owes you and who do you owe with just one glance at the computer/mobile screen.
Integrating Other Software and Services
Just by implementing online accounting software in your organization you are already boosting the creative process by efficiently handling many things you don’t want to spend time with. However, accounting solutions are not always perfect out of the box: you may need to buy into extra features or integrate the software with other solutions. Most of the time the accounting company itself encourages you to take this step by offering and supporting an API.
For instance, you can merge your accounting solution with Expensify, a leading expense tracking and processing tool. You will be able to accept payments in a faster manner by using PayPal, which could also act as a bank account thus all your money transactions thereat can be displayed in your accounting dashboard. Gusto is an ideal substitute if your accounting software (and your business) needs the payroll feature, while clever solutions like Fundbox are capable of getting an advance on outstanding invoices. And let’s not forget about time tracking apps like Harvest, which are also capable of working as an automated reporting and invoicing solution.
Online Accounting Solutions Recommended for You
QuickBooks, which also exists in a downloadable format, is the prime example of a trustworthy solution. Its online version, QuickBooks Online, is available in 6 languages and three packages, all of which are capable of the most essential accounting functionalities like tracking incomes and expenses, creating unlimited estimates and invoices and backing up your data at the end of every day. The more advanced pricing packages include a handy inventory, the option to track billable hours by customer and, if necessary, the software can prepare and print you 1099s. You have the option to subscribe to QuickBooks Online Payroll as well and include the fast payment option on your invoices. The software is available for iOS and Android devices via a free app and it can integrate with over 300 third-party apps with ease. QuickBooks Online offers newcomers a 30-day trial period alongside a 60-day money back guarantee should you not be satisfied with the software.
New Zealand-based Xero is one of the best solutions for SMBs on the market with over 600k subscribers worldwide. This easy-to-use software is capable of almost everything needed in a creative agency: invoicing, billing, recording expenses, creating quotes/estimates, managing projects and even handling 1099s. Xero is also capable of managing your payroll via an extra service so you can easily pay your co-workers and manage their timesheets, too. Xero allows integration with over 400 third-party apps, while its free of charge iOS/Android app is not only a decent substitute of the desktop software, but it is also part of the two-step secure authentication process. Xero is available in three pricing plans all of which include a 30-day free trial.