Reduce the time you spend on bookkeeping
We hear new clients telling us all the time how they do their accounts once a month/quarter/year and that they dread that time. Going through old receipts and bank statements and keying in the information to a spreadsheet for the accountant. If this sounds at all familiar, then FreeAgent is going to save you a bunch of time.
FreeAgent uses secure one way bank feeds to automatically import your transactions into the software cutting down on data entry time significantly. FreeAgent will even attempt to guess what the transactions are so if you have a regular transaction like office rent or accountancy fees that have the same reference each time, FreeAgent will quickly learn what these are so the entire bookkeeping process is reduced to 1 click!
The fact that FreeAgent has an app means that you can do your accounts where and when it's most convenient. Many FreeAgent users (including us) use 'dead time' to open the app and tick of a few transactions that the bank feed has brought through. So when your waiting for a train, between meetings or in the morning starbucks queue, just spend 30 seconds on the app and you'll soon find that allocating a half day each month to do the books is a thing of the past. A great side effect of this type of bookkeeping is that your continuously engaged with the business so you're more likely to identify issues before they become major problems.
Of course you don't have to use the app, you could continue to do the books once a month and your still going to save a ton of time because the data entry is already done so all you have to do is tell FreeAgent what the transactions where for using a drop down menu (providing FreeAgent hasn't already guessed it for you).
Get paid faster
While FreeAgent will work perfectly well if you don't invoice through the software, you'll be missing a trick if you don't take advantage of the tools they offer. They have a highly customisable invoice template so you can send professional looking invoices that match your branding. You can then send them to your clients via email straight from the software or download a PDF if you prefer. Where FreeAgent really comes into it's own is in it's ability to keep you informed about who hasn't paid you and you can even set automatic chasing emails to go to customers that don't pay after a determined amount of time.
From the overview page you'll see the last three months of invoicing in a simple bar graph showing what's been paid, what's due and what's overdue. This graph is also completely interactive so you can drill down into the data and see exactly whats going on.
For example if you see that half of the invoiced money for last month still hasn't come in, simply click it and it will take you to a summary of whats outstanding from that period. Then maybe you realise that it's the same client that paid late last time so you could just click the invoice and you'll have the option to send a reminder straight from FreeAgent with a customisable template. Or maybe that client hasn't paid for the month before either? Just click the clients name and it will take you to a summary of your relationship where you could send them a customizable statement in just a few clicks.
Keep your employees in the loop
After the admin and time around actually employing somone, business owners can often be slowed down dramatically by ongoing HR admin. The three main admin points that FreeAgent help with is payroll, timesheets and expenses. These can often be incredibly time consuming, especially if your doing any of these tasks with paper rather than electronically. FreeAgent will often remove 80%+ of the admin time from a paper system.
In many cases business owners will send the payroll details to their accountant at the end of the month and then receive the payslips a few days later. Then there's the labourious process of printing each slip and sending it to the relevant employee. There are often times where employees need a copy of last year's P60 or don't understand someting on their payslip so the busniess owner has to do act as a middle man between the accountant and and employee to figure out whats happened. This is never the case with FreeAgent.
FreeAgent has the capability to run the payroll and submit the relevant data to HMRC so whether you aould like to run your payroll or you'd like us to do it, all the information will be available to you all of the time. Better still, your employees can log in and view their payslips as soon as the payroll has been run. They can't see anything more than the transactions directly related to them (unless you want to give them more access) so you can have peice of mind even when inviting new or temporary staff to log into your FreeAgent account.
Once logged in, employees can also track time and add expenses meaning that, the whole process of develping timesheets, distributing them, receiveing them after they've been filled in and then manually entering them back into your system is
Never be suprised by a tax bill again
The FreeAgent Tax Timeline displays a live projection of how much money you owe to HMRC and when you owe it, so you’ll know how much to set aside for tax bills. When you explain what a transaction is in FreeAgent, it will automatically update your corporation tax and VAT in the tax timeline so you get a constant and up to date feed of all your taxes.
You can even export the details of your tax deadlines into your Google, Outlook or iCal calendar.
Please be aware that the Tax Timeline is a calendar overview of important dates in the tax year, and it won't update automatically when you file a return or pay a bill. Entries in the Tax Timeline will remain until the due date passes.
Get better value out of your accountant
Because FreeAgent is cloud based, you can access it anywhere you have an internet connection. This also means that your accountant can access it at any time and help you out with any issues you may have or give you advice based on real time data.
Using non-cloud software will often mean that you get much less value out of your accountant because of the following very common scenario:
A month or 2 after your year end, your accountant will ask you for your records but your very busy and the last thing you want to do at the end of a long work week is sort out your finances so you put off for a while. The accountant might need to ask 2-3 more times before you get around to doing it so they'll have less time to actually work on your accounts (or charge you more). The accounts finally get completed 6 months after the year end but it's another month before you both have a clear day in your calendars to meet up and sign them off. This is usually where the accountant gives you some advice based on the accounts but by this time, the data he's been working on is anywhere from 7 to 19 months old!
With FreeAgent, the burden of getting your records together is heavily reduced because it's already in the system and your accountant can already see it. This means that there's much less work for you to do and we can get your accounts done sooner (in several cases we've filed accounts less than a month after the year-end!). Better still, we have more time to be proactive with our advice and live data to give you the most relevant advice possible throughout the year.
Keep work time for chargable work
Many FreeAgent users use the FreeAgent app so that they can do the small bookkeeping tasks on the go rather than let them pile up and end up with a few hours of work to do. Everything you do using the mobile app is immediately reflected in your FreeAgent account on desktop and the app has impressive capabilities:
view, create and send invoices
view and record out-of-pocket expenses and mileage claims
capture photos of expense and mileage claim receipts
view and add to your list of contacts
re-bill expenses and mileage claims
view the balances of your bank accounts in FreeAgent
explain bank transactions (this feature works best once you've set up a Bank Feed in FreeAgent)
create timeslips manually, or with a stopwatch
view your profit and loss information for the current tax year
attach image files, PDFs, Word and Excel docs (max size 5 MB) from Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive and other third-party storage apps to your expenses and bank transaction explanations
create supplier bills
create and edit CIS Invoices
Truly understand how your business is doing
Once your FreeAgent account is up and running the home page or 'Overview' will become an invaluable tool for ensuring your on top of your finances. From this tab you'll see the cashflow for 3, 6 or 12 months, your bank account balance over the past 12 months, a summary of your recent and overdue invoices and much more. You can see an estimate of how much tax you owe, how much you could take in dividends or when you need to pay your next VAT bill.
The overview page not only summarises your entire business from a financial perspective but has lots of handy links in logical places so if you're suprised by something you see there's always an easy and logical route to the heart of the problem.