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    9 Replies Latest reply on Sep 28, 2009 6:47 AM by markrobinson

    Accounting software recommendations for freelancer?

    EastCoastDev Wayfarer

      I'm a freelance web developer, and have been working as a sole proprietor for the past year. My accountant has advised me go down the route of setting up an S-Corporation (or possibly an LLC), which I'm planning to do this month. As this makes everything a lot more formal, it's probably the best time to get things like banking and accounting processes in order, and as a result, I'm looking to start using something like Quickbooks.

      Until now, I've been using a messy solution consisting of various Excel spreadsheets to keep track of invoices and expenses, but would really like to get rid of this in favor of something more organized and easier to use. One of the potential pitfalls is that a large portion of my clients are abroad and prefer to be invoiced in their local currency, so I'd like to use an accounting application that can deal with this.

      So, I guess this makes my main requirements:

      • Suitable for managing accounts for consultancy-type businesses
      • Able to easily manage invoicing in multiple currencies

      I've skimmed over Quickbooks and Microsoft Office Accounting and both look okay, though I was hoping someone in a similar situation could offer some advice and recommend something. Any advice would be most appreciated.


        • Re: Accounting software recommendations for freelancer?
          Hey if you find the answer - please share with us, I'd be very curious to know. Check out NetSuite though to see if they support multiple currencies, and if their pricing is within reason. Last time I checked, they were charging $100/mo per user, along with high pressure sales tactics which I did not enjoy.
            • Re: Accounting software recommendations for freelancer?
              EastCoastDev Wayfarer
              So far, from what I've seen, most accounting packages don't allow for this. Makes things pretty messy to manage. Accounting software aside, my accountant advised to bill in whatever currency is required (eg. Sterling), and then when this money is transferred into the US business account, record the transferred converted amount as revenue. Still doesn't help from a record-keeping perspective though :-(

              Haven't heard of NetSuite, but I'll check them out. Generally though, I'm adverse to dealing with any business using high pressure sales tactics. Got some quotes for health insurance from some website about a month ago, and one of their sales advisors has been calling and leaving messages, and emailing at least twice a week! Not the kind of business I want to deal with. Will let you know about NetSuite though.

              Another service I found which seems to support multiple currencies is Cashboard ( They are priced quite reasonably, and also integrate with Basecamp which is useful. But it looks like the multiple currency support is merely to approximate values for clients rather than actually invoice them in a different currency.

              The worse case scenario is to simply bill all clients in USD, though given the current exchange rate, I'm reluctant to do this, but it might be the only option. It's also going to be a bit more hassle for them (though services like do make this a little easier).

                • Re: Accounting software recommendations for freelancer?
                  dublincpa Scout
                  Your accountant is on the right track so far. However, I have slight variation.

                  Invoice at foreign currency. Upon receipt make a second invoice (that doesn't go out) for the difference of the gross. Be sure to put in the adjustment at gross and add a negative line if the customers is required to withhold foreign taxes. Your accountant will want this amount for your 1040 to take the foreign tax credit if it applies. Depending on the tax treaty and payment type, some countries require withholding up to 30% of the gross payment. If you want to be annoyed, you may want to put in a negative line item for bank charges associate with the transactions too.

                  Good luck.
                • Re: Accounting software recommendations for freelancer?
                  scottinpa Newbie
                  NetSuite sales is VERY aggressive. We ended up staying with QuickBooks tied to
                • Re: Accounting software recommendations for freelancer?
                  LUCKIEST Guide
                  East Coast, Welcome to this web site. I am a Quickbooks Consultant in New York
                  with clients across the country.
                  Would like to talk to you (at no charge, FREE) if you contact me at " ".
                  • Re: Accounting software recommendations for freelancer?
                    disruptsteve Newbie
                    Quickbooks has templates for consulting and other service businesses and, when you set it up, it asks if you will be using multiple currencies.
                    • Re: Accounting software recommendations for freelancer?
                      EastCoastDev Wayfarer
                      Just thought I'd post an update.

                      After looking around at various solutions, I've currently decided to use Freshbooks ( for my invoicing needs. Unfortunately, it doesn't support multiple currencies, so I've got a couple of accounts for USD and GBP. The plan is to invoice my UK clients using the GBP version, and then create a matching invoice in the USD version with the converted dollar amount. I'm not sure how well this will work yet, but based on some other posts in their help forums, it seems to work well for other people in similar consultancy type businesses.

                      Unfortunately, this does mean creating a different account for each currency you plan to bill in, though Freshbooks allows you to split your paid account limits between several accounts if you want to do this.

                      Another company similar to Freshbooks is BlinkSale ( They have some nicer features including support for multiple currencies and OpenID, but doesn't feel as polished as Freshbooks. I also dislike the fact that accounts less than the 'Gold' plan ($24/month) don't support PDF functionality, and invoices generated through the browser tend to look a little unprofessional, especially as they include the website url and date/time in the header and footer areas of the page.

                      Hope this helps.

                      • Re: Accounting software recommendations for freelancer?
                        markrobinson Wayfarer
                        There are lots of business software available but most of companies prefere netsuite as a their business software.