Keeping track of accounting is an important task, and taking care of your books regularly can prevent your business from going under. Gone are the days when you have to hire a full time accountant or be at the mercy of a pricey chartered accountant.
With advent of web 2.0, there tons of web apps that make you an accounting wizard and FreeAgent is one among them. Does it really free you from the horrors of accounting? Let’s take a look.
FreeAgent was started as an accounting web app, accessible only to users from the United Kingdom, and was later redesigned to allow access to users from elsewhere. This legacy shows during the sign up process, where UK users can pick from any of the four company types and users from other countries can choose the universal category. Sign up requires email activation and it would have been nice if the company auto-filled the company name for the unique URL.
FreeAgent has a single price plan at $20 per month. There are no perpetual free accounts with limited features but, there is a full featured 30 day trial for users to evaluate the service, and — you don’t have to submit credit card information for the trial.
The UI post login is absolute nothingness. You will have to start configuring the app – in five different stages – before first use. Which is totally bizarre.
Creating an invoice is a refreshing experience. The user interface looks more like a simple web form rather than a daunting financial document in the making. The design is minimal but has all the standard features we have come to expect from an invoicing app. FreeAgent has a cool feature that lets you select the currency of the invoice using a drop down menu.
Estimates, Time sheets and Projectwise time tracking all follow the fresh, Web 2.0 design, sprinkled with as many features as possible.
Bills can be created for existing or new contacts. You can assign the bill to a particular project and select the recurrence period using a drop down. This is by far the easiest bill creation page I have come across. Good job FreeAgent.
All the bills, invoices, bank balances, etc. created are adjusted automatically in the respective accounts and receivables. FreeAgent allows you to view an exhaustive set of accounting reports like yearly and monthly profit & loss, trial balance, balance sheet, etc. Graphical represention of reports would be a welcome addition.
FreeAgent makes life a little tough for first time users as every other app on the planet allows users to use the app immediately after signing in. With FreeAgent, it’s like installing a desktop app after signing up — filling in details and click next — that too with trivial details like short date format.
The design, though drastically different from other apps, involves a lot of scrolling in almost all sections. That being said, FreeAgent has all the features necessary to be a full fledged accounting app for your small business and is certainly worth an 8/10 rating.