In this third and final instalment of the Inside Grenade series I’m going to cover two extremely useful cloud-based finance and accounting services that we use on a daily basis at Grenade. Both of these tools offer affordable pricing options and are aimed at small-to-medium sized businesses as well as freelancers. As many people know, financial intelligence is one of the most essential parts of running and growing a business and both of these tools have proven to be indispensable to us.
FreshBooks is easy to use cloud accounting software that facilitates the pain-free sending, receiving, printing and payment of invoices. The company claims that over 5 million customers across 120 countries have used it which is a very impressive stat but not surprising considering how good the product is. The intuitive interface is one of its biggest strengths as it’s intuitive and unintimidating for non-financial users. In addition to invoicing, FreshBooks allows you to generate financial reports, log expenses (manually and automagically from your bank account) and keep track of hours and time sheets which is extremely useful for contractors who charge by the hour.
Some of the other features that we particularly like is the support for multiple currencies which is essential when you have international clients, the option to accept online payments via PayPal and credit card, support for recurring invoices so you don’t have to manually recreate them each month, and automated payment reminders if clients haven’t paid within a set amount of time.
The native FreshBooks Android and iOS apps are also fantastic, a very unusual feat in the world of accounting and financial software, and they make it easy to run your business on the move which is another strong value proposition for many users.
You can export your data to .CSV and other popular accounting file formats from FreshBooks for easy interoperability with your accountant. In our case, all of our invoices are exported on a monthly basis and recaptured in Sage Pastel by our accountant simply because this allows for better standardisation of our financial reports and it facilitates easier tax submission and compliance, however, this is not to say that you couldn’t run your business accounting from FreshBooks as it has all the required functionality for SMMEs.
Pricing starts at just $9.95 per month for unlimited invoices and up to 3 clients so it’s extremely affordable and is designed to grow with you.
WiseCash is a simple cash-flow forecasting web app that was founded by two French entrepreneurs who identified ‘meaningful’ cash-flow forecasting as a major pain point in running a business. The product’s slogan is “Make data-backed decisions, without laboring over a spreadsheet!” and it allows you to do just that and it’s also more secure since the data is stored in the cloud.
Although WiseCash’s interface is uncluttered and easy to use, it’s incredibly powerful and contains all the functionality that is most useful to entrepreneurs, freelancers and financial managers. The main features include cash-flow forecasting and runway estimation (AKA “Crash Date”), annual income tracking, monthly breakdowns, profit center forecasting, and a growth hypothesis.
Setting up your account for the first time can take a while depending on the size of your business as you first need to preload all your monthly transactions (income and expenses) but once that’s done it’s simply a case of ticking off payments as they are made/received and manually adding new transactions. Keeping your account up-to-date will give you an accurate idea of the financial state of your business and allow you to forecast months, even years ahead which can guide you in making important financial and strategic decisions. The beauty of WiseCash is not only the meaningful data that is provides but also the fact that pretty much anybody can use it even if they don’t have a finance degree which has made cash-flow forecasting accessible to the masses.
Pricing is only $24 per month for 1 user which is an absolute bargain considering the value it will add to your business.
Well, that’s the end of the Inside Grenade series. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it and learnt something new. If you haven’t read all the posts in the series, now’s a good time to go back and read through all of them.