When do we typically choose a free web application over costly software? For business people, the answer lies in functionality. Though you may not be paying for a service monetarily, you may be paying for it with your time and sanity, if the service isn’t everything you need it to be. With all the free online web services available, you may still opt to pay for software that you consider to be more reliable. But even if you do, know that there are options available to you, which can be just as useful and cost-effective as an expensive service. Today we’ll be focusing on accounting applications.
Here is my snapshot of each of the options given on Mashable’s list of free applications.
- Bootstrap – Not only does this app let you view income and expenses, but it also gives you two other very valuable tabs: Taxes and Reports. View estimated tax liability and receive email notifications of quarterly tax due dates. The reports section gives you a robust interface with expenses segmented into categories such as “contractors and freelancers,” “taxes and licenses,” “utilities,” etc. This app gives you the full feature set for free, but expect to be charged in the future for some of the features.
- Zoho Invoice—Though the free plan is pretty standard (5 invoices/month and unlimited customers), you also get templates & layout customization, multicurrency support, pdf file invoices, invoice tracking, overdue reminders, online payment integration, thank-you emails, recurring invoices, reports, SSL encryption, unbranded emails and integration with Zoho Projects integration. We wouldn’t expect anything less from Zoho. I give this one an A for functionality.
- Invoice Journal – This site has a great interface and basic service. Invoices are not only filed in an easily manageable list, but they also can be marked and viewed as “open,” “draft,” “closed,” or “overdue.” You’ve also got the ability to change your invoice email settings, Paypal settings and even your invoice template to suit your needs. A “Reports” section, which would allow you to view your invoices by date, client, product or tag, is forthcoming.
- Shoeboxed—You can upload unlimited receipts and create unlimited email receipts with the free app. The other paid service plans will scan your receipts and business cards for you, starting at $9.95/month.
- LiteAccounting – “Lite” is exactly right. Use this app to create lists in 3 categories: Products and Services, Customers and Invoices. A free account gives you: unlimited Products and Services, unlimited Customers, 5 invoices/month, email invoices, unbranded emails, pdf file invoices, secure SSL connection and your logo on site and invoices. However, recurring invoices are NOT available.
- CurdBee—It’s quite like LiteAccounting in that it only gives you 3 tabs: Invoices, Clients and Items. It’s not the best, but it’s not the worst either. The functions are also something you could probably do yourself in an Excel document.
- Endeve –Free unlimited invoices and customers, digital signature, pdf file invoices and email notifications. The free account, however, does not include unlimited expenses or unlimited contracts.
- ContractPal – This service, which allows you to complete, validate, sign and process your contracts online, is not actually free. You can get up to 10,000 transactions per month for $1.49 per contract.
- Zapproved—This is a useful free service for creating, sending and storing proposals. Your maximum attachment size is 1MB, and archive storage capacity per person is 50MB. Data is stored for up to 60 days, but if you upgrade to paying account, you’ll give unlimited storage retention, 1MB archive storage and 4 MB maximum attachment size.
- Mumboe—This is a free trial that gives you up to 10 agreements and 50MB of storage space. Not really for accounting purposes, but probably useful for some people.
- Invoice Place—Use this app if you’re going to be doing a lot of international business. Its advantage is that it sorts and handles multi-currency invoices and expenses. Otherwise, the free feature seat is lacking. Although you get unlimited customers in your list, you only get 5 invoices/month and 100 products/services, which is actually really terrible.