FreeAgent is a great tool for UK-based freelancers that need to track their time. If you're not in this rather specific bracket, you may want to look elsewhere. That said, it's a robust and compact service that caters to its specific audience well. Read our full FreeAgent review to find out what we liked and disliked.
FreeAgent is a cloud-based accounting platform developed in the UK that allows you to manage your small business’ financial needs from anywhere.
FreeAgent’s range of features might seem enough for every type of small business. However, its inventory tracker is almost unusable, and although its project manager is good, the time tracker is hard to use.
It also doesn’t have a dedicated payment processor, like QuickBooks Online does, but you can integrate with Stripe to accept credit card payments.
The invoicing feature is good, but you need to go through two pages to create one invoice, which will make batch invoicing a nightmare. The reporting feature works fine, as well, but using it for decision making is difficult due to the lack of customization options and filters.
If you have a project-based small business, try the free 30-day trial or read our FreeAgent review before using it. However, you might find the accounting software disappointing when you compare it to other platforms, especially if your business is outside of the UK. Read our best accounting software article to find a better match for your small business.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Automatic email reminder for invoices
- Unlimited users
- Uncommon navigation bar layout
- Payroll feature only available in the UK
- No report customization options
Alternatives for FreeAgent
At first glance, FreeAgent seems like it has features that can cater to every small business. However, its inventory feature is not as useful as what you can find with other accounting platforms, such as Zoho Books or Sage. Its project manager and time tracker is usable, but FreshBooks offers a better experience overall.
FreeAgent’s inventory feature is hidden in the “settings” page, which you can access by clicking your name on the top-right corner of the page and then selecting “settings.” Once you get to the settings page, click the “price list & stock” link located under the “email, invoices & estimates” category.
The “stock” tab lets you keep track of your stock quantity. To activate the feature, select “stock” as the unit of your invoice item when you’re creating a new invoice. The “price list” is useful if you invoice the same items frequently because it’s used to automatically fill in the details of your items when invoicing.
FreeAgent’s inventory feature takes much more effort to use than other platforms. It’s also hard to access because it’s not included in the navigation bar. You can’t add your stock quantity through your bills, and it doesn’t have a reorder point, which other platforms usually have, such as Sage and Zoho Books. Read our Zoho Books review and Sage review to learn more.
You can find the project management features under the “work” category in the navigation bar. Click “projects” if you want to manage your projects or click “time tracking” if you want to see your timesheet or log your hours.
To create a project, click the “add new project” button on the top-right corner of the “projects” page. Doing so will take you to the “new project” page, where you can fill in your project’s details, such as client, project name and budget.
The “projects” page gives you a quick overview of your projects’ status. By clicking the project name, you’ll see the details of the project separated into tabs, including invoices, time and a profit-and-loss report. To add anything to a project, you can use the “add new” button on the top-right corner of your project’s page.
In the “time tracking” page, you’ll see a table of your logged time. You can also add a new time entry on this page, either by starting a timer using the “start timer” button or by filling in the form on the top of the page and clicking “add timeslip.”
You can also log your time weekly by clicking the “add weekly timesheet” button on the top-right corner of the page. The logged time will have to be for the same task, so if you work on multiple tasks within one week, you must add them separately.
To start a timer, you have to go to the “time tracking” page, which may get annoying. Comparing FreeAgent to other accounting software, FreshBooks’ time tracker and project management feature offer a better experience overall. If you need a better time tracker, read our FreshBooks review to learn more.
You can integrate FreeAgent with third-party platforms by clicking your name on the top-right corner of the navigation bar and selecting “connections.” You can also connect your Stripe account to accept credit card payments through the “connections” page.
You can also use FreeAgent to connect to a bank account by going to the “banking” page or the “connections” page. Once connected, FreeAgent will automatically import your bank feeds, so you can manage your transactions from FreeAgent. Receiving automatic bank feeds from your bank account makes reconciling your transactions easier.
FreeAgent is developed in the UK, so some features are not yet available in the U.S. or the global version, including the payroll feature. If you need a payroll feature — along with every other feature found with FreeAgent — we suggest reading our QuickBooks Online review.
FreeAgent offers one price for users based in the U.S., which costs you $24 per month. This is pretty expensive, especially if you’re just starting your small business. Besides, for $24 per month, you can use better accounting software.
For $25 per month, FreshBooks’ Plus plan has an excellent project manager and time tracker that is much easier to use than FreeAgent’s. FreshBooks’ invoicing feature also offers a better experience overall because you can add late payment fees and retainer invoices.
However, FreshBooks has a monthly charge of $10 for each additional user, while FreeAgent lets you add users for free. FreshBooks also doesn’t have a “bills” feature to help you keep track of your upcoming payments, unlike FreeAgent.
Another plan with a similar price is QuickBooks Online’s Essentials plan, which costs $20 per month. QuickBooks Online has a better reporting tool when compared to FreeAgent because of its filters and customization options.
QuickBooks Online’s invoicing feature is also more advanced when compared to FreeAgent, and for an additional fee, you can file your taxes from its platform. However, this plan won’t get you an inventory or a project manager, which are available in FreeAgent. QuickBooks Online also limits the number of users you can have up to three on this plan.
FreeAgent is not the best software if ease of use is important for you. Although there is a quick-add button, it’s only available on the “overview” page. It takes a while to get used to its unusual layout if you’re transferring from other accounting software, and there are some features that are just hard to use.
Signing up to FreeAgent’s 30-day free trial is easy. There are five windows you have to fill out, including your login details and business information, such as sales tax option and business name.
The first thing you see when you log in is the “overview” page, where your financial data is put into graphs, so you can grasp your situation at a glance. There’s also a “quick links” button on the top-right corner of the “overview” page, which lets you create new entries, including invoices, bills and contacts.
You can find FreeAgent’s navigation bar on top of the window. It’s set up differently than other platforms, so if you’re transferring from another platform you might have a hard time finding some of its features.
The inventory is located on the “settings” page. The “projects,” “timeslips,” “estimate,” “invoicing” and “recurring invoices” pages are located under the “work” category on the navigation bar.
You can find the “invoicing” page under the category “work” in the navigation bar. This page displays all of your invoices and their details, such as “amount due” and “status.” Clicking the invoice name opens your invoice and lets you record a payment.
Generating an Invoice
There are two ways to manually create an invoice: through the “quick links” button in the “overview” page or the “add new” button on the “invoicing” page.
The first “new invoice” page includes the invoice settings, such as contact, project and invoice date. You can activate email reminders by selecting the checkboxes on the “invoice details” section. Note that you have to customize your emails through the settings first before you can activate the email reminders.
On the second “new invoice” page, you can add items to your invoice by clicking the “add invoice item” button. In the “add invoice item” window, you can either pick an item from your price list by clicking “autofill from your price list” or add a new item through the form in the window that includes price, description and sales tax.
To activate inventory tracking, change the unit in your “quantity” box to “stock.” You can also add an entry to your price list by selecting the “add this to your price list” checkbox. This way, if you need to add the same invoice item, you can do it quickly through the “autofill from your price list” button.
Although this kind of setup makes the settings more detailed, it’s not ideal if you need to generate many invoices at once.
You can make an invoice repeat through the “invoicing” page. Open the invoice by clicking the reference number, click the “add new” button, and then select “recurring invoice profile.” Alternatively, go to the “recurring invoices” page, which you can find under the “work” category in the navigation bar, and click the “add recurring profile” button.
Both buttons will take you to a page similar to the first “new invoice” page where you can adjust the settings of your invoice. You can adjust the frequency and starting date of your repeating invoice through the form in the “invoice details” section.
There are other ways to add a new invoice. If you use estimates, you can convert it to an invoice in one click by opening your estimate through the “estimates” page and selecting the “convert to invoice” link.
Another way to create an invoice is through your project’s page. Click “add new” and select “invoice” to automatically create an invoice for your unbilled items.
There are two types of expenses in FreeAgent: “bills” and “expenses.” Both features are listed on the navigation bar, so you can quickly find their pages.
You can create a new bill through the “overview” page by clicking the “quick links” button and then selecting “new bill.” Alternatively, you can go to the “bills” page through the navigation bar and click the “add new bill” button.
Unlike invoices, you don’t need to add items on bills, so there’s only one page to fill. In the “add a new bill” page, you can fill in your bill details, assign it to a project — and make it billable — or make it a recurring bill. If you need to, you can also add an attachment to your bill, such as an item list.
To record a payment, go to the “bills” page, open the bill by clicking the reference number, then click the “add a manual payment” button.
FreeAgent doesn’t let you add items to your bills, so there is no way to automatically record your stock purchase. You have to adjust your stock quantity through the “price list & stock” page. This makes FreeAgent a bad fit for small businesses that need inventory tracking.
Similar to bills, you can add an expense either through the “expenses” page, which you can find in the navigation bar, or through the “overview” page, by clicking on the “quick links” button.
The form on the “new expense” page is almost identical to the one on the “new bill” page, with the only difference being that you can pick a type for expenses, either a payment or a refund.
Also, if you want to upload a receipt, you must put in the details manually. Automatically reading information from a receipt has become a common feature among other accounting platforms, even a free platform such as Wave. Read our Wave review to learn more.
FreeAgent’s report templates are located in the “reports” page, located under the “accounting” category in the navigation bar. FreeAgent doesn’t have a lot of report templates, and there are only three report categories: “high level,” “breakdown” and “detailed.”
There are two aging reports: “aged debtors” and “aged creditors.” The “aged debtors” report gives you a list of your customers and their outstanding invoices, along with when the invoices were due. Similarly, the “aged creditors” report lists your vendors and outstanding bills, plus when they were due.
The “customer sales” report shows your sales — organized either by month or year — for each customer. The “spending categories” report shows your purchases for all of your accounting categories, which can also be organized monthly or yearly.
The “show transactions” report gives you a list of your transactions, filtered by accounting year and account. The “trial balance” report gives you a list of your total balance for each accounting category.
Most reports let you customize the date range, but there is nothing else you can customize. You can export your reports to a CSV or PDF file through the “export report” button on the top-right corner of the report page.
FreeAgent offers two financial reports: “profit & loss” and “balance sheet.” There are three types of “profit & loss” reports: monthly, yearly and comparative. The comparative report is limited for yearly reports, so you can’t use the comparative report unless you have more than two years of data in FreeAgent.
The “balance sheet” has a fixed format with four categories: “capital assets,” “current assets,” “current liabilities” and “owner’s equity.” You can customize the date of this report, but you can’t compare each period, like you can in the “profit & loss” report.
Just like the business reports, there are not a lot of customization options for FreeAgent’s financial statements. You can customize most of the period but there are no filter options available.
To reach FreeAgent’s customer support, you can click the “help” button on the bottom-right corner of every page. This will connect you to a chatbot, which will help you look for articles in FreeAgent’s knowledgebase.
If you didn’t find what you were looking for, you can get in touch with a customer support representative via email by clicking the “get in touch” button on the chat window. FreeAgent’s support team will contact you via email when they have an answer to your question.
You can also reach FreeAgent’s knowledgebase by clicking the “knowledge base” link on the footer of every page. The knowledgebase is filled with articles that can help if you get stuck while using the software.
Through the knowledgebase, you can also book a 20-minute call to FreeAgent’s customer support team. Besides articles, FreeAgent also offers video tutorials, webinars and blog posts through its knowledgebase.
FreeAgent is a great option for small businesses based in the UK, but it’s much more limited if you’re located anywhere else because the U.S. version and the global version doesn’t offer a payroll feature.
There is only one price for the U.S. version, which can be unfair, especially for small businesses that are just starting out.
FreeAgent has a satisfying range of features, but they are not as good as features its competitors offer. The inventory feature has a lot of flaws when compared to other accounting platforms, such as QuickBooks Online or Sage. Its project manager is good, but it’s not as efficient as the manager with FreshBooks.
You need to fill in two pages to create an invoice, so batch invoicing will be difficult. Most of the report templates are unhelpful. There are no filter options, which other accounting software usually have, and the customization is very limited.
If your small business is based in the U.S., it will be hard to get help from FreeAgent’s customer support because it’s based in the UK and is only available at certain times.
Considering the features you get, FreeAgent will be a good fit for freelancers or project-based small businesses in the UK. However, if you don’t fit into this narrow category, other platforms are better than FreeAgent.
If you like what you hear so far, try FreeAgent’s 30-day free trial to see if it’s the best accounting platform for you. Have you tried FreeAgent before? Tell us what you think in the comments. Thanks for reading this FreeAgent review.