FreeAgent Central reduces the bean-counting burden

Perhaps it’s a sign of my misspent youth (I used to write ledger and payroll software) but accounting software bores me witless. I am more than happy to leave SAP and …

By
11th June 2007 at 9:31 am

Perhaps it’s a sign of my misspent youth (I used to write ledger and payroll software) but accounting software bores me witless. I am more than happy to leave SAP and Sage coverage to others.

Last week, AccManPro‘s Dennis Howlett and Twinfield‘s David Terrar persuaded me to turf up at the announcement of what I thought was an online accounting service called FreeAgent Central (FAC).

The service immediately struck a chord with me because I am a free agent. I write, teach and publish software online. The service (no IT department needed, no need to worry about installing updates or taking backups) offers sole traders and small limited companies a simple and attractive way of keeping on top of projects, their time and billing, their expenses and their tax obligations.

It is aimed at service-based businesses of up to three employees. It’s not suitable for those selling lots of products (that ruled out my software business), for those who hold stocks or for those who handle cash. This still leaves an awful lot of prospects.

With so much social software around, you won’t be surprised that FAC already has a blog and will be adding a wiki to provide a useful community meeting-place and information resource for solo businesses. To quote from the blurb, “going solo doesn’t mean being alone.” Nice.

FAC is UK-based at the moment (this will change) and participation in the beta programme is free. If you give feedback then you’ll be given a further six months free from the official launch date which is expected to be in September. (You can, by the way, rescue all your information in .csv format, should you decide to back out.)

Expect to pay around £19 or £29 a month, depending on whether you’re a sole trader or a limited company. (The tax and related services are more complex for limited companies.) The theory is that you can save huge amounts of grunt work – your own and your accountant’s – by using this service, so the cost should be more than covered by other savings, especially if you can twist your accountants’ arm.

Your information exchanges with the service are password-protected and encrypted. The service is hosted at Rackspace. FreeAgent Central claims it can’t get at your data. But the terms and conditions suggest that legal action could force its hand. Perhaps I should add, then, that this service is probably not suitable for people with shady business practices.

#646464

David Tebbutt is an award-winning columnist and feature writer who specialises on the subject of using software and technology to increase business productivity. He's an analyst with Freeform Dynamics but, in previous lives, wrote for Director magazine, Real Business and was also editor of Personal Computer World. http://freeformdynamics.com

comment on start-up tips

Commenting Is Easy

Do you agree with this blog post? Disagree? Have something to add that others might find helpful? Then please leave a comment in the box below.

If you'd like to have your image included next to your comments here, then you can set yourself up with an avatar in just a couple of clicks.

  1. […] David Tebbutt, SmallBizPod: The service immediately struck a chord with me because I am a free agent. I write, teach and publish software online. The service (no IT department needed, no need to worry about installing updates or taking backups) offers sole traders and small limited companies a simple and attractive way of keeping on top of projects, their time and billing, their expenses and their tax obligations. […]

Leave a comment

Photostream

Listen to the sales podcast for SMEs Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

PARTNER PROMOTIONS

If looking to boost your businesses performance with promotional marketing, travel incentives or incentive schemes get it touch with NDL Group