Free Agent

FreeAgent is a feature-rich cloud accounting application which nevertheless has a few annoying omissions and interface issues. Its most unique feature, perhaps, is a customised account which recognises your status as a sole trader, partner or limited company. There is a 30 day free trial which is easy to sign up to. Thereafter the subscription is £15 + VAT per month for a sole trader.

The account setup process is an easy step-by-step affair, and the first page, Overview, is easy to navigate. We were able to create a sales invoice without needing to refer to the knowledge base (which is excellent, and accessed at the bottom of each web page), but couldn’t create a credit note without referring to it. Having found out how to do it, we saw that a credit note is generated by creating a negative invoice and it can’t be directly allocated against an existing, positive invoice. Both the invoice and credit note have to be “paid” with a dummy payment. The same applies to purchase invoices. Repeating invoices can be created for both sales and purchases, in line with many other products on the market.

Bank reconciliation is one area where many cloud accounting applications struggle, but FreeAgent does quite well here. It supports bank feeds, meaning that you can get minute-to-minute reconciliation of your bank account with your invoices from within the software itself. There is also support for bank statements uploaded in .csv format, helpful since this is the format most commonly used by UK banks. .ofx and .gif file formats are also supported. In each of these cases , cash transactions can be created or matched to existing ones from the statement lines. Payments can also be allocated against invoices from the statement lines, all of which we found to be a fairly easy process.

Adding journal entries, however, is more complex than it could be. One side of the journal must be entered and saved before the other side is entered. Entering a long month or year end journal, therefore, could end up being hard work. The Profit and Loss report is comprehensive, with drawings and retained profit figures, but perhaps a little complicated for some.

Overall we found that FreeAgent has a good selection of features, but wasn’t particularly easy to use. We needed to refer to the knowledge base for several tasks but when we did so, we were able to find the answers easily. The uploading of bank statements and reconciling of transactions is probably the most intuitive part of the system, and in this FreeAgent is a long way ahead of many of its competitors. We were left with a feeling that there are some really good things here, but that trying to account for anything really complex might prove to be a problem.

Subscription (sole trader) – £15 + VAT per month

www.freeagent.com

Software Interface

Cloud Accounting

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