5 Free Accounting Platforms for Newbie SMEs & Freelancers in Singapore

For SMEs and freelancers, the age of digital disruption means the outstripping of paper trails — we mean the trails made of literal paper.

The time has come for the microtransaction. Messy digital financial proceedings are well on their way to eradicating the presence of yellowing paper invoices and receipts.

Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man rolls his eyes at the thought of accounting, depicted by graphs.

If you run a small business, bookkeeping might be the white elephant on your to-do list. Except now, that drawer full of chucked receipts that you organise occasionally may be half-empty.

With all the multi-channel transactions you might have right now, digital accounting platforms can help you to keep track of all of them with minimal effort. They can also take a lot of time-consuming emails out of the picture — automatic invoicing, anyone?

And the best part? They’re free! Take that, microtransactions 👊!

Wave Financial – for SME Accounting

Wave Financial is one of the most popular on this list, and for good reason. The user interface of the Wave accounting platform is particularly easy on the eyes, so you can work on keying those transactions even if you’ve got little prior experience with accounting. The web-based software also backs all of your information up on their cloud network!

Source: Wave Financial

Amidst a long list of features that Wave offers for forever free, the platform allows you to manage all of your accounts receivable, generate financial statements, and view the overall big-picture of your business’ financial health. Not to mention, the clean user interface means that when the dreaded tax time comes, you or your accountant will be able to look at a neat dashboard that summarises everything to perfection.

Freelancers and SMEs can both also send invoices to clients from the platform, giving them the option to make directly via Wave, as opposed to a separate banking transaction. While this might save your clients a substantial amount of time, there is a small percentage that Stripe (the payment processor) takes. But for the most part, the amount is negligible, especially given that you can get paid in as fast as two days!

Akaunting – great for SME Accounting, even better for Medium-Sized Companies

Akaunting is a detailed accounting software that brims with features perfect for medium-sized companies. Many have lauded it to be amongst the best free accounting softwares in the market, owing to its open-source nature. This means that upon installation with a web host, you can use plug-ins to make sure the software works in a way that’s exactly how you want it.

Source: Akaunting

Amongst a full suite of accounting services, Akaunting boasts multi-language and multi-currency features, an easy-to-use interface, and expense tracking features. Some aspects make it most relevant to medium-sized companies or small companies with many clients. These include client portals and multi-company functionality, which will undoubtedly come in handy when processing the messy financial aspect of cross-company collaborations. They will also allow you to receive bulk payments with ease.

With an integrated online platform, Akaunting allows you to track your company’s financial situation across multiple devices at any time. You can also generate all-encompassing reports and a Chart of Accounts (COA) to get a tidy, accountant-ready overview of your books.

GnuCash – Serious open-source accounting software for startups and SMEs

Are you a one person army that needs to get your sole proprietorship or small business accounting in order? GnuCash might be exactly what you need. The free, open-source software can run on Linux, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X.

Source: Fool.com

Apart from the ability to handle multiple currencies and languages, GnuCash also allows you to track accounts receivable and accounts payable. Smaller businesses and startups will also appreciate the payroll features that the platform offers. The tracking of income and expenses is presented chequebook-style, so it’ll never get too far from that paper presentation that we all love.

Where more granular accounting is concerned, you can also add the automatic banking import feature during your setup. What this means is that it’ll account for the information in your Singapore corporate account before you’ve completed importing all of your transactions. Your bookkeeper will thank you later, when they’ve got less journal entries to key in and less errors to spot! Best of all, GnuCash offers customer and vendor management. You’ll get reminders when you’re late on bill payment, and likewise when your clients are late to pay you!

Cloudbooks – perfect for freelancer accounting with clients who ask, “how exactly does your hourly rate work?”

CloudBooks is actually a premium platform, but it does offer a free alternative that’ll be perfect if you’re a freelancer with specialised offerings. With just the free version, you’ll get access to cloud storage, unlimited users, and email support (three cheers for good customer service)!

Source: CloudBooks

The platform prides itself on being a no-frills invoicing platform, giving you room to account for petty expenses out of the platform — if you want to. The simple UI makes it exceedingly easy for you to send those invoices out, although you’re limited to one client and five invoices on the free version.

But what makes CloudBooks software perfect for freelancers is this: you can bill your clients down to the minute. Instead of trying to explain how you enacted your hourly rate on a phone call, CloudBooks allows you to indicate how and where you spend your clients’ dollars. It’s basically a time-tracking software and accounting software in one dummy-proof package. Payment integrations include credit cards, cheques, and PayPal.

CloudBookspremium pricing begins at $10USD a month, for five staff users.

Sunrise – for independent freelancers and SMEs that love self-service

Paid accounting software is oftentimes just bloated. Sunrise bookkeeping software says they’ll help you take care of your books, while you focus on your business. The platform’s self-service plan is completely free, and allows you a large range of options that are likely apt for your needs, starting with branding options on your invoices!

Source: Sunrise Accounting

Keep things neat and tidy on Sunrise with the ability to categorise your business expenses, send customised invoices, and receive recurring payments online. Balance sheets are easy-to-read and accurate because you can link your corporate bank account to perform complete business reconciliations. And after that, all you’ll need to do is to hand turn those digital “books” over during tax season.

Sunrise is simple and offers a barrage of great features at no cost. And if you ever need a little extra help, you can keep your financial workflow on Sunrise and enlist their team of professional bookkeepers to help tidy your books.

Special Mention: Financio Singapore

Free for 6 Months via DBS, or 18 Months via Maybank

The Financio software is one that prides itself to be made for business owners — not accountants. But whether you’re a business owner or a freelancer, the platform will surely take a bulk of the load off of bookkeeping and accounting.

According to the company, they’ve made a platform that’s built on feedback from SMEs and Singapore business owners. Testimonials on their website hint at a meagre learning curve, with users having the ability to use it for “day-to-day” operations with no less than a 15-minute introduction.

Source: Financio Knowledge Base

While Financio is not a free platform, monthly charges are as low as $9.95/month, which dulls beautifully in comparison to the amount that you may end up having to fork out from lapsed filings or hiring a bookkeeper. Premium users can also enjoy the luxury of Financio’s dedicated customer hotline, via mobile pr the company’s website. Other features offered include PayNow integration, flexible permissions, job tagging, and automation. And there’s icing on this cake: Financio is also a Singapore GST compliant accounting software.

As with much other software, priced market players tend to be more capable of offering a competitive edge than their free counterparts. With that said, you can still use the platform for free, if you are an SME in Singapore. When you connect your Financio account with DBS, you can use the platform complimentarily for six months, with added bank feed and fast transfer integrations. You can also sign up for the Start Digital Programme through Maybank for 18 months of free Financio Premium.

Cut down on confusing microtransactions

Avoidable microtransactions are the easiest to forget and the hardest to spot when you’re got accounting entry discrepancies. Instead of paying companies or freelancers for very small services on a recurrent basis, you could consider retainer services or one-time project fees.

If you’re looking to streamline your media expenses, we might be able to help out. The Fandom Menace provides flexible media retainer services in Singapore, as well as one-time project deals for multiple media disciplines.

Keep your SME accounting spick and span! Looking for media services in Singapore? Let’s chat.


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Author: Hijanah

Takes The Office a smidge too seriously, walks into walls, and makes god-awful puns (debatable). Between music, television, and people, Hijanah writes about things she as sees them--no BS.

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