Freelancers have to worry about more than just doing their jobs. If you’re freelancing, you need to schedule your work, maintain your books, budget, save for a rainy day, and invest for retirement, all on your own. The best apps for freelancers can help.
With 30,000 fintech startups and counting, you have a lot of options to choose from, and you don’t want to make the wrong choice. Let’s review some possibilities and look at some of the best apps for freelancers.
Best Apps for Freelancers
Freelancers can use a wide range of apps for different purposes. Here are the main categories we focused on:
- Time tracking
- Payment Processors
- Working With Partners
Let’s delve into each category:
Bookkeeping and accounting apps tend to be in the jack-of-all-trades bracket. They usually provide invoicing, time-tracking, and sometimes even budgeting, making them a one-stop shop for all of your financial needs.
Freshbooks is one of the best apps for freelancers who are looking for an easy-to-use accounting tool. It tracks your incoming and outgoing money, invoices your clients, and manages all of your business expenses. It is an ideal tool for any freelancer who feels that accounting isn’t their strongest suit.
Freshbooks also has several powerful features that are well-suited to freelance users. It allows you to track your time, which can help streamline your project management and payment collection efforts, and it lets you personalize your invoices.
You can start with a 14-day free trial to see how you like it. Afterward, you will have to pay something between $17 and $55 a month, depending on the plan you choose.
Wave is one of my personal favorites, and it’s the tool I personally use for my freelance business. It helps you manage cash flow, create reports, collect payments, invoice clients (and send them automatic reminders), and oversee sales tax. It’s a highly intuitive application that’s easy to learn and use.
Other cool features include scanning receipts, offering budgeting tools, and examining profits and losses. Over and above, it lets you export any important documents, such as receivables and account balances, making it one of the best apps for freelancers when it comes to accounting.
Wave is free, but if you want to use it to collect payments or to manage payroll, then you will have to pay a little. Unless your freelance business includes more than just you, the free version should be plenty.
Quickbooks is one of the biggest names in the accounting space. It comes with all the features that you would expect from a big-name brand: invoicing, tax preparation, receipt scanning, and many more.
The company behind Quickbooks, Intuit, is the same company behind TurboTax, so the two applications integrate together seamlessly. As a result, you can use Quickbooks to separate your personal expenses from your business expenses and do the taxes for both through TurboTax.
Quickbooks is among the best apps for freelancers who are managing more complex businesses and looking for a comprehensive financial management solution.
Quickbooks is not free, and the cheapest plan costs $15 per month.
There are several different budgeting strategies, and each budgeting app usually specializes in one of them. For example, you have the envelope method, which splits your income into different categories or envelopes, and these envelopes limit how much you can spend within any given budget category. So, if your envelope for date night is empty, that means no more date nights for you till next month.
Another popular budgeting strategy that you should know is zero-based budgeting. Simply, zero-based budgeting assigns every penny you make to a budget category, making sure that your budget exhausts your income and that you don’t make any impulse purchases.
📚 Learn more: Our comprehensive guide breaks down the essentials of how to budget, providing you with the tools you need to take control of your finances.
Mint is one of the most popular fintech apps on our list. While part of the acclaim is due to the app’s age (it was founded back in 2007), a big part of the fame is owed to how user-friendly the app is.
Mint is perfect for all of your budgeting needs, both personal and professional. It centralizes all of your finances into one app and allows you to track your spending across different categories, hence managing your expenses and finding areas where you can save. With full visibility of your income and expenses, you should have no problem doing your taxes.
Mint has a host of other features:
- Subscription Monitoring
- Time tracking
- Credit score checking
- Credit card management
- Bill negotiation
- Advice from Mintsights
And, to top it all off, Mint is free, making it one of the best apps for freelancers who want an affordable budgeting solution for both personal and business needs.
🧮️ Learn more: Take the guesswork out of your financial planning with our easy-to-use budget calculator.
Flow, one of the best apps for freelancers, helps you budget your incoming cash flow using the envelope method. You will split your income into different categories when you set up the app. At the end of every month, you will see your income go into various flows, such as taxes, savings, investments, bills, rent, and so on.
If you connect your different bank accounts to Flow, you can control all of them through the app. You can also enjoy some of Flow’s smart capabilities.
Flow has plans for both individuals and businesses. The company is based in the Netherlands, and prices are in Euros.
- Flow Free is (naturally) free.
- Flow+ costs 1.99 euros per month.
- Flow+ Pro costs 6.99 euros per month.
The main difference between these plans is in the degree of automation you can set up. In other words, the Flow+ Pro allows you to automate transfers and payments far more than the Flow Free plan permits.
📖 Learn more: Discover the significant advantages of budgeting and how it can positively impact your financial future.
The founders of YNAB decided to cut to the chase when they named their application. And, as you might have surmised, their application is dedicated to serious budgeters, those who want to stay at least a month ahead of their expenses and have some wiggle room just in case.
With YNAB, you designate a job for each dollar of your income, which is the zero-based budgeting method we mentioned above.
It all starts with you connecting your bank accounts to YNAB and setting your financial goals. Afterward, your income goes to either your expenses or your goals.
YNAB provides users with a 34-day free trial, after which they have to purchase either their monthly plan for $14.99/ month or their annual plan for $8.25/ month.
YNAB is one of the best apps for freelancers who prefer the zero-based budgeting method for their personal and business finances.
📖 Learn more: Whether you’re new to managing money or looking to refine your approach, these budgeting tips can provide valuable guidance.
Goodbudget is another one of the best apps for freelancers out there. This app is ideal for envelope budgeting. Most of their marketing is directed towards families and households, but you can still use them for your freelance business.
Goodbudget lets you coordinate your business’s budget along with a business partner. In other words, Goodbudget can sync your business’s budget across all devices, giving you and your business partners full visibility into what gets spent and where it goes.
Goodbudget has two main pricing tiers: free and the plus account, which costs $8/ month.
As a freelancer, your most valuable asset is your time, especially when you are still starting out. You need to track it diligently and make sure that you are being efficient with how you spend it. Here are some of the best apps for freelancers to track time efficiently.
Harvest is a user-friendly app that tracks your time and helps you manage your expenses. It’s one of the best apps for freelancers who invoice on an hourly basis and need to track time carefully.
You can either input your time manually or use the app’s built-in timer to keep track of your hours. You can highlight how many hours you’ve worked for each client or on each project. You can also split your time between billable and non-billable hours.
This makes invoicing clients on hourly projects much simpler.
You can use Harvest’s analytic tools to take a closer look at how you are spending your time and how you could be more efficient with the way you work.
Harvest offers a bevy of integrations, making the process of time tracking even more effortless for you.
So, how much does this cost?
Harvest has two plans. There is the free plan, and there is the Harvest Pro, which costs $10.80/user/month. As a freelancer, the free plan should be enough unless you have team members working with you, and you need to track their time as well.
TimeCamp tracks your time through its built-in timer and then attributes this time to a specific project or client. You can also fill in your timesheet manually if you prefer.
Aside from the beautiful UI, TimeCamp boasts a few other neat features.
The app lets you track your employees’ time as well, ensuring that they are paid fairly. TimeCamp also issues reports that can point out unprofitable projects or ones whose performance could be improved.
TimeCamp allows your team to budget their time so that they can allocate the required hours to each project. The app also lets you invoice your clients based on the number of hours worked.
TimeCamp integrates with over 100 other apps, so your workflow can be seamless.
TimeCamp has four plans to offer:
- The Free plan.
- The Starter plan costs $2.99 per user per month.
- The Basic plan costs $5.99 per user per month.
- The Pro plan costs $7.99 per user per month.
There is also an enterprise plan, where the company will tailor a solution for your business.
Bonsai is a perfect tool for freelancers. It helps with time tracking, facilitates task creation and creation, and offers ready-made templates. Bonsai also lets you invoice your clients for work done.
Another nice feature of Bonsai is that it lets you track your expenses: If you take a photo of a receipt, you can add that receipt to one of your invoices and bill your client.
Other products offered by Bonsai include the following:
- Banking (Yes, Bonsai offers freelancers a banking solution)
To enjoy all of those products and features, you can purchase Bonsai’s Starter plan at $17 per month.
When you’re a freelancer, getting paid on time is the difference between a growing business and struggling to pay your bills. You are probably no stranger to chasing down clients, sending them repeat reminders, and just wasting a ton of time getting what you’re owed.
The right invoicing tools make collections much easier and faster. Here are some of the best tools available.
As the name suggests, Invoice2Go is an app that allows you to create invoices, estimates, and reports. The app also lets you collect payments directly while offering your clients multiple payment options and allows you to bill your clients for the time spent during appointments.
Invoice2Go also has some other intriguing features. It offers banking solutions, helps you manage your payroll, and automates the process of asking for customer feedback. All of these processes can be integrated into a system that you build to meet your needs.
You have three plans to choose from. The Starter plan costs $59.99 a year, the Professional plan costs $99.99 a year, and the Premium plan costs $399.99 a year. The main differences between these plans are the number of invoices you can send annually, the card payment fees, and the available integrations.
Solna has one objective in mind: making sure you get paid on time, every time.
To achieve that objective, Solna comes equipped with several bells and whistles, starting with what they call smart invoicing. Simply, this app lets you customize your invoices, autofill your clients’ details to avoid mistakes, send automated reminders, track who has opened and seen your invoices, and accept online payments.
Over and above, Solna has a credit check facility, which tells you a lot about the people you are in business with and gives you invaluable information when you’re setting payment terms.
Well, Solna is actually free. The company is clear on its mission to help and empower SMEs. They don’t even sell your data. Their plan is to eventually charge for more advanced features used by bigger businesses.
Invoice Ninja is another popular invoice app. Even the name is cool.
Invoice Ninja comes with all the features you’d want from an invoicing tool. It offers different invoice templates, which you can use depending on the nature of your business. You can accept online payments and link your bank and financial accounts, facilitating the movement of your money.
Invoice Ninja provides time-tracking features. All you have to do is create projects and tasks within those projects, and once you’re finished, the app will automatically add all the necessary details to the outgoing invoice.
The app also helps you track your expenses and inventory. It’s among the best apps for freelancers who have multiple clients and need to keep their billing accurate and consistent.
You have three subscription plans to choose from. The first one is free. The Ninja Pro plan will set you back $100 a year, whereas the Enterprise plan costs $140 per year for 1-2 users.
If you live and work in the United States, you know just how complex the tax system can be. Many Americans have to pay both federal and state taxes, figuring out each of them separately.
Also, depending on where your business is located as well as its structure, your taxes can vary greatly. An LLC that has employees and operates out of Detroit, Michigan, will pay very different taxes than a freelancer living in Miami and operating as a sole proprietor.
So, is it any wonder that tax season can be a nightmare for every freelancer out there?
With the following apps, you needn’t worry about tax season anymore.
📚 Learn more: Demystify the complexities of your tax obligations by exploring our informative article on how do taxes work.
Coming to you courtesy of the United States Internal Revenue Service, IRS2GO is only available to people working in the U.S.
This app is a godsend to every freelancer who ever struggled with their taxes. For starters, it grants you access to your tax records. It also has features that assist you with tax preparations and that help you track the status of your tax refunds. Over and above, the app enables you to pay securely through your bank account.
Best of all, IRS2GO is free, making it one of the best apps for freelancers who need basic tax assistance and don’t want to spend heavily on it.
📚 Learn more: Take the stress out of tax season by finding the best tax software for your situation with our helpful review.
TurboTax is one of the biggest names in the tax preparation business.
Why is it so popular?
First off, the app is super user-friendly. Its interface and UI are so simple that you can literally file your taxes from your phone with little to no hassle. All you have to do is take pictures of your forms, and the app will help you maximize your deductions. In fact, the app will guide you step-by-step through the process of filing your taxes.
Because all of it is happening online, TurboTax will send you a notification when the IRS accepts your filed returns.
TurboTax is developed by Intuit, the same company behind Quickbooks, so both products integrate together. So, if you already use Quickbooks, you can just import your information from there and automatically send it to TurboTax.
The only catch here is the cost. You will have to pay when you file with TurboTax. If you want to do your taxes yourself, you will pay around $129, and this is not taking into consideration any state returns you need to file. You could also have someone from TurboTax help, and that would set you back somewhere between $100 and $219. Or you could just let TurboTax handle the whole thing for you, which would cost $219-$409.
TurboTax is undoubtedly one of the best apps for freelancers who use Quickbooks, and others will want to take a close look as well.
📚 Learn more: Stay updated and plan your finances accordingly by checking out the latest information on tax brackets and federal income tax rates.
So far, we’ve been talking about how to invoice your customers, how to budget your money, and how to balance your books, which is critical when tax season comes around. However, we haven’t talked about the most important part of the entire equation: actually receiving your money.
For most freelancers, this isn’t much of a problem because they get paid via ACH bank transfers. Some of you might want to provide your customers with more payment options. After all, more payment options mean you can accommodate more clients.
To that end, you need a secure payment processor, and here are some of the best apps for freelancers to consider.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two decades, you’ve probably heard of PayPal and might have even used it once or twice. And if you don’t already use the service for your business, you might want to start considering doing so.
By setting up a merchant account on PayPal, you will be able to receive online and in-person payments. Throughout the process, you will have the peace of mind that can only come with using a secure payment processor, one that protects you and the buyer at the same time.
You can accept an enormous range of payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, Venmo, and cryptocurrencies. You can set up global payment methods or even pay-later options. There’s even an in-person payment option that you can process through PayPal’s card reader or their QR code, which links directly to the app.
PayPal lets you create and send customizable invoices to your customers as well as payment reminders should they drag their feet.
Once you receive your money, you can do one of two things. You can keep the money in your PayPal account and use it to make online payments. Or, you can link your bank account to your PayPal account and just transfer the money to your bank.
At the other end of that spectrum, buyers will also be more likely to do business with you because of the added sense of security. For instance, many of them might feel more comfortable with PayPal’s refund policy that makes sure you get paid only when they are satisfied with their purchase.
You can sign up for free. However, you will have to pay for every online transaction made, and the fees will differ depending on the situation. For instance, when receiving a domestic transaction, i.e., both the payer and the receiver are located in the US, you will have to pay 3.49% of the amount paid, as well as a fixed fee of $0.49 for every transaction.
Stripe is another big payment processor, one that is the backbone of millions of businesses.
What makes Stripe so popular?
It is extremely easy to use, both for you and for your customers. It enables you to accept both in-person and online payments. It works all over the world.
Additionally, Stripe can be integrated into your website if you have one. So, if you sell courses or even your services through your website, Stripe is your best friend: It will process the payment and put the money into your bank account.
And, of course, Stripe lets you create your own invoices and send them to your clients.
In return for their services, Stripe takes a percentage from each transaction. The benefit here is that Stripe is probably one of the cheapest payment processors out there, as they only charge you 2.9% per transaction, along with a fixed fee of $0.30.
📚 Learn more: Dive into the numbers and trends with our detailed analysis of Stripe statistics for this year.
One common freelance mistake is depositing funds directly into personal bank accounts. This makes managing your finances, both personal and professional, a hassle.
Ideally, you should have a business bank account that receives payments from your customers, and then you can pay yourself from this account. This will streamline your accounting and will help you avoid countless problems later down the line. This is not to mention how a good business account can be integral for you taking out a loan should your business ever need one.
With this in mind, here are some of the best apps for freelancers who wish to establish a business account.
🏦 Learn more: Get a clearer picture of your financial interactions by exploring our detailed explanation of how banking works.
Founded in 2011, Wise is renowned as a top international money transfer company. Their business bank account is tailored for those who need reliable international transactions, which is why Wise is one of the best apps for freelancers who work internationally.
So, what can you do with a Wise Business bank account?
To begin with, you can facilitate your business’s finances by managing your cash flow, making bulk payments to your vendors, and managing your invoices, just to name a few features.
Moreover, if you pay a one-time fee of $31, Wise Business will provide you with international bank account details. So, the platform will give you a European IBAN and a UK sort code, making it much easier to receive different currencies such as GBP and Euro.
And best of all, it is completely free for freelancers in the US to open a bank account with Wise Business. There are no monthly or maintenance fees, and you don’t even need to have a minimum balance requirement.
🏦 Learn more: Explore our essential guide for practical advice on how to choose a bank that aligns perfectly with your financial needs and goals.
Novo is another popular option for freelancers.
Novo offers a free online business checking account, one that integrates directly with Wise, Stripe, Quickbooks, Square, and countless other apps.
Aside from having no fees, this banking solution has no minimum balance requirements yet provides numerous transfer options built in. To top it all off, Novo doesn’t charge for incoming domestic wires, ATM withdrawals that are out-of-network, or even ACH payments, whether they are incoming or outgoing.
Novo allows you to send and track invoices from your dashboard and provides teams with multi-user access.
The application process is short, taking around 10 minutes.
🏦 Learn more: Discover your ideal banking experience with our objective roundup of the best online banks available today.
There are so many apps in the investment space that it would be overwhelming if we tried to cover them here. Instead, we will focus on just a couple to highlight the possibilities.
📈 Learn more: From choosing assets to understanding risk, our guide covers all the essentials of investing for beginners.
One of the best apps for freelancers who want to prepare for retirement is Empower. This is one of the largest retirement planning companies, and they recently acquired Personal Capital, which was a two-in-one app: a budgeting tool and investing platform. Empower has become a sort of Swiss army knife for your investment and retirement planning endeavors.
Empower gives you access to some of the best financial tools out there. It enables you to monitor your investments and compare how they are doing against other standard indices. And the company does all of this through a beautiful dashboard that is remarkably easy to use.
Empower also helps with your budgeting, providing full visibility over your expenses and spending.
Empower offers a robo-advisor platform as well as help from qualified financial advisors, who come cheaper than traditional advisors. Empower provides both of these options through its wealth management services. The only caveat here, which can be a big barrier for most, is that you need to have $100,000 in assets under management to qualify for wealth management services.
Empower doesn’t charge you for either their financial tools or their budgeting platform. However, when it comes to their investment services and robo-advisor platform, Empower charges a steep 0.89%, which is a bit more than what most other robo-advisors might charge.
If you want to start investing but still haven’t built enough wealth for something like Empower, then Betterment might be the better option for you. Not only does it offer a robo-advisor platform, but the account minimum and fees fees are quite friendly.
All you have to do is sign up, decide how much you want to invest, and lay out your financial goals. In return, Betterment will highlight the best options for you.
There are multiple investment options to choose from. Left to its own devices, the app will auto-invest in cheap, diversified ETFs. Alternatively, you can choose one of Betterment’s curated portfolios, where each portfolio follows a unique investment strategy, such as investing in innovative technology or in companies that are combating climate change. A third option is to customize your own portfolio, but you need to be an experienced investor to do this.
Betterment has three plans. The cheapest one is for free. The second costs 0.25% of assets managed annually. The third one costs 0.4% annually.
Overall, Betterment is one of the best apps for freelancers who want to build their own equivalent to a 401(k).
For many freelancers, the only way you can fund your business is either through cash generated from work or through loans or investments from the three F’s (family, friends, and fools). To sustain your business or possibly even expand it, you might need to look beyond those sources.
To that end, you might want to consider fintech apps that are specifically designed for small business loans.
American Express used to have a specific brand, Kabbage, for small business loans. Not too long ago, American Express decided to retire the brand when it launched American Express Business Blueprint.
Today, you can take out a loan from American Express Business Blueprint if you meet these conditions:
- You are 18 years or older.
- Your business is more than a year old.
- Your business has a credit score of 660 or more
- Your business brings in a revenue of $3,000 or more every month
If you have been an American Express customer for a while, the above conditions may change.
American Express can provide you with a loan ranging from $2,000 to $250,000, and the approval process is usually fast. Both the website and the American Express app are user-friendly, so the entire interaction should be manageable.
The only issue is that the fees can be a tad exorbitant. While you won’t pay loan application or origination fees, your interest rate can reach 27% monthly. Obviously, the rate you will pay is determined largely by your business’s credit score, so it can be much lower than 27%. You should still be aware of the worst-case scenario.
Working With Partners
Earlier, we saw how an app like Goodbudget can help you and your business partner manage your finances together. However, to round out our list of the best apps for freelancers, it is worth looking at an app that is dedicated specifically to managing money with a partner.
👩❤️💋👨 Learn more: Learn about common money mistakes couples make and find practical advice on how to sidestep them in our post.
Honeydue is an app designed for couples. However, it can also be one of the best apps for freelancers with a business partner, especially if the financial responsibilities are split between the two of you equally.
Depending on your preferences, Honeydue can give you visibility into your business partner’s bank accounts, taken-out loans, and even investments. Your partner will get to peer into your finances as well, of course.
You will also be able to share your money with the help of the newly launched Joint Cash feature. Your shared cash is accessible in the real world through ATMs or online through Google Pay and Apple Pay.
Honeydue is one of the best apps for freelancers out there, as it makes it easy to manage your business’s bills and coordinate your expenses together. It makes your bills visible to both of you and sends you consistent reminders so you never have to worry about late penalties. The app offers a chat feature that lets you centralize all financial conversations.
Honeydue offers most of its features for free.
Putting It All Together…
Financial management tools are crucial for running a successful freelance business. Whether you need a single app or a combination, choosing the best apps for freelancers can streamline your operations. Consider these options to build an effective financial tech stack tailored to your needs.
If your business is large enough to warrant the latter option, then you would do well to make sure that the different apps you choose integrate with one another, assuring that your workflow is smooth and nothing falls between the cracks.