Best Business Software for Self Employed: Streamlining Operations

published on 14 February 2024

As a self-employed individual, it's challenging to efficiently manage all business operations without the right tools.

Luckily, there is specially designed software that can significantly streamline daily tasks, saving you time while increasing productivity.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the top-rated business software for the self-employed, including options for accounting, invoicing, tax preparation, project management, and more.


As a self-employed individual or small business owner, finding ways to streamline operations and improve productivity is essential for growth and success. The right business software can provide the automation, integration, and analytics needed to optimize workflows. This article explores some of the best software options to meet the needs of solo entrepreneurs and growing companies.

Defining the Needs of the Self-Employed

When evaluating business software, it's important to assess your specific pain points and requirements. Common needs for the self-employed include:

  • Accounting and Invoicing: Tracking income and expenses, creating professional invoices, managing accounts receivable/payable, and running financial reports.
  • Tax Preparation: Estimating quarterly taxes owed, integrating with accounting software, and filing self-employment taxes.
  • Payroll: Paying contractors, filing 1099s, and potentially managing employee payroll.
  • Project and Time Tracking: Monitoring billable hours per client, assigning tasks, and planning projects.
  • CRM and Lead Management: Organizing contacts, interacting with leads and clients, email marketing.
  • HR Management: Onboarding contractors/employees, managing documents, tracking PTO.

The right tools can automate these repetitive tasks to boost productivity.

Key Features to Look for in Business Software

When comparing software options, keep an eye out for these key capabilities:

  • Mobile Apps: Access your data and manage operations from anywhere.
  • Automations: Set up rules to streamline workflows without manual work.
  • Integrations: Connect the tools you already use to share data.
  • Scalability: Adjust plans and features as your business grows.
  • Security: Ensure data protection through encryption and permissions.

Prioritizing these features helps optimize workflows today and support future growth.

What is the best bookkeeping software for self-employed?

Choosing the right bookkeeping software is crucial for self-employed individuals to efficiently manage their finances and ensure accurate record keeping. When selecting software, it's important to consider features like automation, integration, mobile access, and affordability.

Here are some top options to consider:


  • User-friendly, intuitive interface
  • Robust time tracking, invoicing, expense management
  • Integrates with payment processors and other business apps
  • Affordable pricing tiers

Zoho Books

  • Comprehensive accounting and invoicing
  • Inventory management and order fulfillment
  • Seamless integration with other Zoho products
  • Scales from small business to enterprise


  • Specialized for service-based businesses
  • Tracks time, expenses, mileage, and more
  • Automates accounting workflows
  • Affordable subscription plans


  • Simple, easy-to-use platform
  • Mobile app for on-the-go access
  • Integrates with POS systems
  • Ideal for solopreneurs and microbusinesses

The best accounting software for self-employed depends on your business needs and budget. Evaluate core features like invoicing, expense tracking, reporting, and integrations to find the right solution. Prioritize automation, mobility, and scalability as your business grows.

What is the easiest bookkeeping software to use?

Based on the context provided, the easiest bookkeeping software to use would likely be FreshBooks. Here's a quick overview:

Why FreshBooks stands out for ease of use

  • Intuitive, simple interface designed for non-accountants
  • Easy set up and navigation
  • Built-in wizards and guides for common tasks
  • Robust mobile app lets you manage finances on the go
  • Seamless integration with payment processors and bank accounts
  • Automates invoicing, expense tracking, reporting, and more

FreshBooks aims to take the pain out of bookkeeping and accounting with software that anyone can understand and use effectively, without an accounting background. Their interface uses simple, straightforward terminology tailored to small business owners and solopreneurs.

The platform guides you through setting up your business profile, adding products/services, connecting payment accounts, configuring taxes, and customizing invoices. From there, features like automated billing, expense capture, reporting, and project costing make it simple to stay on top of your finances.

For self-employed individuals and microbusiness owners who want an easy way to manage their books, FreshBooks hits the mark for user-friendliness and simplicity. The intuitive setup, navigation, and abundance of built-in features allow even accounting novices to effectively track their finances, invoice clients, collect payments, and generate key financial reports.

So if you're looking for fuss-free bookkeeping software that doesn't require an advanced accounting degree, FreshBooks is likely the easiest solution to put to work for your business. Their focus on usability makes financial admin simple for solopreneurs and small teams.

Is QuickBooks for small business worth it?

QuickBooks Online is definitely worth considering for small businesses looking to streamline their financial operations. Here are some of the key benefits it offers:

Easy to Use Interface

QuickBooks Online has an intuitive, easy to navigate interface. You don't need an accounting background to quickly set up charts of accounts, reconcile transactions, generate invoices, and run reports. This makes day-to-day financial management much simpler.

Robust Core Accounting Features

As an online accounting solution designed for small businesses, QuickBooks Online includes all the essential accounting tools you'd expect:

  • Invoicing and billing
  • Accounts payable/receivable
  • Bank and credit card reconciliations
  • Financial reporting
  • Inventory management

These features cover the core accounting activities for most small companies.

Scales With Your Business

Unlike some basic accounting apps, QuickBooks Online has advanced capabilities to manage inventory, employees, multiple users/locations that can support your company as it grows. Upgrading plans is easy.

Integration With Other Tools

QuickBooks Online plays well with other software. It offers hundreds of integrations with POS systems, ecommerce platforms, payment processors, and productivity tools through apps and Zapier. This allows you to connect QuickBooks Online into your existing small business workflow.

Access Anywhere

Since QuickBooks Online is cloud-based software, you can access your important financial data from any laptop, phone or tablet with an internet connection. This enables you to manage finances on the go.

So in summary - with its depth of accounting features, scalability, and integrations - QuickBooks Online delivers excellent value for small businesses looking to simplify financial management. The subscription plans are affordable for most small company budgets.

Is QuickBooks Self-Employed worth it?

QuickBooks Self-Employed (QBSE) is absolutely worth it for self-employed individuals and freelancers looking to simplify their accounting and finances. Here's why:

Easy-to-Use Interface

QBSE provides an intuitive, user-friendly interface that makes accounting a breeze. You don't need to be an accountant to understand the dashboard and reports. Within minutes, you can set up accounts, categorize transactions, track mileage, generate invoices, and more. The mobile app also lets you manage finances on-the-go.

Affordable Pricing

Unlike other accounting platforms, QBSE offers very affordable pricing starting at just $7.50 per month. There are no long-term contracts or commitments. For self-employed folks watching their bottom line, this is a huge perk. QBSE provides tremendous value without the high price tag.

Robust Accounting Features

Despite the low cost, QBSE still boasts professional-grade accounting capabilities like automated categorization and reconciliation, invoicing, expense tracking, quarterly and annual tax estimates, and more. For most solopreneurs, QBSE can handle all of their accounting and tax prep needs.

Seamless Tax Integration

Running a business as a freelancer also means handling your own taxes. QBSE completely integrates with TurboTax Self-Employed. With a few clicks, you can import QBSE data into TurboTax to simplify filing. It takes much of the pain and effort out of doing your self-employed taxes.

With its user-friendly interface, affordable pricing, robust features, and tax integration, QuickBooks Self-Employed offers tremendous value. I highly recommend it for any self-employed individual or freelance business owner looking to streamline their finances.


Accounting Software for Small Business

Accounting software is crucial for self-employed individuals and small business owners to efficiently manage their finances. As a solopreneur, keeping tabs on income, expenses, tax deductions, invoices, and more can be daunting without the right tools. The top accounting solutions provide an all-in-one platform to seamlessly track financials and run reports for smarter decision-making.

Best Free Accounting Software for Small Business

When starting out, investing in expensive accounting software is rarely feasible. Luckily, full-featured free options exist to handle essential financial tasks.

Wave Accounting shines with free invoicing, receipt scanning, accounting, and payroll features. The intuitive interface allows for easy expense tracking and financial oversight without hidden fees. Wave also provides free bank reconciliations, balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow reports. For small business owners concerned about scalability, Wave delivers robust capabilities without the high cost.

Another option is Zoho Books, which offers core accounting tools like invoicing, expense tracking, inventory management, and financial reporting. The cloud-based software also integrates with other Zoho apps for complete business oversight. For solopreneurs who later scale up, Zoho Books upgrades to accommodate business growth.

Overall, Wave and Zoho Books exemplify capable free accounting platforms for lean startups and self-employed professionals. The lack of subscription fees allows small business owners to redirect funds into company growth.

Business Accounting Apps

Mobile accounting apps provide on-the-go access for managing finances, tracking deductible mileage, snapping receipts, categorizing expenses, generating invoices, accepting payments, and more. Top accounting apps include:

  • QuickBooks Self-Employed - Mileage tracker, tax estimator, expense manager
  • Xero - Cloud accounting, invoicing, expense claims
  • FreshBooks - Time tracking, online payments, accounting

These apps allow solopreneurs to handle accounting tasks wherever they are for true flexibility. The ability to separate personal and business transactions also helps come tax season. For self-employed individuals frequently on the move meeting clients or prospects, accounting apps promote productivity.

QuickBooks Self-Employed App

The QuickBooks Self-Employed app aims to simplify taxes for solopreneurs. Key features include:

  • Automatic mileage tracking
  • Income and expense categorization
  • Tax estimates and tips
  • Invoicing capabilities
  • Time tracking
  • Quarterly and annual tax reports

By automatically separating business and personal transactions, QuickBooks Self-Employed makes filing taxes less tedious. The mileage tracker is also handy for maximizing deductions. For self-employed professionals focused on taxes, QuickBooks delivers helpful tools.

Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting offers 100% free accounting software for small businesses, making it a popular choice. Core features include:

  • Invoicing
  • Accounting (income, expenses, bank reconciliation)
  • Receipt scanning
  • Payroll
  • Reports (profit & loss, balance sheet)

Ideal for solopreneurs and lean startups, Wave provides convenient financial oversight without monthly fees hampering growth potential. All essentials like invoicing, accounting, and reporting are covered in an intuitive interface. Wave also partners with payment processors like Stripe for collecting invoice payments online. With comprehensive capabilities free of charge, Wave Accounting helps self-employed professionals manage finances.

Xero Accounting

Xero markets itself as "small business accounting software made easy" with good reason. This popular platform offers:

  • Cloud-based access across devices
  • Bank account and credit card connections for automated feeds
  • Invoicing
  • Expense claims
  • Financial reporting
  • 700+ app integrations

As a cloud-accounting solution, Xero enables real-time financial data access from anywhere, great for self-employed individuals on the move. Robust third-party integrations also allow connecting platforms like PayPal, Stripe, and MailChimp for centralized business oversight. For solopreneurs seeking an established ecosystem for scaling, Xero delivers.

Invoicing and Billing Software

Invoicing and billing software is crucial for freelancers and self-employed individuals to efficiently manage their finances. As a solo entrepreneur, you need tools to create professional invoices, track payments, manage expenses, and optimize cash flow. The right software can save you time on administrative tasks so you can focus on your core business.

Best Free Invoice Software

Free invoice software helps reduce overhead costs for bootstrapped freelancers. Top options include:

  • Wave Invoicing: Offers easy invoicing, accounting, and receipt scanning. Great for solopreneurs on a budget.
  • Zoho Invoice: Creates customizable invoices and automates payment reminders. Seamless integration with other Zoho business apps.
  • FreshBooks Basic: Generates professional invoices and tracks time with basic accounting capabilities.

When choosing free invoicing software, ensure it has the core features you need like templates, payment tracking, expense logging, and reporting. Scaled down free versions may lack more advanced capabilities.

Best Invoicing Software for Freelancers

Invoicing tools built for freelancers and small teams streamline operations with features like:

  • Recurring invoices to bill regular clients automatically
  • Payment processing to collect invoices online
  • Time tracking to invoice hourly work accurately
  • Expense tracking for tax deductions
  • Accounting integration to manage the full financial picture

Top-rated options like FreshBooks, Zoho Invoice, and Wave Accounting check these boxes while offering affordable paid plans, making them suitable for solopreneurs.

Time Tracking Apps

Accurately tracking time is vital for freelancers billing hourly. Time tracking apps like Toggl, Harvest, and Hubstaff provide:

  • Productivity monitoring to identify inefficiencies
  • Automated time capture via start/stop timers
  • Timesheet generation for seamless client invoicing
  • Project budgeting based on tracked hours

Integrating a time tracker with invoicing software gives freelancers transparency into billable hours and how their time translates to income. This is invaluable in accurately pricing services.

The right mix of free and paid tools can empower self-employed professionals to take control of their finances, maximize productivity, and set their freelance business up for success.

Tax and Financial Management Tools

Managing finances and taxes can be daunting for the self-employed. Thankfully, there are software solutions available to assist with these complexities.

Self-Employed Accounting Software Free

Free accounting software offers basic financial management features tailored to solo entrepreneurs on a budget. Top options include:

  • Wave Accounting: Offers free invoicing, accounting, and receipt scanning. Great for tracking income and expenses. Lacks some reporting features.
  • Zoho Books: Provides basic accounting and invoicing for up to 2 users. Easy to use with Zoho's CRM and other business apps. Limited to 5 invoices per month on the free plan.
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed App: Syncs with bank accounts to automatically track income and expenses. Useful for basic accounting needs but lacks invoicing. Must upgrade for advanced features.

While free tools have limitations, they can suit simple financial needs for solopreneurs starting out. Those needing advanced accounting may require upgraded paid plans.

Tax Preparation Software for Self-Employed

Specialized tax software helps the self-employed maximize deductions and track relevant expenses, including:

  • TurboTax Self-Employed: Imports relevant data from QuickBooks Self-Employed. Useful for handling deductions and credits for independent contractors.
  • TaxSlayer Self Employed: Affordable tax filing with guidance for common self-employment tax situations. Lacks support for some complex returns.
  • H&R Block Tax Software: Comprehensive tax prep for independent contractors and freelancers. More expensive but offers phone support from tax pros.

Utilizing self-employed focused tax software can save money by identifying all eligible business expense deductions. Those with complex tax situations may benefit from professional accounting services.

Financial Statements and Basic Accounting Principles

Accounting software generates key financial statements based on standard bookkeeping principles:

  • Income Statement: Tracks revenues and expenses over a period. Useful for assessing profitability.
  • Balance Sheet: Provides a financial snapshot of assets, liabilities and equity on a given date. Indicates financial health.
  • Cash Flow Statement: Shows money coming in and out of the business. Helps predict future cash needs.

Understanding these statements and accounting basics like double-entry bookkeeping allows better financial control. Software automates these processes for accurate real-time tracking. Consulting an accountant can provide further insight.

In summary, the self-employed have access to software assisting with financial management, tax preparation, financial reporting, and accounting essentials. Selecting solutions aligned with business needs and complexity allows better focus on core operations.

Productivity and Management Tools

Self-employed individuals and small business owners often struggle with staying organized and managing their time effectively. The right productivity and project management tools can make a big difference in optimizing operations.

Expense Tracking Software

Keeping track of business expenses is critical for self-employed professionals. The best expense tracking software provides features like:

  • Automatic syncing with bank and credit card accounts to import transactions
  • Customizable categories to tag different types of expenses
  • Receipt capture abilities using mobile apps
  • Mileage tracking for vehicle expenses
  • Reporting to simplify filing self-employed taxes

Examples: QuickBooks Self-Employed, Expensify, MileIQ

Project Management Tools

Juggling multiple client projects while running all aspects of a business solo can quickly lead to missed deadlines. Project management tools help by:

  • Enabling task assignment to keep projects moving forward
  • Setting reminders and due date notifications
  • Building client dashboards for transparency
  • Integrating with other apps for seamless workflow

Top picks: Asana, Trello, Basecamp

CRM Software for Freelancers

Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps self-employed professionals stay connected with their clients and prospects by:

  • Maintaining organized contact lists
  • Logging communications and meetings
  • Setting reminders for follow-ups
  • Building email marketing campaigns
  • Tracking deals in sales pipelines

Best for solopreneurs: Zoho CRM, Insightly, HubSpot CRM

Time Management Software

With no one managing your schedule, time management is a make-or-break skill for the self-employed. Software can assist by:

  • Scheduling appointments and blocking off focus time
  • Applying time estimates to tasks
  • Alerting you when meetings and deadlines are approaching
  • Integrating calendars across devices

Top apps: Calendar, Clockify, Timely

Investing in the right mix of productivity and management tools goes a long way toward keeping solo businesses running smoothly. The software options available today help maximize organization and efficiency for self-employed professionals.


With a vast range of software options now available, self-employed professionals can effectively streamline workflows, reduce overhead, and position themselves for sustained growth by leveraging the right digital systems.

Key Takeaways

  • Accounting software like QuickBooks Self-Employed, Wave, and FreshBooks can help freelancers and solopreneurs manage finances, track expenses, generate invoices, and simplify tax preparation.
  • Time tracking tools like Toggl provide visibility into how time is being spent on client projects and can feed data directly into invoicing workflows.
  • CRM systems like HubSpot and Zoho CRM centralize lead and client data to optimize sales processes.
  • Project management platforms like Asana, Trello, and Basecamp enable effective task organization, resource allocation, and team collaboration.
  • Cloud storage services like Google Drive or Dropbox facilitate secure document access and seamless file sharing.
  • Email marketing software like Mailchimp assists with building professional-looking campaigns and growing audience engagement.

The key is identifying areas of one's business that can benefit from process improvement or automation, then finding software tailored to those needs. With some research and testing, self-employed professionals can build a customized tech stack that takes their venture to the next level. The time savings and efficiency gains ultimately position solopreneurs to take on more clients and continue expanding.

Related posts

Read more