Which organizational software should I choose for my freelance business?
December 1, 2006 4:02 PM   Subscribe

Quicken, Microsoft Accounting, Studiometry, or Something Else Entirely for a freelance PowerPoint design business (Windows XP)?

For about a year, I've been using Excel to keep track of clients, projects and billing, but it's getting to be a big mess. Please help me choose the right software for my needs.

I believe the features I need (and feel free to suggest others) are:
- Managing client contact info
- Tracking time on projects (I charge hourly so a timer would be nice, but not critical)
- Invoicing and tracking payments
- Generating basic financial reports
- Tracking expenses

Quicken seems to be the most well-supported, Microsoft Accounting Express is free, Studiometry is nice and light and doesn't seem to have tons of features I'll never use.

So...one of those, or something else?
posted by SampleSize to Work & Money (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've used Quickbooks for a web development business, and I find it both clunky and overkill. You can get by with web based services. Why don't you try Harvest for time tracking and Blinksale for invoicing? You can track client contact info with any contact manager, and use Basecamp to record client communications.
posted by lsemel at 4:25 PM on December 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

I assume you mean QuickBooks, not Quicken. I use Quicken at home and I am getting really sick of Intuit's user-hostile behavior at every step. Things like trying to sell me something else all the time (after I already bought their damn product), even installing five Spyware-looking icons for new credit cards on my Desktop. The latest annoyance was finding that after spending money to upgrade to Quicken 2007, I no longer had alerts on bank accounts over a maximum or under a minimum (apparently you have to pay extra for that). I feel like they keep changing their file formats to lock you in and force upgrades.

When you add in the bugginess and inability to comply with basic user interface standards in their flagship project, it's hard for me to ever recommend another Intuit product. Who knows, maybe QuickBooks is fantastically different, but I think my experiences reveal a money-grubbing user-hostile core of this company, which should be avoided.
posted by grouse at 4:28 PM on December 1, 2006

Yeah, I meant QuickBooks - thanks. Seems like a lot of people have complaints similar to yours regarding Intuit stuff.
posted by SampleSize at 4:38 PM on December 1, 2006

We use QuickBooks, and it seems to do the job. I don't endorse it, since it seems like it's bloated, and the interface isn't very intuitive. I'd suggest trying online applications.

I haven't used it, but there's another invoicing service, FreshBooks. Haven't used it, but it might be helpful as a comparison against Blinksale. (Don't take my link to FreshBooks as a dig at Blinksale. I haven't used either one. It looks like FreshBooks also has time tracking, but Blinksale integrates with Basecamp.)
posted by Alt F4 at 5:41 PM on December 2, 2006

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