The Best Accounting Software for Creatives

February 20, 2024
minutes to read
Justin Bohlmann
Table of Contents

If you're a creative professional, you understand the importance of keeping accurate financial records. Yet, traditional accounting software may not provide the customisation and flexibility you need to manage your unique workflow. Fortunately, there are numerous options designed specifically for creative professionals. In this article, we'll explore the best accounting software solutions available to help you manage your finances and focus on your creative work.

Why Creative Professionals Need Specialised Accounting Software

Creative professionals, whether you're a freelance designer, photographer, or writer, face unique financial challenges that traditional businesses don't encounter. Your contracts may be less predictable, with varying timelines and payment schedules. Years of feast or famine income can make long-term financial planning challenging, and tax rules and regulations may be particularly complex. Specialised accounting software can help you manage these challenges, streamline your workflow, and avoid costly errors.

Unique Financial Challenges in the Creative Industry

One of the biggest financial challenges for creative professionals is cash flow. Unlike traditional businesses with steady revenue streams, creative professionals often experience unpredictable cash flow due to project-based work, seasonal fluctuations, or payment delays. Accounting software designed specifically for creatives can help you manage this and avoid shortfalls.

Another issue creatives face is tax preparation. With a range of credits, deductible expenses, and complex tax laws, standard software may not address the situation of freelance creatives. Specialised software offers tax-planning resources like tracking expenses, generating profit and loss statements, and options for managing self-employed taxes.

Moreover, the creative industry is fast-paced and dynamic, with new trends and technologies emerging regularly. Keeping up with these changes can be challenging. However, accounting software can help creatives stay up to date with trends by providing real-time financial data, enabling them to make informed decisions about their businesses.

Time Management and Efficiency for Creatives

Creative professionals juggle multiple projects and clients regularly, which can make managing their finances a challenge. Specialised accounting software often integrates with time-tracking tools, allowing creatives to smoothly track their hours on different projects, automatically calculating the value of time spent on different activities and organising corresponding client invoicing.

Furthermore, accounting software can help creatives manage their time more effectively by automating routine tasks such as invoicing and expense tracking. This automation frees up time that creatives can use to focus on their core business activities, such as creating new designs or developing new marketing strategies.

Customisation and Integration with Creative Tools

Since every creative's workflow differs, accounting software designed for creatives offer flexibility and customisation to adjust to each user's needs. Some specialise in features for those in visual fields generated around invoicing and estimating creatives. Look for systems that integrate with industry-standard software so you can minimise manual data entry and seamlessly export data.

Moreover, specialised accounting software can integrate with other creative tools, such as project management software or design software, making it easier for creatives to manage their finances and their projects from a single platform. This integration can save time and reduce errors, allowing creatives to focus on their creative work.

In conclusion, specialised accounting software is essential for creative professionals to manage their finances effectively. It can help them overcome unique financial challenges, manage their time more efficiently, and integrate with other creative tools. With the right accounting software, creatives can focus on what they do best – creating amazing designs, photographs, and written content – while leaving the financial management to the experts.

Top Accounting Software Options for Creative Professionals

As a creative professional, you need to focus on your artistic work, but it's equally important to keep track of your finances. Accounting software can help you manage your finances efficiently, so you can spend more time doing what you love. Let's take a look at the best options available.

1. Thriday: Tailored for Freelancers and Small Businesses

Thriday is another accounting solution designed for freelancers and small businesses, with a sleek interface, customisation features, and mobile app. Thriday provides a range of options for invoicing, including allowing you to accept online payments. It also automatically tracks expenses, allowing you to focus on your creative work.

What distinguishes Thriday from other accounting solutions is its ability to track spend on specific projects. With the software's transaction tracking tool, creatives can bill clients for their time and effort with ease. This feature is particularly useful for freelancers who need to track billable hours accurately.

Additionally, Thriday offers a variety of features to manage your entire workflow from one place.

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2. QuickBooks Online: A Comprehensive Solution

QuickBooks Online is a market leader in accounting software for small businesses, and its online version is an ideal pick for creative professionals. QuickBooks Online features the essential accounting tools, like invoicing, bill management, and income and expense tracking, all packaged in an easy-to-use interface.

QuickBooks Online is user-friendly, allowing you to focus more on the creative side of your business and less time balancing expense reports. Additionally, it is either suitable for freelancers or small businesses, providing various customisable plans that can be upgraded as your business grows.

With QuickBooks Online, you can generate detailed financial reports, including balance sheets, profit and loss statements, and cash flow statements. These reports can help you understand your business's financial health and make informed decisions about your future.

3. Xero: Cloud-Based and User-Friendly

Xero is another cloud-based accounting platform suitable for small creative businesses and freelancers. With this service, you can stay up-to-date and track your businesses' every financial move from anywhere with an internet connection. Xero's platform is accessible through any device with its app and is worth considering if you prefer a more mobile approach to accounting.

Another feature of Xero is its ability to integrate with third-party software, so creative professionals can seamlessly manage their workflow and finances without having to leave Xero's interface. It also has an invoicing component like the others mentioned earlier, but another significant benefit is the real-time financial reporting, keeping track of your finances daily instead of the end of the month or quarter.

With Xero, you can also create custom financial reports to gain insight into your business's performance. You can track your cash flow, monitor your expenses, and manage your inventory all from one place.

Key Features to Look for in Accounting Software for Creatives

As a creative professional, managing your finances can be a daunting task. However, with the right accounting software, you can streamline your bookkeeping and focus on what you do best. While accounting software for creatives varies, there are some key features you should look for when choosing a platform:

Invoicing and Billing Customisation

Customising your invoices and bills is critical in representing your brand. It's essential to pick an accounting solution that allows you to customise visual elements to give clients a professional and personalised impression. Additionally, find software that allows you to include different payment options, such as PayPal or credit cards. This flexibility can help you get paid faster and improve your cash flow.

Moreover, customising your invoices and bills can help you stand out from the competition. By adding your logo, branding colours, and a personal message, you can create a memorable experience for your clients.

Time Tracking and Project Management

Time tracking abilities are essential for most creative professionals. Accounting software integrated with time tracking tools helps manage your hourly rates and project-based work quickly. With project management features, you can pinpoint the expenses tied to a particular project quickly.

Moreover, time tracking can help you understand how much time you're spending on each project and adjust your rates accordingly. This data can also help you identify which projects are the most profitable and which ones are not worth your time.

Expense Tracking and Receipt Management

Expense tracking allows freelancers to categorise expenses instantly and connect them to billable projects. It's crucial that accounting software can handle physical or digital copies of receipts to keep everything in one place for easy access.

Furthermore, tracking your expenses can help you identify areas where you're overspending and make adjustments to your budget. By categorising your expenses, you can also see which areas of your business are the most costly and find ways to reduce your expenses.

Financial Reporting and Analysis

Most accounting software offers financial reports. However, you'll want an accounting solution that processes a broad range of statements for easy analysis like profit and loss by project, expense categories, and income streams over time. If you have a business consultant or accountant, they will be grateful for the ability to generate a more-complete view of your finances.

Financial reporting and analysis can help you make informed decisions about your business. By understanding your cash flow, profit margins, and other key financial metrics, you can identify areas where you need to improve and make changes to your business strategy.

Collaboration and Multi-User Access

When working with teams, you need an accounting solution that provides several user roles. You don't want team members to have access to every aspect of bookkeeping or accounting, but you also don't want to create a barrier to the information they need. Pick a solution that offers team-specific workflow and user permissions.

Moreover, collaboration and multi-user access can help you streamline your workflow and improve communication within your team. By giving team members access to relevant financial data, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

Overall, choosing the right accounting software can make a significant impact on your business's success. By selecting a platform with the features mentioned above, you can streamline your bookkeeping, improve your cash flow, and make informed decisions about your business.

The Bottom Line

Managing finances can take up a significant portion of your creative time, but accounting software is designed to meet the unique needs of creatives. There are plenty of options available, but finding a suitable provider starts with identifying essential features. With our review of the best accounting software for creative professionals and its features, you can start shortlisting. Pick the accounting solution that aligns with your workflow and unleashes the full potential of your creative business.

DISCLAIMER: Team Thrive Pty Ltd ABN 15 637 676 496 (Thriday) is an authorised representative (No.1297601) of Regional Australia Bank ABN 21 087 650 360  AFSL 241167 (Regional Australia Bank).  Regional Australia Bank is the issuer of the transaction account and debit card available through Thriday. Any information provided by Thriday is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether Thriday is appropriate for you.

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