4 Apps For Your Business

I've been working at starting my freelancing. Nothing fancy, just a few extra jobs on the side. However, when it came time to organize myself with accounting and project management, things started to fall apart. I needed something cheap (as in free) and easy to use so I didn't have to sit there learning terminology and trying to figure out the ins and outs of these hardcore programs. Not to mention, most of the "industry standards" cost money.

So I went on the search and found a couple easy to use yet powerful web based systems that are also free.

Accounting - Wave Accounting

The first is a website called Wave Accounting. It's simple, easy to use and very robust in its features. You can easily add clients, invoices, do reporting, sync with a bank account .. all the stuff the big boys do. There is no feature limitations, and it's free. And you can access your account anywhere a computer is.

http://www.waveaccounting.com

Accounting - GnuCash

A desktop based software I've also used, liked, but was too much for my non-CPA brain is called GnuCash. If you need heavy duty features like QuickBooks, this would be for you. The features are way too numerous to detail, but it's worth a look-see.

http://www.gnucash.org

Organization - Clocking IT

Being the communication freak that I am, I have always been driven to find a perfect solution. Sure, it's easy enough to have your own task manager. There are tons out there for just to-do lists.

However, in my industry sometimes it's necessary to collaborate with others, clients, etc and insure that people can only see what they need to. Give them access to certain features, see certain files, etc.

This is where a web-based company called Clocking IT comes into play. With Clocking IT you can add projects, milestones and tasks easily, giving people abilities to view, edit, create, prioritize and do reporting. You have interactive GANTT charts to help you change your scheduling on-the-fly. Upload files, chat with anyone logged in, create a Wiki, full reporting including charts .. it's fully usable and absolutely free.

http://www.clockingit.com

Business Management - StudioCloud

While web-based seems to be the preferred method of business management, sometimes a desktop application is something that will suit your needs. In this case, an Adobe AIR based software called StudioCloud may be your best bet.

You have a CRM, book keeping, project management, point of sale, scheduling, reporting, quoting .. and the basics of the program is free.

The downside of this software is in order to open the file on any other computer you need to pay for sync features. Also, you can't collaborate with freelancers, clients, etc with this software. You can have employees access it in a collaborative way .. bit it's not truly collaborative, and at that point it's getting more costly.

For people who need the whistles, but not the bells, this could work out perfectly. For those, like myself, who need more I quickly outgrew it.

http://www.studiocloud.com

Paid for services

There are some other services you can use in which you pay money to use. The benefit of these is you have more stability and you know that things are going to be updated regularly without a fail. You're a customer, not just a user. I can't honestly say I'd rather pay for a monthly service, but I'm also a developer so I know more ins and outs than the average joe.

37Signals has a handful of services they offer such as Basecamp, Highrise and Backpack.

Zoho also has a TON of services for everything and anything you want.

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