Don’t do it yourself

Time is precious to freelancers. Admin is a pain in the arse. By this, I mean the admin that employees can often avoid, through having a specific department within a company to deal with things on their behalf.

Most of us don’t have the funds to use a virtual assistant, although I’ve been tempted.

In fact, I did actually hire someone on Fiverr to rewrite my LinkedIn profile a few months ago. I couldn’t be bothered, needed it done, didn’t have time and, frankly, I didn’t know various things about writing LinkedIn profiles that my helpful Fiverr recruit did know. It may not be perfect, but it’s likely to be better than I could have managed myself in the same time. It also cost me less than my average hourly rate. Worth thinking about.

Anyway, what I’m going on about here is efficiency. And I’m a proper geek for trying to find ways to do this stuff digitally. This is often referred to as ‘productivity hacking’.

Work smarter, not harder.

This impacts on all sorts of things from the amount of time we have to do paid work to the amount of time we can spend with our families, or in the pub or out walking the dogs; whatever your lifestyle.

This tedious admin is probably the most irritating thing we have to deal with. Apart from terrible communication from in-house teams, badly run projects, a failing wi-fi connection or next door’s builders.

Wave

Last year, in January, I decided to start using the financial management software Wave. It’s good. I like it. And it’s free. I used it all year, but in a sort of 50% efficient type of way. I experimented with a few things, but mostly stuck to the basic invoice creation function which enables me to create nicely designed invoices and logs all my earnings.

Wave Dashboard

I connected a couple of bank accounts, which enable Wave to track things and do more powerful stuff, but my banking situation at the moment is too complicated for Wave to figure out sensibly. Or at least I haven’t managed to set it up to deal with the intricacies of my banking set up.

I say intricacies, you might say chaos. Suffice to say it’s to do with accounts in more than one country, income in more than one currency and an annoying ‘blend’ of personal and business finances that I’m trying to free myself from. An attempt to do this last year failed and thus further impacted on the data that Wave could take care of for me.

Invoice tracker

So here I am, briefly in between projects, and I’ve had some time to look again at this situation. I’m still no further on with banking, but I’ve set up Wave a bit more sensibly and learned a couple of things.

Firstly, I decided I wanted to add my purchase invoices, not just create invoices for sales. I discovered that I can attach and email pdfs (and some other file types) directly to my Wave account. The software then ‘reads’ the information and creates an initial entry in my account that I can edit. I can add the expenses to a category which automatically creates graphs and reports that show me what I’ve been spending on.

Boom! How easy is that? Awesome!

Integrate and automate

Secondly, I decided to connect Wave, via Zapier, to a Google Sheet. Now I’ve generally got a bit of a problem with Google, but, on balance, the ease of use offered by Google’s services just means I keep getting tempted into using the G Suite products.

This integration automates the addition of lines to a spreadsheet logging all the purchase invoices I add to Wave. Previously, I had a sheet on which I updated this information manually, but using this automation means that I’ve eliminated this task.

Integrated spreadsheet

I’ve added a link to this sheet added to my browser bookmarks and my work is done.

And relax.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have used Wave or a similar tool and what your experiences are with freelance business accounting.

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