Having an active side hustle is exciting, but it also increases the complexity of your finances. Often, having the right bookkeeping app is essential. With the proper software, you can monitor income, track expenses, issue invoices, prepare for your taxes, and more, all from one application. However, choosing the right app can be difficult. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are eight essential bookkeeping apps for your side hustle that are worth considering.
1. QuickBooks Self-Employed
When it comes to accounting software, few names are as well-recognized as QuickBooks. If you’re trying to track your financial activities for a side hustle, QuickBooks Self-Employed is a specialized version designed with your needs in mind.
Along with income and expense tracking, the QuickBooks Self-Employed app offers mileage tracker capabilities, making it a great choice for rideshare or contract delivery gigs. Plus, you can file your quarterly estimated taxes right through the platform.
QuickBooks Self-Employed also has invoicing capabilities that are accessible through browsers and smartphone apps. You can also integrate this with QuickBooks Payments, giving you a payment processing solution that’s built into your broader bookkeeping software.
If you’re looking for a straightforward way to manage and track invoices, FreshBooks is a solid option. While it doesn’t have some of the broader capabilities that you find in QuickBooks, it makes creating and sending invoices easy. Additionally, there are built-in payment processing tools, as well as helpful options like recurring invoices and automated payment reminders.
Plus, FreshBooks has time tracking features. If you need to charge based on hourly work, it’s a solid way to ensure you’re billing accurately. You can also create and send proposals through the app, allowing you to monitor all of your quotes with ease.
You can also keep up with your expenses and mileage through the app. That way, when tax time rolls around, you’ll be ready.
Another solution that was designed with freelancers and side hustles in mind, Xero is a solid choice for anyone looking for a QuickBooks alternative. Along with online invoicing and quotes, you can connect your bank accounts to simplify reconciliation. There’s also bill and receipt capturing, making expense tracking even easier.
Like the other options on this list, you can use the app to manage payment processing. It can connect to several services, allowing you to add a “pay now” button to your invoices and accept credit or debit card payments with ease.
One interesting feature that’s available with Xero is bill paying. While you are limited to the number you can pay through the app, it’s a nice option for anyone who wants to ensure their business activities are centralized.
If you’re looking for basic bookkeeping tools and want to keep your costs down, Wave might be your ideal accounting solution. There is a free version that comes with a companion smartphone app, allowing you to track your finances while on the go without having to pay a dime.
In the free version, you get some solid features, including invoicing, bank connections, income monitoring, and expense tracking. It also allows you to carve out the activities of different side hustles and track them individually, as well as monitor your personal finances in a separate area.
However, the free version doesn’t come with payment processing or payroll features. You can choose to add those on for a cost, though, so keep that in mind.
5. Zoho Books
Another reasonably comprehensive option that can work well for tracking side hustle activities is Zoho Books. It’s incredibly user-friendly, both through the website and mobile app. Plus, it’s reasonably feature-rich, covering all of the primary bases a freelancer, self-employed professional, or gig worker may want.
Along with estimate creation and invoicing, Zoho Books supports expense and income tracking. Additionally, there is online payment processing, making getting paid easier to manage. Plus, you can take advantage of the time tracking tools if you charge by the hour.
Something a little extra than the other essential bookkeeping apps, Zoho Books can simplify taxes. It is compatible and compliant with local mandates, ensuring your bases are covered regardless of what you sell.
6. GoDaddy Bookkeeping
If you’re looking for a low-cost, simplified app for managing your books, GoDaddy Bookkeeping could be an excellent fit, particularly if your side hustle involves e-commerce. Along with invoicing and sales tracking, it can sync with a variety of seller platforms, including Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and PayPal seller accounts. Plus, you can accept payments directly through the invoices, view profit and loss statements, and access business reports.
If you need expense tracking or recurring invoices, you can upgrade to a higher-level tier. While it may not be cost-effective for side hustles that don’t involve e-commerce, for those that do, the integrated capabilities could make even the higher-cost options worthwhile.
In some cases, the only thing you may be worried about is expense tracking. If that’s the case, Expensify might be all you need. It allows you to track receipts during the year, keeping all of your expenses centralized. Then, when it comes time to file your taxes, you’ll be able to tackle your expenses quickly and efficiently.
The Expensify mobile app can capture receipt images with just a couple of clicks. You can also add manual entries for mileage, as well as sort costs into categories.
While Expensify isn’t as robust as the other options on this list, it could be the right choice if expenses are your primary concern. It’s easy to use, and you can get started for free, both of which may be ideal for many side hustlers.
If managing your books is too cumbersome or outside of your wheelhouse, Bench might be the bookkeeping app of your dreams. While it costs more than most alternatives, that’s because you get access to something you don’t get elsewhere: bookkeeping professionals.
With Bench, there are people who help monitor your accounts and update your books. They’ll keep your information up to date, ensuring you can see the status of your side hustle whenever you want. Plus, there are plenty of statements and reporting options, giving you access to the right data at the proper time.
While Bench won’t file your taxes when that time arrives, it will make sure that you have all of the details you need to file. Then, you can either tackle that yourself or bring it to a tax professional, ensuring your filing can go forward smoothly.
Can you think of any other essential bookkeeping apps for side hustles people should consider? Have you tried any of the options above and want to tell others about your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Tamila McDonald has worked as a Financial Advisor for the military for past 13 years. She has taught Personal Financial classes on every subject from credit, to life insurance, as well as all other aspects of financial management. Mrs. McDonald is an AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor and has helped her clients to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals.