FreeAgent Review

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Date Established
2007
Location
United Kingdom

Highlights

  • Easy to use
  • Good customer service
  • International invoicing
  • Project management
  • Unlimited users

Overview

FreeAgent was founded in 2007 by ex-RAF pilot Ed Molyneux and freelancers Roan Lavery and Olly Headey. A large feature set and unlimited users have allowed this software to soar high for years. Over 50,000 users are aboard the FreeAgent plane, and from customer reviews, these users seem incredibly happy with the software. However, the product has hit a little turbulence where payroll and reports are concerned.

FreeAgent offers most basic accounting features, project management, inventory, time tracking, and more. The software is ideal for UK users in need of VAT support and international invoicing. A flat monthly fee gives you access to unlimited users with no limits on features. The UI is easy to use and there is strong customer support.

While FreeAgent offers a ton of great features, some of these features don’t seem fully realized yet and aren’t as easy to navigate as those in other software solutions. Additionally, there are limited importing capabilities, a limited chart of accounts, only seven reports, and hardly any invoice customizations.

To see if the pros outweigh the cons for your business and to learn how to use FreeAgent’s service at zero cost to your company, continue reading.

Pricing

FreeAgent has a single pricing plan: $24/mo. The company offers the first six months of service for $12/mo, and you can receive an additional discount for paying annually. It’s possible to test the software out with a free 30-day trial. No credit card information is required and you can cancel your account at any time.

FreeAgent also offers an enticing referral program where you receive 10% off for every friend you successfully refer. There’s no cap on referrals, so you could potentially get your subscription completely paid for.

These are the features included in a FreeAgent account:

  • $24/mo
  • Invoices and estimates
  • Contact management
  • Expense tracking
  • Accounts payable
  • Basic inventory
  • Project management
  • Time tracking
  • 7 reports
  • Multi-currency
  • Unlimited users

Web-Hosted Or Locally-Installed

Web-hosted. No downloads or installation required.

Hardware & Software Requirements

As cloud-based software, FreeAgent is compatible with nearly any device so long as you have an internet connection and are using an up-to-date version of the following browsers:

  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Safari
  • Google Chrome
  • Internet Explorer (11+)

To successfully use FreeAgent, you’ll also need to make sure Javascript and cookies are enabled. To view pdfs, you’ll need an Adobe Reader plugin. Read FreeAgent’s system requirements to learn more. FreeAgent also has mobile apps available for iPhones (iOS 9+) and Androids (4.1+).

Specific Size Of Business

FreeAgent was designed for small businesses. Freelancers and contractors can also benefit from the large selection of features. The software is ideal for UK users in need of VAT support. For US users, FreeAgent isn’t a bad option, but it’s not the best option (the sales tax feature is limited and there is no payroll available).

You can have unlimited users in FreeAgent and there are strong user permissions available as well.

Accounting Method

Accrual accounting.

Ease Of Use

For the most part, FreeAgent is incredibly easy to use, and the UI is appealing. Navigating the software is a little confusing at times, but there are plenty of support resources to help make your life easier.

  • Setup: When you create a FreeAgent account, you’ll be asked to add your name, business, email, and business type. Once you create a password and activate your account, you’re free to get started. I suggest beginning with Settings and filling in your company details, adding items, setting invoice preferences, adding sales tax rates, and enabling any integrations you may have. After you’ve spent some time updating your settings, I would add contacts and connect to your bank account next. Once these key steps are done, you’re good to go.
  • Organization: Across the top of the screen is a toolbar that’s divided into Overview, Contacts, Work, Bills, Expenses, Banking, Sales Tax, and Accounting. The Work tab is where you’ll find invoicing, estimates, project management, and time tracking. The Sales Tax tab will have the same name as your default sales tax (for example, mine reads CA). In the top right-hand corner, a “Quick Links” button will allow you to add a new invoice, timeslip, expense, bill, project, and contact. If you click on your name in the very top right-hand corner, you’ll be taken to a drop-down menu that reads settings, files, billing, recurring, and logout. On the bottom of the screen, you can click on FreeAgent’s knowledge base, contact support, and grant access to support.
  • Instructions and Guidance: Whenever you open a new feature for the first time in FreeAgent, the software will define the feature for you. It will tell you when to use the feature (and when not to use it). If you need extra assistance, FreeAgent has an extensive Knowledge Base and customer service responds quickly to emails. There are also detailed Getting Started Guides and how-to videos available.

FreeAgent Review

  • Problems: While FreeAgent is designed well and is easy to use, there are a few minor issues.
    • Sometimes Difficult To Navigate: FreeAgent is easy to use, but the software does take some getting used to. Features like inventory, income, and expense accounts are hidden in Settings. Invoicing, estimate, time tracking, and projects are all found under Work, which makes sense after you’ve explored the software a bit, but most programs have individual tabs for these key features.
    • Limited Importing: FreeAgent offers limited importing. You can only import contacts from certain programs and not from a .csv file. You can’t import items at all.
    • Lack Of Invoice Customizations: I was disappointed with FreeAgent in this regard. They offer several nice invoice templates, but there is no way to customize them aside from adding a logo and header. For example, if you simply want to change the colors of your template, you have to know CSS coding to create a custom template. This could definitely be simplified and made accessible to the everyday non-programmer.
    • No Payroll: There is no payroll support for US users, and there is limited sales tax support as well.
    • Invoices Go To Spam Folder: When testing the software, all of the invoices I emailed went straight into the spam folder. I’ve never had this issue with an accounting software before—and while it’s easy enough to fix this problem through my email, this does not bode well for business owners who rely on their software to successfully send their invoices to customers.

Features

FreeAgent offers a strong selection of features. You can take a tour of these features or schedule a demo of the software.

  • Dashboard: The dashboard features charts and graphs that show relevant business activity. You can view your Cashflow and Banking, plus Invoices, Projects, and Timeslips and Expenses, Bills, or Profit and Loss.

FreeAgent Review

  • Invoicing: FreeAgent offers eight invoice templates. The template designs are all appealing, but the customizations could use improvement. You can add a custom logo and header, but if you want to make any other changes, like changing the color scheme of the invoice, you have to know CSS. You can set recurring invoices and invoice reminders. Unlike other invoicing software companies, FreeAgent lets you customize your invoice numbering by project and contact. For example, if you have a contact named Billy Joel, you can number your invoices BJ102 to help you stay organized.

FreeAgent Review

  • Estimates: You can easily create and send invoices. Converting estimates to invoices only take a second, and you can sort estimates by approved, rejected, or sent.
  • Contact Management: You can manage both contacts and vendors using FreeAgent. You can save basic contact information as well as custom notes. You can set default tax settings, add a sale tax registration, and set a default language as well. You can also add a billing email in addition to a contact email—a nice touch that I haven’t seen before. When you click on a contact, you’ll be able to view their full history including how much they currently owe.

FreeAgent Review

  • Expense Tracking: You can track expenses using live bank feeds or by importing bank statements. You can add expenses manually as well. FreeAgent makes it easy to attach expenses to projects and bill them to clients. Note: Like almost all software using bank live feeds, FreeAgent partners with Yodlee, which may violate some banks’ Terms and Conditions. Consult with your bank to see whether live bank feeds are a good choice for you. Unlike most companies, FreeAgent is upfront and honest about partnering with Yodlee, which is almost never the case (way to be transparent, FreeAgent!).
  • Accounts Payable: You can create and manage bills and add bills to projects as well. You can set recurring bills and add attachments and an attachment description to each bill.
  • Inventory: FreeAgent’s inventory feature is called “Price List & Stock” and can be found under Settings. Basically, the Price List portion is your average items list, while the Stock portion actually tracks inventory. Under Stock, you can add an item code, description, and tax reporting type. I wish you could add a description here as well. For both the Price List and Stock section, you can add services as well as items.

FreeAgent Review

  • Chart of Accounts: FreeAgent doesn’t have a full-fledged chart of accounts, but you can record income and expense categories.

FreeAgent Review

  • Time Tracking: You can track both billable and unbillable time using FreeAgent’s built-in timer, or you can add hours manually. You can create daily or weekly timeslips and attach them to projects.
  • Project Management: FreeAgent supports project management and basic job-costing. When creating a project, you can add tasks, billing rates, a default currency, a budget (by hours, days, or dollars), start and end dates, and notes. You can attach expenses and billable (and unbillable) time to projects and easily invoice these costs to customers.

FreeAgent Review

  • Reports: FreeAgent only offers seven reports, which I found a bit disappointing, but the software has the basics covered. You’ll find the following reports: Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet, Aged Debtors, Aged Creditors, Capital Assets, Show Transactions, and Trial Balance. You can also opt to be sent a weekly email with items that need attention (like overdue invoices, important tax dates, etc.).
  • Journal Entries: FreeAgent supports journal entries.
  • Default Email Templates: You can create personalized default email messages to accompany your invoices.
  • Thank You Notes: You can also create default thank you notes to be sent automatically when an invoice is marked as paid.
  • Tax Support: Sole Proprietors can fill out their 1040 Schedule C with FreeAgent.
  • Sales Tax: FreeAgent only allows you to set two sales tax rates in Settings.
  • Multi-Currency: FreeAgent supports over 115 currencies and 28 languages.
  • Importing/Exporting: You can import bank statements via .ofx, .qbo, .qif, or .csv. You can also import contacts, but only via Microsoft Outlook, Google Mail, Apple Mail, FreshBooks, or Basecamp. You can export all FreeAgent data in Settings.
  • API: There is API available for developers.

Customer Service & Support

FreeAgent doesn’t have customer support representatives, they have “support superheroes.” These superheroes are on call from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday-Friday BST (UK Time). The majority of the time, responses are quick and informative. However, it’s taking these superheroes longer and longer to swoop in and save the day. When reviewing FreeAgent in the past, email response times varied from as little as 10 minutes to three hours at most. This time around, response times generally took a full day. While this is still leaps and bounds above other support teams, I would love to see the support returned to its former glory.

Besides email support, FreeAgent offers several other incredibly helpful support features and business resources, including:

  • Email: Contact FreeAgent at support@freeagent.com. For general inquiries, you can email hello@freeagent.com.
  • Knowledge Base: FreeAgent has an extensive Knowledge Base with tons of how-to articles that are thorough and easy to understand.
  • Small Business Guides: FreeAgent offers small business guides in over 14 different categories including bookkeeping, invoicing, expenses, payroll, small business, and more. These guides are incredibly helpful and cover concepts like “How to Get Your Invoices Paid in Five Days” and “What If Your Client Won’t Pay? A Lawyer’s Guide for Freelancers.” They are chock-full of good advice and tips for business owners of all types.
  • Community Forum: There is a community forum where you can connect with other FreeAgent users to ask questions and see how other companies are successfully implementing the software. You can also make feature requests here.
  • Webinars: FreeAgent hosts weekly webinars that you can attend to help you get started with your account.
  • YouTube: FreeAgent has a YouTube channel with around 130 videos. New videos are added regularly and there are video demonstrations for almost every feature in the software.
  • Blog: FreeAgent has a blog that is mainly used to announce updates and company news. There are a few helpful business advice articles too.
  • Roadmap – FreeAgent offers a roadmap that records past updates and hints to future ones as well. The design is a bit dizzying to look at, but the information is nice to have.
  • Grant Support Access: You can grant support access to FreeAgent customer service representatives at any time (you can also disable access at any time). This way, representatives can see exactly what’s going wrong and how to fix it.
  • Social Media: FreeAgent maintains active Facebook and Twitter accounts. These social media outlets are used predominantly for promoting small business advice and making important announcements, rather than answering customer support questions. The company has a LinkedIn profile as well.

Negative Reviews & Complaints

FreeAgent mostly receives positive reviews and customer feedback. However, there are a few complaints worth noting:

  • Needs More Features: A few users say that the software is missing features (like certain reports). Some users also feel that the company isn’t listening to their feature requests.
  • Too Expensive: A couple users complained that the software is too expensive, especially when compared to other choices on the market.
  • No Cash-basis Accounting: There is no cash-basis accounting with FreeAgent, which is a problem for quite a few small business owners.
  • Mobile App Crashes: There are several reports of crashes and glitches within the mobile apps.

Positive Reviews & Testimonials

Most users have good things to say about FreeAgent and sound satisfied with the software and user experience. FreeAgent receives 8.2/10 stars on TrustPilot (based on 9 reviews), 4.66/5 stars on Reviews (based on 158 reviews), and 4.27/5 stars on GetApp (based on 26 reviews).

  • Great Customer Support: By far, the most common praise is that the FreeAgent has wonderful customer service. Users appreciate the fast response times in particular.
  • Easy to Use & Saves Time: Many users say the product is easy to use, which saves time on administrative work, like expense tracking and billing.
  • Good Feature Selection: Quite a few users commented on FreeAgent’s large feature selection. Freelancers, in particular, found these features to be incredibly helpful.
  • Nice VAT Capabilities: Many UK users like the VAT capabilities of the software, especially when VAT taxes can be so confusing.

Here’s what a few users are saying:

I started my own company at age 22 and felt completely overwhelmed with everything business, until I tried FreeAgent. My accountant recommended it along with a few other products, but FreeAgent was my favourite. It’s been 3 years, and I’m still going strong. Use daily for invoices, time tracking, etc. Solid product, new features added all the time, can’t recommend enough! 

So easy to use, unbelievably helpful support – can’t believe it took me 4 years of freelancing before I finally took the plunge! Thank you FreeAgent.

It just makes running a business easier.

Integrations & Add-Ons

This software does a good job where integrations are concerned. FreeAgent offers 26 integrations (including a Zapier integration which connects the software to over 750 other add-ons). To top it off, the integrations they do offer are some of the best. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • PayPal: Accept online payments and enable electronic payment of invoices. Read our review full PayPal review for more details.
  • Stripe: Payment platform for both web and mobile payment methods. Read our full Stripe review for more details.
  • Receipt Bank: Receipt data entry made easy.
  • Basecamp: A team management and communication platform. Read our full Basecamp review for more details.
  • Capsule: A CRM and basic task management software. Read our full Capsule review for more details.
  • Cushion: An organization and tracking tool designed specifically for freelancers.
  • Float: Easy cashflow forecasting complete with powerful reports and budgeting.

Security

FreeAgent uses 256-bit SSL encryption and redundancy to protect user data. The company is PCI compliant and their servers are hosted by The Bunker. Read about The Bunker to learn more or check out this article on FreeAgent’s security.

Final Verdict

FreeAgent gets a lot of things right. Unlimited users, job costing, time tracking, international invoicing: it’s easy to see why users have such good things to say about the software. The software is easy to use, appealing to look at, and offers strong customer support. In terms of pricing, FreeAgent seems a bit steep, until you realize there are no limits on features or the number of users (with most companies you can pay more than $24/mo for just a few extra users). Freelancers and UK users, in particular, can really benefit from FreeAgent’s features and VAT support.

US users could definitely make the software work if they wanted to, but the lack of payroll is a big deal breaker for a lot of businesses. In addition, the software could use some improvements in navigation, invoice customization, and importing capabilities. If these issues are addressed and the company expands their US user base, it could be a more tempting solution.

If FreeAgent still sounds like a good choice for your business or if you’d like to judge the software for yourself, be sure to use the free 30-day trial and let us know what you think.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause

Head Accounting and Invoicing Writer
Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she's not working or daydreaming about her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.
Leave a comment

6 Comments

    Phil

    Hi–are there any good online programs that use cash basis acounting? My wife and I converted our small business to an s corp……..we are small–I need something simple.

    Thanks!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Phil,

    There are several options. I’d recommend taking a look at Zoho Books, Xero, or QuickBooks Online. I’d also recommend checking out this article (How to Choose Accounting Software), if you haven’t already.

    Best of luck!
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Denis

    Greetings Katherine
    I am in Australia and have now been looking for a while for Accounting Software. We are a two person firm. It does seem to me from reading your work that either Zero or FreeAgent would be the software for me. I liked your comments on Wave but came to the view that being a non-accountant and not wanting the hassle of bugs and lack of customer support that even though it is free it is probably not for us. What is the call between Zero & FreeAgent for the Australian scene. Presently we are under the GST threshold and are likely to remain there. The time costing expenses invoicing and payment details are the features we probably value most. Your feed back would be welcome please.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Denis,

    Thanks for your question! One of my own: you said the most important features to you are “time costing expenses invoicing and payment details.” Can you break this down for me a little more? When you say “costing,” do you mean “job costing”? Similarly, with “expenses” do you mean “tracking expenses” or “doing expense reports for reimbursement”?

    I’d be happy to weigh in, just as soon as I know a little more about your needs. =)

    Cheers,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom Hodder

    I found that freeagent was ok in 2012, but there has been little done to improve the functionality, and there are now many better and cheaper alternatives to freeagent. In addition I found their customers services to be rude and unhelpful. I am glad I switched away. (I currently using Xero)

    2

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Simon

    Thanks for shedding some light on this. Another great review.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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