Free bookkeeping: Finance gets a make over with Brightbook

At WHYPAY? we believe that effective business tools shouldn’t cost the Earth, which is why we set out to make the best free conferencing service out there. This got us thinking: if you can get conference calls for no cost, what other great services can you get for free? That is why we have scoured the web to find the best free services to help your business and to bring them to you weekly.

Our final one for 2015 is for the brilliant online bookkeeping application, Brightbook

Free bookkeeping for small businesses

Working as a sole trader or in an SME, usually means that you have a small number of specialised staff. It is also often the case that your profit margins can sometimes be quite tight. With this in mind, it stands that bookkeeping is not always given the focus it requires, and hiring someone to do it is not always an option. Getting it wrong can be disastrous, as sloppy financial work can lead to serious consequences.
Brightbook is a web based book keeping solution that is specifically designed for smaller companies. With an eye to being as easy to use as possible, it will certainly appeal to those who may not be the most comfortable dealing with finances.

Back in 2007 James Henderson and Warwick Leicester decided to make an online bookkeeping solution. In their own words, they wanted it to be “One that wouldn’t be confusing or expensive, green or blue.” The result was Brightbook, an online application that is free to use forever.

Brightening up your finances

As soon as you visit the website it is pretty clear to see that this is not your regular corporate financial application. At the time of writing, the front page proudly displays a pixelated T. rex with a party hat while a group of people celebrate in front of it. This design aesthetic continues through the rest of the site, keeping every page bold and colourful. If you are someone who is put off by bland forms or intimidated by overly complicated spreadsheets, then this is the system for you.

Underneath the bright colours and dinosaurs lies a remarkably competent package. The standout area of expertise is the invoicing feature and this remains the core of their offering. Brightbook allows a user to easily create and manage an unlimited number of invoices and client files. It offers templates designed to your company’s specifications and access to a huge number of customisable fields such as tax, discounts and currency. You can send the invoices direct from the app to the customer and then use the system to organise and search for previous interactions with them.

As your invoices are being created and tracked through Brightbook, you are able to get a good deal of instant insights into your current situation. At any time, you can view how much money is in outstanding contracts, what your outgoings are and what your total cash flow is. The app also includes an integrated diary feature to keep your dealings in an easy to understand and use workflow. There is the option to keep all of your figures up to date by importing bank transactions that do not originate from the app, thus giving you complete visibility of your financial situation.

Keeping you accountants and customers happy

With Brightbook you have access to a number of reports which can help you with your financial responsibilities. For example, you can get a full tax report that shows how much tax you have paid through your transactions, it then helps calculate how much can be reclaimed. You also have a decent Profit and Loss report which gives you more details on your company’s financial health. These reports can be invaluable for your company’s accountants in compiling end of year returns.

Often with SMEs, duties need to be shared as business needs require. With Brightbook you can have as many accounts as the business needs, each of them with access rights individually matched to the user, meaning you can give people access to create invoices, but not alter, or even see, any sensitive financial information. There are options to give restricted access to 3rd parties as well. This can come in handy if a customer wishes to see their account, either for how much they owe or for historical reference. Accountants can also be given access to help with their company duties.

Like many of the offers discussed in our free business app series, Brightbook is a cloud based solution. This provides lots of advantages, such as remote access, security and disaster recovery. For more information on the benefits of using the cloud have a look at our Dropbox blog.

While Brightbook may not have all the features required for a large company, SMEs, sole traders and freelancers would be hard pressed to find another system as suited to their needs as this one.

Why pay for bookkeeping, WHYPAY? for conference calling.

If you want another way to simplify your finances, try using WHYPAY? for genuinely free conference calling.

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