Small businesses and solo entrepreneurs often put off things like proper bookkeeping. And sometimes they can get away with that their whole life. But if you ever want to scale up or get help from someone else, you need to use official accounting software.

The downside to spreadsheets

Sure, you can set up a DIY spreadsheet. But even if you’re perfect, the only person that really understands that spreadsheet is you. When someone else needs to look at your financial information for any reason, a spreadsheet just won’t cut it.

Is your spreadsheet even a real general ledger? More likely it’s just a list of transactions that requires your knowledge to really understand.

If you use a spreadsheet and bring someone else in to help you, you’ll end up paying them money to clean all the data up. And even then, they’ll have to take your word for a lot of things, rather than it being properly tracked.

So how do you make it easy to scale and get help later without breaking the bank now?

Free bookkeeping software

Wave provides a suite of financial apps and services for small businesses. They’re a great option if you’re working on one project at a time, or maybe making the transition from no business to some business.

Wave operates under the freemium model. That means their basic services are free, but you can pay for additional options.

They let you use their accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning software for free. From there, you pick and choose what additional services you want to pay for, like online payments and payroll.

Of course, there are other options out there for bookkeeping, like Quickbooks Self-Employed. While that’s relatively inexpensive and does a lot, you still may not be comfortable with it.

So if you’re strapped for cash or just worried about paying for something that may not be a good fit for you, hop into Wave to get something for free.

Remember, when you use official accounting software, you’re really setting yourself up for an easier time in the long run. Someone out there will be familiar with whatever software you choose, so you’ll be able to find help. If you don’t put real accounting software in place early on, getting help or scaling up later will be a lot more difficult.

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