One important part of business is keeping track of your money. When you use PayPal and make an occasional sale here or there, you can usually pull out Excel or create a spreadsheet in Google Drive and have what you made and what you spent at your fingertips.Time is Money But it’s important to keep your business finances straight.

But what happens when you have multiple sources of income and multiple ways that your income needs to go out, including keeping some back for you? It can get really, really confusing!

I had this issue, and tried some different ways to fix the problem. I started using QuickBooks, but to be honest, even with several college hours of accounting under my belt, the interface was confusing. I figured I’d need to take a course to figure it all out, and I do NOT have time for that.

Then, one day, one of the contractors who worked for me sent me an invoice using Fresh Books. Have you heard of it? Well… Let me tell you that for someone who loves to be organized, but doesn’t have time for the little details, it’s amazing.

Fresh Books allows you to link up your bank account(s) and every day, you can go in and categorize your expenses, record payments or bank fees.. whatever and keep your business finances straight. You only have to classify an expense once per payee, too. Fresh Books it’s awesome and completely simple! I’d rather spend time working with clients than pouring over my debits and credits, wouldn’t you?

Fresh Books also allows you to add contractors who work for you, to create estimates and invoices, and even have invoices go out automatically. I have clients on a regular billing schedule and this saves me at least an hour of time each month by doing this task for me alone. Yes, you guessed it… I’m in love. Time is MONEY, baby!

The very cool part is that you can check Fresh Books out for free. If you like it, you can have up to 25 clients in there for only $19.95 a month — an amount well worth the mental peace you’ll have knowing that everything is A-OK where your business finances are concerned. There are more powerful accounts, where you can add more clients and add an employee who can work in there, too. What account you choose depends on your business, but wow… It’s totally awesome!

Yes, by telling you about Fresh Books, I will be paid, but I think it’s an awesome service or I wouldn’t write about it so glowingly.  Here’s the bare link again, if you want to check things out:

But that’s not all… I have another great idea for you! And this one is 100% free.

If you’re a registered business (have a DBA or LLC or whatever), you can have a free business checking account at PNC Bank. I worked for them for several years back in the 80s, and I know they’re a really solid institution, and they also offer this free business banking account that rules.

I pay my contractors and referrers with checks that come from PNC and I’ve had compliments on how amazing they look!  How cool is that? You don’t have to use a stamp. It’s just like paying your personal bills online, and yes, they have mobile banking for business accounts, too. Sweet!

Anyway, finances are important. If you’re not carefully tracking your income and expenses, I pity you when tax time comes around! 🙂

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