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Freeagent Bookkeepers -Importing Sales/Bills Data

Would you find useful an integration app (CSV or other) to upload invoices and bills into Freeagent?

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Most of my clients are sole traders and my services include the bookkeeping (they only have to send me invoices, expenses and bank statements and I perform all the data entry into the software). This involves significant data entry

One of my clients is a self-employed software engineer. He asked me what app I would like nowadays to make my practice more efficient. The first idea that came to my mind was the data entry into Freeagent

Due to MTD, I have been trying to use Freeagent and Quickbooks more than VT. I gave preference to Freeagent however I find that data entry is significantly slower than VT so I am starting to think it was a bad idea making the move from VT. 

I looked at Freeagent integrations (https://www.freeagent.com/integrations/) and there is only one app called Fabio that would import sales and expense data. However, when I looked at their website, I didn´t find it professional, even the domain says it is "not secure"! Their instructions on how to use their app are 30 pages long. 

I contacted Freeagent and they confirmed they can only import bank statements and contacts at the moment, and although they are aware that Quickbooks and Xero can import sales and expenses, it is not on their roadmap at the moment. The only external company that approached them in terms of filling this need was this Fabio. 

Q1) Does anyone on here use Fabio or similar integration and if so what is your experience?

Q2) My client asked me if I could ask to other bookkeepers if this is a need they encounter when using Freeagent.  Would you use a CSV file or similar to upload transactions into Freeagent if available? 

 

Replies (9)

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By rmillaree
19th Aug 2021 08:53

" Would you use a CSV file or similar to upload transactions into Freeagent if available?"

Absolutely yes

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Replying to rmillaree:
seneca
By Seneca
19th Aug 2021 13:48

Thanks for the feedback. Did you try this Fabio integration?

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By Leywood
19th Aug 2021 09:39

[quote=Seneca]

''Due to MTD, I have been trying to use Freeagent and Quickbooks more than VT.''

I dont undestand this ^^^

Its not answering your question , I know.

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Replying to Leywood:
seneca
By Seneca
19th Aug 2021 13:59

Thanks for the response, which doesn't respond directly to my question as you say but I still find helpful.
I only started last year as a sole practitioner, and after doing research on which softwares to use, I thought I would try to avoid bridging software and give my clients the possibility of checking their accounts whenever they wanted, plus uploading the documentation directly into the software.
I feel lately I underestimated VT and overestimated the benefits of FA, Xero and QB.
Maybe the question I should have raised is, "If entering data through a CSV file into Freeagent was possible, would you do it even when VT is still out there?"

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My photo
By Matrix
19th Aug 2021 16:32

I use VT for clients who would never look at the bookkeeping. It is MTD compliant, you can submit directly from VTT+. Its bridging software is a separate (very usable) excel product.

Clients use FreeAgent if they are doing the bookkeeping themselves. FreeAgent is designed for the small service provider with a few invoices per month. Volume wouldn’t work and I understand FreeAgent aren’t looking to market to bigger businesses. Although it is constantly being developed and they have more balance sheet functionality so the suitability may expand.

Larger clients or those who need integrations use Xero.

In answer to your question, if FreeAgent offered uploads then I would probably recommend it over Xero. Unless the client wants to login or invoice themselves then stick with VT though.

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Replying to Matrix:
seneca
By Seneca
19th Aug 2021 22:34

Thanks Matrix. I probably make the move to VT with most of my sole trader clients as per your advice and other reviews. I had only tested it a bit and I didn´t know they complied with MTD submitting from their software.
Apologies to VT if my original post was misleading.

I will tell the software developer there is some interest (2 people is "some" I guess!) out there when I asked around.

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By bendybod
26th Aug 2021 10:55

I've only ever had two clients who used FreeAgent because they got it free with their banking. Given that I would rarely give the bank in question a glowing review if a client asked, I wouldn't foresee a situation where I would recommend FreeAgent over anything else. That said, I wouldn't turn down a client who came to me using FreeAgent. If we were doing their bookkeeping for them though, I would generally use QuickBooks or spreadsheets with AutoEntry for data capture.
I accept that FreeAgent may have improved in the couple of years since the clients in question ceased trading.

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By CardiffAccountant
28th Aug 2021 23:38

I have been using FreeAgent for about 2 years. I now have around 30 clients on the software.

Many of the clients were very sceptical and felt they would not be able 'to get on with it'; all have said how easy it is to use.

Only this week caught up with an electrician client who barely knows how to send an email expressing how easy it is to use.

It has bank feeds and CSV import capability.

For straightforward, lower volume clients, I would recommend every time.

I have a couple of clients on QB and Xero, and have more issues with these two than all the others (in FreeAgent) put together.

That said, if you have CIS contractors, then stay well away from FreeAgent - the CIS entries are beyond a joke!

There are a few areas that need sorting and manual data entry can be clunky - there is usually a work around though.

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Danny Kent
By Viciuno
29th Aug 2021 17:25

I'm surprised you don't already upload with CSV. Sounds very time consuming having to enter everything manually - I'd go stir crazy.

I can't comment on free agent in its current form (as I haven't used it in many years and didn't like it enough to learn how to use it properly) however if you are doing all this data entry for a number of clients I would 100% recommend you move to another piece of software.

We use a combination of Xero and Dext (previously Receipt Bank) and this works a dream.

Xero has direct bank feeds and Dext integrates with it really well. Client takes photos/forward invoices to an inbox and they pop up on the system half populated (supplier name, date, invoice number, invoice total VAT amt etc) for us to check. It has an AI that "suggests" a nominal code based off your previous allocations. If you have something that is always the same (such as fuel/your own fees) you can automate the whole process so it pulls direct to Xero without you having to check it on Dext if you feel comfortable doing so.

Its more expensive than the set up your using but you will save yourself a stupid amount of time and stress getting everything onto the software to reconcile.

Even non-computer literate clients can take a photo with the app. Its not rocket science and we have plenty of people who were reluctant at first who now love it. I'd even wager it is easier to use than pulling a CSV from a online banking.

As an accountant/bookkeeper contact the software packages directly for the accountant/bookkeeper packages. You will get cheaper subscriptions (as well as access to cheaper non-standard versions) which you can either swallow up or pass onto the client. Xero will set you up with a practice copy for free to try out.

Also, invoicing on Xero is stupid easy as well for the client. No need to type up whatever they are doing just now and send it to you to upload. They can take that particular chore off your hands.

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