Freeagent software

Using Freeagent software

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Dear All.

So I have a client with free Freeagent software courtesy of Nat West business banking.  I have not used this software before other than make enquiries sometime ago.

The support seems magical with callbacks and very knowledgeable agents.  I submitted my first Freeagent VAT Return seemlessly and was able to download all schedules for back-ups in both csv and PDF format.  Beginning a further VAT Return today I noticed under accounting I could custom sort whatever accounting period I wanted to choose and was then able to view and download Financial Stements for relevant periods.  Seems to be very good.

So my question is what do others make of Freeagent and precisely what do you use the software for eg. VAT Returns, payroll, end of year accounts etc.?  Thank you.


Replies (10)

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By J M SpringASL
12th Feb 2024 17:43

I agree that Free Agent deserve a shout for their excellent support. I have put three clients onto this software recently as they were too small to justify the cost of Xero or Sage.

It works well for clients who need bank analysis and little else. Adding sales/ purchases is painful and clunky, not built for more than a couple of entries at a time.

Journals are very basic and the Chart of Accounts is quirky, until you get accustomed to the rigid way in which it is built.

VAT Returns work a treat, although if you edit something after a return has been submitted the adjustment appears dated the 1st of the month of the next quarter, with no reference. So no way to easily identify what has been done.

The Payroll is OK for single director but very basic and not intuitive.

The accounts layout is not pretty and very basic, although the clients will probably never read them anyway. CT600 and SA100 work for very simple cases.

All in all it feels robust and well built and if you want a bank feed it is very good value.

However if you just want fast bank analysis and the ability to import either pdf or csv bank statement files I think LimeBooks is really worth a look.

I am always looking for something more cost effective for smaller clients. I am falling out of love with Xero and Sage is still just not up to the mark yet.

Kind regards

Thanks (1)
Replying to J M SpringASL:
By davidbarry
13th Feb 2024 10:58

Thank you very much. I will take a look at limebooks.

Kind regards,

Thanks (0)
Replying to J M SpringASL:
By davidbarry
16th Feb 2024 15:36

'I think LimeBooks is really worth a look.'
I have had a good look around the Limebook website and telephoned them. Seems to be excellent customer support. Limesbook seems to also accommodate my client's needs as business records are quite complicated. Thank you very much.
One question for VAT Return preparation and submissions.
If I enter my government gateway credentials with the client's VAT details then is the authorisation just for the one client only 9w2hat I desire) and not other clients too? This is important to me and I want to get this right. Thank you.

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By Matrix
12th Feb 2024 18:13

Clients use it for invoicing, bookkeeping, dividend vouchers, adding expenses, looking at profits available for distribution etc. Payroll, accounts and CT600 are done elsewhere by me.

Most new service company clients set up a free NatWest/Mettle account and FreeAgent.

Directors can still make a mess of it as with any software so, even though they can submit everything directly including accounts/CT600, I expect a load of rubbish is submitted by unrepresented ones. Mine are all well trained though.

There are a few things you would need to know such as preregistration/EU/out of scope VAT issues mentioned on here recently and you have to work hard to find where to enter the number of associated companies if you want the CT estimate to be close. The estimate can sometimes be a pain in fact. But these are fairly small issues.

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By mumpin
12th Feb 2024 19:24

I couldn't get their Agent Dashboard up and running.
I've got two people using it and I have to use the client's log-in to get access.
Other than that, it reminds me of Quickbooks Self-Employed.

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Replying to mumpin:
By Duggimon
13th Feb 2024 11:05

The dashboard is really fiddly. First you have to be invited to use it as an agent for it to set itself up properly. Then all your clients have to invite you using the same email address as you originally set it up with. Then, the bit I got stuck with, when you accept the invite it will ask you to set up a password. You need to use the same password every time though or your clients won't all show up on the same account.

I had a dashboard account set up but created a new password when it asked me to and it means you can't see all your clients at once.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Duggimon:
By Matrix
13th Feb 2024 12:45

You just transfer the client to your dashboard. I find it very straightforward.

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By zxcvb
13th Feb 2024 11:53

It's definitely "quirky". I have several NatWest/Mettle clients who use it because it's free to them.

I don't want to use Freeagent for my client CT600 submissions, CT or CA comps but there's no way to turn it off so I have ended up doing it twice (Freeagent and my other software) so that they match.

An annoying and potential GDPR issue is that on the opening accountant's screen, next to the list of clients is their current bank balance. It serves no use whatsoever but something to bear in mind if you are with a client and want to give a bit of training or demo. I've had to ask them to turn around whilst I log in!

But for a simple bookkeeping system for a limited number of transactions it's not bad!

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By Southwestbeancounter
13th Feb 2024 15:19

I use it for my partner's business to prepare the book-keeping and submit the VAT returns etc as it suits us because he needed to access it on a Mac (which Sage couldn't support) so I can access it on my PC at work, he can access it on his Mac and we can both access it on the laptop and phone etc so although it's a little basic in places it suits us perfectly for his small business and as the name suggests it's free!

We submit the VAT returns through it but I then use the year end figures to submit his SATRs through Sage Taxation etc.

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By Hazel Accounts
14th Feb 2024 10:55

I first came accross Freeagent as I took on a new client a few years back using it and I have to say i think it's very good for a small business. She does invoicing on it and it has nice features like automatically chasing overdue invoices by email.
Her book-keeper mops up the rest of the routine entries (basically posting the bank) I think the bank feed layout is good with all entries showing as green for posted and orange/red for unallocated rather than unposted being on a different screen as in Sage, Xero and others.
There are a few clunks but overall it's fairly simple and I now recommend it as an option to clients. Never tested the support, but it is a bit more expensive if you're not with NatWest so I guess that's why it's better.
I use it for VAT returns and management accounts (reporting options are good as OP says) but not final accounts (I extract the TB to my own software) or payroll.

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