Launching today in Edinburgh is FreeAgent Central, an independent software company pioneering online accounting for the freelance market. Its founders are Ed Molyneux CEO, Olly Headey CTO and Roan Lavery Design Director.

FreeAgent is part of the Software as a Service (SaaS) trend, subscription based, allowing access from anywhere and providing economies of scale for freelancers and the small business entrepreneur.

As freelancers themselves, the three founders of FreeAgent Central needed a finance tool that would give them a clear picture of their business accounts. That product did not exist and so FreeAgent was born.

The UK freelance market is largely untapped as most online accounting packages target small business. Early adopters of FreeAgent include IT consultants as well as journalists, graphic designers and independent finance advisers.

Freelancers need to be in control of their finances, particularly in tough times of recession. You can’t run a business without knowing the numbers. FreeAgent online software is easy to use and gives a clear picture of profit and loss, making financial decisions easier to make. This makes running a freelance business easier.

Ed Molyneux, FreeAgent Central CEO comments: “Most freelancers worry about their accounts. Feeling guilty they are not on top of them and fearing a nasty surprise if they were to look too closely. People go into business because they are good at what they do. Not because they are accountants. One of the best bits of feedback we have had was from a client who said ‘it makes me feel smart, not stupid.’”

The software has a clean and simple design, highly intuitive and usable. Data is encrypted and backed up every 15 minutes. FreeAgent prepares VAT returns, calculates self assessed income tax and corporation tax and manages PAYE and National Insurance contributions. Users can monitor profit and loss, send and track invoices, track time and expenses, manage projects and payments.

Freelance working is increasing in the UK as more people are attracted by the entrepreneurial spirit as well as the independence, freedom and flexibility it offers. The freelance market is made up of 1.4 million workers and looks set to grow as credit crunch and recession hit recruitment markets.

Initially targeting accounting practices to establish partnerships, FreeAgent Central already has five of the UK’s largest accounting practices, specialising in freelancers, on board and expects to secure 5000 customers within 12 months. Focused first on the UK, the company plans to launch in Europe before going Stateside within the next three years.

FreeAgent encourages collaboration between accountant and client by allowing accountants to login to the system, so they can offer the most up-to-date advice. Accountants can easily export trial balance data to generate end-of-year accounts.

FreeAgent Central has created an online forum for a community of users to openly discuss ideas, questions and problems about accounts. Additionally there is a live advice helpline where users can ‘Ask an Expert’ about financial issues they may be having. FreeAgent is accessible around the clock, which is ideal for the way many freelancers work.

FreeAgent is subscription based with costs starting at £15 per month for a sole trader, £20 for a partnership and £25 for a limited company.


Published on: 12:00AM on 24th November 2008