The FreeAgent Blog
Posted on 31 August 2018 by Richard Grey - Jump to comments
Keeping your financial data secure in your FreeAgent account is extremely important to us. As part of our ongoing commitment to cyber security, we’re very pleased to announce that FreeAgent has achieved certification to the UK government’s Cyber Essentials scheme.
Jointly developed by the UK government and cyber security industry, the Cyber Essentials scheme defines a baseline standard of security for businesses in the UK. It outlines the controls that all organisations should implement to help mitigate risks from common internet-based threats.
Cyber Essentials concentrates on five key areas:
- Securing connectivity to the internet through appropriate management of boundary firewalls and internet gateways
- The secure configuration of software and devices used within the business
- Strong access control to data and services
- Suitable processes and mechanisms for protecting against viruses and other malware
- Effective patch management to ensure devices and software are up to date
Our certification marks another step on our journey of continuous security improvement and adds a level of external, independent assurance that we’re doing the right things to help protect our systems and services. For more information on some of the other measures we’re taking, please see our security page.
Posted on 25 July 2018 by George Grigolova - Jump to comments
We’re delighted to report that HMRC has announced FreeAgent as one of just a handful of software suppliers supporting Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT.
This announcement comes as a significant milestone on our MTD journey. We’ve been working closely with HMRC over the last few months to get our product up to scratch and to ensure our software provides the best possible experience for small businesses and accountants who will be submitting VAT returns under MTD as of next April.
To make it onto HMRC’s shortlist we had to:
- test FreeAgent’s MTD for VAT capabilities in HMRC’s test environment
- demonstrate a prototype of our software to HMRC
We will continue to work with HMRC to help shape MTD and to ensure that this brave new world of digital tax is as simple as possible for our users.
To keep up to date with our preparations and to discover more about what you need to do to get ready for MTD for VAT check out our MTD guides and resources.
George is Product Manager for Compliance at FreeAgent. He recently passed his final CIMA exam and has over eight years of experience working in accounting and finance.
Typeform, a company that we occasionally use to conduct surveys, have informed us that they have suffered a data breach.
We have conducted a thorough investigation and we’ve concluded that approximately 500 data records have been compromised. All affected users have now been contacted, so if you haven't been contacted your data wasn't affected by this breach.
Please be assured that if you're a FreeAgent account holder, your information and any related bank account information are completely unaffected. They remain as secure and protected as always.
To give you a little more context, this breach has only exposed information entered into certain Typeform forms. None of these forms required passwords or payment details - they were most likely asking you for feedback on our software, or to take part in polls about running a small business. Regardless, we have now disabled all of our active Typeform surveys, and we will not be using Typeform again until we are confident that there is no risk of a similar breach occuring again.
If you’d like to read Typeform’s official response to the incident, please refer to their blog post from this weekend. As the post advises, please be extra vigilant for any spam or phishing emails.
I’m very sorry that this has happened. Please know that we at FreeAgent are committed to continually reviewing and improving our partners, as well as our own processes, to ensure that we offer the safest and most secure experience possible.
Posted on 28 June 2018 by Andrew Bond - Jump to comments
We’ve made a lot of changes to our mobile accounting app recently, refreshing the design and adding various new features. Keen to find out more about how our app is helping real users on the ground, we spoke to Andi Ramsay, the creative director of Aberdeen-based video production company Lumogenesis, to find out how the FreeAgent mobile accounting app helps him stay on top of his finances.
Hi Andi! Can you tell me a little bit about your business?
Hello! We are a visual communications agency with a primary focus on video production. We take care of the entire start-to-finish process, from planning to delivery. We do all of the post-production stuff in house as well as visual effects and motion graphics.
Sounds like quite a wide range of work
Absolutely! I love going from a video project to laying out a magazine to rapid-delivery social video. When you’ve got that variety and exposure to lots of different problems, it definitely makes you more creative and adaptable.
How does the FreeAgent mobile app fit in?
As a business owner, it’s vital to know where your money stands. Being able to look at a single dashboard — especially on the move with the FreeAgent mobile app — means that you have a clear understanding of the state of play in your business. If a new client comes on board, you can see exactly how that’s going to affect you, and if you lose a client you can gain a very quick understanding of what the impact will be.
What’s your experience been like with the app?
It’s really intuitive. You’ve got your dashboard which gives you an overview of your business finances, then you can drill down into more detailed information. It’s very straightforward; you don’t need to have an accounting dictionary on standby to figure out what things mean!
If you have a client on the phone asking how much an invoice is for, it’s really handy to be able to look it up on the FreeAgent mobile app. Being able to build estimates on the go means you can leave a meeting with a client and send them an estimate or an invoice for the work you’ve just discussed. I tend to build out invoices in draft as the work is ongoing. If the client signs off on it, the invoice can be with them before I’ve left their office!
When and where do you use the app?
I use the mobile app when I’m on the move. Quite often I get the bus into Aberdeen to have meetings and use the mobile app to create an invoice or estimate for what I imagine I’m going to need. Once I’ve had the meeting with the client I can just refine that estimate and email it straight to them. I would never do that on a laptop, but with the FreeAgent mobile app on my phone or iPad, it only takes five minutes.
The app also means that when my family and I decide to take a few days away my business can come with me, accounts and all!
So you take FreeAgent on holiday with you?
I do! When we go to see family at Christmas, I know that FreeAgent will help me keep my business keeps running. In those “down days” between Christmas and New Year, it’s nice to be able to keep an eye on things so I don’t get that “inbox shock” in January. If a client emails me and says “I haven’t paid that invoice because I can’t find it, can you resend it to me?” I don’t have to wait a week until I come back to work, I can just send it there and then.
My wife’s a primary school teacher and we’re currently coming up for the end of the school year here in Scotland. She’s off work for six weeks and the mobile app means that during that time we won’t be tethered to the house. If I don’t have access to my desktop I can take my phone and still have my finger on the pulse.
My wife’s actually pregnant — we’re expecting our first in October — so this ability to visit family while keeping my business running will be very welcome!
Congratulations! Will having a child change the way you manage your business?
Yes, I work from home already but I’m going to be shifting toward more design and post-production work: things I can do from a computer without having to be on-site with clients. When I do have kids to look after, they’re going to be somewhat unpredictable to begin with. Being able to squeeze in that little bit of work now and then will be really valuable, so technology like the FreeAgent mobile app will be critical to keeping my work-life balance.
It sounds like your phone is an essential piece of business equipment! Would you go as far to say you could use it to run your entire business?
More and more, I’d actually say I could. If you have the right know-how and the right apps, it’s absolutely possible.
As technology improves and the apps get even better, I think we’re going to see more and more people abandoning their big bulky computers and becoming more nimble using their smartphones.
A big thanks to Andi for a really insightful chat. To find out how FreeAgent can help you run your business on the move, download the mobile app.
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- Coming soon: a new FreeAgent design
- We’ve achieved Cyber Essentials certification!
- New spending report and Insight
- All features great and small
- Achievement unlocked: FreeAgent approved by HMRC to support Making Tax Digital for VAT