Hey, I'd like you to meet someone. He's new round here but we think he'll be a big hit!
But first, a story. Once upon a time (last November to be exact) the benevolent and all powerful HMRC laid down a challenge to the software kingdom. They felt that good record keeping was still way too difficult for many self-employed people.
Under HMRC guidelines, some of these people (who operate under the VAT threshold if you want to get technical) only have to file 3 line accounts: recording income, expenditure and profit for the year. They also often need to be able to record these when they're on the move or out of the office on a job.
Who is that guy?
Essentially, Earnest is a totally free iPhone app for the self-employed, who want to track income and expenses, and know how much tax they owe.
With Earnest you can:
- Record income and expenses
- See your bottom line profit or loss
- Get estimates on how much tax you owe
- See upcoming tax deadlines and dates with a "Tax To-do" list
- Capture and store image receipts using your iPhone camera
- Get Alerted for important tax dates, and as you near the VAT Threshold
- Categorise transactions by payment method
- Record cash and non-cash transactions
- Add notes to entries
- Record CIS deductions made on income
- Back up your data by email
In many ways, we've come to think of Earnest as FreeAgent's scrappy little brother, and it's been a huge amount of fun bringing the little guy to life. Since it started, the project has taken a life of its own and we're really excited about the new member of the FreeAgent family and what he might do next.
Is it a FreeAgent app?
The honest answer here is no. While Earnest will work great for self-employed people with simple record keeping needs, it doesn’t have any of the workflow or accounting features of its big sister FreeAgent. We do anticipate however that some people will “grow up” into FreeAgent as their business matures, and they require something a bit more fully featured.
That’s not not to say that we don’t think mobile is important for FreeAgent users, and we’re actively working towards a mobile solution for all FreeAgent users in 2012. Earnest might give you some inkling into the thinking behind that.
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