Business in hand with the FreeAgent mobile app

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.

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 businessinhand.net 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.

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