Section Ten: Accounting Software: Xero, QuickBooks, and PayPal

Freelance writing isn’t just crafting compelling content; it’s also about managing the financial side of your business efficiently. This is where accounting software comes into play. It gives you streamlined solutions for invoicing, tracking your earnings and expenses, and even handling taxes.

There are tons of options to pick from, but I’ll focus on three popular ones: Xero, QuickBooks, and PayPal. Between the three, you should find one that works for you.

Personally, I use PayPal for everything. I like its ease of use, its wide acceptance, and the fact that I can keep track of all my spending and earnings in one place.

1. Xero

It’s a cloud-based accounting software made for small to medium-sized businesses. It’s known for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive financial management features.

You can connect your bank accounts, track expenses, send invoices, and even pay bills. Its dashboard provides a real-time view of your financial status, helping you make informed decisions.



  • Cloud-Based: Access your financial data from anywhere, at any time.
  • Integration: Seamlessly integrates with over 700 apps, including payment, time tracking, and expense management tools.
  • Collaboration: Allows you to grant access to your accountant or team members, facilitating better financial management and planning.
  • Learning Curve: It’s user-friendly, but new users might need time to fully utilize all its features.
  • Cost: Compared to other options, Xero can be more expensive, especially as you add more features or users.

2. QuickBooks

I know dozens of professionals who use this one, and they love it. QuickBooks is one of the most well-known accounting software options today, offering a range of financial management tools for freelancers and businesses alike.

QuickBooks has features for invoice management, expense tracking, tax calculation, and payroll processing. It also offers detailed financial reporting for deeper insights into your business finances.



  • Versatility: Has tailored solutions for freelancers, including simplified tax tracking and deductions.
  • Integration: Can integrate with tons of third-party apps for extended functionality.
  • Support: Provides extensive support resources and a large user community for advice and troubleshooting.
  • Complexity: Some users find QuickBooks more complex and less intuitive than other platforms.
  • Pricing: The monthly subscription can add up with additional user fees.

3. PayPal

This is my pick. PayPal is widely recognized for its payment processing solutions. It offers invoicing and basic accounting functionalities, making it a great tool for freelancers to manage transactions.

You can send invoices, receive payments, and manage your earnings within its platform. It’s particularly useful for international transactions, offering currency conversion and secure payment options.



  • Ease of Use: Simple and straightforward, ideal for those who prioritize payment processing over comprehensive accounting features.
  • Global Reach: Widely accepted in over 200 markets and 25 currencies, facilitating international client transactions.
  • Security: Offers robust security measures to protect financial data and transactions.
  • Fees: Transaction fees can be higher than those of some other payment processors, especially for international payments. (But no monthly subscription!)
  • Limited Accounting Features: While convenient for payments, it lacks the depth of financial management features found in dedicated accounting software.