I have recently switched to being a full-time freelancer (primarily Upwork), and am starting to get lost in tracking of all earnings, expenses, billings with spreadsheets. Does anybody have recommendations on software they use and are happy with? Something like QuickBooks/FreshBooks/Xero and so forth, none of which I've used before.
There's plenty of options out there of both the free and paid variety.
Personally, I get a lot of use out of Invoice Ninja (I use the free self-hosted option, but it's open-source either way) for keeping track of the actual invoicing/payment side of things. I simply create an invoice for "Upwork Client" for the jobs I do here, and fill in the details about the actual client. Plenty of features and options for generating reports. Might be a little cumbersome doing an invoice, payment, and expense for every job you do on Upwork, but I'm so used to it now I don't think about it.
As for the accounting side of things, I've been looking into Money Manager EX (also free & open-source). Heard good things about it, but haven't had a chance to really delve into it since I haven't had the need for a full-featured accounting application just yet (what I do is pretty straightforward from that standpoint).
I use the QuickBooks/ Turbo Tax package for small businesses/ self -employed. It's not expensive (I think it's about $17/ month, which is a legitimate business expense) and it's terrific for preparing taxes.
I started using Quicken years ago to track household income and spending.
I updated to QuickBooks when I began freelancing. For non-Upwork clients I create itemized invoices. I treat Upwork like a bank account. I record transactions that mirror what Upwork lists on the Transaction History page. Then I can easily see my Upwork balance and schedule the expected transfers to my checking account.
I'm not sure I would pick Quicken today. There are other choices, including some online options but those make me nervous.
I strongly recommend QuickBooks Online. Monthly subscription.
No vested interest but I am a CPA and a QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor.
I wrote a website for a CPA aout 4 years ago and she offered to set up QuickBooks for me ...
I ended up doing two excel spreadsheets. One for incoming; the other for expenses. My CPA gets the 2 annually and goes from there. Less wear and tear on my brain - and his annual fee is a biz expense.