Doing any kind of business in the modern world requires help with accounting. Huge Fortune 500 companies employ whole armies of in-house accountants to take care of company finances; the rest of us tend to seek help from a more affordable source of professional bookkeeping help: the "software as a service" (SaaS) market.
Small-to-medium-sized businesses, as well as freelancers, independent contractors, and other self-employed workers, may not have accounting demands as complicated as large corporations, but that does not make their bookkeeping easy or straightforward! So, most modern business owners / independent freelancers turn to an accounting software service such a Shoeboxed (or its competitors) to help organize expense receipts, manage budgets, and handle taxes.
While many seem satisfied with their Shoeboxed experience, others may be looking for something similar but different, that is alternatives to Shoeboxed that perform the same general expense management tasks -- but do it more comfortably for the user, offer additional features that serve the business better, or are more customizable to the user's preferences.
If you are contemplating a subscription to an expense management software that would make a good alternative to Shoeboxed, there are several worthy cloud-based applications to consider. Let's take a very brief look at what Shoeboxed has to offer -- and then see how alternatives like Bonsai compare.
Shoeboxed is a cloud-based expense management system for freelancers and small businesses that specializes in capturing data from physical documents and converts them into digital form. This happens by either digitally scanning in physical copies of expense receipts to be submitted via mobile app or email -- or having them mailed in through the "Magic Envelope" postal option.
Shoeboxed is a great SaaS, but it is not without its limitations and weak points. No one expense management software, however good, can fill the needs of every single entrepreneur or business. But every entrepreneur and business deserve to be matched with the best expense management platform for them -- so, it's worth investing a bit of time into researching the best tool for the job (by looking up features, reading user reviews, taking advantage of free trial offers, etc.) Here are the top competitors:
Bonsai Tax is an add-on to the Bonsai all-in-one digital tool/product suite for freelancers, independent contractors, and other solopreneurs known to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as "self-employed 1099 workers".
The Bonsai software and mobile app have been developed specifically for independent (non-salary) entrepreneurs (like writers, marketers, developers, graphic designers, etc.) who are quite busy with performing/delivering their professional services for their clients and don't have the time (or the accounting background) to stay perfectly in control of their business bookkeeping on their own. Many freelancers start off not knowing the extent of all the organizing, sorting, archiving, calculating, balancing, and other "jumping through hoops" it takes to budget a business and stay on top of paying and filing taxes.
Bonsai Tax was designed to take over and automate all the hardest/most cumbersome accounting tasks on behalf of the self-employed business owner and spare them the multi-tasking and the clutter involved in pen-and-paper accounting. The entrepreneur's involvement is reduced to the following:
The accounting "upkeep" takes up only few minutes here and there with Bonsai's simple-and-fast-to-use desktop or mobile interface (once you set up your account, it's mostly basic "maintenance" from there on).
While you refocus your attention back to your client goals, here's what Bonsai Tax will be doing for your company tax bookkeeping automatically:
The Bonsai Tax app comes with a 100% accuracy guarantee and a responsive customer support service, so you can put your mind at ease as you return to fulfilling your clients' orders. Not to mention, you'll receive notifications for important filing deadlines so you don't receive a late filing penalty.
Also, don't forget that there's a whole Bonsai all-in-one digital tool-kit to take advantage of as a freelancer (hence reducing your "tech stack" and consolidating all your digital administrative/accounting/workflow/CRM tools in a singular cloud-based platform.
Here's what to expect from Bonsai's all-in-one product/workflow suite:
Copious Template Offerings. Proposals, contracts, invoices -- customizable versions of all of these and other agreement documents are available at your disposal.
Time Tracking And Project Management. The Bonsai software will track time spent working on different jobs -- for you as well as any temporary collaborators you bring in on each project.
Auto-Invoicing. The Bonsai software lets you create invoices, send payment reminders to clients, send read-receipts, and add late-payment fees where applicable (use your Bonsai dashboard to monitor your invoicing and see if you are owed any pending revenue from outstanding invoices; Bonsai can also "split" invoices or clients making a deposit or paying in partial installments).
CRM Tools. Client relationship management tools (such as email marketing and customer interaction/engagement analytics) are not to be underestimated in their importance to your enterprise: make sure to take advantage of Bonsai's extensive CRM solutions and boost your customer reach and understanding.
Feature Integration. All the "parts" of the Bonsai system are interconnected and all become updated and balanced each time new data is auto-imported or manually enrolled.
Global Payments Accepted. The Bonsai app will support credit cards, PayPal and ACH payments in more than 180 global currencies, making it easier for your clients around the world to pay for your services.
Yes: you are encouraged to take advantage of Bonsai's 14-day free trial period to see for yourself why it's the top-choice administrative software solution among solopreneurs.
Furthermore, freelancers are invited to use the treasure trove of administrative resources available on the Bonsai website for the general public to peruse for free: from free templates for proposals, different contracts, and easy invoices -- to the free accounting hub offering a free self-employment tax estimate calculator.
The Bonsai all-in-one product suite comes with two affordable price packages (annual subscription save you money as it includes two free months of service per year).
Workflow Plan: $19/month. Includes:
Workflow Plus Plan: $29/month. Includes everything included in the basic Workflow plan, plus:
For an additional $10/month, a Bonsai workflow customer can add on the Bonsai Tax app, rounding out everything a freelancer needs from a business/client management software service. Freelances rave about our tax software as the best for freelancers.
For $9 more per month, Bonsai users can add other users to their online Bonsai account. Temporary collaborators with limited access to the Bonsai account can be invited free of charge.
Bonsai is designed for self-employed solo workers and is not the best fit for businesses with multiple employees that work in teams.
Expensify is a well-known cloud-based expense management software for personal and business use. It is best for small businesses that need a centralized financial platform to manage employee business spending and reimbursement.
Yes. You can try Expensify for 7 days for free; then you can "unlock" more free weeks by completing certain tasks. You are allowed 25 "SmartScans" for receipts and other documents for free (though, an average entrepreneur needs more scans than that each month).
Expensify offers a rather "busy" pricing model, one that tends to change from time to time, so it's best to check the website for updates, bundling discounts, and other promotions. Here is the current breakdown:
Track: $4.99/month. Unlimited "SmartScans", automated mileage tracking, expenses categorizing.
Submit: $4.99/month. Everything from Track, plus automated submission of receipts & reimbursement reports.
Discover more Expensify alternatives here.
Fyle is a popular cloud-based expense management platform that simplifies expense reporting, best suited for medium-sized businesses.
Yes. Fyle offers a "free demo" (though keep in mind: you may be asked for your billing information upon signing up for the free trial -- and you will, then, be automatically billed for the following cycle after the free trial ends, unless you formally cancel your account).
The following are Fyle's price plans, if paid on a month-by-month basis (paying an annual subscription will come with a discount):
Zoho Expense is another popular cloud-based expense management platform, which has most to offer small-to-medium-sized businesses with 500+ team members, who will have use for Zoho's multiple advanced accounting features.
Yes. You can can advantage of Zoho's 14-day free trial (and may even be extended additional free time if you need it).
Zoho Expense offers a free plan with limited features that include up to 3 users. It has the following paid plans (billed monthly):
Tune into this article to find more Zoho alternatives.
Emburse Abacus is a real-time expense management software that relies on data/behavior analysis to automate expense creation and approval.
Presumably. You can request to schedule a demo by filling out a form directly on the company website.
When trading in familiar software for a new SaaS, it's important to know what you need (as well as what you don't need, since you don't want to pay extra for features that are of no use to your business).
Here are the main questions to keep in mind when shopping for your next app to track receipts for taxes SaaS:
Most of the expense management software alternatives to Shoeboxed will share overlapping basic features -- but each brand has certain features that are superior to others and, conversely, may be low on other features that are offered better elsewhere.
For example, how important are the following features to you?
Shoeboxed is good at what it does -- but what it does is pretty limited to digitizing expense receipts and digitizing business cards for customer contact management. Many of its competitors offer a wider array of services, like sophisticated customer relationship management (CRM) tools, templates for most important business documents (business proposals, contracts, invoices, etc.), as well as help with paying and filing taxes.
It's up to you to know which features are must-haves for your business and which are superfluous and, hence, definitely not worth paying for.
Different expense management software services are designed for different business types: some (like Bonsai) are best for self-employed freelancers/contractors, others (like Expensify, Zoho, and Abacus) serve small businesses, others yet (like Fyle) are most appropriate for medium-sized business operations. The expense management platform you pick should be designed with your entrepreneurial needs in mind: here, the size of your business matters more than the industry you are in.
When it comes to filling business needs, entrepreneurs tend to like having options for adjusting/customizing templates, charts, and interfaces to their unique specifications. Make sure that the expense management software you choose as an alternative to Shoeboxed provides enough flexibility with re-formatting and personalizing the product to do what you want/need.
Considering that accuracy is everything in finance, it is important that the alternative to Shoeboxed has a good track record for getting the numbers right. In this sense, Bonsai Tax is a stand-out accounting system, as it comes with 100% accuracy guarantee.
The purpose of using an expense management system is to make running your business simpler -- by taking over the bulk of accounting tasks -- and by being easy to use. Part of the value of any software is whether users find it intuitive to navigate and comfortable to use (it's worth repeating here: take advantage of free trial offers from expense management companies that interest you, so that you get a hands-on feel for how much you like the features they offer -- as well as the interface they provide -- before you commit to a paid subscription.
There are several Shoeboxed alternatives out there -- each with its range of pricing plans (typically 2-4 pricing plans per platform). The least expensive plan tends to be the most limited in terms of access to features, transactions processed, a number of clients served/users included, etc. The most expensive plans have the widest array of features, provide highest level of customer support, and allow multiple users into the online account (there is often a middle-ground plan priced between the most basic and the best).
Choosing the right price should, ideally, be a balance between what you must have and what you can afford. As a solo freelancer with handfuls (as opposed to hundreds) of clients, you may be served just fine by the basic plan of whichever expense management solution you pick. If your business is growing rapidly or you need extra sophisticated or custom features, paying for the more expensive plan may be worth it.
Shoeboxed alternatives typically come with add-ons, some of which may be of great use as well. Bonsai Tax, for example, is an add-on to Bonsai's all-in-one product suite for freelancers. Together, these Bonsai applications take care of all administrative, accounting, and general bookkeeping needs an independent contractor may have.
All of the above-listed Shoeboxed alternatives are reputable brands: one's choice should be guided by which option is best-designed for your business. If you want to track your expenses manually, you could always use Bonsai's free excel template.
For teams of 500+ employees, the best fit is Zoho Expense. For smaller enterprises that still have sizeable teams, Fyle, Expensify, or Emburse Abacus are all a good fit. And if you are a freelancer, independent contractor, or another type of self-employed solo worker, your best expense management software is Bonsai Tax.
Let the Bonsai all-in-one product suite with the Bonsai Tax add-on be the one-stop shop for all your freelancer business needs!
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?