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Recommendations for accounting/invoicing software for UK based translators
Thread poster: Claire Culliford

Claire Culliford  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Apr 4, 2012

Hi all,

Having been a full-time freelancer for a few years, I have a very 'honed' invoicing system and can complete my annual accounts pretty rapidly. However, I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for an automated way of doing both, via a software package. I specifically need something that caters for different rates (sometimes from the same client) as well as currencies (as do most of us, I'm sure!)

All thoughts welcome

Claire


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Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 18:54
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
I use my own Excel sheets Apr 4, 2012

with set of macros. So, I could fully customize the system to my needs.


Claire Culliford wrote:

Hi all,

Having been a full-time freelancer for a few years, I have a very 'honed' invoicing system and can complete my annual accounts pretty rapidly. However, I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for an automated way of doing both, via a software package. I specifically need something that caters for different rates (sometimes from the same client) as well as currencies (as do most of us, I'm sure!)

All thoughts welcome

Claire


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Claire Culliford  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Macros for inserting information from Excel into Word Apr 4, 2012

Thanks Vladimir. Do you use the above? If so, is it relatively straightforward? I've only ever created Macros for things within Excel spreadsheets themselves but would happily give it a go, as obviously I could tailor things for my own needs as well.

[Edited at 2012-04-04 13:08 GMT]


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Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 18:54
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Hi Claire, Apr 4, 2012

I often transfer date from Excel to Word (and vice versa), but I have never needed to use macro for it. There is the way to automatize the process, but simple Copy&Paste was always sufficient. Alternatively, you can interconnect Excel sheets with Word tables, there is a possibility of automatic update.
I made macro in Excel with two columns of phrases, the first in source language and the second in target language and the macro searched all sheets in the document and replaced content of cells containing text in target language with relevant pair in source language. As for Word macros, I created a nice set of small tools, beginning from counting standard pages through removing tables and shapes from a document within preparation for Trados alignments up to small, but time-saving macros enabling operations that otherwise need to be made through menu.

If you contacted me via my e-mail, we could discuss what exactly do you need and try to find some solution.



Claire Culliford wrote:

Thanks Vladimir. Do you use the above? If so, is it relatively straightforward? I've only ever created Macros for things within Excel spreadsheets themselves but would happily give it a go, as obviously I could tailor things for my own needs as well.

[Edited at 2012-04-04 13:08 GMT]


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Claire Culliford  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
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Thank you Apr 4, 2012

Hi Vladimiar,

Thanks so much for all of that. Sounds great. I'll get in touch as I only have very basic requirements

Claire


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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:54
English to Russian
+ ...
Quickbooks Apr 4, 2012

I have been using it since 1994.

www.quickbooks.co.uk

Do not forget: you need the UK version, not the one for US.


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Leslie Desgranges  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:54
French to English
Open office + export to pdf function Apr 4, 2012

Hi Claire,

I use the Open office version of excel for my invoices - I can produce a neat-looking document with it - then use the "export to pdf" function before sending it to clients. I don't use Word at all.

I am curious about your well-honed system: tell us more!

Leslie


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Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 18:54
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Interesting, Apr 4, 2012

but how the files can be proofread/amended?

Leslie Desgranges wrote:

Hi Claire,

I use the Open office version of excel for my invoices - I can produce a neat-looking document with it - then use the "export to pdf" function before sending it to clients. I don't use Word at all.

I am curious about your well-honed system: tell us more!

Leslie


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Claire Culliford  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Each to their own Apr 4, 2012

I think the conclusion I'm gradually drawing is that perhaps there isn't a 'best' way to do your accounts. It's just a case of finding what works for you and trying to minimise the time it takes, where possible.

Leslie, my 'honed' system simply refers to me having found the excel columns that tend to suit my particular situation best (and as I consult and lecture as well, there are a few things that apply to those that don't apply to straightforward translation).

It's a case of learning a piece of new software or trying to automate as much of my current procedure as I can. So, I'm going to have a play around with doing that in the first instance, as the procedure itself certainly works for me, and, as they say, if it ain't broke!

I'll look forward to hearing any more comments as I know it's something that all of us translators have to contend with and whilst rates etc are often discussed, I see less about the way in which we invoice/account.



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Leslie Desgranges  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:54
French to English
why proofreading? Apr 4, 2012

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:

but how the files can be proofread/amended?

Leslie Desgranges wrote:

Hi Claire,

I use the Open office version of excel for my invoices - I can produce a neat-looking document with it - then use the "export to pdf" function before sending it to clients. I don't use Word at all.

I am curious about your well-honed system: tell us more!

Leslie


Hi Vladimír,

I am not sure I understand your question... We are both talking about invoicing, aren't we? The excel version (i.e. the editable version) stays on my computer for use as a template, I fill in the various boxes and once I am happy I generate a pdf from it to send to the client. I do not want my invoices proofread, let alone amended


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Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 18:54
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Indeed! Apr 5, 2012

Sorry, my mistake, I somehow didn't notice you are talking about invoices. Of course, there is no reason why invoices should be proofread:-)
Actually, I use very same system with only difference that the templates are made in MS Excel and I do not need to fill in boxes manually, but macros do it instead of me. Entire process, including print into PDF, then doesn't take more than 5 minutes.


Leslie Desgranges wrote:

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:

but how the files can be proofread/amended?

Leslie Desgranges wrote:

Hi Claire,

I use the Open office version of excel for my invoices - I can produce a neat-looking document with it - then use the "export to pdf" function before sending it to clients. I don't use Word at all.

I am curious about your well-honed system: tell us more!

Leslie


Hi Vladimír,

I am not sure I understand your question... We are both talking about invoicing, aren't we? The excel version (i.e. the editable version) stays on my computer for use as a template, I fill in the various boxes and once I am happy I generate a pdf from it to send to the client. I do not want my invoices proofread, let alone amended


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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:54
English to Russian
+ ...
I have an impression that Apr 5, 2012

... can complete my annual accounts pretty rapidly. However, I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for an automated way ...


bookkeeping is slightly more than just issuing invoices.

Tracking payments, completing tax declarations, having updated statements, budgets,P&L and Balance sheet reports at your fingertips any time you need them — are you ready to write Excel macros for all these operations?

[Edited at 2012-04-05 08:11 GMT]


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Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 18:54
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Hi Sergei, Apr 5, 2012

Now we should differ between two things.
The first thing is, if I am capable to do Excel macros for the matters you have mentioned. Yes, I am. Basically, it is a matter of finding relevant data, performing some mathematical/logical information with them, and filling results in respective boxes of relevant forms in Excel. Principle is very same as in the case of invoices.
The second thing is if I am ready to do such programming for given purposes. Answer is that I do not need it. As I am not a company, I make my accounts in single-entry system. So, there is no obligation to prepare balance sheets, P&L, statements, budgets etc., although I have small cash-flow table, which shows me rough estimate of my financial condition in the next three months. But I prepared it on my own initiative.
As for tax return, I submit only one tax return a year and it is filled in by my accountant (the main reason is my unwillingness to struggle with all the stupid small boxes:-)). My system gives me data to be filled in. Moreover, my Statistics table keeps me informed on (variable) amount, which should be monthly saved for taxes.

Sergei Tumanov wrote:

... can complete my annual accounts pretty rapidly. However, I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for an automated way ...


bookkeeping is slightly more than just issuing invoices.

Tracking payments, completing tax declarations, having updated statements, budgets,P&L and Balance sheet reports at your fingertips any time you need them — are you ready to write Excel macros for all these operations?

[Edited at 2012-04-05 08:11 GMT]


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Patrick.D
Local time: 18:54
Russian to English
There is freeware available for freelancers Apr 5, 2012

http://www.gnucash.org/

I became aware of this software for small business accounting on this excellent translator's blog:

http://www.translationslisko.com/blog/english/free-open-source-software-tools-translators/

Although I haven't actually tried it myself yet - but it looks interesting.


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Claire Culliford  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Prioritising Apr 5, 2012

Vladimir/Sergei,

Thanks for your respective posts. Sergei, you of course raise a valid point, that invoicing is only a part of a translator's accounting system, and consequently, I was interested in software tools that cover all the process (from invoicing through to expenses etc). However, pretty much everything Vladimir says applies to me, and consequently, as I have a system up and running which works very effectively for me, I will simply look at writing a few macros to speed things up a little, as there's always room for improvement. Until the day I have people working with/for me and need to produce all the extra accounting information, I shall leave software packages alone as I would not be utilising the majority of the functionality. When it comes down to it, there are only a certain amount of hours in the day/week/month and like all of us, I have to prioritise as to what I spend my time on. Personally, translation work itself is of more interest to me than becoming a guru in an accounting software package

Claire


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