ICBA Blog

5 Apps Every Independent Contractor Needs

Harness the power at your fingertips to get things done

As an independent contractor, you’re not just your own boss; you also function as your own bookkeeper and administrative assistant, unless you outsource. That’s a lot of hats to wear. Luckily, developers have created plenty of digital tools to help you out. We’ve put together a list of the most useful apps for the solo-preneur.

Bookkeeping 
When choosing a bookkeeping app, you want one that does it all: invoicing, profit-and-loss tracking, expense tracking, project estimates, and time tracking. Apps like Freshbooks and 17hats do all of these things for you seamlessly. You can send electronic invoices with links to credit card payment processing so you can get paid faster, and you can even setup payment reminders so you don’t have to do the unpleasant work of hassling clients with outstanding invoices. Plus, just link your business credit cards or checking accounts for easy expense categorizing.

Time-tracking
If you need a more robust time-tracking tool than your bookkeeping app provides, Harvest is great option. It integrates with many task-management and collaboration apps.

Note-taking
Sure, you could carry a notepad and pen around, but those can get lost. A good note-taking app, like Evernote, will back up to the cloud, sync across all of your devices, and have searchable functionality. That way you can rest assured your notes are safe, can be accessed from anywhere, and don’t require a lot of organization on your part. If you also need visual notes with mind-mapping capabilities, try MindNode.

Task management
You might need to experiment a bit to find the project- or task-management app that best fits your business and your personality. If you like to keep it simple with a basic to-do list and due dates, try Wunderlist. If you need something more visual that also offers collaboration, Asana might be best. If you need a big-picture overview of what’s on your plate in the weeks and months ahead but also like detailed daily tasks with the ability to take notes, try the linear and flexible Bullet Journal Method, created by Ryder Carroll, but instead of using a paper journal, download the Workflowy app. Here’s a tutorial.

Scheduling
A simple calendar app, even the one on your phone, can be useful for setting reminders for meetings, conference calls, and any other scheduled items, even if you already use a task-management app. If you want a feature-rich calendar that helps you block schedule your entire day, try Fantastical 2. It’s one of the best-rated calendars on the market and offers multiple views so that you can get a handle on your work time and free time.