Fresh out of college, there was one thing Ana Gotter knew for sure: She knew she wanted to be a writer.
To do so (and be wildly successful at it), she had to find an edge; something that would set her apart from the rest.
So, to gain experience after college, she scraped gigs off Craigslist while working a full-time job in retail. From that, she discovered her it-factor: specializing in business writing and ghostwriting for AnaGotter.com.
After starting her business, Ana’s writing talent and dedication to client satisfaction translated into rapid business growth. Most would think this isn’t a bad problem to have! But while words flowed naturally for Ana, she quickly learned that accounting was a little more difficult.
With a growing number of clients, she found herself drowning in spreadsheets and dreading tax season.
“I tried to be proactive about accounting,” she explains. “But this was 2012 and I was right out of college. I was as prepared as I knew how to be. But looking back there are things I could have done to make it easier. ”
Turns out, one of those “things” was tracking her finances, which she recalls was a nightmare. When Ana first started, she managed her business the way so many other small business owners do: Through Word and Excel. Why? Simply because she hadn’t known there was a better way.
It wasn’t until Ana sought guidance from her female writing peers that she heard the term cloud accounting.
“That’s when someone in my [writers’] group mentioned FreshBooks and a couple other services,” she says. “I wanted to build my business the way these women had already built theirs. I always took their advice very seriously.”
Despite this, Ana couldn’t help but think: The more sophisticated the software, the pricier it must be.
“When I learned cloud accounting was an option, I didn’t think it would be affordable,” she says. Soon after, she discovered that was not the case at all.
Aware that her accounting woes were hindering her success, Ana proactively sought a new solution. She had a list of needs in mind: A professional-looking tool, invoice and expense tracking to soothe her cash flow worries and reporting to please her accountant.
Ana tested a few cloud accounting solutions—from QuickBooks to FreshBooks to Harvest to Wave—and valued the experience of her peers as well. Finally, she landed on her favorite: FreshBooks.
“I just loved the way FreshBooks looked and I also trusted the people who recommended it,” she says. “I was personally familiar with several people who recommended FreshBooks. That mattered, so I put that into consideration.”
And when it came to the price tag, Ana determined it was a good bang for her buck. “It’s affordable enough and I get such a good value for it.”
With FreshBooks, Ana said goodbye to the mundane task of manual entry and has been entirely focused on growing a prosperous business.
“I have literally all the information I need,” she explains. “And I have become really good with my money because every penny I make goes through FreshBooks.”
What’s more, she’s quickly become her accountant’s favorite client. (Believe it or not, Ana’s already completed her 2017 taxes!)
“I’m never handing my accountant boxes of receipts or forgetting information last minute, making him redo everything. He has all the information he needs to put into his software.”
Besides keeping track of her business’ finances, Ana also sings high praise to FreshBooks customer support.
“I once had trouble setting up my bank account; I sent a message and got a phone call within seconds,” she says. “I told myself, ‘that can’t be them; that’s way too quick.’ But it was you guys and you did everything you could to set things up for me.”
Ana recollects that same instance, where nearly $500 was stuck in limbo because she incorrectly inputted her banking information. “With FreshBooks’ help, I had the money in my account the next day. I was amazed.”
Ana cautions small business owners to abide by tax rules. Plainly said, don’t upset the IRS.
“It’s just not something that you want to deal with,” she says, emphasizing the importance of an accounting system to track and manage your income and expenses. “Tracking shouldn’t be left until tax season. I did it once and it was awful and I hated it.”
Over the years, Ana has worked around the clock to get to the place where she stands today. And while her success is self-made, she believes FreshBooks plays an important role in her business—and can do so for many other small business owners.
“FreshBooks definitely helps me advance the success that I already had,” she says. “It makes it a lot easier to look very professional, which I like. And it elevates my business, which really gives me an edge.”