There's a raft of studio management tools out there to help you keep on top of workflow, time management, quotes and invoicing. Many of them integrate with existing programs like email, calendars and accounting software like Xero or MYOB.
Here are five of the best money management tools for studios, so you can keep on top of cash-flow and focus on the creative…
01. Billings Pro
Good for agencies that want a specific app for their financial affairs to work alongside other studio management tools. Very Apple friendly (they make a big play of it working with the Apple Watch) and good value at £6.50 per user per month or £63 for the year.
Developed with New Zealand's Q Brand Agency, Streamtime is very focused on providing software that works in the specific context of the design world (i.e. "Timesheets creatives will actually use".)
Not cheap at £29 per team member per month, but it's comprehensive and customer support is good.
Aimed at small businesses of all types rather than at creative agencies specifically, FreeAgent is a serious option for complex organisations with very financially-focused objectives.
It offers different price points (£29 a month for a Limited Company, down to £19 a month for a sole trader) and you can have unlimited users on an account. Its clear dashboard offers features such as a live profit and loss tracker, and you can manage your tax affairs through it as well.
Another good generalist option (its client list includes wedding photographers, tattoo artists and massage therapists alongside design studios). It's free for one user, climbing to £22 a month for two users and £41 for three or more.
There's a huge number of features including a few unusual ones such as in-built e-signature software and help creating targeted marketing campaigns.
Launched in 2014 as the successor to Curdbee, Hiveage is good for studios that have very specific requirements, as from £4.50 a month you can pick and choose the features that are most relevant.
Prices are steeper for the unlimited packages (£192 a year for five users and £320 for 10) so the create-your-own option is tempting.
The full version of this article first appeared inside Computer Arts issue 244: Earn More as a Designer – on sale now.
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