Goldsmith talking on the phone with a customer.
The best accounting software for artists does more than organize your finances, it can help you put your best foot forward as a professional. — Getty Images/EMS Forster Productions

Few artists want to spend their downtime tracking unpaid client invoices or entering art supply expenses. But for those transitioning a hobby into a business, it’s essential. The IRS requires entrepreneurs to maintain “complete and accurate books and records” and put “time and effort” into making their activity profitable. Fortunately, the best accounting software for artists helps organize your finances and present yourself as a professional. Compare the five accounting programs in this article to find the right one for your artistic endeavors.

ZarMoney: all-in-one accounting, productivity, and inventory software

Since 2006 ZarMoney has offered cloud-based accounting tools for small to large businesses. It provides more than 60 features for accounting, productivity, and inventory. ZarMoney has three service plans, with pricing starting at $15 monthly for one user and unlimited transactions. The 15-day free trial doesn’t require a credit card.

Top features for artists include:

  • Invoicing:Add a logo to your statements, and print, email, or fax them to your clients.
  • Prepayments: Accept deposits and automatically subtract the payment from the invoice.
  • Inventory: Track artwork by collection and see stock levels for various marketplaces.
  • Scheduler: Create tasks and reminders for your art business, and sync it to your Google Calendar or iPhone calendar.

[Read more: How to License Your Artwork]

Wave: totally free invoicing and accounting tools

A small team of eight launched Wave Accounting in 2010. Today, it’s used by more than 2 million entrepreneurs. Wave’s free web-based money management tools offer dozens of invoicing and accounting features. Plus, you can download iOS and Android apps to handle payments or view account balances from anywhere. Wave offers a pay-per-use payment service that lets your clients pay right from their invoice.

Here are a few valuable features for artists:

  • Invoicing:It’s free to personalize and send invoices to your clients.
  • Reminders: Save time by automatically reminding customers to send a payment.
  • Expense tracking: Snap a photo of your receipt and upload it to the cloud.
  • Payments: Let customers pay invoices via credit card or bank account.

The IRS requires entrepreneurs to maintain 'complete and accurate books and records.'

QuickBooks Self-Employed: accounting with built-in tax support

In 1983, QuickBooks Desktop debuted, and the cloud-based version (QuickBooks Online) was launched in 2001. Since then, QuickBooks has added several products, including QuickBooks Self-Employed for freelancers and independent contractors. QuickBooks Self-Employed costs $15 monthly, or you can bundle your accounting software with TurboTax for $25 monthly.

QuickBooks Self-Employed features include the following:

  • Account transactions:Download transactions from PayPal, Square, and bank accounts.
  • Mileage tracking: Record mileage automatically when driving. Swipe right to label your trip as personal or left for business.
  • Taxes: Get quarterly tax estimates and due date reminders on your dashboard.
  • Invoices: Select flat-fee, hourly, or per-item rates, and let clients click to pay.

Zoho Books: flexible project management and accounting features

Zoho launched more than 25 years ago. Today, it offers many free business tools, including Zoho Books, its online accounting software. Zoho Books is free for one user and one accountant for businesses with less than $50,000 in annual revenue. It has five paid plans, starting at $20 monthly. You can manage projects, payments, and inventory from your dashboard.

Free and paid plans include the following:

  • Invoicing: Sell your art globally with multilingual invoices.
  • Project management: Manually log your time or use the built-in timer.
  • Payments: Choose from 11 payment gateways, including PayPal, Square, and Stripe.
  • Inventory: Create custom price lists and monitor stock levels.

Hiveage: prepare estimates from your cell phone

Hiveage launched in 2014 and was designed for small businesses. It provides financial reports, online invoices, and expense-tracking tools. The mobile apps put your accounting software at your fingertips. Hiveage’s free plan lets you store data for five clients, whereas paid versions start at $19 monthly and support 50 to 1,000 customers.

Hiveage features include the following:

  • Unlimited estimates and invoices: Send clients branded statements and let them make full or partial payments.
  • Time tracking: Use the built-in timer and set billable rates to account for your time.
  • Expense management: Add receipts and mileage to understand your business costs.
  • Payments: Offer clients multiple payment options, including PayPal, Stripe, and Bitcoin.

[Read more: How to Start Selling Your Fine Art]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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