I created Triginta after being self-employed myself and developing a set of practical book-keeping tools that I thought could be useful for other self-employed people. I hope you’ll find it meets your needs.
I have looked around other sites that offer book-keeping tools – I’d encourage you to look at them too – and concluded that they were offering too many features that weren’t relevant for the vast majority of self-employed people and they were overpriced for the value they could provide for the average freelancer.
I was well into my career when I became self-employed. I was already doing my own self-assessment tax return, I was familiar with accounts procedures and I was pretty savvy with spreadsheets. I decided I didn’t need an accountant and I could set up all the necessary procedures and customised spreadsheets myself.
I created my own invoicing and expenses procedures and integrated them into an accounts package that kept everything organised and meant that if I had the dreaded visit from HMRC I could show them exactly where I stood. As I was registered for VAT, I did the same thing to track my VAT receipts and payments.
One thing I knew I needed from day one was an accurate way of calculating how much tax and NI to set aside every month. I wanted to set aside the right amount each month – enough to be sure I was covering what was need but not too much either. But more than anything it was the peace of mind of knowing I was on top of my outgoings and liabilities.
I had been used to the PAYE system from when I was an employed person and I wanted to have something close to that. I didn’t want something that just projected an average for the year; there are plenty of those online but they’re not much use until the year is already over. I wanted a system that told me exactly how much tax and NI to deduct from my earnings that month, taking account of variations in my income and how much of each tax band I had used up for that month.
The calculator served me well, and when I came to submit my tax return the result that HMRC came up with was invariably within a few pennies of what I had already set aside.
None of this is massively complicated but it did seem to me that it could be helpful to other self-employed people. When I looked at the other book-keeping sites they did look very over-engineered and not really relevant to the needs of the vast majority of self-employed people with pretty straightforward circumstances. And they were very pricey, even for their entry-level products. So I’ve deliberately tried to keep it simple – and therefore cost effective which is reflected in the pricing. But if you think I’m missing anything important, or you have any comments to improve the site, please let me know.