Setting up your FreeAgent account

This article explains how to set up your FreeAgent account after you’ve signed up.

This article contains the following topics. Select a link to skip straight to that section:

Signing up for FreeAgent

On the initial sign up page, enter your first and last name, email address and business name. Then, select your business type, enter a secure password and select ‘Get started with FreeAgent’ to proceed to the next step.

Entering your business details

Business type

You’ll need to select an account type. UK-based businesses can choose either a 'Limited Company', 'Limited Liability Partnership', 'Partnership', 'Sole Trader', or 'Unincorporated Landlord' account type.

There is also a ‘Universal’ account type which can be used for UK businesses as well as international businesses. US and Universal accounts don't include some of the complex functionality that other UK-based business types require, such as VAT, payroll, Self Assessment and Corporation Tax computations.

Select the appropriate option from the ‘Confirm your Business Type’ drop-down menu.

Please note that it’s important to select the appropriate account type when creating your account, as this cannot be changed later. This is because each account type has different features based on the needs of that kind of business - for example, the limited company account includes a Corporation Tax return and Final Accounts report, which aren't included in any other type of account.

If your business is a charity, not-for-profit organisation, social enterprise, or community interest company, find out how to choose the appropriate account type.

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Business category

Next, select the category that best describes your business from the ‘Business Category’ drop-down menu.

If your business is a charity, not-for-profit organisation, social enterprise or community interest company, select ‘Charity/NFP/CIC'.

Business Category highlighted within the Business Details page..png

Business name

Then, enter your business name and address. These details will appear on the invoices you create in FreeAgent.

If your business is a UK limited company or a limited liability partnership, you'll need to enter its registration number as you’re legally required to include this on your invoices. Select ‘Find company details’ to automatically populate this information from the details held at Companies House.

Business Name and Find company details highlighted within the Business Details page..png

Select ‘Save and Continue’ at the bottom of the screen to proceed to the next step.

Entering your accounting dates

Next, you’ll need to enter your business’s accounting dates and accounting basis (if applicable).

Accounting Dates page with ‘Save and Continue’ and ‘Go back to the previous step’ options..png

When did you officially start your business?

For sole traders and partnerships, this will be the same date that you notified HMRC that the business started trading.

For limited companies and limited liability partnerships, this will be the incorporation date for the business, which can be found on the certificate of incorporation issued by Companies House.

When did your first accounting year end?

The ‘First Accounting Year End Date’ is the date that you want FreeAgent to prepare your first accounting year to.

If your FreeAgent account is for a sole trader, partnership, or unincorporated landlord, the year end date in most cases will be 5th April, to coincide with the tax year. If you’re unsure of the correct year end date, please check your HMRC personal account or speak to your accountant.

If your business is a limited company, the year end date will be one year from the end of the month in which you started the company, unless you've filed a form with Companies House to change your year end date. For example, if your company start date was 5th June in one year, your first accounting year end date would be 30th June the following year. If you’re unsure which date to choose, please check with Companies House or speak to your accountant.

Please note that the date that you enter as your ‘First Accounting Year End Date’ will be used by FreeAgent to set the year end for future years too. For example, if your first accounting year ended on 30th June one year, FreeAgent will prepare your accounting reports to 30th June each year.

What date do you want to keep your books from?

The 'FreeAgent Start Date' is the date from which you're going to start keeping your books in FreeAgent. Your choice of date will depend on whether your business is new or existing.

If your business is new or if you’ve been trading for less than a year, you might decide to start keeping your books in FreeAgent from the start date of your business. If you’ve been trading for longer, you might choose the start of the most recent accounting year.

All bank transactions, invoices, bills, out-of-pocket expenses, capital assets and journal entries entered into FreeAgent need to be dated on or after your FreeAgent start date. If you enter any of these with a date before your FreeAgent start date, they will not be counted in FreeAgent.

Select ‘Save and Continue’ to proceed to the next step.

Accounting basis

If you’re setting up a sole trader, partnership, or unincorporated landlord account, you’ll be asked to confirm whether you’d like to prepare your accounts using the ‘Traditional (accruals) basisorCash basis’. This is different from using the cash basis to prepare your VAT returns, so please check with your accountant if you’re unsure which basis you should be using for your accounts.

The main differences between preparing your accounts using the accruals accounting basis or the cash accounting basis are when your income and costs will be recorded on your profit and loss report in FreeAgent. The accruals accounting basis will record unpaid invoices as income, whereas the cash accounting basis will only record income once the invoice has been paid by a customer. Find out how to choose the appropriate accounting basis.

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Select ‘Save and Continue’ to proceed to the next step.

Entering your VAT details

Next, you have the option to enter your VAT information.

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Not registered

If your business isn’t registered for VAT, or you don't have the details to hand and want to enter these later, choose 'Not Registered' from the ‘Are you VAT Registered?’ drop-down menu.

Please note that if you are VAT registered and want to enter your details at a later date, you’ll need to enter these VAT details before issuing your first invoice.

Registration applied for

If you’ve applied for VAT registration but haven’t yet received your VAT certificate from HMRC, choose 'Registration Applied For' from the ‘Are you VAT Registered?’ drop-down menu and enter the date you expect the certificate to take effect from. Find out more about waiting for your VAT registration number.

Registered

If your business is registered for VAT, choose 'Registered' from the ‘Are you VAT Registered?’ drop-down menu and enter the relevant details.

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Select ‘Save and Continue’ to proceed to the next step.

About You

If you have a subsidised account via NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank or Mettle, the ‘About You’ section allows you to shape your FreeAgent experience. We’ll provide tips and suggestions based on your answers. 

First, select whether or not you have an accountant.

First About You page with options for having, not needing, or wanting an accountant..png

Select ‘Save and Continue’ to proceed to the next step.

Then, select the relevant options below ‘What can we help you with first?’. You can choose multiple options.

Second About You page with options for what you want help with first..png

Select 'Save and Continue' to proceed to the next step.

Entering your banking details

Banking is one of the most important features in FreeAgent. The software prepares your business’s accounts based on the explanations you give for the money paid into and out of your business bank accounts.

Banking Setup page with boxes to fill in bank account details..png

Account name

Enter an account name for the bank account to make it easy to identify in case you add more bank accounts later.

By default FreeAgent assumes that all bank accounts are business bank accounts. If you’re a sole trader, an unicorporate landlord, or a partner in a non-limited liability partnership, and you haven’t opened a business bank account for your business, you can tick the checkbox to mark it as a personal account.

Checkbox for account having both personal and business transactions on Banking Setup page..png

Learn more about the differences between business and personal accounts.

Bank details

In order to enable a bank feed or upload bank statements from your online banking, you’ll need to enter your bank account’s sort code and account number in the fields provided. If you don’t want to do this, or would prefer to do this later, leave these blank.

Boxes to input Bank Name, Account Number, and Sort:Bank Code on Banking Setup page..png

Opening balance

The opening balance is the bank balance before any new transactions on the date you choose as your FreeAgent start date (in other words, the balance at the close of play on the previous day). Enter the exact balance in the field provided. Please note that not entering the correct opening balance can result in reconciliation issues.

Box to input Opening Balance and buttons to Save and Finish, or Go back to previous step..png

Select 'Save and Finish' to complete the setup process and start using FreeAgent.

Once you’ve signed up for a FreeAgent account, you’ll receive an email asking you to verify your email address. It’s important that you follow the instructions in the email to confirm your account to prevent temporary limitations being placed on your account.

Subsidised accounts

If you have a subsidised account via NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank or Mettle, you’ll have the option to connect your Online Banking to your FreeAgent account. You’ll need to give approval for FreeAgent to have access, and you’ll need to update your connection every 90 days.

Banking Setup page for Natwest, RBS, Ulster Bank and Mettle subsidised accounts..png

What should I do next?

Once you’ve set up and confirmed your FreeAgent account, we recommend reviewing our guide to getting started with FreeAgent and getting to grips with the terminology. Find out what you can file to HMRC and Companies House using FreeAgent.

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