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Wednesday Web Resources: Four Great Free Tools That Work Great Together

wed-web-resources-8-5.jpgTake a look around your office. Do you see a chaotic blizzard of receipts, business cards, papers waiting to be filed, and notes to yourself? Do you promise to keep your accounting straight, but end up staying up around the clock at tax time? 

Well, never fear, this week I'm devoting a Wednesday Web Resources post to free Web-based tools that help you get organized. I found four great tools to help you pull your paperwork together. 

As an added bonus, these four companies have smartly designed their products to work with each other. A couple are oldies but goodies, but if you're a new entrepreneur, you may not know about them yet.

Freshbooks - I wish I had a dime for every time an entrepreneur mentioned this Toronto-based company and its program for invoicing and keeping track of what's been billed and what's outstanding. The free version only lets you track three clients or contractors -- it's $25 bucks a month for up to 25 clients. There is a free trial, though.

Outright - Free bookkeeping on autopilot. Outright imports your data from elsewhere, and your set for April. Can 21 million users be wrong? The basic service is free, but they do have paid services such as filing Form 1099 for you when you use contractors. The site warns that paid levels may be on the way -- so sign up while it's all free.

Shoeboxed - Founded in 2007, Shoeboxed lets you mail, email, or send in receipts from your mobile phone. The company then scans and organizes the mess for you. Presto! Your contacts are saved, and your expenses are ready for your accountant. There's a free trial, plus a free bare-bones version in which you scan and upload your paper bits yourself. 

Teaspiller - This one's the new kid on the block, founded last year. If you're still doing your own taxes, but the task is getting more complicated and perhaps a bit beyond you, check in at Teaspiller. The company lets you ask questions, find an expert, do tax planning...and there's a free 10-minute consultation offer. From there, you can pick an expert and see their hourly rate ahead of time, so there's no surprises.

Carol Tice, a freelance writer, is chief executive of TiceWrites Inc. in Bainbridge Island, Wash. She blogs about freelance writing at Make a Living Writing. Email her at carol@caroltice.com.

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