Like most non-German speaking freelancers I have also suffered hair-pulling moments while managing my accounts and taxes. However, life got much better, once I found out that there are plenty of English accounting software in Germany. Here is a summary of some of the accounting software for freelancers in Germany that support multiple languages.
As a freelancer in Germany, you can totally get by manually creating VAT invoices for your clients.
However, creating an invoice in Word or Excel costs time does not comply with the legal requirements and carries a high risk of error.
With the right accounting and invoicing software for freelancers, you can avoid costly mistakes, save valuable time in the boring soul-sucking admin work and stay on the safer side of the law.
But how do you know if you really need accounting and invoicing software in Germany?
Well, that depends on your business situation.
- Is your client base growing fast?
- Do you have to create multiple invoices each month?
- Do you have to register VAT every quarter?
- Do your clients pay late and force you to send them payment reminders and Mahnung?
If you answered YES to all of the above, then trust me an accounting tool will make your life as a freelancer in Germany so much easier. Plus it’ll be lighter on your pockets as you could save hundreds if not thousands of euros in an accountant’s fee per year.
In this post, I have compared some popular invoicing tools and given some tips on choosing the right English accounting software in Germany.
Disclaimer: This blog post may include affiliate links. These links do not cost you anything but I might earn a small commission if you decide to order something from one of my recommended partners. Thank you for your support to help keep this platform growing!
1) Recommended English Accounting Software in Germany
An ideal invoicing and accounting software should automatically create invoices, monitor open invoices, compare them with incoming payments or create payment reminders or dunning letters for unpaid invoices. International freelancers with a German and global client base would also want multiple language compatibilities.
When reviewing invoicing and accounting tools available in Germany, I kept the following factors in mind:
- Compatibility with multiple languages, especially English – since you may not be fluent German speaker
- Easy to terminate the contract since expat freelancers may be in Germany for a short term
- Compatibility with multiple countries and geographic areas
- Ability to submit an advance VAT return to German tax authorities (Umsatzsteuervoranmeldung)
- GOBD and GDPR compliant
- User-friendliness and a clean user interface
- The extent of invoicing and accounting features
- Third-party apps and integrations
- Price and customer and tech support
Based on the above criterion, I chose the following four as the best English accounting software in Germany for international freelancers and expats.
Invoicing and Accounting Features
3rd party Apps Integrations
GOBD & GDPR Compliant
Customer -Tech Support
2) Invoicing Software in Germany For Expats
Here are some accounting and invoicing software in Germany at low monthly costs that are widely used by local and international small businesses and freelancers.
They are GOBD and GDPR compliant. You can use them as SaaS solutions – so no downloading or installing large software in your computers! Many of them are also accessible as an app, so you can keep an eye on your account on the go. Note that all these accounting software that I picked also support multiple languages including English.
So let’s take a look at these accounting tools one by one.
2.1) Basic accounting/online tax filing tools for expat freelancers in Germany
If you have relatively simple accounting needs then you will benefit greatly from Sorted.
Sorted is an online tax filing tool created to serve the needs of English speaking sole traders and freelancers in Germany.
This tool single-handedly takes care of ALL stages of being self-employed in Germany:
- Register as a freelancer in Germany in English through Sorted
- Keep a track of your expenses and invoices
- Generate invoices within its UI
- File all your German freelancer tax reports in English – Income-tax return (Steuererklärung), Annual VAT return (Umsatzsteuererklärung), Annual profit report (EÜR), Advance VAT declaration (Umsatzsteuer–Voranmeldung)
Language: English and simple German
Cost: Sorted’s basic invoicing, expense and income recording features are free for all users.
Kleinunternehmer (or freelancers earning under €22,000 per year) can report their freelancer taxes and VAT annually for €80 per year.
High earning freelancers who report VAT monthly or quarterly can use Sorted’s Pro’s plan for €60 per quarter.
Or, watch this quick video walkthrough
2.2) Invoicing tools for Digital Nomads in Germany
If you are a digital nomad planning to stay in Germany for just a few months you don’t need to invest in a completely new German or EU accounting tool.
FreshBooks is an international accounting and invoicing tool that can be used in multiple European languages and currencies.
FreshBooks UI offers an invoice generator that makes creating professional looking and branded invoices ridiculously easy. It is very simple to create and customise invoices, add your business logo, payment terms and VAT rates. Besides basic invoicing, the tool comes with a number of robust accounting and bookkeeping features.
FreshBooks is also GDPR, PCI and PSD2 compliant, so you and your client’s data and privacy are safe and sound in their servers.
If you want to try FreshBooks, they offer unlimited access to all features for 30 days. No contract and no credit card required.
Languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Russian, Portuguese, Dutch and many more.
Cost: FreshBooks’ Lite plan for freelancers starts with
$ 13.50 $6.00 per month.
2.3) Invoicing tools for English-speaking freelancers in Germany
If you are planning to live in Germany only for a couple of years, then maybe it's better to get a light invoicing or accounting tool with a flexible contract and multiple language support.
Billomat is an invoicing and accounting program that supports the entire bookkeeping process. The "Billomat Business" version, is intuitive to use and offers all the functions from invoice generation to bookkeeping.
If you are looking for an invoicing program and would also like to do your own bookkeeping, Billomat is a great choice. Billomat's Solo plan is perfect for freelancers and side hustles like bloggers.
Languages: English, German, Spanish, Portuguese
Cost: Billomat's Solo plan starts at €6/ month
Click here to start a 30-day free trial (NO credit card details required).
2.4) Invoicing tools for EU or multilingual freelancers in Germany
If you are a freelancer from one of the EU countries and would like accounting software with multiple European languages then here are some recommendations for compatible accounting tools.
sevDesk is a German accounting software that allows users to switch between multiple EU languages. Its sevDesk Invoice plan includes automatic quotes and offers generation and invoice creation and payment reminders. SevDesk also has a mobile app and is excellent in terms of usability. Its accounting interface is very neat, compatible with DATEV export and offers a 'tax consultant access'. An upgrade to the powerful version "sevDesk Accounting" is possible at any time. You can also cancel your account on a monthly basis.
Languages: English, German (DE, CH, AT), French, Italian, Spanish, Greek.
Cost: You can start using sevDesk Invoice plan from €6,90 per month.
2.5) Invoicing tools for German-speaking expat freelancers in Germany
Is Germany is your forever home now? Maybe you are fluent in German but still prefer to use a tool compatible with English? Here are some German accounting tools that offer English translations as well.
The Lexoffice "Invoice & Finance" invoicing plan offers a powerful package with good intuitive usability and mobile apps, and obviously a full-featured accounting suite. It can create offers, invoices, delivery notes, credit notes, payments and most importantly, payment reminders.
Besides this, Lexoffice also offers integration with popular German online business banks such as Kontist, Penta and Holvi. This lets you can automate bookkeeping in real-time. Other popular 3rd party apps such as Zapier, Paypal, Shopify are also available.
There is no trial period with Lexoffice, however, you can easily cancel your services on a monthly basis.
Languages: German and English translations of invoices and other templates
Cost: Lexoffice's 'lite' plan starts from €5,14/ per month
Fastbill is a simple invoicing software for freelancers and online merchants i.e. those with e-commerce stores. Therefore, it comes with inbuilt integrations with the most popular shop systems out there such as Amazon, Jimdo, Woocommerce etc. Fastbill offers all billing functions except for dunning, which an online retailer may not need. Besides this, they also have a mobile app with a great look, feel and usability.
Their basic plan starts at €8,99 per month and you can work with unlimited documents. You also get a personal onboarding session with any Fastbill plan.
Languages: German and PLUS the functionality to add custom language templates
Cost: Fastbill's basic plan starts at €8,99 per month
3) What to Consider Before Buying an Accounting Software in Germany
As you can see from the above section that there are tons of accounting and invoicing software in Germany. Here are some of the features that you should carefully consider when investing in bookkeeping software.
It should fit your requirements: If you are a freelancer with only a handful of invoices and expenses per month there is no need to get a fully featured bookkeeping tool. A starter plan suitable for busy freelancers should suffice. On the other hand, if you are selling digital products or run an e-commerce business, then you may need some additional features to manage and organise all the transactions.
It should have an intuitive user interface: Accounting is already a complex part of running a business. The last thing you need is a UI that complicates the process even more. An ideal invoicing and accounting software should take work off your hands and save time. Therefore its user interface must be intuitive and easy to learn.
It should be scalable and 'upgradable': As your business grows, the demands on the billing software will also increase. You should take this into account when buying the software.
It should have robust data protection features: Your accounting software often doubles up for managing customer data (CRM). Since so many invoicing and bookkeeping software solutions are available as SaaS, you should attach great importance to data security.
It should offer data backup and recovery: Any accounting software contains very important information which is relevant from a tax point of view. In Germany, you are required to maintain financial records for several years. Before buying invoicing software in Germany, make sure that the provider offers regular data backups and restoration in case of an accident.
It should offer an ideal price/performance ratio: Although most well-known accounting software have very similar features, you should take a close look at the costs of the functionalities offered. This point becomes particularly important when upgrading from basic to 'pro' versions.
It should have excellent (and fast) customer support: If there are problems with the invoicing software, timely support from the provider is important. Please check whether a service hotline is offered and what costs may be incurred.
It should have a free trial phase: A test drive is a must before you commit to buying an accounting software in Germany. Take advantage of a free trial period and test the billing programs that are on the shortlist.
It should offer a knowledge base or/ and onboarding: Although many invoicing tools can be operated intuitively, the accounting software provider should also offer a comprehensive knowledge base or an onboarding program for first-time users.
It should have GOBD conformity: Any invoicing software in Germany must comply with German legal requirements. For example, the storage periods of 10 years, the completeness of the documents and the non-manipulability of created documents, especially the invoices are crucial in German tax laws. Check and re-check if the accounting software of your choice conforms to these regulations.
So here is my summary of the best English accounting software in Germany. Do you use some other tool for your invoicing and accounting? Tell us in the comments below!