The Core Setup Guide

In this article, we’ll give you the time-tested, no bull getting started guide for Billy. We’ve helped thousands of people get set up with Billy and learned a lot in the process. We’ll give you the 5 key steps you need things you need to do in your first two weeks to ensure your own long-term success.

If you haven't already checked out the video tour, it's worth a quick watch to get you familiarized with Billy.


1. Linking your business bank account

2. Adding your logo and organization info

3. Connecting Stripe for credit card payments

4. Inviting your accountant

5. Get set up for expense tracking

Before we get started, it’s important to acknowledge that you’ve already taken a big step. Looking back at years of disorganization can be a daunting task, so congratulations for taking the first step and signing up for your Billy account.

It’s important to emphasize how critical it is to get set up correctly from the beginning. While anyone can jump into Billy, start sending invoices and getting paid right away, an improper setup can cost you significantly in these three areas:

Time: Troubleshooting an accounting software system is no one’s favorite thing (OK well I like it, but that’s why I work for Billy). Setting Billy up correctly from the beginning is the best way to ensure you can run your business smoothly and effectively throughout the year.

Money: According to several CPA’s that we’ve talked to, one of the main reasons they have difficulty combing through financial systems is because they weren’t set up correctly from the beginning. If it takes your accountant longer to do your taxes, you won’t be getting the kind of financial advice you might otherwise want.

Decisions: This is probably the most critical, but the least understood. Making decisions about your business is never only financial. You need to consider your customers, your vendors, your relationships and your overall business ecosystem. But finances should also be taken into consideration. Make sure you have all the information you need at your fingertips for when you need to make a snap decision.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started!

1. Linking your business bank account

This is the number-one most important thing to do to ensure the success of your financial organization effort. There’s nothing quite like having all of your business transactions automatically imported for you right out of the gate.

Not only does it save you from the cumbersome task of logging into your online banking, downloading your most recent bank statement, working some spreadsheet magic and ultimately importing your transactions into your accounting system, but it’s one less thing you have to remember to do each week.

You may have linked your business bank account when you first signed up, which is great! You’ve already completed the first step. If that's the case, go ahead an move onto step 2. Otherwise, here we go!

  1. From the Billy Dashboard, you’ll click on ‘Bank accounts’, then click on ‘Business checking account’.

  2. Next, you’ll want to click the button on the right side that says ‘Link my bank account’.

  3. After clicking OK, you’ll have a chance to select which bank you’d like to connect to. Enter your banking login info and click ‘Continue’ when finished.

  4. Once you’re back in Billy, you’ll want to set the date for all new transactions to be pulled into Billy. I always recommend setting it to January 1st of the current year.

  5. Now that you’ve connected your business checking account, I always recommend adding an account name that’s a bit more helpful. Click ‘More’ and ‘Edit account’ to change the name to something like ‘BofA Rewards Business Checking (#6678)’ so you know exactly which account you’re working with.

    Once you’ve done that, you’re all set! If you have any additional bank accounts, be sure to add those by going to ‘Accounting’ -> ‘Chart of accounts’ -> ‘Create account’ -> ‘Bank account’.

Side note: We don’t recommend you mix business transactions with personal transactions. If you’ve linked a personal account, it would be advisable to open a new account with your bank specifically for your business activities.

2. Adding your Logo and Organization info

Before you start shooting off invoices, you'll want to make sure to add your logo and contact information so your customers know who they're talking to. It also helps to add a personal touch for when you're doing business.

  1. From the Billy dashboard, click 'Settings' in the lower-right corner of your screen.

  2. Here you'll find your organization settings. Make sure to update your info so your customers know how to reach you.

  3. Make sure to click 'Save' in the upper right corner to save your changes.

3. Connecting your Stripe account

Making it easier for your customers to pay your invoices helps get you paid faster and frees up your time for other activities. Billy leverages the power of Stripe to help you accept credit card payments on your invoices.

You may have already set this up in the beginning, but don't worry if you didn't we have all of the instructions here.

  1. Click the 'Settings' button in the lower-left corner of your screen.

  2. Click 'Payment methods' in the settings bar.

  3. Click 'Add new payment method'

  4. Click 'Continue to Stripe' when you're ready. If you don't have a Stripe account, you'll be able to create one right away. If you already have a Stripe account, make sure to sign in with your existing account using the 'Login' button toward the top.

    If you have any problems with connecting an existing Stripe account, try clearing the cookies in your browser and going through the process again.

  5. Now you're all set! When you start creating invoices, make sure to select 'Stripe' as your payment method.

4. Inviting your accountant

Surrounding yourself with a team of experts is one of the best ways to succeed in freelancing. There’s a popular quote that comes to mind here:

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”

One of the best parts of running a small business is the ability to adapt quickly and change things on the fly. By periodically bringing in experts to help out from time to time, you increase your chances of success dramatically.

Accountants are like the wizards among your team of business experts. They spend years in training to harness their skills and have a deep knowledge of the intricacies in their subject area. Leveraging their expertise right from the start is the best way to guarantee the success of your efforts.

At Billy, you've probably noticed by now that our thing is making everything as easy as possible. The fact of the matter is, setting up accounting software isn't an easy thing to do no matter who you are. Unless you know how to set your conversion balance, format your chart of accounts to line up with your tax filing procedure and define your fiscal year, you're probably going to need the help of an accountant.

But that's ok! Here's the the best way to get your accountant on board with a new software tool. We have plenty of resources specifically for accountants that get into the nitty gritty jargon that they love.

  1. Draft an email to your accountant explaining why you'd like to use Billy.

    Believe it or not, this really is the most critical step in the process. Your accountant wants to year directly from you why you want to use this new tool. We can tell them about why Billy is the best thing since sliced bread, but they'll be much more receptive to your request.

    With that said, here are some popular reasons to include when you're drafting an email to your accountant:

    a. Billy is designed for freelancers like me

    b. Billy is easier to use than the alternatives

    c. Billy's support team is awesome

    d. I'm tired of using [insert other accounting software here]

    e. Billy is more affordable than the alternatives

    Make sure to let them know that you'll be sending them an invitation to check Billy out.

  2. Send the email.

    Once you’ve drafted the email, go ahead and send it over to your accountant. They’d much rather hear directly from you why you’re interested in using Billy than have us tell them.

  3. Invite your accountant to Billy. Once you’ve sent the email and you’ve had a discussion with your accountant, chances are that they’ll want to check Billy out. The best way to invite your accountant to Billy is to go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Users’ and shoot them an invite. At Billy, we have a team specifically dedicated to giving accountants the resources they need to be successful.

  4. Build a plan. Once your accountant has had time to check out Billy, it’s important to build a plan that works for you. Remember, your accountant works for you, so let them know what you’d like them to do. A sample plan usually consists of the following:

    a. Help you verify that Billy has been set up correctly

    b. Establish a timeline for communication (ex. Monthly calls, weekly emails, etc.)

    c. Establish responsibilities going forward (ex. You agree to enter all invoices and bills and your accountant does the reconciliation and prepares financial statements every month).

5. Get set up for expense tracking

After you've had your accountant help you set up Billy and linked your bank accounts, you're ready to get started tracking expenses. You can always start creating bills right away from the Bills menu, but there are plenty of quick tips that we have for efficient tracking.

  1. Download the mobile app.

    The Billy mobile app lets you snap pictures of your bills and receipts right when you get them so you can toss them away and never think about them again. All photos are automatically uploaded to Billy as draft bills for you to edit and categorize later.

    Are you on an iPhone or iPad? Download our iOS app here.

    Android user? Download our Android app here.

  2. Save your Billy email as a contact.

    You know how receipts are often digitized these days? If you receive an invoice or a bill as an image or PDF in your email, you can forward it to your own special Billy email address to have it saved as a draft bill.

    You can find your special Billy email address in 'Settings' -> 'App settings' -> 'Bill settings'. Copy the email address and save it as a contact in your email. That way, when you receive receipts and bills, you can just forward them directly to Billy.

  3. Download the Chrome extension (coming soon!).

    Pretty soon, you'll be able to take a screenshot of any bill, receipt or expense in Google Chrome and have it automatically added to Billy. Don't worry, if you sign up now, we'll notify you when it's released.

Ready to start getting set up? Let's get you started:

Contact Support

Questions? We're here to help!

Billy Invoicing Tool - Support Team
  • (800) 241-7365