Cloud Accounting

17hats — The Solopreneur App That Does it All?

Written by Greg Lam

I often dismiss apps that do everything, especially viewed through the lens of an accounting professional. However, as a small business owner who has to perform many functions, it’s hard to deny the appeal of an all-in-one app like 17hats.

Greg Lam will be presenting the sessions, Cloud Accounting Face Off and Setting Up a Paperless Accounting Flow, at Accountex 2016.

What 17hats Can Do

So, what are the 17 things that 17hats can do?


  1. Overview (of your business functions)
  2. *Contacts
  3. *Projects
  4. Questionnaires
  5. *Quotes
  6. Contracts
  7. *Invoices
  8. *Accept Credit Cards
  9. *Bookkeeping
  10. *Calendar
  11. To Do Lists
  12. *Time Tracking
  13. Workflow
  14. *Templates
  15. Email Sync
  16. Lead Capture

Wait, that’s only 16. I have no clue where that 17th hat went. It doesn’t matter though. What I get from looking at that list is that a lot of the things the 17hats app can do can also be done by an accounting app. I put an asterisk next to the ones that regular accounting and invoicing apps can do. When I tallied it up, the number came to 9, which means that a regular accounting and invoicing app can do half of what 17hats provides. As times marches on in the online app world, I’m seeing more and more crossover amongst the capabilities of apps.

What I specifically want to test out in 17hats is how the process would work for a freelancer booking clients, in the same way they would with software like FreshBooks. The tasks I came up with are:

  • Track an email conversation with a client
  • Capture some information about the client’s needs
  • Provide a quote (with options for the client to choose from)
  • Provide an official invoice
  • Get a contract signed
  • Get payment
  • Schedule the work in the calendar

As such, I’ll be going through the steps I took to perform those tasks. After I do that, I’ll briefly introduce some of 17hats’ other functions.

Getting Started

Signing up for the 15-day free trial was simple enough and didn’t require any credit card. Upon signing up, you’re forwarded to the Overview page. While it usually displays all your upcoming calendar appointments, to dos, and other important notices, it also guides you in getting started.

17hats Overview

If you click on the OK, let’s get started button, you’ll get a checklist of tasks to complete.


Since this is a basic app designed for solopreneurs, setup is simple and can be done in 10 minutes or so. One of the steps you have to complete to do almost anything else, is to create a contact.

Contacts and Leads

17hats has components of a lite CRM system. A lot of the focus is put on your contacts (clients) and your interactions with them. Not all contacts in 17hats are created equal. There are four Contact Types: client, hot lead, cold prospect, and other contact.

New Contact

When you choose the hot lead or cold prospect type, they actually show up in the Leads page (rather than the Contacts page). While much of the functionality in 17hats centers around a contact, in order to actually do more with a contact I needed to create a Project.

Leads Page


After I added a project, I was able to add Important Documents.

Important Documents

Since my first task was to track an email conversation, I checked out the email functionality.

About the author

Greg Lam

Greg Lam is a passionate small business guy who loves technology and automation. He holds a BBA from Simon Fraser University, Canada. He's a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Xero Partner, and Kashoo MVP. His business interests are focused on online accounting and how it can be used to streamline and automate a company’s accounting processes. He currently lives in Tokyo, Japan.

Greg operates the Small Biz Doer website, an "Entrepreneur's Guide to Small Biz Bookkeeping." He is the author of Online Accounting Software: Finding the Right Match, published by The Sleeter Group.

Connect with Greg on Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, LinkedIn, or Facebook.


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