Keeping track of a retainer?

  • 9
  • Question
  • Updated 12 months ago
Is there a way to keep track of a retainer in FreeAgent? Where regular timeslips could be deducted from the running retainer balance?
Photo of Joshua Pinter

Joshua Pinter

  • 33 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
  • interested

Posted 9 years ago

  • 9
Photo of deburca999


  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
If you mean where the funds are kept in a client account and you do invoices every now and then and need to move the funds from the client's retainer account to the office account, then I have the same issue. I have been trying to do this and had been setting up a new bank account (on FreeAgent not with the bank) calling it "CLIENT FUNDS (Client Name)" and then transferring this to my client bank account (where client's retained funds are actually deposited). The purpose of this was to identify on FreeAgent that this was a transfer in of client's funds - not my businesses.

The problem however is in the invoicing. The issue there is how after issuing an invoice do you on FreeAgent move the funds over to the office operating account. If you do a transfer on FreeAgent (which you can of course do with the bank with no problem) the money arriving is identified as transferred funds from the client account which doesn't tie in with how to attribute the funds as payment of the invoice.

Perhaps the idea might be to on FreeAgent make some kind of entry in (relation to the client bank account) either paying out or returning the funds to the client but then in fact (further to client agreement to pay the invoice) entering (in relation to the office operating account) on the actual receipt of the paid -over funds into office operating account as simply the receipt of the invoice.
Photo of Joshua Pinter

Joshua Pinter

  • 33 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
I never thought of creating a bank account for the client. But that is one of doing it.

Essentially, just allowing the positive balance of a client account and then drawing from those funds for future timeslips. With a retainer, the invoice is just the allotment of hours and then that gets depleted with timeslips. When the balance is zero or close to you could issue another invoice that would 'refresh' the retainer or balance.
Photo of jfw


  • 106 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
I'm very interested in this too. This and general tracking of hours against time budgets are the most important missing features I've found in FreeAgent.
Photo of TIm


  • 7 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes

I agree with this (I do like the rest of the product, but the inability to do much with the data from timesheets is a real drawback). Allowing this data to be exported for use on Excel would at least give people a manual work-around (currently the data export function exports the work details....but does not tell you what client it was for !) Fixing this slight oversite would certainly help
Photo of Roan

Roan, Product Director

  • 1494 Posts
  • 121 Reply Likes
Supporting retainers is a popular feature request but it's tricky from an accounting perspective.

We're currently look at some fairly big changes to our accounting model that, while not initially aimed at retainers and deposits, will make that development easier in the future.

So we're heading in the right direction, but we're a bit away from a proper implementation of retainers at the minute I'm afraid.
Photo of jfw


  • 106 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
OK, thanks for the info.
Photo of outeraxis


  • 11 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Any progress with this particular feature? I'd love to be able to automate reconciling my hours vs my monthly retainer using the recurring invoices.
Photo of Todd


  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
Would love to see this added as a feature! Many freelancers I know in the SF bay area that work for startups only work on retainer, that way they never have to do collections.
Photo of james.schellhorn


  • 6 Posts
  • 3 Reply Likes
Add another for the retainer request. Evaluating FreeAgent right now, love 90% off the software, but this may be the one thing that keeps us from using it long-term... Any progress on development?
Photo of Quentin Stafford-Fraser

Quentin Stafford-Fraser

  • 5 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Yes, another vote for some support for retainers...
Photo of Liam Galvin

Liam Galvin

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
Another vote for retainer support here!
Photo of chrisjainsley


  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
Photo of Dean Loh

Dean Loh

  • 4 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
This was talked about over 2 years ago, would like to know if any progress was made? This is the only reason holding me back from switching from QuickBooks to Freeagent.

I already have several retainer deposits recorded in my QuickBooks, I need to be able to transfer them over.
Photo of Shentonfreude


  • 65 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes
We need this too.

If we don't have this as a proper FreeAgent feature, do you suggest any work-arounds?
Photo of Oye Gigi

Oye Gigi

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
+1 on this feature.

Anybody have any suggestions on work arounds?
Photo of Dwayne Baraka

Dwayne Baraka

  • 3 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
FFS, do this FreeAgent.

For anyone else who wants to know how, here is my method.

Issue an invoice, then when it is paid process as a credit note AND ALSO the payment for the full amount of the invoice. That effectively puts the client in Credit to the amount of the retainer.

Then you can issue time-based (or stage based) invoices as you do work.

When you issue invoices, you will need to follow the procedure set out by FreeAgent to 'offset' the credit note against the new invoice.

It's messy, but does give a correct balance in the Statement of Account. It may not recognise the relevant timing in terms of work done, but the best thinking seems to be that a retainer payment is earned income upon payment as contractual income (which you may or may not be able to defer if necessary - see an account, which I'm not!).

Hope that's useful.
Photo of thom


  • 3 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Any update on this? Is the above comment still the only way to keep track of billed time against a retainer?

It's going to make for some very ugly and confusing reports and account statements.
Photo of George Grigolava

George Grigolava, Product Manager

  • 412 Posts
  • 15 Reply Likes
Hi Thom,

This isn't something we're working on at the moment. Our product engineering teams are currently working on improving Banking, GDPR compliance, MTD VAT, updating Payroll, updating Self Assessment and building Final Accounts and Corporation Tax submissions.

I'm afraid retainers aren't on our current roadmap, but I've added your vote to our feature request tracker, so it's something we will consider again in the future. 

All the best,