FreshBooks Software Review: Overview – Features – Pricing

Overview Presentation

FreshBooks is an online invoicing and accounting software designed for self-employed professionals and small business owners and their teams. It is easy to use even for non-tech, non-accounting users. A comprehensive set of features, such as online payment acceptance, time tracking, collaboration, automation, and others provide users modern tools and workflow that saves time, promotes accuracy, and improves efficiency in their day-to-day business. As a cloud solution, it is highly accessible, but secure enough for sync and integration with banks, credit card companies, payment centers, and other cloud productivity apps.

Features, Benefits, Product Strengths

  • Invoicing, Payments, and AccountingFreshBooks has invoicing features that are easy to use. It is simple to create and customize professional-looking invoices. Users can add their logo and personalize a thank you email. It accepts online payment from credit cards and ACH. Other features include automated reminders and client credit card charging, request for deposit on invoice, add tracked time and expenses on invoice, offer discounts, automatically calculate taxes, and more. Online payments are automatically recorded in the user’s account. More payment options for the client are available with no hidden fees. Online payment setup can be done in one click, as well as accepting credit card payments online, in person, or over the phone. Other payment features include scheduling, international currencies with Stripe, auto-generated collected payment reports, and more. Double-Entry accounting features identifies revenue items and related expenses for accurate calculation of profits and losses.
  • Expenses, Time Tracking, and Reporting – The cloud invoicing and accounting software allows users to connect their bank account or credit card for automated entry, so that the business is updated with the most recent expenses. They can take a photo of a receipt, log it, and data is updated and organized in the system. It has features for multi-currency expenses, automatic categorization, tax-friendly categories, assignment of recurring expenses, and more. Time tracking allows for at-a-glance breakdown of hours spent on work. It has a start-stop timer that automatically logs time into an invoice. Users can also track time from other apps such as Asana, Basecamp, Trello, and Teamwork , or use the Chrome browser extension. Other features include team time tracking, time against a specific client, detailed time entry notes, weekly and monthly views of tracked time, and more. The insightful dashboards provide important financial reports such as profit and loss that makes it easy during tax time. Features include color-coded breakdown of spending, summary of most recent activity, sales tax summary report, accounts aging, and more.
  • Projects, Estimates, Mobile, and more – FreshBooks is ideal for small business owners and their teams. They can invite contractors, employees, and business partners to manage projects, and set permissions for file access. Simple collaboration features are built in to easily get feedback from others. Features include chat tool, project due dates, project status overview, team project and deliverables management, and others. Custom estimates can be quickly transformed into invoices. It also has customizable Proposals, estimate approval by client for project kickoff, estimate status tracking, estimate preview, addition of discounts, and more. Mobile apps for iOS and Android devices are available for creating invoices on the go, capturing receipts for expense logging, chat, status updates, and others. New features and integration are regularly introduced, such as with Gusto Payroll, profit and loss report, Dropbox integration, and same-day deposits.
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Pricing

FreshBooks offers several pricing plans, which can be paid either month-by-month, or yearly up front. All plans include customizable invoices, accept credit cards and ACH bank transfers, free customer support, dashboards, estimates, secure information storage, project budgets, and powerful reports. The Lite plan is priced at $15 per month ($13.50 per month paid yearly) and includes for up to 5 billable clients. Features included are unlimited expense entries, automated bank import, time tracking, integrations, and more. The Plus plan is at $25 per month for up to 50 billable clients. It includes all Lite plan features in addition to unlimited proposals, automated recurring invoices, double entry accounting reports, and more. The Premium plan at $50 per month is for growing businesses and includes for up to 500 billable clients. A Select plan for greater than 500 billable clients is also available. A 30-day free trial is offered.

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Target Market

FreshBooks is for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners and their teams. Some of the customers that gain the most value in using the software are designers, marketing agencies, plumbers, IT professionals, lawyers, architects, web professionals, and others.

Supported Languages

The interface is in English but invoices can be customized in the following supported languages: English, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Spanish (Latin America), and Swedish.

Some of their Clients

FreshBooks is now being used by 24 million people spread out in 160 countries.

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Testimonials

Trevor Howard recalled that their company’s first accounting solution was an Excel document. Realizing its limitation, they looked for a tool that would give them the ability to get more done without worrying about invoicing and accounting. He stated that the time FreshBooks saves their company and the ability for them to quickly receive payments affected their ability to grow the company at a fast rate. Time management was one of their largest challenges. The software pays for itself many times over in the time it saved them and the work it provides on their behalf.

Kathleen Shannon stated that she has been using FreshBooks for 6 years, and she loves how the design, functionality, and platform has grown with her.

Roman Mars described FreshBooks as beautiful and really well-designed. In particular, the invoicing, ability to accept online payments, tracking of expenses could not be simpler, in his opinion.

Why FreshBooks

FreshBooks is specifically designed and built for self-employed professionals and service-based business owners who do not have the time to learn or re-learn accounting. Its ease of use and set of features are meant to give users more time to focus on their business, and get less hassle from their accounting systems. It now handles accounts payable, double entry accounting and general ledger processing.

Company Info

FreshBooks is a product offered by 2ndSite Inc., a privately held computer software company based in Toronto, Canada. It was founded in 2003 by Michael McDerment. While running a small design agency, he accidentally saved over an old invoice. He then decided that there has to be a better way, and started coding the solution of what would eventually become FreshBooks. Today, the company employs over 300 employees and is among the top cloud accounting solution for small business owners. It has raised a total of $75M in funding, with JP Morgan Chase as the latest investor to provide funding last August 2019. The company continues to help small business owners run their business with its philosophy of 4E: to Execute Extraordinary Experiences Everyday, whether in providing customer support, or designing its products.

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Jose Maria Delos Santos

Jose Maria Delos Santos

Jose is a subject matter expert and member of the writing team for Project-Management.com and Bridge24. He has written hundreds of articles including project management software reviews, books reviews, training site reviews, and general articles related to the project management industry.

2 Responses

  1. A very nice promotional article for Freshbooks.

    From a real user (me):

    I’ve been using Freshbooks for the last couple of years, and at first it was a breath of fresh air after getting away from Quickbooks (both online and desktop version prior to that). If you don’t have a proficiency for accounting, systems like Freshbooks are great, so I enjoyed the simplicity of it. The problem is – it’s just way too simple and there are some major gaps in functionality. Additionally, it’s a stagnant system. Very little improvements or features were tweaked or added in the system during the entire time I used it which is pretty unsual for a web based service.

    Freshbooks shouldn’t even call themselves accounting, because their forte really is in time tracking and invoicing. I now use Freeagent and wish I’d switched sooner.

    If you don’t care about tracking profit margins on projects or really tracking expenses accurately at all, then Freshbooks might work for you.

    Freshbooks gets plenty right. Tracking billable time against customers or customer projects is a breeze, and their invoicing and methods for collecting payments is really hard to beat. Plus, they integrate with so many other services, it makes it really easy to get addicted to.

    The things I love most – and the main reasons I’m glad that I left Quickbooks for Freshbooks years ago is:

    Automated invoice reminders, which are totally flexible. This alone saved me a lot of time chasing down late payers.

    Your customers get a really nice interface for viewing all their invoices online – although I will say I think I only have one or two clients who ever even used the client portal for doing that. Most of them just go to their email to retrieve the links for invoices or statements, but it is still a really nice feature.

    No connections to your banking / credit card accounts. You can do this with expenses to some extent, but it’s just awful to work with, when compared to Quickbooks, Xero, FreeAgent – pretty much anyone else. In order to use Freshbooks, you have to have some other software or service for managing the accounting aspects of your business. This ended up being a bad thing for me. I like having it all connected, and there are plenty of great alternatives for that, and some even charge less than Freshbooks.

    My reasons for leaving Freshbooks? Freshbooks is downright awful at expenses…

    You can’t record non-billable expenses against a customer or project. If you want to record the expense without billing the customer for it, you cannot assign it to the customer or project. No easy way around that without messing up your accounting records.

    And with expenses that you DO want to rebill the customer for, there’s no easy, intuitive way to handle marking up those expenses for goods or services to make a profit on. In order to do that, you must first add the expenses to the customer invoice, and then modify each line item expense amount up to the amount you want the customer to pay.

    You cannot record bills as you receive them your vendors. Say for example, you get an invoice from a programmer who did work for you on 4 different projects in a given time period. Most vendors will just send you an itemized invoice with all the billable time across the various projects. Well, you can’t record it that way in Freshbooks. Each line item on your bill must be entered into freshbooks one line item at a time, and you cannot correlate them easily to know that they are all part of one bill/invoice. Freshbooks also can’t help you with managing when your bills are due. That’s accounting, which Freshbooks doesn’t do.

    Freshbooks solutions to their shortcomings with expenses is all handled with hacks and workarounds for how their system is currently built. They are not easy or intuitive and they also throw things off with your accounting reports.

  2. Avatar John William says:

    Hi Jose,
    Thank you for this in-depth article about Freshbooks. Very useful since I’m looking around trying to find the best invoicing app for my small business. So far, I’m debating between Freshbooks (it do looks great) and Invoicera, an interesting invoicing and time tracking app with one huge advantage, it’s completely free to use!
    I think I’ll wait until you publish your Invoicera ( http://www.invoicera.com/ ) review before I take a final decision. I’m really anxious to see what you think about this app.
    Regards,
    John

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