December 7, 2018 12:00 PM PT

FreshBooks Review

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FreshBooks combines invoicing, expense tracking, and project management all in one program. Find out why freelancers and small business owners find it helpful.

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FreshBooks calls themselves "the small business accounting software that makes billing painless." The key word there is billing, as invoicing is where FreshBooks excels. They aren't your traditional accounting program that tracks debits and credits.

Instead, it manages invoicing, expenses, and projects. The self-employed single entities and small businesses with only a few employees benefit the most from this program. In the program, you'll find:

  • Invoicing
  • Expenses
  • Time Tracking
  • Projects
  • Estimates
  • Payments
  • Reporting

Keep reading to see if FreshBooks is right for you.

Who Should Use FreshBooks?

  • Small business owners/Freelancers. If you spend too much time manually creating invoices, following up on payments, tracking expenses, and creating basic reports, this program may be for you. Automating your invoicing, payment reminders, tracking time spent on work, and automatically tracking expenses are timesavers that can allow you to focus on the daily operation of your business rather than the busyness of paperwork.

  • You like to manage your small business on-the-go. FreshBooks operates in the cloud. This means you can work anywhere that you have an internet connection. You can use the FreshBooks app on your phone or tablet or manage your company from your laptop or PC. It doesn't matter if you are in the waiting room at the doctor's office or in your own office—you can do the same tasks from anywhere.

  • Invoicing takes up too much of your time. Invoicing is crucial to your business' success, but if it's sucking time away from your daily operations and/or business growth, FreshBooks can help. If you burn the candle at both ends, let FreshBooks handle invoicing for you. Set up recurring invoices, track time spent on projects, and remind clients of money owed, all without you lifting a finger.

Customer Service:

1-866-303-6061
Monday - Friday, 8 AM to 8 PM ET.

You can also check out their "Support" section to get answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Reasons We Like FreshBooks

  • You can try FreshBooks for 30 days free of charge. All you need to sign up is an email address. You don't have to provide a credit card number either, so you don't have to worry about missing the cancelation date and being charged for a subscription.

  • You don't need to understand accounting to use it. Some accounting programs are so complicated that business owners spend hours just trying to figure them out. You won't waste time learning FreshBooks, as its interface is simple to use and its idea is user-friendly. Watch the intro video when you set up your account, and you'll be ready to rock-and-roll in under an hour.

  • You can set up automatic invoice reminders. If you hate pestering your clients about their past due payments, let FreshBooks do it for you. After you set up the frequency to give your clients a little nudge, FreshBooks handles the rest.

  • You can set up recurring invoices and even automatic late fees. FreshBooks helps you put more focus on your business and less on the busy work. You can set invoices up to be sent on a predetermined schedule. This way you know they are sent out on time and without you lifting a finger. You can also set up automatic late fees so that your clients have a little incentive to pay you quicker.

  • You can track your time to make sure you are paid for billable hours. Using the FreshBooks timer, you can make sure every minute is accounted for when working on a client's account. If you choose to manually time your work, you can still input the data in FreshBooks and the program will manage the data for you.

  • You can collaborate with others without losing work. You can invite your clients, employees, or other important people to work on the project with you. Your changes/files are saved in the cloud, so you don't have to worry about missing someone's updates or wasting time with emails/phone calls to make sure everyone is on the same page.

  • Automatically track expenses by connecting your bank account to FreshBooks. FreshBooks will update your account daily with the latest expenses. This way you quickly how much you are spending, how profitable you are, and what expenses you need to bill to your clients.

  • You can accept credit cards online for faster payment. If you set up FreshBooks Payments or Stripe, your clients can pay their invoices right away. FreshBooks claims that account holders that use online payments get paid up to 11 days earlier than those that don't accept online payments.

  • You can get your hands on reports with the click of a mouse. From your dashboard, you can choose to have reports, such as a P&L, Expense Report, or Sales Tax Summary, in a matter of seconds. Gone are the days of crunching numbers and dealing with spreadsheets. FreshBooks does the number crunching for you.

  • FreshBooks has a mobile app that offers the same features as online program. You can invoice from anywhere, snap pictures of receipts to keep track of expenses, or collaborate on a project while on the go.

Reasons You May Want to Look Elsewhere

  • It can get pricey for a single-owner freelance business. You pay based on the number of clients you have. The Lite Plan is for those with less than 25 clients. The Plus Plan is for those with 25-50 clients. Anyone with more than 50 clients, though, jumps right to the Premium plan, which allows between 51 and 500 clients. At $600 per year, you could get a much more robust program with more features.

  • It is not accounting software. Even though it's touted as accounting software, FreshBooks is more of an invoicing and light bookkeeping software program. It makes invoicing look professional and streamlines the process. It can save you a lot of time. But it doesn't do double-entry bookkeeping. Instead, it tracks income and expenses and gives you basic reports that are sufficient for sole proprietors, but not large companies.

  • You can't track inventory or manage payroll. If you have a large inventory that you want to automatically track, you won't find that feature in FreshBooks. You can track expenses, send invoices, accept payments, track time, and collaborate on projects. You also cannot manage payroll. If you have even a few employees, you'll need another program to manage payroll.

How It Compares

  • QuickBooks: QuickBooks is the household name for small businesses accounting. This user-friendly program allows you to invoice, track inventory, track expenses, and reconcile accounts. You can link your bank account to QuickBooks for automatic updates. It doesn't offer project management or payroll options, though.

  • Xero: Xero is a cloud-based, true accounting system. They gear their program towards mid-sized businesses, but any size business can use it. You can have an unlimited number of users with Xero and you can manage your payroll with it. Like FreshBooks, Xero operates in the cloud, which means you can access it anywhere you have an internet connection. The pricing is higher than what you'll find with FreshBooks, though.

  • Wave: Wave is a free online accounting program for small businesses. You can invoice, track time spent, manage accounts payable, and reconcile accounts free of charge. Wave offers more robust accounting features, but it lacks the project management feature that FreshBooks offers.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for invoicing software that can also help with project management, you've got it with FreshBooks. If you have many employees, need payroll support, or are looking for double-entry accounting, you may want to save your bookkeeping dollars for a different program.

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