FreshBooks Accounting Review

FreshBooks Accounting Review
3.8
3.8 of 5 stars 1 review
  • Pricing
    (4)
  • Features
    (4)
  • Support
    (3.5)

Summary

Fresh Books is one of the best accounting software out there today, but with so many to choose from, how do you know it is the best for you or not?

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Pros

  • Clean user interface
  • Expense tracking options
  • Project management tools
  • Flexible invoicing tools
  • Intuitive and easy to use
  • Robust payment applications
  • Stellar mobile application
  • Impressive integration options
  • Multi-currency support for invoices
  • Estimation and proposals help attract clients
  • Powerful analytics tools
  • The cloud-based platform ensures that you always remain connected
  • Multiple partner programs

Cons

  • Fairly expensive
  • Moving from Plus to Premium package comes with no feature benefits
  • File storage integrations are limited
  • Auto importing of expenses can be buggy at times
  • The mobile app is limited in terms of features

ABOUT

We live in a world where it is easier than ever before to start a new business. We only have to look around for the variety of SMBs around us. However, maintaining accounts is not something that comes naturally to all of us. This need is where accounting software comes into the picture. They come in with a variety of features, and with some research, you can choose the best one for your business.

In this article, my prime focus is on FreshBooks. It is a cloud-based accounting solution primarily targeted at SMBs. It is popular among businesses for streamlining invoicing processes. Also, it offers a host of other features to aid freelancers in running their business. You can set up customized invoices in minutes. This ‘branding’ of financial documents helps add a touch of professionalism to your operation.

As quoted on their website, FreshBooks wants you to ‘spend less time on accounting and more time doing what you love.’

Who is FreshBooks For?

FreshBooks as a platform is catered to freelancers and owners of SMBs. The features are best suited to provide easy-to-use accounting and invoicing solutions.

More importantly, it is for those with little to no experience in accounting itself. It is a fantastic software for someone who just needs to get their work done and have no formal background in accounting. With the added benefit of custom invoicing, FreshBooks is a near-ideal platform for freelancers and small businesses.

PRICING

All the features and integrations aside, this is the next most crucial part of any solution. Economic viability is paramount to any business decision, and this is no different. FreshBooks offers three packages with fixed pricing along with one custom package for big businesses. They also have options for monthly and annual billing.

Note: At the time of writing this review, there is a 50% discount applicable for the first three months. I have taken the original pricing for the sake of this review to avoid any lack of clarity.

PlansLitePlusPremiumSelect
Unlimited + Customized InvoicesYesYesYesYes
Unlimited Expense EntriesYesYesYesYes
Unlimited Time TrackingYesYesYesYes
Unlimited EstimatesYesYesYesYes
Automated Bank ImportYesYesYesYes
Insightful Tax Time ReportsYesYesYesYes
Custom functionality and workflows with 200+ integrationsYesYesYesYes
Team Members ($10/person)YesYesYesYes
Unlimited proposalsYesYesYes
Automated Recurring InvoicesYesYesYes
Double Entry Accounting ReportsYesYesYes
Scheduled Late FeesYesYesYes
Automated Late Payment RemindersYesYesYes
Client RetainersYesYesYes
Advanced Payments ($20/mo)YesYesYes
Up to 500 ClientsYesYes
A personal Account ManagerYes
Customized training for you and your teamYes
Super low credit card transaction ratesYes
Easy QuickBooks and Xero integrationYes

Powerful Features Included in All Plans:

  • Customize invoices and look professional
  • Send estimates that help you win jobs
  • Accept credit cards and ACH bank transfers online
  • All your information is securely stored
  • Award winning Toronto-based customer service
  • Project budgets that keep your team on track
  • Dashboards that keep your finger on the pulse
  • Powerful reports with insights about your business

FEATURES​

Without a doubt, FreshBooks is one of the biggest names in the industry. Earning this stature is no coincidence. Their solution offers a wide variety of features that sets it apart from the rest of the competition. In this section, I take a look at a few of the best features FreshBooks has in store.

  1. Efficient Invoicing
  2. Expense Tracking
  3. Time Tracking
  4. Double Entry Bookkeeping
  5. FreshBooks On The Go
  6. Project Management Tools
  7. Project Estimation Tools
  8. Get Paid Effortlessly
  9. Simple Reporting
  10. Partner Programs

1) Efficient Invoicing

Invoicing lies at the heart of FreshBooks. It provides a platform to generate setup customized invoices in minutes. This feature gives your business the credibility it deserves. Moreover, you can set up payment options straight from the invoice itself. FreshBooks also notifies you when clients have read the invoice.

Consequently, you do not have to deal with clients who claim to have not received the invoice. You can also automate the processes to the extent of your choosing. This facility helps you run your business on cruise control.

2) Expense Tracking

This one is rather straightforward. To run a business efficiently, you need to know and track your expenditure. FreshBooks lets you do just that, through innovative expense tracking solutions. Connecting your bank account or credit card with FreshBooks allows you to automate your expense tracking. I love this feature as it gives you all your expenses without having to look elsewhere.

Tax filing is kept in mind when recording expenses. As a result, you can arrange everything categorically to avoid confusion later on. At tax time, you have all the information at your fingertips. It integrates well with its project management features to help your team track the money spent. Additionally, it enables you to keep an eye on how the expenditure is tracking the budget. As you can see, FreshBooks makes it easy to track your expenses.

3) Time Tracking

Time is easily the most critical resource that you have in your control. Hence, it necessitates sound judgment and use. As the famous saying goes, “what gets measured gets managed.” FreshBooks lets you manage your time by allowing you to measure (read, track) where you spend it and how. The time tracking dashboard gives you an at-a-glance view of how you spent your hours. This feature is a sure-shot efficiency booster.

Moreover, the actual process of tracking your time is hassle-free. All you need to do is start the timer and get down to business. When you finish, you will have it invoiced and ready to go. The same applies to the mobile app and the Google Chrome extension. FreshBooks virtually ensures payment for every billable hour. Lastly, you can keep your team in-check by seeing how they spend their time. This way, you can ensure efficient time utilization for each project and nip problems at its bud.

4) Double-Entry Accounting

The end goal of making invoicing easy, and tracking time and expenses is to account for it. FreshBooks provides simple accounting tools to assist you and your accountant. This platform ensures compliance by offering features like trial balance, balance sheet, general ledger, and more. These advanced reports give you all your business insights in one place. Thus, you can make more educated decisions and forecast your financial growth.

You can also invite your accountant to your FreshBooks account. I dig this feature as it gives him exclusive access to your financial records and reports. This functionality, in turn, allows them to support your business entirely. The final piece of this puzzle comes in the form of bank reconciliation. FreshBooks automated bank reconciliation to help organize your transactions like never before.

5) FreshBooks On The Go

We have reached a point where our smartphones have become indispensable tools. It has become second-nature to reach for your phone to do the most basic of tasks. In such a situation, mobile app support for any business platform is necessary. FreshBooks’ mobile app gives you all the cloud-based features in a small package. You can design custom invoices on the go and send it to your clients at any time, anywhere.

You can also wave goodbye to collecting and organizing paper receipts. FreshBooks has baked in a neat feature that lets you snap a picture of the bill and automatically add it to your expenses. The app also allows your clients to send you questions and feedback about your services. In short, the mobile app keeps you connected and on top of your business at all times. With the app, you can be sure not to miss an update and send timely invoices to your clients.

6) Project Management Tools

FreshBooks offers a suite of collaboration tools to help you manage your teams better. This platform assists you in boosting your productivity. To achieve this, you can invite your employees, contractors, and business partners to get more done in less time. File sharing is also very effortless and convenient. Moreover, you can set access rights for each file to ensure maximum security.

Additionally, collaboration tools allow you to hold group chats and meetings within the app. This way, your clients can provide their input at every step in the project. A happy client means more business, and this is pivotal. Lastly, you can assign rates or billable hours for a project on a per-client basis. This feature gives you unparalleled flexibility when running the show.

7) Project Estimation Tools

This feature is bound to amaze your clients. Aside from sending out custom invoices, you can create new proposals that will help you land more projects. Right from the cloud-based platform, you can set the scheme, the scope of your project, and the deliverables. I cannot help but imagine how impressed your clientele will be.

For your business, too, this is an easy way to save time (and money). You can rely on one platform for almost all business needs. By using the ‘Estimates’ feature, you will get a notification when the client is on board with your proposal, and you can begin your work right away. You can also easily add discounts and turn an estimate into an invoice. For a feature that is not directly related to accounting, there is a considerable amount of thought put into the estimation tools.

8) Get Paid Effortlessly

The easier it is for clients to pay you, the sooner you get paid. FreshBooks understand the importance of getting timely payment to keep your business afloat. Hence, they offer a host of payment options. There is native support for all major cards and ACH transfer (limited to clients in the USA). The pricing is also transparent, and you will not run into any hidden costs.

Integration with Stripe makes it even easier to get paid on time. It also supports all major cards and ACH transfers, straight to the bank. Payments can be initiated from the invoice, making it very convenient for your clients. Furthermore, you can set up recurring billing profiles for clients that keep coming back for your services. It adds processing fees automatically as an expense to your expense tracker. I found this feature to a neat little addition to their roster of payment options.

9) Simple Reporting

Powerful analytic tools drive most of today’s businesses. It is also common knowledge that the analytics are only as useful as what you can learn from them. FreshBooks lets you instantly see how well your business is performing. Profit and loss reports are readily available from the ‘Dashboard.’ You can rest easy knowing that tax-time will not be an issue as all the data is right there.

The reports are complete with a color-coded breakdown of expenditure and other financial documents. Even your accountant will appreciate the readily available summaries of all transactions. I feel this feature wraps the feature set correctly.

10) Partner Programs

The sheer variety of partner programs is staggering. Their ‘Partner’ page greets you with many options to establish a partnership with FreshBooks. You can provide integration solutions and even put the FreshBooks API to work. If you’re an educator, you can levy the power of FreshBooks to teach students how to manage accounts efficiently.

Additionally, you can use their affiliate program to pocket a few extra bucks. Referral links can help you and your friends get a discount while availing FreshBooks’ services. What caught my eye were the different options that are at your disposal on their website. There is something that everyone can use, for an overall better experience.

INTEGRATIONS

Today’s businesses rely heavily on a plethora of software to get their job done. FreshBooks offers seamless integration with a variety of industry-leading apps. As a result, you have a one-stop-shop for all your accounting needs. I liked their webpage about integrations with neatly laid out options. Moreover, you can search for various integrations either by category or by their names itself. It makes for a fluid experience with little to no hiccups.

In this section, I take a look at some of the most prominent integration solutions that are offered by FreshBooks.

File Storage

Dropbox is the cloud storage service that integrates with FreshBooks. Customers can import expenditure reports directly from your Dropbox without having to switch applications. You can save a lot of time in such interactions, and that will only help your business. You can now enable employees and customers to submit their receipts through Dropbox.

I would have also liked to see integration with Google’s cloud storage platform, Drive. It is more common among clients and other business people. This integration would have set FreshBooks well apart from any other player in the market. As it stands presently, however, there is a little to be desired in terms of the number of file storage integrations.

Utilities

There are about ten utility providers that integrate natively with FreshBooks. Most of them offer a different kind of utility, making it a comprehensive lineup. A service like Callexa helps you set up instant surveys upon payment of any invoice. This way, you can get instantaneous feedback from clients and improve client retention.

Integrations also range from widely-known services like WordPress and Zapier to the more niche services like Tangentia and Clio. They serve a variety of functions from website management to provide specific features for individual professionals. Some apps let you send automated reminders to clients, employees, etc.

Project Management

Akin to utility integrations, there are ten project management software that FreshBooks supports. This extensive roster covers almost all of the ones that are commonly used by SMBs. There is also native support for well-known services like Asana and Trello. Their primary purpose is to assist in tracking employees’ time across various projects.

This two-way communication ensures that everyone involved is always on the same page. Furthermore, you do not need to put any effort in synchronizing the data between the two platforms. FreshBooks also integrates with software like Insightly and SherpaDesk. These CRM and customer support tools help retain clients. However, they might require the use of 3rd party connectors.

Other Notable Integrations

Covering all the supported software is a tall task. Hence, I shall look at a few more notable integrations that FreshBooks provides, before drawing the curtains on this section of the article. Something that goes hand-in-hand with invoicing and accounting is payroll management. Freshbooks integrates with one of the leading payroll providers, Gusto, to make payroll management and compliance, an absolute breeze.

Payment solutions like Stripe and Partial.ly offer fully customizable payment solutions for both you and your clientele. As discussed before, the easier it is for your clients to pay you, the sooner you get paid. Lastly, my personal favorite is the Bench Bookkeeping. Sometimes it is best to let the professionals do what they do best. Bench gives you a dedicated bookkeeper for your business. A group of in-house experts assists this bookkeeper in running the show. Now, the backend work gets done at a fraction of the cost, and you can continue doing what you do best.

More About FreshBooks Accounting

Setup And Ease Of Use

Setting up FreshBooks is a simple affair with not too many potholes. You are greeted with a few questions that help FreshBooks determine the kind of operation you run. After this, it is only a matter of linking your bank account to obtain a comprehensive overview of your expenses. All major US banks are available right away for easy connection. Apart from that, FreshBooks also supports 14000 financial institutions. Hence, you can be assured of support for your financial service provider.

The well-laid interface for the user has a vertical ribbon on the left houses all the essential features that you will need. From the dashboard, you can add a new expense or a client, among many other things. As a result, the entire experience boils down to understanding the locations of features. For first-time users, the app marks out the features and lets you know what it does. As someone who has little to no idea about accounting, I found this to be super helpful.

Device Compatibility

Desktop Browser App

Android App

iOS App

Windows Phone App

Apple Watch App

X

X

Android and iOS apps are relatively similar to each other. They offer a lightweight version of the full desktop experience. You are greeted with a dashboard containing three critical parts. Some icons take you to the other options within the app. The app offers an impressive experience that complements

Customer Support

FreshBooks provides a comprehensive platform for customer support. They offer three levels of support. Firstly, you have their help center. This help center has an elaborate set of FAQs that addresses the most common problems. Most problems had some form of workaround mentioned here itself. These FAQs significantly reduce the wait time to solve common issues.

Next, they offer support services via email. By sending a query to their helpdesk, they will assist via email. This process will not be as fast as browsing their help center, but if it is a problem that is specific to your use-case, email support is an excellent addition. Lastly, they take pride in their assistance via phone. FreshBooks claims to answer your calls within ‘4 rings’. Their dedication to customer support further strengthens FreshBooks’ case of being a top accounting service provider.

Online Security

FreshBooks is encrypted using 256-bit SSL encryption. This encryption ensures that your data is secure at every stage in transit. From a hardware standpoint, too, FreshBooks maintains top-notch security. All the information is stored in redundant servers along with nightly offsite backups. These comprehensive measures let you rest easy, knowing that your information is secure even during unforeseen events.

PROS AND CONS

PROS

  • Clean user interface
  • Expense tracking options
  • Project management tools
  • Flexible invoicing tools
  • Intuitive and easy to use
  • Robust payment applications
  • Stellar mobile application
  • Impressive integration options
  • Multi-currency support for invoices
  • Estimation and proposals help attract clients
  • Powerful analytics tools
  • The cloud-based platform ensures that you always remain connected
  • Multiple partner programs

CONS

  • Fairly expensive
  • Moving from Plus to Premium package comes with no feature benefits
  • File storage integrations are limited
  • Auto importing of expenses can be buggy at times
  • The mobile app is limited in terms of features

CONCLUSION

After enduring the article up until this point, what must you do? Well, first and foremost is to understand your business inside-out. No one but you can understand your accounting needs the best. Similarly, you must also understand your clientele. This understanding is imperative to choose a solution that is suited to your business.

In a vacuum, I can say that FreshBooks is one of the best accounting software that money can buy. Indeed, it will not impress accounting professionals and other people in the know. It is more suited for freelancers and owners of SMBs who have limited accounting experience. Having the power to design custom invoices with built-in payment options is a game-changer for many. However, You do have to part with some cash to avail of the service, but I feel it is well worth it.

Finally, it all boils down to business needs. That criterion notwithstanding, you cannot go wrong in choosing this platform for your accounting needs. To conclude, I’d like to put it this way: FreshBooks is a robust cloud-based platform to keep your business close to you, and you, close to your business.

Check out our list of the best Accounting Software companies

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