FreshBooks – The Leader in Cloud Accounting Software [Review]
Leader in Cloud Accounting
Price: From $15/mo
Operating System: iOS, Android & Web
Application Category: Accounting, Bookkeeping
Ease of Use
Bookkeeping is boring, time taking, head scratching and certainly not for the average person. Unfortunately, it is a necessity of life if you want to stay out of financial trouble. This is certainly true for small businesses if they want to keep tabs on expenses and billings per client. Luckily there are plenty of cloud accounting software available to help you manage your books with ease. Freshbooks is without a doubt one of the leaders in cloud accounting. Read on for my review.
FreshBooks comes with a variety of features that are sure to please most people in need of cloud-based accounting software. One of the biggest features of FreshBooks is its invoicing service. A lot of other services (PayPal comes to mind) allow you to send invoices to clients, but not many offer FreshBooks’ level of customization. Users can add their company logo, create recurring invoices, and even accept different currencies. Furthermore, FreshBooks allows you to link the invoice with your choice of online payment solution. No more chasing clients, simply add in your preferred payment processor and you’re ready to go.
Expenses, Time Tracking & Reporting
Invoices aren’t the only thing FreshBooks offers, though. With the help of their mobile apps (available for Android and iOS), you can track all of your business expenses as well. You can then assign expenses to specific clients. You can also track time, both for yourself and for your teammates. This is great for properly billing if you work on an hourly basis. FreshBooks also allows users to quickly and easily develop business reports to give you a streamlined view of the business as well as help simplify the process around tax time. Oh and you can give access to your accountant to sift through your data when its time to file in your end of year tax returns and close books.
Online Payments & Add-Ons
Another great thing about FreshBooks is its capability to accepts payments online. It connects directly to PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.Net, BrainTree, eWay and 2Checkout. Whats more; FreshBooks allows partial payments and advance deposits on your invoices. This is something that no other accounting software does yet – at least not that I know of. So for new client engagements where you need to get an advance in place before starting work, this is a great way to keep both parties happy.
There are some Add-Ons available for FreshBooks to sync data with; for instance, if you’re making proposals online via Bidsketch or Proposify, you can connect to FreshBooks and have it automatically create invoices once your client accepts the proposal. Other interesting apps include Shopify, Hubspot, Fundbox, Podio, Basecamp, etc. Take a look for a full list of integration options available.
All of these features combine to make a rather robust and well-rounded accounting software for small businesses and startups. The interface is extremely user-friendly, so even the most inept users can navigate it easily. FreshBooks doesn’t just help users do their accounting. It helps them run their business entirely.
Other under the hood features I simply adore customer testimonials and report card. Both are rather unique to FreshBooks and a great idea. Customer testimonials simply remind and collect feedback from your customer after an invoice is paid. The report card is a snapshot of your business against others based on industry and currency that you set under your company profile. It is updated each quarter and effectively tells you details such as average invoice amount, % of payments collected online, the average time to collect payment, % of recurring payments, % of payments from new clients, etc. This is extremely handy and useful.
FreshBooks comes with several pricing plans to fit the needs of your business. Regarding cost, they are pretty decent though the cost can certainly add up if your business isn’t doing too well. The basic $15/Month “Lite” plan allows you to manage up to five clients at a time, add late fees to invoices and includes expense tracking. It’s important to note that on this plan you cannot utilise team functions like team time tracking and team expenses. From there the prices go up to $25/Month and $50/Month respectively. All plans have a 30-day free trial so you can get started straightaway.
The biggest differences in the plans are how many clients you can manage and how many teammates you can have. On the $25 plan, you can manage up to 50 clients but still have no support for teammates. On the $50/Month plan, you get unlimited clients, but you are limited to 1 and five teammates respectively. The prices aren’t bad, but I feel a little more variation in the plans would be better. For instance, if you are capable of having unlimited clients on the highest plan, shouldn’t you be able to support more than five teammates? It’s little things like this that make the prices for FreshBooks somewhat confusing. For those who are just starting out, there is a free plan that supports up to four clients however for that you would need to give their customer services a call. You only get the free plan after your trial is over and you feel you don’t have enough business as yet to justify the expense.
If you want your business to succeed, you need a proper way to manage it. FreshBooks is that solution. Its features are diverse and beneficial, and there are tonnes of apps and services that are compatible with it. The prices are also reasonable for a small business just starting out, though they lack full features such as multi-currency and payroll so you may outgrow them sooner than you think. In the end, though, for all you get, FreshBooks takes all the hassle and worry from invoicing and collecting payments; allowing you to focus on client delivery and actual work instead of worrying about keeping your books in order.