If you are a business owner or solopreneur, you know how difficult it can be to handle everything that’s on your plate. You don’t have the manpower or endless hours a day to get everything done at once. One very important aspect for running your business is dealing with your accounting.
Help is now on the way using FreshBooks, which was developed to help you deal with not only your invoicing but many other aspects of running your business. We are going to take a closer look at FreshBooks’ accounting and management software to help you decide if this is for you.
If you’re not sure whether or not your business needs an accounting software then check out this article “When Does Your Business Need An Accounting Software?”
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What Is FreshBooks?
Freshbooks was founded in 2002 by 2ndsite, Inc and is based out of Toronto, Canada. Their products are focused on small businesses with accounting software to pay bills, deal with payroll, and manage other businesses applications.
First off, FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting and invoice software that is designed for the small business owner. This software has everything you need to keep up with invoices, projects, payments, finances, clients, contractors, and timekeeping. It doesn’t matter if you are the only one operating your business or you have a team of people, this is the perfect software for you.
Originally introduced in 2006 as an online software for invoicing, it is now an excellent business accounting and management tool. You can create very professional-looking invoices, create estimates and proposals, add members to your team as you grow, create your client portals, and manage your business transactions for tax purposes. In addition, you can integrate this software with popular apps such as Shopify, Stripe, Paypal, Gusto, Asana and many more.
How To Get Started With FreshBooks
You will be given a 30-day Free Trial run to check out Freshbooks. You do not need a credit card, just sign up with your email and a new password. Once your email has been confirmed, you will have total access to your Freshbooks dashboard. From the dashboard, you can set up your company’s profile and list all your services and products. This information is now in place so you can fill out your invoices, proposals, projects, and estimates quickly and easily.
Once you have set up your business information, you must set up your bank information so you can easily import your transactions. Once you have completed this step, you will be able to accept credit card payments through your FreshBooks platform using the WePay system. Keep in mind, your account will have to be verified first, so check your email for the updated information.
Also, if you have international customers or clients, you will be able to set up payments using Stripe. Once all the above have been completed, you will be able to add your team members and create invoices. Take advantage of playing around with all the various features that are now available to you, you will be impressed.
The Invoicing Process
After you have completed setting up your company’s profile and a list of your items’ prices, you will be able to create invoices.
FreshBooks is designed for very simple and easy applications. You will be able to create and send out an invoice in only a few minutes and you are done! Now you can focus on other business responsibilities that need your attention. Gone are the days of dealing with PDF formats or Excel spreadsheets!
With FreshBooks, you will manage and send out professional invoices quickly and easily. Your expenses might include the following:
- Employee Hourly Wages
- Project Expenses
- And Many Other Expenses
You will quickly discover how incredibly flexible FreshBooks’ software really is. You will able to take care of so many different invoicing needs at different times and with different arrangements.
FreshBooks is here to help you automatically keep up on a project, send an invoice to your client before the project even gets started, and help you manage the rest of your invoices along the way.
You can allow for partial payments for specific clients
FreshBooks will let you create ongoing payments or recurring payments simply and easily.
FreshBooks’ incredible software will allow your clients to make partial payments or a percentage of the total cost.
On top of all these great features, FreshBooks offer many options to help you manage invoices that have already been sent out, including:
- You can send your clients reminders of payments
- Charge late fees
- You can change currencies and languages
- Add any required taxes
- Customize the terms of payment for one client to another
- You can send out your invoices on your desktop or mobile devices
Many Payment Options
FreshBooks give your clients several options for paying directly from the invoice. They can use any major credit card, Stripe, Apple Pay or PayPal.
However, FreshBooks does not currently offer support for ACH bank transfers, checks, or other forms of payment. If your client wants to use one of those methods, you will need to arrange for that outside of FreshBooks, then manually mark the invoice as paid once you have received payment.
You can sign up to accept credit card payments through FreshBooks – they use WePay for processing – for free. You just have to provide verification for your account and link your bank account within two weeks.
FreshBooks charges fees based on which credit card your clients use:
- For Visa, Discover and Mastercard, the fee is 2.9% + $0.30.
- For American Express, the fee is 3.5% + $0.30.
To give clients other payment options, link your PayPal and Stripe accounts to accept payments with those applications.
One of the best things about the FreshBooks payment feature is that it integrates seamlessly with expense tracking.
The new version of FreshBooks removes a major paint point for business owners. Instead of juggling multiple apps to track business expenses, you can now manage the entirety of your business accounting in the same place.
It’s like Mint for businesses: Connect all of your business financial accounts, including bank accounts, PayPal and business credit cards, and FreshBooks will import all of your account transactions so you can manage them in one place.
As expenses are imported into FreshBooks, you can manually categorize them. FreshBooks will remember how you categorize each transaction, then apply those rules to future transactions. Once you have set up all of your categories and expense rules, you will be able to create more accurate invoices and bill project expenses more efficiently.
You can also add pictures of receipts to FreshBooks for later access when filing your taxes. As a bonus, if clients want to see your expense receipts and how you are progressing with the project, you can show them in the client portal.
Easy Time Tracking
It’s easy for small business owners to lose track of the time they have spent on a project. Invariably, that results in them underestimating the time when invoicing clients.
FreshBooks makes it easy for you to stay on top of every minute you and your team spends on each project. It provides both a Chrome extension for desktop and a smartphone app for tracking the time you spend.
If you ever forget to start or stop the timer, both apps give you the option to input your time manually.
The time tracking feature included with FreshBooks comes with many built-in capabilities:
- It allows for manually time logging
- You can track time on a per-client basis
- You can track time on a per-project basis
- You can add notes to each timesheet to help you remember what you did
- You can create reports for time sheets to see you and your team members’ performance
Auto-Generated Proposals and Estimates
You can say goodbye to yet another application! Another new feature folded into the latest version of FreshBooks is professional estimates and proposals for clients that are linked directly to their project, as well as auto-generating invoices upon project completion.
All you have to do is create a detailed proposal from either your smartphone or your desktop that gives the client an overview of the project, the scope, timeline and price. FreshBooks.
When clients see it, they can review it, make comments and choose whether to approve it – all within the FreshBooks platform. If they approve it, FreshBooks will automatically turn it into a project, then into an invoice once the project is approved.
In-keeping with FreshBooks’ push to be an all-in-one tool, it now includes the capability to manage entire projects. The platform includes spaces where your clients and your team members can collaborate, chat, and view and share project files. The platform also allows you to:
- Assign due dates to individual items
- Share project statuses with clients
- Share estimates, proposals, expense receipts, reports and invoices
- Separate fixed-fee and hourly projects
- Manage permissions for users
FreshBooks offers a robust set of reports in order to help you see where your company has been and get a sense of the direction it is heading. Reports can easily be printed or exported for distribution to members of your team, your accountant, contractors or clients.
In the latest version of FreshBooks, you can create the following reports, as well as filter them by projects, dates, team members, teams, clients, etc.:
- P&L reports
- Sales tax reports
- Invoice details
- Expense reports
- TPS reports (just kidding…)
- Payments collected reports
- Spending reports
- Time-entry details reports
Myriad Third-Party Integrations
The one area in which FreshBooks still has a deficit is payroll features. It makes up for this, however, with a third-party integration with Gusto. Gusto is a favorite payroll app of many small businesses.
Freshbooks has also partnered with a litany of other third-party apps to make sure your business has all the tools it needs. Here are just a few of the integrations possible with FreshBooks:
- G Suite
Beautiful Mobile Apps
FreshBooks comes with a newly redesigned, free-to-download mobile app that is available for both Android and iPhone. Anything you do within the FreshBooks app will automatically sync with your desktop version of FreshBooks. The app includes the ability to do the following:
- Track the time you spend on projects
- Manage invoices and send them to customers
- Take pictures of receipts and upload them to FreshBooks
- Track expenses
- Respond to questions from clients and team members
FreshBooks provides three tiered pricing plans. All of the plans include a free 30-day trial that allows you to try all of the premium features of FreshBooks (no credit card required).
Lite – 5 Clients
$15/month or $13.50/month yearly
The Lite plan is best for new startups who have no team members and fewer than five clients. Here’s what you can do with the Lite plan:
- Send estimates to clients
- Track time spent on work
- Import expenses
- Create unlimited professional, customized invoices
- Accept payments from clients
- Create reports
Plus – 50 Clients
$25/month or $22.50/month yearly + $10 per team member add-on
The Plus plan is best for small businesses with fewer than 50 clients and a handful of team members. If you want your team members to be able to track time and expenses, and help manage projects within the FreshBooks account, each one will cost an additional $10. The Plus plan comes with the ability to:
- Do everything in the Lite plan
- Send a proposal for a pending project
- Schedule invoices at recurring intervals
- Send payment reminders for invoices
- Charge late fees for invoices that are overdue
Premium – 500 Clients
$50/month or $45/month yearly + $10 per team member add-on
The Premium plan was created for small to mid-size businesses that have teams. It gives all of the features of the Lite and Plus plans, and adds support for up to 500 clients.
If you have more than 500 clients or more than $150,000 in billings per year, FreshBooks offers a fourth tier called FreshBooks Select, which offers high-volume invoice processing.
FreshBooks Pros and Cons
- Easy Invoicing – FreshBooks saves you time and money by automatically managing your invoices for you.
- Broad Payment Options – FreshBooks connects with thousands of banking institutions, as well as PayPal and Stripe.
- Time-Saving Features – The internal and mobile timers included with FreshBooks can help you discover projects on which you are spending too much time.
- Accessible Platform – FreshBooks does not require you to install or constantly update an app. Any device with an internet connection can login to FreshBooks.
- Ease of Use – You can set up your account and send your first invoice in less than 30 minutes.
- Price – Especially for small business owners whose needs fall somewhere between the Lite and the Pro plans, FreshBooks can be pricey.
- ACH Transfers – While FreshBooks offers a wide variety of payment options, it does not currently support ACH bank transfers.
- Product Limitations – When adding a new product or service to FreshBooks, it does not currently give you the ability to add fees.
In A Nutshell:
If you don’t like to do all the tedious accounting tasks, especially when you’re filing your taxes, then this is the perfect solution for you! FreshBooks will help you organize your business needs and provide you with amazing features to help you get your business running very smoothly. Simply sign up for a 30-Day Free Trial, kick the tires, and see what you have been missing! You have absolutely nothing to lose but might discover advantages gained! You can check out Freshbooks’ website here.
Dreaming of starting your own business, but not sure which industry to break into? Fear not — FreshBooks has compiled a list of the fastest growing professions for small business owners. Data: Fastest Growing Industries for Self-Employed Pros