Review of: FreshBooks
Reviewed by: Miranda Marquit
Last modified: December 20, 2017
FreshBooks is an online invoicing system for business owners, that takes the headache out of billing, receiving and paying high invoice payment fees. It can save you a ton of money. However, the highest tier of service might be too pricey for some small business owners.
Not too long ago, I made the switch to FreshBooks for most of my invoicing. I’d realized how much money I wasting in PayPal fees — more than $1,500 a year. Now FreshBooks provides me with the ability to invoice my clients quickly and easily, as well as significantly reducing the amount of money I spend on fees.
What Is FreshBooks?
FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting software service designed to help small businesses specifically with their invoicing needs. It’s very feature-rich and easy to use. It features the ability to set up invoicing for as many clients as you would like (as long as you pay the fee), and you can save invoice information for the future.
FreshBooks lets you see which invoices have been sent and viewed, and which are in the process of being paid. It’s easy to keep track of your outstanding invoices and to resend invoices as needed (they can be automatically sent at 30-day and 45-day intervals). Because it’s cloud based, all of the data viewable via the internet, and there’s no application to install.
Another great thing about FreshBooks is that it allows you to bill for time and to track time on projects so you know if you’re spending too much time on one thing. You can set up a timesheet and keep track of work done by you and your employees. There are internal and mobile timers to help with this effort.
FreshBooks also allows you to create support tickets and then bill for time and work done on those. FreshBooks has great integration with a number of accounting programs, including QuickBooks, Outright and Xero, as well as with Salesforce DataSynch and the time-tracking apps from iPhone, BlackBerry and Android.
|Price||$15.00 - $50.00/month|
|Access||Website, iOS App, Android App|
|Point of Sale|
|Third Party Intergration|
|Import QFX, QIF Files|
|Promotions||Try It Free for 30 Days|
- Sync Expenses — You can also sync your expenses with Shoeboxed and Expensify using FreshBooks.
- Credit Receipts — FreshBooks also provides you with credit receipts. This is a great benefit, since it allows you to easily issue credit to a client.
- BlackBerry App
FreshBooks offers an app for iPhone and iPad and is is also compatible with Basecamp, DeskAway, ClientSpot, and Autotask. With all of these tools, it’s possible to access your FreshBooks from anywhere.
Clients can pay you in a number of ways — since FreshBooks works with a number of merchant accounts — including:
Your clients can pay with credit card, or through many third-party payment processors. FreshBooks has a special arrangement with PayPal, so I use the PayPal Business Payments option that charges a flat fee of 50 cents per transaction, rather than having PayPal take a percentage of the transaction.
I save more than $1,500 a year, even paying for the cost of FreshBooks, by taking advantage of this option. The main downside is that international clients of mine, including those in Canada and Israel, can’t pay using that preference. So, I still pay the percentage on those transactions. Even so, I still save a lot of money with FreshBooks.
This addition to the workflow makes it a little more convenient to create the paper trail associated with a credit. This feature is very helpful since it allows you to “prove” to your clients that you have issued a credit. It makes the whole situation much clearer.
If you have a paid FreshBooks account, you can get access to the Automatic Expense Import offered by FreshBooks. This can make it easier to update your expenses if this is an important part of your business. Due to the nature of my business, this doesn’t matter a whole lot.
However, there are plenty of business owners who could use the functionality associated with connecting their business bank accounts to FreshBooks. Automatic Expense Import smooths the process so that you don’t have to do it manually.
There are 9,000 institutions in the United States supported, and 61 in Canada. You can also request that Freshbooks decide to include your bank, if it isn’t currently supported.
There are four different package options with FreshBooks:
- Free: You can send unlimited invoices, but you can only manage three clients. Once you try to add a fourth client, you have to drop one, or upgrade your account. Your invoices are branded with FreshBooks as long as you have the free version.
- Lite: You pay $15 a month to manage five clients and send unlimited invoices.
- Plus: This plan costs $25 a month and allows you to manage up to 50 clients. In addition to the features you receive with Lite, Plus adds a few, such as the ability to send proposals and schedule recurring invoices.
- Premium: For $50 a month, you can manage 500 clients.
Is FreshBooks Worth Paying For?
The Premium plan is probably a little steep if you have fewer than 50 clients. However, FreshBooks has a number of other features that make it well worth it at the other price levels.
Indeed, the level of integration and usability, along with the ability to access it from anywhere, makes it a valuable invoicing tool for the small business owner.