- Review: FreshBooks
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Not too long ago, I made the switch to Freshbooks for most of my invoicing. FreshBooks provides me with the ability to invoice my clients quickly and easily, as well as save money on PayPal fees. I made the switch when I realized how much money I was wasting in PayPal fees. I was paying more than $1,500 a year, but thanks to FreshBooks, that amount is significantly reduced.
Features of FreshBooks
FreshBooks is 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, viewed, and which are in the process of being paid. It’s easy to keep track of your outstanding invoices, and resend invoices as needed (automatically sent at 30-day and 45-day intervals). All viewable via the internet, and no application to install.
Another great thing about FreshBooks is, that it allows you to bill for time, and 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.
You can also sync your expenses with Shoeboxed and Expensify using FreshBooks. Many more applications can be synched with FreshBooks for better results.
Clients can pay you in a number of ways — since FreshBooks works with a number of merchant accounts — including:
- Google Checkout
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 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.
Credit receipts are also provided with FreshBooks. This is a great benefit, since it allows you to easily issue credit to a client.
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 that 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.
FreshBooks offers an app for iPhone and iPad, and BlackBerry users can use ReportAway! for FreshBooks. FreshBooks is also compatible with Basecamp, DeskAway, ClientSpot, and Autotask. With all of these tools, it’s possible to access your FreshBooks from anywhere.
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.
- Seedling: You pay $19.95 a month to manage 25 clients and send unlimited invoices. Once you start paying for the service, your invoices are no longer branded with FreshBooks.
- Evergreen: I am using this package, which costs $29.95. Pay for a whole year at once, and you can get a discount. You can manage unlimited clients, and send unlimited (and unbranded) invoices.
- Mighty Oak: The draw for this plan is that you can add a staff member to your account and manage permissions for that staff member. The cost is $39.95 per month. If you want to add even more staff members, you will pay another $10 a month for each. You get team expense reporting, project manager designations, and other team tools with this plan.
Is Freshbooks Worth Paying For?
The Might Oak plan is probably a little steep, since there are other invoice providers that allow you to add staff for free. 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.