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With over 10 million customers, FreshBooks is a well-known name in the world of online accounting. It is known for its superb invoicing functionality and impressive payroll, truly earning it the name one-stop-shop for all your accounting. I decided to test it out and see if it stands up to the hype.
FreshBooks comes with an extensive range of features able to satisfy many businesses, from freelancers to large businesses. It has amped up its services to match some of the biggest names in the online accounting industry, including Quickbooks Online and Zoho Books. Here are some of the features the basic package includes:
- Unlimited invoices
- Unlimited estimates
- Expense tracking
- Contact management
- Project management
- Time tracking
- Mobile mileage tracking
- Five billable clients
- One user
After rigorous testing and comparison with other platforms, I found it to be an intuitive and responsive platform that could do everything I wanted. FreshBooks cloud accounting could be an ideal complement for your current business.
Main FreshBooks Features
FreshBooks has all the specific functionality you would expect with an online accounting platform. The most notable functionality is the FreshBooks invoice functionality and the FreshBooks app for Android & IOS. Here is a list of the top FreshBooks features encompassed in the different price plans:
- Unlimited invoices (Basic)
- Send unlimited estimates (Basic)
- Expense tracking (Basic)
- Contact management (Basic)
- Project management (Basic)
- Time tracking (Basic)
- Mobile mileage tracking (Basic)
- Reports (Basic)
- Five billable clients (Basic)
- Double-entry accounting (Plus)
- Advanced reports (Plus)
- Proposals (Plus)
- Live bank feeds (Plus)
- 50 billable clients (Plus)
- Bill-tracking (Premium)
- 500 billable clients (Premium)
There are some drawbacks to FreshBooks in terms of functionality. First, it only offers one user an option to add another user at $10 a month. First, it only offers one user, with an option to add another user at $10 a month. Second, it only allows five billable clients, which is often not enough. Third, there is no native payroll, though it does offer Gusto integration.
The single-user means that a single company can use it, employees will have access to it through a single dedicated account. The limited number of billable clients is much more troubling, and may not be suited for many businesses.
On the plus side, the FreshBooks invoicing functionality is excellent. You can customize the two basic invoices; changing the color, font, and logo. You don’t want too many customization options where design is concerned – it distracts from essential business processes. The Plus and Premium plans allow the sending of recurring invoices, reminders, and set late fees. Other prominent areas where the FreshBooks platform excels include:
- Contact Management – Contact management is relatively straightforward with FreshBooks. The interface is simple and easy, and you have a good overview of your contacts. There is, however, no way to manage vendors through contact management, which is something of a drawback.
- Time Tracking – FreshBooks has a manual time-tracker function, but you can easily review the logged time of your employees and contractors. Time can be added to projects and billed as an invoice, and you can also record unbillable times.
- Estimates – FreshBooks lets you send estimates, which can also be quickly converted to invoices. Estimates are linked to a novel proposal feature offered by FreshBooks, outlined in more detail below.
- Expense Tracking – Expense tracking with FreshBooks is intuitive and straightforward. You can enter expenses manually, import bank statements, or connect to live bank feeds. FreshBooks live bank feeds are not automatic like you would expect, however. When you enter an expense manually, you can add a receipt image, a vendor, description, total, and a category.
- Project Management – Most accounting platforms allow project management features. But FreshBooks differentiates itself because it has a ‘discuss’ chat feature where employees can talk about the project.
FreshBooks also has a cool feature called ‘proposals’ that I have not seen on other platforms. It allows you to make proposals to clients where you can add text, videos, files, etc. You can outline the details of the project and showcase previous work, and you can request electronic signatures on these proposals. Moreover, the FreshBooks mobile apps are excellent and I did not experience any errors or glitches during the tests.
FreshBooks Price Plans
Price plays a crucial role when deciding on any type o software. FreshBooks has four price plans, three with pre-set features and a fourth custom plan.
The Basic plan is $6 a month, the Plus plan is $10 a month, and the Premium plan is $20 a month. These prices are due to the half-price deal FreshBooks offers right now, and after the first six months are up, you’ll have to pay the full price.
Still, compared to other platforms, the price is excellent when you take all of the features into account.
However, FreshBooks supports add-ons to improve customer experience and add more options to its offer. These include adding a new team member that will set you back $10/per person/month, the ability to have advanced payments, and to integrate with Gusto Payroll.
The point of this review is to help you see the value of an accounting platform based on its unique merits instead of the marketing hacks. The following table compares the basic plans across multiple platforms along with the offered features.
|Brand||Price||What is on the plan|
|FreshBooks||$6 per month for the first 6 months. $15 thereafter||Accrual entry accounting on the basic plan. Essential features including invoices, estimates, expense tracking, contact management, project management, time tracking, mobile mileage tracking, reports.|
|Quickbooks Online||$12.50 for the first 3 months and $25 thereafter.||More robust features including track income & expenses, receipts, tax deductions, invoices, payments, mileage tracking, cash flow management, general reports, estimates, sales tracking, 1099 contractors.|
|Patriot Accounting Software||$15 per month (simple price structure)||Includes expense tracking, payroll integration, 1099 contractors, payments, unlimited vendor payments, e-filing, invoices, create customers.|
|Zoho Books||$9 per month||Includes bank reconciliation, custom invoices, expense tracking, projects, timesheets, recurring transactions, sales approval, budgeting
Zoho Sign integration.
How FreshBooks Compares To Similar Accounting Platforms?
It’s always interesting to compare different accounting solutions, as sometimes you can read all the reviews and still be unclear about the differences between them. I hope the following will give you a general idea of how FreshBooks stacks up against the competition.
In a nutshell, FreshBooks is superior when looking at its customer service and ease of use. However, it lacks certain reporting features and allows only limited users and clients. Another point where it lacks is payroll, but it integrates seamlessly with Gusto Payroll. The best software is always going to be the one that best suits your needs and preferences; you can start small and expand as you need.
|Software||Invoice||Expense Tracking||Mobile Apps||Project Management||Ease of Use||Customer Service||Reports||Payroll|
FreshBooks User Experience
FreshBooks offers an outstanding user experience. The following are the areas where it excels:
- General User Experience – The initial setup is fantastic, regardless of the size of the business you manage. The beauty of FreshBooks is that blends simplicity with power. Though the dashboard and client portal look neat and streamlined, both are extremely powerful in terms of accounting functionalities.
- Client portal – The FreshBooks client portal is easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing. It is also easy for clients to use, and anyone can easily manage it without previous knowledge.
- Onboarding – After you set up your account with FreshBooks, you will need to answer some questions about your business, and the platform will give you a quick rundown. Still, it would be better to have more help in setting up your profile and the whole onboarding process. Many times, you will have to contact customer support to help you with an issue.
- Dashboard – Within the FreshBooks dashboard, you can quickly view important financial information about your business. The dashboard is nicely organized, with graphs for Outstanding Revenue, Total Profit, Revenue Streams, Spending, and Unbilled Time. The side menu offers quick access to critical reports. There is also a quick create button in the top right-hand corner of the screen and a help button in the bottom right-hand corner.
- Estimates & Proposals – Covered previously, this just makes it so much easier to interact with clients, submit proposals, and create invoices out of existing estimates.
- Navigation – In its latest version, FreshBooks has worked on improving the navigation, based on user feedback, and has made it more streamlined to use. Moreover, the FreshBooks developers are continually making minor updates to its navigation panels each month.
- Importing & Exporting – FreshBooks allows you to import clients and expenses as .csv files. There’s no way to personally import items or services, which is something of a drawback given this should be an easy fix. But if you send a file to FreshBooks support, the company will import the data for you. You can export reports and download estimates/invoices as .pdf files.
FreshBooks is also known to roll out small incremental changes which are not too upsetting. An exception to this would be the migration from FreshBooks Classic, which caused many issues for existing users.
FreshBooks Customer Service & Support
FreshBooks customer service and the associated support options are excellent. There is no other mainstream accounting platform that rivals FreshBooks in terms of its customer service, which can easily be observed from the swift and consistent responses to client queries across multiple review sites.
I also found it to be the case when testing their email and phone support. Not only was it swift and responsive, but the representatives were friendly and knowledgeable, efficiently solving my requests.
FreshBooks has several support options available, like phone, email, online support forms, knowledgebase, blog, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Press Center, & webinars.
Online reviews of FreshBooks are incredible and predominantly positive. The most common online criticism relates to the migration from FreshBooks Classic. Others complain that it is too expensive, in comparison to Wave which is 100% free.
FreshBooks Software Security
FreshBooks is secure and has not suffered any of the hacks associated with multiple other accounting platforms. All of its security features are outlined on its security policy page. The platform uses the standard AES-256 bit encryption to protect sensitive data. This is typical and expected, helpful for all online communications to prevent online ‘listeners’.
The FreshBooks data centers are said to be ‘state of the art’ with biometric and physical checks, cameras, and many other considerations to ensure the integrity of the data. Practically all online cloud providers make these claims. On the other hand, most data compromises and hacks are done through online means and, almost never by a hacker gaining physical access to data anymore. The customer is always the weakest point of vulnerability. That is why they suggest to each client to create a strong password with lower and upper case letters and special symbols and don’t give the password to anyone else.
FreshBooks data is backed up every night, and the page allows for responsible disclosure of hacks and scams. The FreshBooks Application uses the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) for hosting requirements. With a vast array of clients with varying needs, GCP provides an environment that allows for the fast delivery of features, continued product innovation, reliable security and stability, and a reduced chance of downtime.
Conclusion: Freshbooks Is a Legitimate Accounting Platform
Freshbooks is an excellent online accounting tool for freelancers, self-employed professionals, and small to medium-sized business owners. Its customer service and invoicing functionality ensure that it stands out from its competition, in tandem with its incredible user interface.
The main caveats are the limitations on users and billable clients, which is very annoying, and the lack of payroll functionality.
Aside from this, it remains one of the best online accounting tools on the market. People complain about the price, but it is very similar to most other accounting software on the market price-wise.
What Is FreshBooks Used For?
FreshBooks is an online accounting platform mainly aimed at freelancers, self-employed professionals, and small to medium business owners with contractors and employees. It performs all of the typical functions you would expect with accounting (though the more advanced features come with the more expensive plans). However, FreshBooks also offers features like invoicing and project management, and all of these features are interrelated. FreshBooks is known to be easy to use and is popular for its excellent invoicing features, and this accounting platform has one of the best customer services around.
How Do I Create an Expense With FreshBooks?
Creating an expense through FreshBooks is easy. All you have to do, is navigate to the dashboard, click on ‘Create New’, and then click on ‘New Expense’. You also have a quick entry option by going to the expenses section on the left-side menu. When you click on it, a window will open where you will have to fill out all of the relevant expense information. It includes the category, attaching receipt images, setting the date, adding a merchant, adding a description, adding taxes, etc. You can also choose whether or not to make a recurring expenses and automate them.
How Do I Create An Invoice With FreshBooks?
The easiest way to create an invoice through FreshBooks is by creating one from an estimate as you are automatically replicating data that the customer has already approved. On the estimates page, after selecting the correct invoice, you need to simply click on the ‘convert to invoice’ tab. You will need to change any relevant information (dates, amounts, tax, etc.) when doing this, but it is definitely a faster process than creating an invoice manually. It’s better to update the estimate first (after clearing changes with the client) and then creating the invoice out of the current estimate, as it also makes the accounting side a lot more streamlined.
How Do I Accept Credit Card Payments With FreshBooks Payments?
There are several ways to do this. Business owners can allow clients to pay using Stripe or PayPal, indirectly allowing credit card payments. The mobile card reader on the FreshBooks application also allows credit card payments. Business owners also have the option of accepting credit card payments physically; from the store. FreshBooks integrates with a variety of online payment providers to allow easy access to credit card payments. All you have to do is enable it through FreshBooks payments from within the main dashboard.
What Should I Know When Migrating to the All-New FreshBooks?
If you are migrating to the all-new FreshBooks accounting platform, from a different platform, you won’t have a problem. But if you are using FreshBooks Classic and are being ‘upgraded’, you could run into difficulties. Experience has shown that it is always a nightmare for those used to the older version to be forced onto a new version. Among other things, you will have to download a new FreshBooks app for mobile, resend invoices to existing customers, reconnect applications, reconnect bank accounts, invite your team members again, review roles, and set up emails and templates. In other words, you have to do everything again. In addition, there are lots of things that are not available in the new version, including card readers, client logins, late payment reminders, and much more.
How Much Is FreshBooks Monthly?
The price depends on the plan you intend on purchasing. At present, the Lite plan is $6 a month, the Plus plan is $10 a month, and the Premium plan is $20 a month. Also, be mindful of the fact that this current offer is only valid for the first six months. So the price will jump after this period. You can also use their one-month free trial to see if FreshBooks fits your needs.
Is There a Free Version of FreshBooks?
FreshBooks does offer a one-month free trial but there is no free FreshBooks version. A note: you have to be careful even before taking a free trial these days. Using a product for an entire month is an investment of your time and data. And once clients are in, it can be very tricky to migrate to another platform. Thankfully, FreshBooks has superb customer service and excellent reviews, so you are in safe hands.