FreshBooks Product Video
FreshBooks was created in 2003 by Canadian Mike McDerment. His lightbulb moment came when he was creating an invoice for his business as a self employed professional and accidentally saved over it.
He looked around for a solution for small business owner like himself, but found the products to be made for large business and not self employed freelancers like him. So in his parent’s basement, he created FreshBooks, which today boasts more than 10 million users worldwide.
FreshBooks has been designed for small business owners who are passionate about their business, but not fond of the accounting admin. It aims to save small business owners time and effort on keeping their accounts in order and spending more time on what they love.
Head office for FreshBooks is in Toronto, with other offices in Ottawa and Silicon Valley. Subscriptions are paid for in USD per month, no contract, leave anytime.
How is FreshBooks different to other cloud accounting software?
FreshBooks is not as in-depth a cloud accounting product as some of it’s competitors such as Xero, Sage One or QuickBooks. You find basic accounting functions with FreshBooks with a heavy emphasis on invoicing, billing and time tracking. If you are a freelancer charging for your time, or a professional selling your service, FreshBooks is designed for you.
It has been pointed out by some reviewers that FreshBooks is not a cloud accounting software product in traditional terms due to the lack of double entry bookkeeping allowed but if you are a freelancer, contractor or other sole or small team business owner, it would more than meet your needs.
It should be noted that with some of FreshBooks competitors, who are ‘truer’ accounting software products, they have built in VAT rates and functionality, whereas with FreshBooks, you would need to find your desired tax rate and add it manually as a "sales tax". Once you have done this though, it will apply VAT to any of your invoices.
There is no facility for submitting a VAT return with HMRC using FreshBooks, so you would need to do this separately, either by yourself or by supplying your accountant with the relevant details, or giving them access to your FreshBooks account.
Best features of FreshBooks
For the non-accountant, there are some intuitive, easy to use functions such as creating professional invoices, which can be customised to fit your business brand, notifications that your invoice has been opened and the option for your customer to pay there and then. You can set payment terms, reminders to late payers and charge late fees.
Payment can be collected via direct bank transfer, credit card, Apple Pay or Stripe. To facilitate credit card payments, FreshBooks have created their own payment gateway called Freshbook Payments. The cost to you is the usual merchant fee charged by the credit card company plus a transaction fee charged by FreshBooks of 0.30c/transaction.
If you need to log expenses, thanks to mobile app and the fact that FreshBooks is cloud based, this can be done, any time, anywhere. Logging receipts is easy with taking a photo of the receipt and uploading it.
Working as a team? FreshBooks has a brilliant, easy to use project management tool where you can log documents and conversations for everyone to access at any time. Clients can also access this data, so if you are billing on time spent, they can can be aware of how much this has added up to, to-date.
The reporting functions in FreshBooks cover Profit and Loss, Sales Tax Summary, Ageing Accounts, Invoice Details, Expense Report and Time Entry Details. The reports are easy to run and to understand.
FreshBooks’ pricing is split into 3 choices, with all plans having access to their powerful features. How much you pay comes down to how many invoices you produce a month. Their cheapest plan caters for up to 5 invoices /month but is powerful enough to cope with more than 500/month.
If you’re not sure if FreshBooks is right for you, they offer a 30 day free trial with access to all features so you can see how it performs and if it meets your company’s needs.
FreshBooks integrates with 20 other Saas products to give you maximum flexibility. This includes OneSaas (paid for product), who act like a bridge between FreshBooks and several other SaaS providers, opening you up to many more integrations. FreshBooks integrate with Shopify, Stripe, Gusto and G Suite to name just a few. Through OneSaas, you can add Xero, QuickBooks and Sage One to that list and eCommerce solutions like eBay and WooCommerce.
FreshBooks are highly rated by their users, and there sure are plenty of users. They get cheered for their customer service as at least FreshBooks provide a number you can call for help. The downside for us in the UK is this is a North American number, available Monday-Friday 8am-8pm US EST. If you call during these hours though, you will at least talk to another human.
Their online knowledgebase is thorough, easy to use and should provide basic answers. You can also send them an email if you prefer not to call.
Features & Options of FreshBooks
- Clients: Estimates, invoice customisation, recurring invoices, multi-currency, online invoice accounts for clients.
- Expenses: Receipt image capture (mobile app), expense assignment to clients. Note that importing expenses from bank accounts is only available for North American users.
- Time Tracking: Web and mobile timers, unbilled hour capture, time visualisation, team time tracking (“Evergreen” and “Mighty Oak” subscription plans only).
- Payments: Online payments via several online payment providers.
- Staff/Contractors: Contact management, time tracking project assignment, team timesheets.
- Management: Overview dashboard, reports.
Access & Support:
- Users: Unlimited users | Staff access permissions |External accountants.
- Apps: Android, iPhone, iPad.
- Support: Email + Phone – Canada/US Eastern Time 8am-8pm (UK 1pm-1am GMT).
- Lite: US$15/month. Bill up to 5 active clients.
- Plus: $25/month. Bill up to 50 active clients.
- Premium: $50/month. Bill up to 500 active clients.
Payment Discounts: Annual subscriptions – 10% discount.
Trial/Warranty: 30 day free trial.
Other Costs: None.
Integrations & Add-Ons
- CRM: Capsule, Solve, You Don’t Need a CRM!
- Customer Support: Freshdesk, LiveChat, Zendesk.
- Expense Tracking: Automatic (US only), MileIQ (US only), Receipt Bank, Xpenditure.
- Lead Capture: 123FormBuilder, Wufoo.
- Marketing: Hubspot, ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, Shopify.
- Online Payments: Fundbox (US only), Stripe, Braintree, Authorize.Net, Partial.ly, PayPal.
- Payroll: Gusto (US only), PaymentEvolution (Canada only).
- Project Management: Basecamp, Citrix Podio, Gameplan.
- Proposal Design: Bidsketch, Proposify.
- Time Tracking: Hours, BlackTimer, Chrometa, ChronoMate, Toggl.
- Utilities: G Suite, Acuity Scheduling, RightSignature, Zapier.
The rating score is a weighted average of ratings from these respected sources.