FreshBooks Review

What is FreshBooks?

FreshBooks Review

★★★★

Date Established

2003

Location

Canada

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Good user interface
  • Great customer service
  • Lots of integrations
  • Nice mobile app
  • Plenty of invoice templates

Cons

  • Limited features
  • Limited users
  • Relatively expensive

With more than 24 million people using used the software worldwide, Freshbooks is one of the leading cloud-based invoicing, time tracking and accounting software that can help streamline small businesses.

With a user-friendly user interface, amazing customer service and a number of important features like invoicing, accounting and integrations with over 100 apps, Freshbooks is the perfect solution for the needs of small businesses. With Freshbooks, the small business owner can focus on increasing their productivity and client satisfaction while Freshbooks takes care of the accounts and invoicing.

However, the additional charges of integrations and the lack of few built in integrations might be of concern to some consumers and some businesses might find Freshbooks a little more expensive for what it is offering.

For some, Freshbooks is the perfect accounting solution while for others it is not so. Let’s look at the Freshbooks review in detail to see if this is the right fit for your business.

FreshBooks Pricing

Freshbooks pricing per month starts from $15/month for the Lite plan which is designed for a small business having up to 5 billable clients. Priced at $25/month the Plus plan allows you to send invoices to up to 50 clients and is the most preferred choice. However, if you have more than 50 billable clients, the Premium plan will be the right fit for your needs. It is priced at $50/month. For more than 500 billable clients, Freshbooks has an option of Custom pricing called Freshbooks Select. If you are choosing this option, FreshBooks is contacted for the exact quote per month as per your business requirement. The Lite plan doesn’t come with double-entry accounting while the Plus, Premium and Select Plans have double-entry accounting and the associated accounting features like General Ledger, Cost of goods sold, etc.

All the pricing plans are suited for a single user and there is an additional price of $10 to add another user. Other additional charges to be considered while using FreshBooks are the cost of using additional features like using a credit card for payment, using integrated applications like Gusto (for payroll) or using the add-on of advance payment which is priced at $20/month.

However, FreshBooks offers a 30-day free trial where you can get acquainted with the software and analyse which pricing plan works best for you. It also has an option of purchasing the yearly software in which case there is a discount of 10% on every monthly payment. For instance, if the Lite yearly subscription is purchased, it is charged at $13.5/month instead of $15/month when you pay for the software every month.  The free trial is available for all pricing plans and unlike many other applications, no credit card details are required for the free trial.

Not satisfied with FreshBooks after your free trial has ended? Don’t worry! You can cancel anytime within 30 days after the trial ends and be fully refunded.

Cloud-Based or Locally-Installed

FreshBooks is a cloud based software. Just open the FreshBooks website or mobile application and log in! No installations required!

Hardware & Software Requirements

Being a cloud-based software FreshBooks doesn’t have any hardware and software requirements. The only requirement is that you need to have an internet connection to use FreshBooks. The android and iOS mobile application for FreshBooks can be easily downloaded on your android or iPhone. 

Specific Size of Business

FreshBooks is designed especially for the accounting and invoicing needs of small businesses and freelancers. With a meticulously designed user interface, offering a variety of features like tracking your expenses, automated invoicing, FreshBooks is the right choice for a business in need of a basic accounting software. Unfortunately, it is not the right product for a business requiring a detailed accounting software for all their needs.

The software is more suited to single users as adding every additional member comes at an additional price.

FreshBooks Accounting Method

Accrual Accounting is the accounting method used in Freshbooks.

★★★★

Date Established

2003

Location

Canada

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Good user interface
  • Great customer service
  • Lots of integrations
  • Nice mobile app
  • Plenty of invoice templates

Cons

  • Limited features
  • Limited users
  • Relatively expensive

Ease of Use

The most highlighting feature of FreshBooks is its user friendly interface allowing you to easily keep a track on your invoices, expenses and accounts. Furthermore, there are no compatibility issues and no lengthy installation procedures as it is a cloud based software and no installation is required. You just simply sign up on FreshBooks, generate and access your invoices, expenses and accounts. Being able to link your bank account, credit card and the option to add other users (at an additional price) also make it easy to use software.

In addition, the iOS and android applications of FreshBooks make invoicing and tracking even more easy and on the go. Want to have a look at your overall business health or send an urgent invoice? Just open the FreshBooks mobile application and all your needs are sorted! The dashboard actually has all the important financial information available to get a quick overview of your company’s financial health. Furthermore, FreshBooks has amazing customer service and the calls to the support centre are answered directly by a person instead of a computer which makes problem solving quicker and the platform easier to use.

However, once you are done setting up your account on FreshBooks, you are directed to the dashboards tab and there is a lack of guidance to make this section of the software easy to use. An initial step by step guidance saves businesses a lot of time they spend figuring out the software. Unfortunately, FreshBooks doesn’t do very well in this department.

Features

Equipped with some amazing basic and advanced features, FreshBooks is indeed a great software in terms of the features it offers. Let’s look at some of the amazing features the software has to offer in detail:

Dashboard

The most highlighting feature of the software is the dashboard as it offers a variety of features on one page. You can access important financial information by just looking at your dashboard. The dashboard allows the user to hover over to any required feature like adding clients, generating invoices, etc. very easily. The dashboard also has important graphs like Outstanding Revenue, Total Profit, Total Spending, Revenue Streams and Unbilled Time.

Invoicing

Did you know that a professional looking customised invoice with an option for online payment has more chances of getting paid quicker as compared to a dull, boring invoice made in excel, spreadsheet or an invoice template? FreshBooks offers you exactly that; an easy to generate, highly attractive looking invoice with a variety of online payment options like credit card, Apple pay etc. Payment reminders and extra charge for late payments can also be added and guess what? FreshBooks will follow up on all that and you can spend your time focusing on your business and clients rather than chasing payments and getting in awkward payment conversations with clients.

The invoice generator also has the option of adding advance payment (at an additional charge) so you have the money to start the project with. In addition, you can choose your desired currency and language, set up payment due dates, add discounts to invoices and manage time. The best part of this invoicing feature and FreshBooks in general is that you can generate your invoices on the go. Just open the FreshBooks application on your tablet, laptop or mobile phone and the invoice can be generated and tracked anytime, anywhere. All of this is doable with one easy to use, versatile feature of invoicing.

Expenses

Cutting down costs and managing expenses is the key to making a business successful and profitable. FreshBooks allows you to easily track and manage your expenses so you know exactly when and where to reduce your expenses. You can enter your expenses manually or link your bank account to FreshBooks and all your expenses will be updated automatically on a daily basis. You can mark the expense as billable and charge it to the client and also take a picture of your receipt and upload it to keep track of your expenses. Furthermore, you can categorize your personal and business expenses and separate them for better organization. Just like invoices you can add recurring expenses and also change the currency of your expenses.

The Total Spending graph on the Dashboard allows you to keep a track of your budget and how much of your spending is allocated to which category. You can enter your expenses from anywhere with the availability of the iOS and android application for FreshBooks. Furthermore, expenses are auto categorized according to the IRS tax system which makes filing taxes easier at the year end.

Time Tracking

Both billable and unbillable times can be recorded and tracked on FreshBooks. By logging in your billable time and keeping track of it using FreshBooks you can generate an invoice right from the time log and send it to your client. With the time tracking tool, you can keep a close watch on your and your team’s efficiency and where most of your time is being spent/utilised. You can manually enter your time or start the timer on FreshBooks.

Accounting

The addition of a double entry accounting system has made FreshBooks a preferred accounting software for small businesses looking for a general accounting solution. However, the double entry accounting system is not available for the Lite plan and only available for the Plus, Premium and Select Plans. The double entry accounting system allows the businesses to better assess their performance and embark on new avenues for growth.

FreshBooks also allows you to invite your accountant to have access to your financials and manage your accounts. The accountant can do the journal entries for your business. The accounting solution is not needed for every business. For Example; if you are a freelancer the project management, invoicing, expense and time tracking features of FreshBooks are sufficient for you. However, you might need an accounting solution if your business is growing at a fast pace and accounts are getting complex to manage and oversee. You might also need it if you want to maintain and manage your cash flow to maintain sustainability of your business. The accounting solution can also help if you have a growth mindset for your business so you can accurately see where your business currently stands in order to make decisions like hiring another contractor, hiring more employees, investing in new assets etc.

FreshBooks has also introduced the feature of connecting your bank statement to FreshBooks for Bank Reconciliation statements. This helps users match the bank statement with Income and Expenses entered in FreshBooks and helps keep your book keeping updated and accurate. This feature helps you be sure that your bank account and Freshbooks reconcile with each other.

An effective accounting solution helps businesses become more profitable and understand their assets, liability and equity situation at any time. This can help in the decision making process for future plans. The accounting reports available on FreshBooks include Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss, General Ledger, Trial Balance, Bank Reconciliation Summary, Sales Tax Summary and Cash Flow. All of these help a business keep track of their overall business health and makes finance decisions easier.

Project Management

This feature helps small business owners and their teams easily coordinate, communicate and work on projects. Such a feature in which everyone is on board and has a defined set of tasks and deadline boosts productivity of the team. This feature allows business owners to invite their team, contractors and business partners to work on different projects. You can not only add your team but also choose which document related to the project is visible and accessible to which team member by using the team permissions feature.

The project management feature allows not only a project deadline to be set but also time can be allocated and hourly or on project completion charges can be assigned to a certain project. This allows easy and at one place access to all the important files so you do not have to find specific documents in your emails or on your laptop. Furthermore, projects can be tracked and managed on the go with the availability of the mobile application of the software. Another exciting part of this project management tool is that you can discuss and chat about the project with your team and share images and files with one another. Files can also be shared with the client for feedback and suggestions. This feature lets you track every billable hour spent on the project so you do not have to worry about being left unpaid for a certain work you do on the project. Furthermore, once the project concludes, an invoice can be sent directly to your clients.

Estimates and Proposals

With FreshBooks small businesses can easily make and send customised estimates to their clients which the clients can view and accept online. These estimates are convertible to invoices and a discount can be added to the estimates. The estimates can be easily duplicated and can be sent in different currencies. This feature also allows the option of previewing the estimate before sending to the client. Using the estimates feature you can view if your provided estimate is being viewed or accepted by the client using the Estimates feature.

Project proposals can also be formulated from the proposals feature available in the Plus, Premium and Select Plans of FreshBooks. Now, you do not have to make the proposal in another document format or email it. Very impressive customised proposals can be made and the project overview, scope of work and timelines be added on it and sent to clients. Proposals are also convertible to invoices and have the option of adding an e-signature of client on the proposals.

Payments

Payments can be made online on the invoices that you send to your clients on FreshBooks. The software allows a variety of payment modes to the client like Apple Pay, credit card etc. which make the payment procedure more efficient and quicker. Every payment made by the client is automatically tracked to the accounts in FreshBooks making the whole process hassle free. The payment feature also allows you to request for advance payment for starting a project and generates auto reports for all the payments made. Reminders for payment are automatically sent and late payment charges are also added automatically to the client’s bill.

For fixed priced services and items, checkout links for payments can be generated. This allows you to charge a client without creating an invoice.

Clients 

This feature of FreshBooks allows the business to become more organised by adding the clients, their details and their overdue invoices. If the client number is large and you do not want to go through the hassle of manually entering each client’s details, FreshBooks provides the option of importing clients data from the clients csv file.

Reports

The dashboard and the reports feature of FreshBooks allows businesses to oversee the overall financial health of their business. FreshBooks allows businesses to set up their own fiscal year and generate reports according to that. Tax filing becomes a hassle free procedure thanks to these detailed reports and record keeping features of FreshBooks. All your payments, expenses and already paid taxes are on the record and added in the reports to make tax filing super convenient. 

FreshBooks offers detailed reports on payments, invoices, expenses and time tracking. All these reports make project management and business health analysis super convenient for the owner. In addition, to help assess the overall financial health of business, Freshbooks offers detailed accounting reports.

Mobile Application

FreshBooks has an android as well as iOS mobile application which make the usage of the software more convenient and on the go. You do not have to sit in front of the computer to oversee your projects, generate and track your invoices, expenses and request for payments. You can simply open the application on the phone and send invoices, view feedback and keep yourself updated. The mobile application allows the user to take the pictures of expenses and upload on FreshBooks. You no longer have to worry about storing all the expense receipts. In addition, you can discuss the project with your team or your client on your mobile phone even when you are away from your workplace.

FreshBooks is a cloud based software and all the devices like your laptop, mobile phone and tablet are in sync with one another so you can access all the information and work on your projects from whichever device is available and convenient for you.

Team

FreshBooks has the feature of allowing users to invite their team. This makes discussing the projects and collaborations easier. Your accountant can also be invited to your FreshBooks portal to assess the financial health and make journal entries for your business. However, addition of team members comes at a price of $10 for every member.

FreshBooks Customer Service & Support

The most remarkable and outstanding feature FreshBooks has to offer is its exceptional customer service and support.  FreshBooks seems to always listen to the needs of its customers and keeps evolving to make the software more useful for the clients.

FreshBooks has an option of customer service through phone, email, searchable help database and chat and all of them are highly responsive and helpful. FreshBooks highly values its customers and tries to offer a seamless customer service to its consumers by having a real person answer the phone calls instead of an automated response. The timing for phone support is 8am -8am Eastern time, Monday to Friday. This helps the consumers save precious time and get their issues resolved immediately as the representatives are well informed and very friendly. The entire team at Fresh Books is Customer Service specialists as every new hire spends the first month with the support team. So, no matter who you come in contact with, almost everyone can address your needs immediately. The email response time is also very impressive at FreshBooks. FreshBooks, in the customer service department, really lives true to its philosophy and provides an extensive customer support and service to cater to every need of their customer. This is what a customer has to say about FreshBooks amazing customer service and support:

“I called @freshbooks today with a question; had it answered immediately by a friendly rep. Excellent customer service

FreshBooks has myriad support options available for its users apart from the phone and email support. Let’s look at some of the excellent customer support features FreshBooks has to offer:

  • FreshBooks has a well-developed and detailed blog to help small businesses run their business more effectively. The blog covers a wide range of topics from using Freshbooks for maximum utility to general topics of interest and help for business owners like investment, efficiency and business growth ideas etc.
  • The YouTube channel of FreshBooks offers detailed videos on using software efficiently. Furthermore, the channel has a number of how-to videos as well as general advice videos for small businesses.
  • The social media handles of FreshBooks are very active and regularly updated to keep the consumers abreast with latest updates and developments.
  • Online support form is also available on FreshBooks
  • A well organized and categorized help centre is available on FreshBooks for the support of the clients. Frequently asked questions and guidelines for each module of FreshBooks are available for ease of use of consumers.
  • Webinars are available on the FreshBooks website to make the consumer familiar with the software. These introductory webinars are free for everyone.

FreshBooks Reviews

Owing to its easy to use, meticulously designed user interface and plenty of useful features like invoicing, expense tracking, project and time management and accounting FreshBooks is the one stop solution for all the business needs of small businesses and receives very positive feedback from its users. Some users are so happy with the FreshBooks software that they reviewed FreshBooks by saying:

“It has changed my life”

and

“I wish I could rate it higher than a 10”

With overall positive reviews FreshBooks has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Capterra based on 3467 reviews, 4.6 out of 5 stars on g2 reviews based on 602 reviews, 4.5 stars out of 5 on pcmag, 7.9 out of 10 stars on trust radius and 9.8/10 reviews on reviews.financesonline. Forbes reviewed FreshBooks as “Incredibly user friendly”.

The most appreciated features of FreshBooks include:

  • Excellent Customer Support
  • User Friendly Interface making the software easy to use
  • Easy accessibility through highly developed android and iOS mobile applications
  • Automatically generated bills and option of recurring payments and reminders to clients
  • Time tracking
  • Discussion on projects with team members and client
  • Ability to customise invoices, making them look more professional

However, there are a few shortcomings of FreshBooks and some users do not enjoy using the software. The most common negative feedback of the software is that the Classic version was much better and offered more features. The classic version generated 22 reports whereas the new version generates only 8. However, FreshBooks has addressed this concern by allowing the users to switch to the classic version.

Some users find the FreshBooks software expensive as compared to its competitors. This is because adding each new user comes at a price of $10 which is generally free in many other software. Furthermore, some users find the add-on features prices like the advanced payments add-on priced at $ 20 to be very high. In addition, some users have reservations regarding the charges incurred when clients pay online via FreshBooks. They say that when there are a number of transactions these charges add up to be a lot and they lose money in the process.

Another feature many users feel is lacking in FreshBooks is the lack of detailed accounting features as opposed to QuickBooks. For companies wishing to get into the details of their financials QuickBooks is the more preferred choice. FreshBooks, despite adding the double accounting system and reports, doesn’t seem to address all the accounting needs of businesses.

However, on most rating websites and blogs FreshBooks has a very positive rating. Hence, it is a preferred choice for the majority of the small businesses.

Integrations & Add-Ons

Offering integrations with more than 100 cloud based applications, FreshBooks integration feature is designed to cater to needs of almost every kind of business. From offering integrations with Gusto for payroll, Zoom for communication and time tracking and Bench accounting for efficient bookkeeping FreshBooks offers a number of useful integrations and add-ons. FreshBooks is now also offering integration with Signpost for efficient automated email marketing. However, the availability of only 2 payment gateways might be a problem here. List of all the integrations available with FreshBooks is available and very well categorized on the FreshBooks website.

The software also allows users to link bank accounts and credit cards and the Plus, Premium and Select features have the add-on of advance payments as well. The advance payments add-on is priced at $20/month for the Plus and Premium Plans and is free with the Select Plan. Adding more users to your team is also an available add-on for a price of $10 for every user.

Software Security

As businesses input valuable financial and business information as well as information on highly confidential ongoing projects on FreshBooks, safety and security of software is of major concern to many users. FreshBooks takes these concerns very seriously and addresses the software security issue by using leading software security practices.

256 bit SSL encryption is used to protect the data you enter into your FreshBooks software. There is a lock icon in the address bar when you are using FreshBooks signifying that you are using the original FreshBooks website and not some impersonating website. All the data entered into FreshBooks lies behind firewalls so it is very well protected. Furthermore, random software vulnerability checks are done by Sikich LLP and all the data is encrypted using leading industry standard practices.

Furthermore, the FreshBooks servers are very well protected and secured by using strict security practices like biometric access, surveillance etc. State of the art technologies are used to protect the servers and data centres from natural and manmade disasters. The location of the two data centres having FreshBooks servers is unknown. Another security concern addressed by FreshBooks is the credit and debit cardholders’ data while making online payments. The data is protected using the PCI data security standard requirements which are the best in industry.

However, in case of a security breach, FreshBooks holds itself accountable to the customers and authorities and is bound to inform them under the Application Data Protection Law.

Final Thoughts on FreshBooks

The introduction of double entry book keeping along with the generation of numerous finance reports and bank reconciliation statements has made FreshBooks a one stop solution for all the invoicing, project management and accounting needs of small businesses. Its user friendly interface, excellent customer service and support, well-developed mobile applications and time tracking features make FreshBooks one of the most preferred accounting and invoicing solutions.

However, certain businesses find FreshBooks expensive as even adding another user comes at an additional price. Furthermore, other accounting software like QuickBooks have more detailed and proper accounting and bookkeeping solutions as compared to FreshBooks. FreshBooks can be integrated with Bench accounting for efficient bookkeeping but that comes at an additional price. For a business looking for a detailed accounting solution, FreshBooks might not be the best choice. Its competitors like QuickBooks have built-in payroll features while FreshBooks still integrates with Gusto for its payroll. QuickBooks, which comes at a slightly greater price than FreshBooks has many more features and offers detailed bookkeeping solutions.

Although FreshBooks is more expensive as compared to its competitor Wave which offers additional users free of cost, FreshBooks is still preferred by many consumers due to its extremely easy to use interface, customizable professional looking invoicing and a customer service that always leaves you impressed.

★★★★

Date Established

2003

Location

Canada

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Good user interface
  • Great customer service
  • Lots of integrations
  • Nice mobile app
  • Plenty of invoice templates

Cons

  • Limited features
  • Limited users
  • Relatively expensive