Invoicing customers can be challenging and time-consuming, particularly as businesses grow and become more complex.
Owners of small businesses often find that they spend considerable amounts of time managing invoices and making sure that they actually get paid, time that detracts from actually running the business.
FreshBooks is one of the leading companies for providing accounting solutions that cover both financial tracking and invoicing. FreshBooks software is popular, and for good reason.
The software itself offers a large amount of flexibility, giving users the ability to use the software for their own specific needs. As businesses, particularly small businesses, differ so much from one another, this is highly desirable.
For many people, the most appealing aspect of FreshBooks software is the fact that it can be taken pretty much anywhere and used on just about any system. In particular, FreshBooks can be used on any modern browser, such as Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer.
Most people will find this appealing because just about everyone has a preference towards a specific browser, and tools that force you to use a different one can be very frustrating.
FreshBooks also has apps for both Android and iOS.
This is a particularly important feature, because nowadays, business occurs just about anywhere, and it isn’t uncommon to see people holding business meetings at coffee shops or to be updating their business on the go.
In fact, people who are accessing FreshBooks software on devices like tablets and phones, have two different options. If they don’t want to use a separate app to use the features of FreshBooks, then they can simply make use of the web browser on their device.
FreshBooks offers three different plans for users. The plans are fairly simple and the difference is the number of clients that a business has.
As you can see, the company notes that their middle plan is the most popular. This isn’t really surprising, as relatively few businesses will have 5 or fewer clients that they serve.
Which applies to you would entirely depend on the number of clients that your business serves. Up to 50 clients (for the middle plan) is kind of a nice number and many people will find that they fit within that limitation.
FreshBooks is cloud-based, which means that the information users enter in on one device can be easily accessed on another.
This is particularly important for people using multiple devices, such as a computer, tablet and mobile phone, and makes it much easier for users to update information on the go.
Ease of Use
FreshBooks is very easy to pick up and use, even for people who have not used any form of accounting software before.
In fact, it is likely that many people who use FreshBooks will be entirely new to this type of software, simply because small business owners have a tendency to be stubborn and do things on their own for longer than they should.
FreshBooks also provides tips and direction for first-time users of the software and the UI itself is very clear cut, making it easy to work out what each part of the site does, and where to go.
For many people, one of the most significant features of FreshBooks is that it offers a free trial of the software. Unlike many companies, this is actually a free trial that doesn’t have strings attached, because you don’t need a credit card.
This means that there is no need to be concerned about whether the company will charge at the end of the trial period.
In fact, FreshBooks is a little unusual, because it has members go through the free trial no matter what.
So, there isn’t an option to just sign up for the paid version initially. That’s not really an issue though, because the trail basically gives you a free month so it’s worth taking.
The ability to visualize both invoices and expenses is one of the most interesting and useful tools of FreshBooks. This provides a very clear way of seeing the way that a business has progressed over time.
One of the advantages of this is that it is easy to see at a glance how the performance of the business differed from one month to the next, making it possible to identify low and high months. Other areas can be visualized too, like the expenses of the company and how those expenses break down.
Through FreshBooks, there are three key things that can be tracked. These are expenses, invoices and time. Tracking time is done on a project basis, providing a way for users to see the way that the time they are putting into a project compares with the estimated hours.
The ability to create and send invoices is one of the key features of FreshBooks software and something that the company does very well. The invoices can be linked to the PayPal account of the user, making it very easy for clients to pay the invoices, and also for the system to keep track of them.
Part of the invoice creation feature of FreshBooks is the ability to create and reuse specific clients, allowing the user to send invoices to previous clients without having to go through the setup process each time.
FreshBooks versus QuickBooks Online
FreshBooks is one of two main cloud-based accounting companies, with its main competitor being QuickBooks Online.
These two companies have many substantial differences and also have different overall specializations.
QuickBooks Online is a diverse program that provides a large number of different functions. QuickBooks Online is focused on all different sizes of business and is a substantial accounting package.
The large number of tools that QuickBooks Online provides has led to many people calling it overly complicated, but businesses that work out how to use it effectively can get access to many different features.
In contrast, FreshBooks has a strong focus on invoicing, which allows it to make this process very clear-cut and easy to understand.
Most of the features and functionality of FreshBooks are focused on this element. FreshBooks is also strongly focused on small businesses, particularly those who are selling nontangible products.
At the end of the day, these two products are focused on different specific needs, and which is best for a given person or business, will depend on what the business needs.
FreshBooks is an extremely effective piece of software that is useful for most small businesses and many larger ones. However, like any product, it isn’t perfect, and it wouldn’t be right to do a FreshBooks review without also considering the limitations of the software also.
Even though FreshBooks effectively integrates PayPal into its invoice system, it isn’t actually possible to use PayPal to pay for the program itself. This can be a little frustrating for people that rely on PayPal, but for most people, it won’t be an issue.
Lack of General Accounting Elements
FreshBooks is strongly specialized towards invoicing, and because of this, the amount of other tools it provides are limited. By having this specialization, FreshBooks has been able to focus on the area of invoicing almost entirely.
The lack of diversification in accounting elements is not really a limitation of FreshBooks, but more a feature. If this is a problem for the user, it is probably an indication that the wrong program is being considered.
Is it Worth It?
Whether FreshBooks is worth the time and money for an individual depends on two key questions. These are how much time the person spends on accounting and how much their time is worth to them.
For example, FreshBooks estimates that the average user saves around eight hours a week using the software.
For people with a lot of time, eight hours might seem like a big deal, but for others, eight hours less on accounting is eight hours more that can be spent on the business.
If a user saved five hours a week through FreshBooks and reinvested all of this time back into the business, then they would gain around 40 hours a month from using the software.
For most people, this is a significant gain, and well worth between $10 and $50 a month, depending on what plan you choose.
FreshBooks is completely free to try, which makes it worthwhile software to check out and will give you the chance to make up your own mind about FreshBooks, rather than just taking the perspective of this FreshBooks review.
Nevertheless, it is also important to note that there are other pieces of software out there that work in a similar way to FreshBooks. So, if there is something you don’t like about FreshBooks you can look into alternatives.
Admittedly, accounting or invoicing software might seem like an odd choice to review on this site. After all, many approaches for making money online don't actually involve invoicing others. However, if you are doing any form of freelancing, invoicing can be a critical business component.
Even if you aren't a freelancer, this software could still be relevant as a way of tracking expenses. Nevertheless, for many, it might not be an important business investment, especially not early on.
If you are interested in the field of making money online, I encourage you to check out Wealthy Affiliate. This training site teaches people how to make money online using a website.
It's a powerful way to make money, because you don't have to rely on individual clients and you certainly don't have to deal with the challenges of invoicing clients and making sure they pay.