Freshbooks Review - Bookkeeping for dummies
Updated: Dec 19, 2020
What is Freshbooks?
In simple terms, Freshbooks is a cloud-based software for companies of all sizes to manage their books. As stated on their website, they help with bookkeeping, invoicing, time tracking, project collaboration, among other tools.
Our honest Freshbooks recommendation
Their bread-and-butter is invoicing. If you do plenty of invoicing, they might be just what you are looking for.
Key Freshbooks Links
In their words...
This article is part of a series focused on top software tools for freelancers, self-employed, and contractors, those who have a business but run it themselves with a small team from their homes. If you want a review of software or tool that we have not yet looked at, please email us or contact us through Facebook.
This article has affiliate links.
At the bottom of this article, you will also find the top accounting mistakes to avoid in 2021.
Freshbooks has a great free trial option, which you can see here, to allow you to try out their tool with no commitment. Outside of the free trial, they have three pricing tiers: Lite, Plus, and Premium.
Cost: $ 4.50 / month (billed $135.00/year)
Billable Clients: Up to 5
Key elements: Unlimited estimates and expenses, get paid with credit cards and bank transfers and track sales tax with automated reports.
Cost: $ 7.50 / month (billed $225.00/year)
Billable Clients: Up to 50
Key elements: Key Lite elements plus... automatically track expenses, set up recurring payments, and invite your accountant.
Cost: $ 15.00 / month (billed $450.00/year)
Billable Clients: Up to 500
Key elements: Key Plus elements and... automatically send late payment reminders, bill late feeds, get paid with checkout links, and run financial and accounting reports.
User-friendly: You want your software tools to be user friendly because they have to be simple to use and be easier than doing the task yourself. Well, we can confidently say that about their intuitive system and easy to follow platform.
Excellent customer support: We will touch on this below, but as we have verified with Freshbooks customers, their customer support is one of the best, whether you encounter an issue or simply need someone to walk you through a certain feature.
Extensive integrations: Whether you need to integrate with a project management tool like Asana or a payroll tool like Gusto, Freshbooks appears to have you covered with over 80 integrations. Integrations mean that Freshbooks easily communicates with other software that you use in your business.
Small-business friendly: Freshbooks has expanded, but it was originally created with freelancers, self-employed professionals, and small businesses in mind. As a result, if you fit any of the groups above, Freshbooks is a tool designed with you in mind.
Invoicing: As we said earlier, this is Freshbooks' bread and butter. With over 3,270 GetApp reviews rating it EXCELLENT, it is an invoicing system that we comfortably recommend. Some of their key invoicing features, as stated with the company itself, are:
Customize invoice payment term
Easily offer discounts
Automatically calculate taxes
Preview invoices before sending
Choose your preferred currency
Instant updates when an invoice has been viewed and paid
Invoice from anywhere with the mobile app
Automatically track inventory billed on invoices
Expense tracking: With a feature they call "bank connectors," you can easily and almost automatically record your business expenses. In addition to that, their app allows you to easily import receipts through pictures to avoid losing any paper trail. In addition, easily mark billable business expenses and bill your clients through the integrated system.
Time tracking: One feature that we particularly like with this software is tracking time, which they do through a web plugin called Freshbooks Chrome Timer. This tool allows your business to accurately track billable hours and manage that time. As we mentioned earlier, this software easily integrated with other tools, which is helpful with time tracking because it integrates with project management tools like Asana, Trello, and Teamwork.
Online payments: Freshbooks can be used to easily request online payments from your customers with secure, transparent pricing. It easily integrates with Stripe and PayPal so you can continue to use the tools you are accustomed to.
Freshbooks has an average review, out of 591 total, of 4.5 out of 5. This is remarkable for a SaaS firm (software as a service). After a deep dive through these reviews, most of them attribute their high rating to the customer service provided by Freshbooks.
For a small company, understanding software like this one can be daunting, and especially trusting it for your bookkeeping. What we liked about Freshbooks is their immediate access to a professional who will guide you step by step through anything you are trying to accomplish with their product. While we would like to say all SaaS companies do this, that is not the case, and a good guiding customer rep is a key relationship to have with your provider. Their key customer service features are:
Live and responsive chat support
Phone lines with short wait times (Mon-Fri, 8am - 8pm ET)
In addition, they have an extensive library of tutorial videos that can guide even the most inexperienced user through their software in case help is needed after hours.
Freshbooks is one of the most complete bookkeeping tools that we have seen in the market; however, it does have some drawbacks.
Mobile Reporting: While reporting is great in its full-browser mode, it can be a bit lacking in mobile views. This is likely on purpose, as Freshbooks may prefer that you dive deeply into reports on a larger screen for a more accurate analysis, but we would love to see full mobile capabilities with reports.
Limited Invoice Templates: If you want full ability to create invoiced with unique fonts and colors, Freshbooks may not be for you. One of the most common complaints of users is their lack of a diverse set of invoice templates.
Support For More Currencies: Users from smaller countries or developing countries find themselves unable to use Freshbooks effectively due to a lack of support for less-common currencies. This is a feature that has been requested and will likely be added soon.
Freshbooks is comparable to the following two accounting tools:
Top Three Accounting Errors That Sink Companies
Thousands of companies are hit every year by hefty IRS fines due to accounting-related issues that showed in their taxes, and we believe many of them are accidental, made by small businesses or freelancers who cannot afford a private accounting team. So what can you do? Avoid these three mistakes...
Let's dive in!
1. Miscalculations and manual errors
When you try to do your own accounting and are not a professional or even someone who practices accounting regularly, you are bound to make a costly mistake sooner or later. While you may save a few dollars in not hiring someone, you make face much costlier IRS fines and risk hurting your business because your financial reports are not accurate. Don't risk it.
A 2015 study argued that human error is the LEADING CAUSE of tax and accounting mistakes. That is unbelievable, simply because it is avoidable! Whether you are a freelancer, small-business owner, or even a large business owner, take the steps needed to avoid manual errors.
2. Failure to be up-to-date with regulations
Tax and accounting regulations change often. If you are doing your own accounting, make sure you spend the time and resources needed to be up-to-date with the latest regulations and changes in your industry, because failing to adhere to them can cost you your business. However, let us warn you, this is difficult unless you do this for a living! To give it a try, take a look at IRS regulations that apply to you here.
In addition, if your business provides services or products internationally, you need to make sure that you also abide by the tax laws in those countries, which often means registering in those countries, which can be costly. When doing your bookkeeping, you need to make sure that your expenses, taxes, depreciation, and interest are allocated correctly so that you don't think you have more money than you actually do. Again, in order to scale and grow as a business owner, you need to have your small business accounting done right, or else, it will be the monster in the closet that will rear its ugly head when you least expect it, often with a hefty IRS fine.
3. Time wasted!
You are managing a company, you are busy running your business and either getting it off the ground or helping it stay profitable for the long term! Time is money. You surely have heard that before, but as a business owner, you surely understand the phrase better than most. Your time is too valuable in other areas to spend it doing your own accounting. But what if you cannot afford a professional accountant? Well, luckily, it is 2020 and there is a solution. We recommend using a SaaS (Software as a Service) tool. We strongly advise that you consider outsourcing your small business accounting, your corporate bookkeeping, to an online software provider, most of which do it for a low monthly cost. You are welcome to shop around and see what best meets your needs, starting with a free trial.
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