FreshBooks Review | A Great Time Tracking Software Tool

FreshBooks is an excellent accounting management program that helps you keep track of invoices, expenses, reports, and client relationships at the tip of your fingers. This is the latest in our collection of time tracking software reviews, and our FreshBooks review will help you understand the key features and selling points of this system.
With easy access to your customers’ data and reporting, plus the ability to expand your operations to other team members using a wide array of features and functionality, FreshBooks is a modern solution to your accounting needs.

FreshBooks Review

FreshBooks began as a simple invoicing solution, but has grown into a full-blown accounting management solution.

Accounting software is specially designed to allow professionals to keep track of all aspects of accounting for their business. This can include accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, invoices, contracts, expense reports, and more. It is an essential part of running the financial side of the business, but can also be helpful in customer relationship management: having a clear idea of where your clients stand financially can change how you communicate with them and what updates you send them.

Other key features of a robust accounting management platform include time management and tracking, which can be helpful when considering the number of accounts, clients, and invoices a business can process over time.

Our FreshBooks review covers the majors features of this solution. It is highly accessible for those with little to no technical knowledge, allowing them to focus their efforts on growing their business rather than taking time to program or develop custom solutions.

Old FreshBooks and New

FreshBooks has existed in several iterations over the years. Its founder created the accounting software package in 2003 out of a business need arising from his consulting company. This product was originally called 2ndsite, but rebranded three years later as FreshBooks. It went through a major overhaul in 2016, with advanced features and improved performance added for the new FreshBooks.

It was designed specifically for small businesses to help prevent invoices and other accounting processes from being missed or performed incorrectly, and boasts a wide variety of features and functionality to assist business owners with their accounting needs. It is also promoted as ideal for entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals who need assistance with creating an accounting infrastructure but do not have a dedicated team.

FreshBooks Features

FreshBooks boasts a wide array of features that make managing your accounting processes easier.
It provides a simple user interface that can be easily customized, giving your clear access to your customer’s data and your relationships. You can track individual invoices and reports, or combine them into more comprehensive projects, and also include time tracking and scheduling that helps you keep track of the time spent on each project.

Keeping track of individual clients is also easy with contextual reports that pull up every invoice, file, and contact point for each person in your database. This provides a complete picture of your relationship with an individual client, which can improve your knowledge and assessment of each customer.

You can also change the settings for your invoices and reports on the go, and run everything from any device through a browser-based system that is also accessible through a mobile app.

FreshBooks is an effective solution for your accounting needs, and is ideal for small businesses, entrepreneurs, or freelance accountants looking for a centralized hub for their accounting work.

An Effective UI

The user interface (UI) is extremely intuitive, and can be modified without prior programming knowledge or enhanced through customization.

Each section of the UI provide insights on various aspects of your business. The main section covers the invoices themselves, allowing you to track which invoices have been paid or remain outstanding, given you complete control over the status of your clients at any given time. You can also generate reports on your ongoing and completed projects, as well as related expenses for a full snapshot of your business.

You can run FreshBooks on your desktop or laptop, or view the dashboard through a mobile app. This allows your easy access to your company’s information on the go. A full accounting back-end is also included, providing you with a complete financial picture in one easy access point.

Simple Project Management Tool

Project management is a hidden, but necessary skill, for any business owner, and the new FreshBooks provides a seamless analysis of the status of each project in your portfolio.
You can organize your invoices, reports, expenses, and clients into projects to keep all items together in one place. You can add employees, contractors, and customers to collaborate via file sharing, messaging, and assigning work remotely. This ensures that all files and information about a given project or assignment are kept in one centralized location, and can be cross-references as needed.

Your dashboard can provide an instant snapshot of the status of each project, and you can assign permissions based on what each participant will need access to.
These features can greatly improve your project management skills, and will ensure that every part of serving your customers is accounted for and kept handy when needed.

FreshBooks Time Tracking & Accounting Method

FreshBooks time tracking is an incredibly useful tool for projects or clients that require an account of time worked.

Billable hours are an important data point for any project. You will need to ensure that your clients are properly billed for the amount of time you put into their project, and can also help you manage your own schedule when juggling various clients or projects.

The FreshBooks time tracking app is an easy method for tracking your hours and work allocations for your team. Each employee or team member can keep track of their hours worked from their time tracking hub, which can also be added to your Chrome web browser for easier accountability and tracking.

There is also a calendar feature for long-term time tracking, allowing you to watch the cumulative schedules for your team or your own workload. You can add custom notes to your hourly or daily reports for later reference. 

Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed

More and more products are moving to the cloud, which improves usability in a number of ways. Using a cloud-based service negates the need for you to install custom software on your computer, which means that you can keep track of your information across devices with ease. It also ensures that your data is stored securely, in the case of a breach on your personal or business device.

FreshBooks is a cloud-based system, which can be accessed from any browser on any device. You can easily pull up your client’s information at your home or office computer, then review an invoice or expense report from your mobile device, then share a report with a teammate or discuss a client’s outstanding payments from your tablet. The display and dashboard is responsive, which means that it is not dependent on a specific browser size or layout.

Additionally, FreshBooks provides an app for even easier access from your mobile device or tablet.

Hardware & Software Requirements

The only hardware requirement is an Internet-connected device, and there is no specialized software required to use the basic version of FreshBooks. Everything is run through your web browser, which does not require any new program to be installed on your machine.

If you choose to run FreshBooks on your mobile device or tablet, you will need to download and install the FreshBooks app, which is available through Google Play or the Apple Store.

There are also optional FreshBooks integrations with other platforms to allow seamless integration with your existing contact lists or reporting services. These are typically run through an API (application programming interface) that allows the two separate programs to communicate with each other. FreshBooks comes with APIs already developed for integrations with HubSpot, Zapier, the G Suite of programs (Google), Gusto, and FundBox. You will need some kind of technical experience to utilize these integrations, or request support from the FreshBooks team.

Creating Invoices

Creating invoices is the most essential part of using FreshBooks or any accounting management software. Invoice creation in FreshBooks accounting is easy and intuitive.

You can easily create custom invoice templates within the system, giving your business a professional brand look and feel when communicating with your clients.
Invoices can be processed and paid through a variety of methods. You can mark invoices as paid once you receive physical payment from the client (cash, check, etc.) or you can process payment through credit cards or ACH. This allows your clients greater flexibility in their payment options, and ensures that orders can be processed in a more timely manner.

Invoices can be prepared with different currencies, and you can set up reminder schedules for those that fall behind on receiving invoices or payments. You can also prepare invoices for hourly billable work, or for flat rates.

Context-Sensitive Settings

Modifying settings within the system can be a hassle if you cannot access the settings area. Many systems require you to go to one location to modify parts of the system, which can distract you from your workflow and decrease productivity.

FreshBooks includes context-sensitive settings capabilities, which greatly improves your ability to modify invoices, client records, expense reports, and more. Rather than keeping all settings only accessible from one section, you can modify them as you work within each area of the platform.

Switching the style and template of your invoices, as well as making them one-time or recurring, is one example of the flexibility you have when utilizing the context-sensitive settings options. You can also set reminder intervals, follow-up communications, and set other parameters for projects and assignments from within each operational page.

Some settings cannot be modified on the Lite plan; keep this in mind when selecting a subscription level.

Contacts and Expenses

Keeping your contact information handy and organized is essential to a smooth operation of your business. FreshBooks excels at displaying your client’s data in a format that is easy to read and engaging as a business owner.

Clients are displayed in customized orders based on your needs, and pulling up an individual client automatically produces a full list of all files, invoices, and reports related to each one.

You can quickly view all information about a given client, including the lifetime of their relationship to your business. This can help you keep track of clients who are behind on their payments, or predict the possibility of future sales. You can track all communications with each client, view the status of all invoices, and more.

The database of your own business expenses is also a centralized feature of FreshBooks. You can easily log and track your receipts, and compare your expenses to a project’s budget.

Specific Size Of Business

FreshBooks’ classic combination of usability and robust functionality makes it the ideal choice for businesses and teams of any size. FreshBooks is marketed toward entrepreneurs and teams of all sizes as a one-stop-shop solution for your accounting software needs.

Entrepreneurs and freelance accountants will find this software perfect for their needs as they run their own businesses and deal with their clients. It boasts an attractive price point and a full list of features and options that allows them to perform at a professional level.

Full teams will also find using FreshBooks easy and intuitive. Group dashboards can show the status of all ongoing projects and expenses with ease, and tasks can be assigned and scheduled to any team member at any time.

All of the integrated features make communicating with your clients easier, streamlining your administrative processes and giving you more time to grow your business.

FreshBooks' Mobile Apps

FreshBooks offers a mobile app that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store. This is essential for business members and entrepreneurs who do much of their work outside the office, and is useful for working with clients where they live and work.

You can access all of your FreshBooks data right from the app, ensuring that you are never far from your business database. View your invoices, expense reports, and client information with the swipe of a finger. You can even take a picture of a receipt and automatically add it to your portfolio.

You can also be assured that your data is always current and accurate: since the platform is cloud-based, your data is not dependent on proprietary software.

FreshBooks Pricing

FreshBooks pricing is simple and easy to understand, with options for businesses of every size. All plan costs can be decreased by upgrading the monthly subscription to an annual subscription, which cuts down on the cost of the software by paying for a year upfront.

You can subscribe using a free 30-day trial period, then pay at a monthly rate for access to the platform. Subscriptions increase by adding the capability to store more billable clients, or add additional features. Many of the features are included with any subscription level, and additional team members may be added for a flat rate at all levels.

As your subscription level increases, custom pricing is available, and you will also receive a personal FreshBooks account manager to ensure quick service and feedback on user issues.

Pros

There are lots of pros to using FreshBooks, especially its full suite of features included at all subscription levels.

The ability to seamlessly update your database from anywhere using a web browser of the app is a major selling point for those that need to make quick changes or assignments. You can also accept lots of different payment options, and track client’s progress and payments in order to effectively manage your relationships. You can easily convert estimates to invoices, and prepare reports for all needs and services at any time.

The user interface is intuitive and clearly displays your important data at a glance. You can further customize this based on your business needs, and you can also assign certain tasks and assignments to other team members as needed. The FreshBooks time tracker can also be prepared for hourly tasks and long-term planning.

For those with simple accounting needs, this provides all essential accounting services in one centralized location for a relatively low price. This is a vital part of running a successful business, and FreshBooks is ready to help you handle the accounting aspects of your business.

Cons

One of the major drawbacks is that the FreshBooks platform has gone through some major changes over the life of the product. If you were a subscriber to the previous edition, it may be difficult to get used to the new interfaces or find various elements of the system. There are also some advanced accounting features that may not be available, although most of the basic ones are covered.

It is also aimed mostly at entrepreneurs and smaller businesses. If you have a complex organization with many departments, larger teams, and advanced billing needs, you might need a different product that can handle those more involved processes.

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