Freshbooks Review: Save Time as a Business Owner
Please welcome Mrs. Frugal Rules as she shares her Freshbooks review of our new favorite business software…
Freshbooks has been a lifesaver for me as a small business owner. In the year or so that I’ve been using Freshbooks, it has saved me time and made billing, bookkeeping and tracking the time I spend on client work much easier than it used to be.
When I started freelancing about four years ago, I managed my invoicing and kept track of the time I spent on client work with a simple software program called MacFreelance. I had no idea how successful my business would be, or how large my client list would become. After a few years, the company that made MacFreelance wasn’t supporting it anymore and I was really beginning to outgrow it. We had more clients and I needed a solution that wouldn’t require me to save all of my billing data on my hard drive.
My Experience with Freshbooks
Despite frequent crashes that required me to restart my computer and constant fear of losing all the data on my in-progress projects, I held out on upgrading to a new invoice software solution because I didn’t want to take the time to learn a new system. Although I knew I needed a new self-employed accounting software solution, I felt I was too busy to learn how to use something new. One day, Mr. Frugal Rules had seen enough and gave me a deadline to find a new self-employed bookkeeping software solution.
Just a few nights later, I was at a local Meetup group with other advertising and web design professionals when I first learned about Freshbooks. I checked it out and soon decided it was the solution I wanted to move to. This review of Freshbooks is my honest opinion of the product and my experience with using it for about a year to manage the bookkeeping for our small business.
Freshbooks calls itself the “#1 cloud accounting software solution designed for small business owners.” Indeed, cloud accounting is one of the features I most appreciate about the software. Here’s a run-down of a few of the other features it offers:
Easy Invoicing From Anywhere: Freshbooks really does make it easy to create professional invoices from your laptop, tablet or smartphone. I’ve used the app to create clients, track time, create and send invoices and it’s pretty painless. It was easy to add my small business logo and personal information to the invoice template.
Inexpensive Online Payments: One of my favorite features is that I can click a button on my invoice to allow my client to pay via PayPal for only $.50 as opposed to the standard 3-4% fee that PayPal generally charges for processing business payments. Our clients have told us that it’s very easy to make payments as well. For those clients who prefer pdfs of invoices mailed to them, I can generate a pdf quickly. Or, I can pay a small fee for Freshbooks to mail a paper invoice to my client for me. With three small children, I HATE running to the post office or grocery store just to buy stamps so this is a real plus for me.
Invoice Tracking: Freshbooks makes it easy for me to see at a glance who’s viewed my invoices, who hasn’t, and who’s paid. All I have to do is click the “Invoices” tab from my homepage and voila! a handy list appears. They also populate my homepage with a graph showing how much invoiced charges are outstanding in increments of less than 30 days, 30-60 days 60-90 days and more. It helps me not to let late clients fall off my radar. Oh, and when I need to, I can resend an invoice with a personalized message, all from the cloud accounting software’s, user-friendly interface in about 60 seconds.
Convenient Time Tracking: Much of my client work is billed on an hourly-basis so one of my must haves was an accounting solution with a built-in time tracking feature. Freshbooks has that. I can quickly create a new project and either enter time when I’m done or click the “start timer” button to track my time in real-time. The system keeps track of how much time I’m spending and automatically accrues it with the appropriate project.
Variable Pricing Plans: Freshbooks lets any new user try its product free for 30 days, which allows you to try it out before moving all your business accounts over to it. Available plans range from free to $39.95 per month. Choosing the option that’s best for you depends on how many clients and team members you have.
Those are just a few of the features of Freshbooks that I use every day. There are plenty more features to explore regarding reporting, tracking expenses, managing team timesheets, creating estimates, tracking sales taxes and much more. Their website does a great job of explaining the features in a way that’s easy to understand and digest quickly.
Advantages of Freshbooks
There are many advantages for small business owners when it comes to this software solution. I’ll outline a few of them below.
Cloud Accounting Solution: One of the biggest advantages, in my opinion, is that Freshbooks stores your billing and customer data OFF your hard drive and in the cloud. That means you can access it anywhere you have an internet connection, which is comforting and freeing. Now I know if my computer crashes before I can backup my business accounting files, they are still safe and accessible.
It’s a Real Time Saver: This solution makes it easy to keep track of client time, projects, payments, overdue invoices, and expenses. I bet I’ve easily saved at least an hour a week just by not having to restart my computer after a software crash from the old invoicing system I was using.
It Saves Money on PayPal Payments: Being able to conveniently receive payments from clients to my PayPal account for ANY dollar amount for ONLY a $.50 fee is awesome. There’s not much more I can say about that
Their Customer Service is Free and Top-Notch: Freshbooks regularly communicates with me via email offering to help answer any questions I have about how to improve my experience with or better use the software. The emails always have a person’s name and phone number associated with them too.
Disadvantages of Freshbooks
It’s hard for me to find a lot of disadvantages with this invoice software solution. Although it’s not the cheapest option out there, it really has saved me time, which in the long run, saves me money.
It’s Not the Cheapest Option: The main disadvantage with Freshbooks is that the plan I use costs me $30/month. I was able to save about 10-15% by paying for a year’s worth of service upfront but I’ll be honest – it was hard for me to pony up that monthly cost when I made the switch. In the end, the time saved and hassle-free nature of the software makes the cost worth it to me. (Being able to write off the cost as a business expense doesn’t hurt either. )
Not Great if You Don’t Have a Large Client List: If you have 5-10 clients, Freshbooks may not be the best solution for you. You’ll pay $20/month and for that reason, you may not feel like you are getting your money’s worth. If you have a larger client list and multiple team members who you want to be able to track time and create invoices for, then Freshbooks is a reasonable solution.
My Take on Freshbooks
I highly recommend this cloud accounting solution to anyone who is self-employed or a small business owner who has a growing client base. It’s easy to use, pretty to look at, reasonably priced and will save you both time and money by keeping you on top of late payments and saving you money on online payments through PayPal. If you are a small business owner looking to upgrade your accounting software, Freshbooks is worth a look.
What do you use to invoice your clients and manage your books for your small business or side gig? Have you tried Freshbooks? If so, what’s your take on it?