Ever wished your accounting software could just sort out your finances without the need to hire an accountant? I was reading a FreshBooks review online where the reviewer faced initial struggles using QuickBooks. She even hired a QuickBooks instructor for a two-hour session.
However, she ended up getting more confused and put off dealing with the financial aspects of her freelance business for a whole year. That was until she decided to give FreshBooks a try.
By the time I was done reading that FreshBooks review, I had so many questions about this software. Does FreshBooks really make invoicing and accounting that simple? What features make it better than other accounting software that does the same? Fortunately, a detailed FreshBooks review can help you answer this question.
Overview of FreshBooks
FreshBooks is one of the biggest names when it comes to invoicing and accounting software. It was designed in Toronto by Mike McDerment back in 2003 after his frustrations using Word and Excel.
Since then, FreshBooks has grown to serve over 24 million people in more than 160 countries. In 2017, the software was revamped and launched as the “New FreshBooks." It still kept its original version as the “FreshBooks Classic.”
In 2018, FreshBooks was updated to include the double-entry accounting techniques as well as bank reconciliation and journal entries. These changes have allowed FreshBooks to step up to the plate and compete with other accounting giants like Wave and QuickBooks Online.
FreshBooks Review: Key Features
What do you expect from your ideal accounting software solution? Let’s look at some of the unique features that FreshBooks has to offer.
FreshBooks has an easy to navigate dashboard where you can quickly view important financial information.
It helps you keep a watchful eye on the amount of money you’re owed, amount of money made (or lost) as well as outstanding and overdue invoices.
FreshBooks provides two customizable invoicing templates to personalize your brand. You have the option to update your logo and incorporate brand colors. Furthermore, you can add notes or even terms to your invoices.
FreshBooks also makes sending estimates easy. You simply need to create duplicate estimates, convert them into invoices and view the status.
Another thing FreshBooks that makes FreshBooks shine is providing a reliable invoice to payment feature. It lets you see when a client receives and opens the invoice that you sent. That can help you deal with clients who claim they didn’t get your invoice.
Lastly, FreshBooks comes with a convenient feature that automatically sends overdue payment reminders to your clients.
FreshBooks strives to make managing payments flexible. You can settle accounts using the traditional methods of bank transfer, debit, or check.
FreshBooks introduced FreshBooks Payments that made it possible for businesses to start receiving payments through credit cards. It comes in handy for people who are selling products online.
When it comes to online payments, the FreshBooks Classic supports five payment gateways including:
- FreshBooks Payments
On the other hand, the FreshBooks New versions only support Stripe and FreshBooks Payments at the time of writing this review.
FreshBooks simplifies expense tracking by making it possible to import your bank statements and connect to live bank feeds.
The only caveat is that FreshBooks partners with Yodlee, just like most software that uses live bank feeds. This may violate some Terms and Conditions of some banks. You should consult with your bank about using live bank feeds.
Receipts can be added and organized in the software by capturing the receipt image, description, total, and its category. These categories closely resemble IRS tax filing categories. So you’ll be thoroughly prepared come tax season.
FreshBooks also helps you to track expenses from different clients or add the expense to an invoice as reimbursement with a certain client. It is possible to separate your business expenses from your personal expenses.
In addition, the inclusion of the double-entry accounting technique makes it possible to reconcile your bank accounts in FreshBooks.
If you need to collaborate with clients, contractors or employees, FreshBooks might be the best solution for you. The software allows you to share images and files, set project due dates and chat with team members.
The project management feature lets users create flat rate or hourly projects. It also offers "Discuss," an internal communications tool where you can deliberate on project issues with selected team members.
FreshBooks comes with a time tracking feature that you can use to clear breakdowns for each day or create team timesheets.
You can also use it to track time against specific projects and bill clients an accurate hourly rate for services. If you’re working as a team, you can use this feature to log in and track the time each member worked. You could also track unbilled time.
Accounting reports and taxes
FreshBooks provides an easy way to generate the financial reports you need to determine what’s working for your business and what isn’t. You can generate profit and loss reports either quarterly or yearly.
It also helps you create expense reports, invoice details or even time entry details. Consequently, you can come up with sales tax summaries by filtering your account records and generating tax reports.
The New FreshBooks version led to the release of an improved mobile app. This app is available in both Android and iOS devices.
You get to do everything you can using the desktop version such as recording payments, sending invoices, managing projects, track, and import expenses. The only feature that’s missing here is Reporting.
Data in FreshBooks gets backed up on two separate servers. It is also secured by 256-bit SSL encryption as well as Cisco-powered firewalls.
Apart from this, FreshBooks frequently runs intrusion detection and vulnerability tests programs.
FreshBooks partnered with Rackspace data centers as an addition to its cloud-based security measures.
FreshBooks prides itself in offering high value in their customer service. They even have numerous awards to prove it. Users have a variety of customer support options to choose from.
This could be phone support, email, in-software help, support form, their help center, blog, webinars, press center, or through their social media accounts.
What FreshBooks Users Have Been Saying
Now that you know what FreshBooks has to offer, let’s consider the FreshBooks review from those who actually used the software.
The FreshBooks review on Capterra had an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. Most users were impressed with its simple and straightforward setup. They also liked its friendly customer service and the addition of the double-entry accounting technique.
However, one user mentioned that its reporting needed some improvements. Another user said that FreshBooks wasn’t good for businesses that have to factor in inventory management.
On the other hand, the FreshBooks review on GetApp had an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. Users loved the stellar customer service and billing features. A good majority cited that the ability to send invoice reminders to clients was a huge plus.
Unfortunately, some users complained that FreshBooks offered limited customer records and it needs better reconciliation for balances.
FreshBooks Review: Pros and Cons
Even though FreshBooks has immense feature offerings, it also has its fair share of less desirable features. No FreshBooks review would be complete without mentioning both.
Let’s dive in!
How We Reviewed
We scoured the internet for every FreshBooks review we could find and used independent sites such as Capterra and GetApp. We also used the FreshBooks website to come up with a detailed overview of key features.
Furthermore, we compared FreshBooks to other top players including Wave, Xero, and QuickBooks Online.
FreshBooks Review: Top Competitors
Are you wondering how FreshBooks stacks up against other top players in accounting software? No FreshBooks review would be complete without looking at the competition.
Below are the top brands giving FreshBooks a run for its money.
This cloud-based accounting software was founded in New Zealand back in 2006. Xero offers a customizable dashboard with graphs for bills to pay, invoices owed, total cash flow, and labeled bank accounts.
Xero automatically creates and sends recurring invoices for you. It also comes with a “Pay Now” feature that encourages your clients to pay you instantly. You can create custom templates and design them to your heart’s content.
Inventory management is one of Xero’s strongest advantages over FreshBooks. This feature also comes in handy for e-Commerce businesses selling physical products. Xero lets you monitor both the value and quantity of your current stock.
When it comes to expense tracking, Xero allows you to connect your bank and credit card accounts directly. This way, you get to categorize expenses and split transactions automatically.
User reviews on Capterra gave Xero an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. Several users liked their inventory tracking capabilities and customizable reports. However, some users complained that it has weak mobile apps and the payroll function isn’t available for all states.
Customers on GetApp gave Xero an overall rating of 4.3 out of 5.0 stars. One user liked that it was intuitive but complained about their customer service.
Wave is a free online accounting software founded in 2009 and is based in Toronto. It was the first software to provide an integrated lending feature. Wave’s dashboard comes with charts and graphs to give users a quick insight into overdue bills and invoices, bank accounts and the expenses breakdown feature.
Furthermore, Wave offers three invoice templates that you can customize. It also provides recurring invoices where you can select a time zone when setting your recurring schedule.
The only drawback with Wave’s invoicing is that you have to add your sales tax on every item and you can only manually calculate the discounts for individual items using a new item line.
User reviews on Capterra gave Wave an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. Several reviewers liked that it was easy to use, but some users complained that it lacked project management features.
On the other hand, Wave reviewers on GetApp gave it an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5.0 stars. Users liked its expense tracking capabilities, but some users reported that the software had limited time tracking and inventory features.
QuickBooks Online is also Intuit’s accounting software that was founded back in 1983 as Quicken in California. It has grown to become one of the biggest accounting and personal finance software.
To get an overview of your financial information, QuickBooks offers an intuitive dashboard to help you view your invoices, expenses, bank accounts, sales, and profit and loss statements.
QuickBooks comes with five invoice templates as well as invoice automation. It also offers a lot of template customization options to its users.
You can even add discounts, shipping charges, and other attachments to your invoices. Furthermore, you can auto-schedule your invoices and track them.
When it comes to expense tracking, you can categorize expenses, design custom bank rules, and attach your receipts. Unlike FreshBooks and other accounting software, QuickBooks doesn’t use Yodlee for its live bank feeds. So it gets extra points for having their own bank connector.
QuickBooks features an inventory management system where you can create item bundles, assign SKU numbers, and purchase prices to make invoicing a breeze. You also have the option to set your inventory re-order points and check your current stock level.
QuickBooks also comes with project management, time tracking and a built-in lending service known as QuickBooks Capital.
QuickBooks reviewers on Capterra gave it an overall rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. Several users liked the excellent navigation and customizable reports, but some users complained about unexpected price hikes on their accounts.
User reviews on GetApp gave QuickBooks an overall rating of 4.2 out of 5.0 stars. Users liked the new project management support feature, but some users reported that it didn’t offer quality customer service.
Adding It Up
As you might have noticed from this FreshBooks review, Xero and QuickBooks Online certainly come out on top for features such as inventory management.
However, FreshBooks beats its competition hands down when it comes to offering quality customer service, great project management, and simplifying invoicing and accounting processes.
What’s your favorite accounting software? Tell us about it in the comments!