FreshBooks Review – Accounting for Entrepreneurs and Freelancers

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FreshBooks is one of the top online, cloud accounting platforms out there with QuickBooks. Whether you’re a freelancer or an entrepreneur running a business, we all need to account for your costs, revenues, invoices, and other financials.

FreshBooks makes things easy for entrepreneurs and saves them time to focus on growing their businesses. Let’s do a deep dive into FreshBooks and why it’ll be helpful for entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs Can’t Do It All

Entrepreneurs are organizers of their businesses. They are the ones who not only have the skills and talent to organize everything but also to take the necessary risks to make their endeavors successful.

However, it’s wrong to assume that entrepreneurs can understand or undertake every aspect of running their organization. Managing and setting a path for the organization is one thing, but taking care of every matter related to the business is another.

An entrepreneur cannot for example look into the financials, manage the supply chain, manage the production, sales and promotion, audit, and related functions. That would drive any entrepreneur crazy and for this purpose entrepreneurs have to hire experts for these jobs. Entrepreneurs still need to sleep after all.

The finance department is one such department that forms the backbone of any business. Without a properly functioning financial department no business would be able to function. There is a growing trend in the startup industry to outsource the finance department because a new business doesn`t have a strategically placed finance department. It is usually in the later phases of growth that the finance department becomes strategically important.

Whether you as an entrepreneur decide to outsource your finance department of whether you decide to set up an in-house finance department, in both cases as an entrepreneur you should understand the importance o your finance department.

Importance of the Finance Department

The finance department looks over the finances of the organization and without it, frankly an entrepreneur would have no idea about how much money the organization has, how much it can generate and how will it spend it. The finance department also keeps track of all the purchases and sales and therefore is responsible for making monthly and annual reports and statements that highlight the performance of the company.

Recording of Financial Information

One of the key tasks of the finance department is to record financial information. In the early stages of the business the financial data and information that is generated by the business is going to be simple however as the business progresses the nature of financial information is going to get more complex and for this purpose, every business needs financial data management system.

There are quite a lot of programs in the market and FreshBooks is one of the top-line programs out there that entrepreneurs and finance managers can use to record the financial information for their business.  

What is FreshBooks?

FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting program that was created in 2003 and since then has gone through various upgrades and changes. At present FreshBooks has over 10 million users who use it for their individual and business-related needs.

The good thing about FreshBooks is that it has a relatively low learning curve, it is easy for entrepreneurs and freelancers alike and doesn`t need a lot of time to get used to. They’ve positioned themselves as an ideal program for small and medium-sized businesses to have for their accounting needs.

Who can use FreshBooks?

FreshBooks is cloud-based accounting software that is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses but can also be used by individuals. The official site states that the software is aimed at

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Teams

Entrepreneurs can benefit from it because it is simple and easy to use, they do not need to have a dedicated finance department and even if they have an accountant, the accountant can be linked with the software and can easily use the data that is available thus allowing entrepreneurs to save quite a lot on setting up a dedicated finance department.

Teams can also use FreshBooks for collaboration on different projects. The features such as time management, internal chat, file sharing, and project management allow teams to collaborate in a seamless manner to get their projects and gigs completed, and billed with convenience.

FreshBooks Core Features

Let’s take a look at some of the core features offered by the FreshBooks platform:

Dashboard: 

The dashboard is simple, sleek, elegant, and easy to navigate for new and old users alike. The side many has quick action tabs and all the relevant information is available easily.

Invoicing: 

FreshBooks allows users to quickly create invoices using customizable invoice templates. The chat feature allows users to engage directly with clients. The credit card and ACH payments make the payment process a lot easier than it used to be.  The automated process allows FreshBooks to take control and send reminders, and keep track of orders, allowing users to focus on more core areas of their business.

Expenses:

FreshBooks allows easy tracking for all the business expenses. The program can be synced with your bank account and therefore your expenditures can be directly updated each day and the program can sort the expenses into predefined categories that will give you or your accountant peace of mind. Teams can also keep track of their project expenses

Estimates:

The reason FreshBooks is a top-rated program is because of the convenience it offers. Setting up estimates and turning them into proposals and invoices could never have been easier. Estimates panel can also track and show the status of the proposal from its origin to delivery and payment.

Contact Management: 

Contact management allows users to track clients, their order details, and payment status. Different currencies can be set according to the requirement for each client and the data analytics options provide key insights into each order.

Project Management:

The recently added project management feature has transformed FreshBooks. Teams and clients can now collaborate, track documents and files and the internal chat features allow team members to communicate easily. The project itself can also be billed as an invoice.

Time Tracking

A time tracking feature is a basic feature that every accounting software needs to have. The time tracker in FreshBooks allows users to focus on their tasks while the program keeps track of how much time has been spent. In addition, teams can also set different timers that can be synced with the desktop and mobile apps to keep you updated on the go.

Payments

The payment feature in FreshBooks adds more convenience to the whole experience. With a single click users can add different online payment options. Credit card payment option allows users and clients to choose their payment options, credit card payments can be done online or over the phone thus allowing flexibility. The pricing system for transactions is transparent, there are no hidden fees. Credit card transactions are charged at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction and ACH transfers are charged at 1%. 

Accounting

FreshBooks uses the double-entry accounting system, the accounting methodology is compliant with the regulatory requirements, so accountants can have peace of mind that all the conventions and concepts of double-entry bookkeeping will be followed by the program.

Businesses can add their accountants, who can access reports and data in order to prepare reports, tax returns, and financial statements. Since FreshBooks can be synced with the business bank accounts, the process of bank reconciliation becomes automated.

Mobile Application

The mobile application of FreshBooks provides extra functionality that simply ads to the convenience.

  • Create invoices on the go: The mobile app allows users to create professional-looking invoices on the go, this not only saves time but adds to the efficiency of the business.
  • Go paperless: In addition to this the paper invoices can be snapped and turned into digital invoices, and kept as data for future reference.
  • Stay updated: The mobile app also allows users to stay in touch with clients and team members on the go and users no longer have to worry about missing important notifications and messages by team members or clients.
  • Stay in sync: The data on the desktop app and mobile apps can be synced to provide 24/7 access to relevant data.

Pricing and Plans

FreshBooks comes with four different plans that are suited for the needs of different businesses and individuals. The plans can be subscribed to with monthly or annual subscriptions. Yearly subscriptions will allow customers to enjoy a 10% discount.

  • FreshBooks Lite
  • FreshBooks Plus
  • FreshBooks Premium
  • FreshBooks Select

FreshBooks Lite

FreshBooks Lite is the basic package; it has the following features:

  • Subscription is $6 per month
  • 5 billable clients
  • Unlimited and customized invoices
  • Unlimited expense entries
  • Online credit card payments
  • Online ACH transfers
  • Automated bank import
  • Unlimited time tracking
  • Unlimited estimates
  • 200+ integrations
  • Ability to add team members at $10 per member

The Lite package is for startups with less than 5 clients. It must be kept in mind that the plans are set up for various growth levels of a business. As your business grows and your financial data needs increase, you can move up to higher packages.

FreshBooks Plus

  • Subscription is $10 per month
  • All Lite Features included
  • 50 billable clients
  • Unlimited proposals
  • Automated Recurring Invoices
  • Double Entry Accounting Reports
  • Scheduled Late Fees
  • Automated Late Payment Reminders
  • Client Retainers
  • Ability to add team members at $10 per member
  • Advanced Payments at $20 per month

Plus is for businesses that are at their growth stage.

FreshBooks Premium

  • Subscription at $20 per month
  • All Lite and Plus features
  • 500 billable clients
  • Ability to add up to 500 Clients
  • Ability to add team members at $10 per member
  • Advanced Payments at $20 per month

Premium plan is for rapidly growing businesses.

FreshBooks Select

  • Custom pricing
  • 500+ billable clients
  • Personal account manager
  • Customized training
  • Low credit card transaction rates
  • Quickbooks and Xero integration

Pricing for FreshBooks Select isn`t publicly available, so interested businesses have to contact FreshBooks directly. The Select package comes with all the features of the other three packages plus more exclusive features for businesses with a high volume of financial data processing needs.

Is FreshBooks Worth It?

Without any doubt FreshBooks is right there at the top of the list of cloud-based accounting applications. The biggest advantage FreshBooks has right now is that they have recently slashed their prices by almost a third and this means that FreshBooks is no longer on the expensive end of the spectrum. The price cut has been in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic so users can benefit from this price cut for the time being.

The paid plans are structured in way that purchasing the Lite plan or the Plus plan won’t really save that much money for you if your business grows at a rapid pace. It may, therefore, be sensible to start off with the Premium plan if you think that your business will grow quite rapidly because the Lite plan only allows you to have 5 clients and the Plus plan only allows you to have 50 clients. If you think that the jump from 5 to 50 and then to 50+ is going to happen quite quickly then it may be sensible to start off with the Premium plan right off the bat.

Apart from this FreshBooks offers a feature-packed experience that is designed for maximum convenience and ease of doing business. The only downside here is that users cannot directly import data, instead, customer care has to be contacted to import data and there is no direct tax deduction functionality. So tax return filing and tax deduction on bills have to be done manually.

In short, FreshBooks offers great value for money and there is very little that can be criticized or seen as a shortcoming. It is a must-have software for entrepreneurs.

Learn more about FreshBooks and what they offer on their website.


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