It’s tax time. Which means it’s time to turn your shoebox full of receipts and bank statements into meaningful information your accountant can use to prepare your tax return. Let’s face it, most small business owners do not go into business because they enjoy bookkeeping. I’ve done some research and played around with a handful of cloud based bookkeeping services. Some of these online bookkeeping software solutions are too good to keep secret! Keep an eye on my blog for the next few weeks while I explore and review these cloud based accounting services. Today’s topic is FreshBooks.
Cost: Free – $39.95/month
FreshBooks is a great online bookkeeping solution for small business owners. They started as an invoicing/billing service so those features are top notch. Small business owners can send professional looking invoices, set up recurring invoices and payments, receive online payments, track employees & contractors time, and have FreshBooks automatically send reminders to your slow paying customers. They can even help small business owners manage sales taxes.
FreshBooks doesn’t stop at the invoicing and billing side. They also have an expense tracking feature to help you manage small business’ expenses. To save on data entry time, FreshBooks also offers the ability to import your expenses from your bank or credit card company via a .CSV or .QBO file.
Best of all, it’s an online service meaning you have access to your financial information at anytime and from anywhere. Read on to get specific details on what I loved about FreshBooks and my wishlist.
What I LOVE:
Invoicing and Billing Features:
- Easy to use layout.
- Customize your account with your logo and business colors.
- Professional looking invoices that can be emailed, snail mailed, printed, or downloaded as a PDF.
- Set up recurring invoices. All you do is enter the invoice once and then FreshBooks will automatically send your recurring when you specify.
- Customers can click on your emailed invoice and pay your bill online!
- Set up recurring credit card payments to be charged automatically.
- Save time with your collections and have FreshBooks automatically send out reminder emails to your slow paying customers. Your automated emails are customizable, so they sound like they’re coming from you rather than being a computer generated email.
- Ability to invoice in any currency
- Ability to calculate and track sales tax.
- Send estimates to prospective customers. Your customer can approve it online and then you can easily convert the estimate into an invoice.
- Provide contractors & employees with access to log their hours (they won’t have access to your financial data).
- Time tracking also includes a start/stop timer to accurately track time spent on projects and jobs.
- Easily convert time sheets into invoices.
- Expense tracker to enter and record your expenses.
- Save time on date entry by automating your recurring expenses.
- Ability to attach copies of your receipts and bills. No more messy shoeboxes or filing cabinets filled with receipts. Just snap a picture with your phone & you’re done!
- Import your expenses from your bank and/or credit card company via a .csv or .qbo file.
- Comes setup with a handful of most commonly used expense categories. You can also add your own categories for your specific business.
- Ability to record an expense and then link it to an invoice, if the expense should be passed along to your customer.
- Financial reports that let you take a look at your small business profit/loss, see who owes you money, where you are spending your money, track revenue by client, track revenue by employee, time sheet reports, etc.
- Online service, meaning your financial records are stored in the cloud. Providing small business owners with access to their accounting data from anytime and from anywhere!
- Access your business financial information from desktops, laptops, smart phones, tablets, and Macs.
- Long list of add-on’s to customize your accounting needs. Some examples are Shoeboxed, PayPal, Google Apps, MailChimp, SalesForce, etc.
- Plays nice with QuickBooks – you can imports your sales figures into QuickBooks.
- I would love to see the ability to track bills, when bills are due, and accounts payable.
- I’m surprised they are not set up to automatically download transactions from your bank, credit card companies, and PayPal. It does have the import feature, but automatic downloads are a great benefit for small businesses.
- I would also love the ability to automatically categorize your imported expenses.
- The ability to import into QuickBooks is an added bonus. I really wish the data could be imported via an .iif file, providing me with more sales data usability in QuickBooks.
Overall, FreshBooks is a great bookkeeping program. As small business owners know, cash is king! FreshBooks shines in the invoicing/billing customer area, which is key to helping generate cash flow. Their expense tracking features are lacking, but the expense tracking features are adequate for a small business to be able to use FreshBooks as their stand alone bookkeeping software. I love the fact that FreshBooks sales data can be imported into QuickBooks via an Excel file, making it an incredible billing/invoicing tool for small and mid-sized businesses.
The links above are affliate links and I get paid if you click on them and sign up for FreshBooks. However, the statements above are my own opinion and I did not receive compensation for writing this review. All content is provided for informational purposes only.
Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.