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FreshBooks Review: Accounting Software for Solopreneurs and Freelancers

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FreshBooks is an accounting, invoicing, and expense-tracking software specially designed for freelancers and single-person businesses. That said, their higher plans are still perfectly suited for small businesses with more than one person. 

FreshBooks started in 2003 from a basement and has since grown to serve 30 million people with over $60 billion recorded in invoicing. Starting from humble beginnings, FreshBooks has become an established company trusted by millions.

So FreshBooks is an easy-to-use accounting software with some history and pedigree, OK. But is it the right accounting tool for you?

In this review, we’ll answer this question for you by looking at FreshBooks’ pros and cons, important features, pricing, and support. We’ll also score it across important user needs. You can then decide if this is the software for you. Let’s get started with a summary of FreshBooks.

FreshBooks software summary

FreshBooks is the go-to software for accounting if you’re looking for simplicity and ease of use:

  • FreshBooks is an accounting and expense tracking software for freelancers and solopreneurs
  • Getting started is super easy. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial that includes all the features.
  • FreshBooks has 4 pricing plans: Lite ($15/mo), Plus ($30/mo), Premium ($55/mo), and Custom
  • FreshBooks offers important features like double-entry accounting and time-tracking and makes them easy to use
  • FreshBooks offers customer support over the phone, email, and live chat.

The software is easy to navigate. When you sign-up, you’re greeted by a friendly, and simple dashboard that helps you quickly familiarize yourself with the software. 

Freshbooks dashboard

Sign up to try out FreshBooks for free and get 60% off for 4 months.

FreshBooks Pros and Cons 

What I liked the most

  • Easy to use and understand the software
  • Double-entry accounting features
  • Useful time-tracking tools
  • Mileage tracking feature in the mobile app

What can be better

  • Adding team members is an add-on and not included in the plans
  • Invoice customization limited compared to other similar software

Pros and Cons based on FreshBooks User Reviews

We studied some popular review websites like G2, TrustPilot, and GetApp to get a sense of how other users rate FreshBooks. In summary, here’s what they said:

The positives

  • Users appreciate the quality of support available. Some users also say that most phone reps are knowledgeable and don’t have to transfer the call to specialists.
  • Many freelance users said that FreshBooks covers all their invoicing needs, and they don’t have to rely on other tools.
  • Many users were impressed with the ease of setting up the software.

The negatives

  • Some users said it can be difficult to invoice clients based on time entries, as the time tracker can be buggy in moments.
  • Other users suggested that the calculations in dashboard reports weren’t 100% accurate.

Overall, FreshBooks has a score of 4.5/5 on G2, 3.7/5 on TrustPilot, and 4.5/5 on GetApp.

FreshBooks features I like the most

Freshbooks home page

FreshBooks has been around for a while. It has transformed from a simple invoicing tool into powerful finance and accounting software. Here are its most important features:

  1. Customizable invoicing: Generate professional invoices easily, and use a range of parameters to quickly create invoices.
  2. Intuitive dashboard: FreshBooks is easy to navigate and even easier to get used to
  3. Diverse and thorough reports: Find reports on all aspects of your business including invoice history, expenses, project profitability, taxes, and more.
  4. Handy mobile app: Use it to track mileage expenses, take snapshots of bills and keep notified on payments and invoices.
  5. Great customer support: Phone reps are available after-hours and reps across all channels are helpful and quick to reply.

How much does FreshBooks Cost? Pricing & plans

FreshBooks offers 4 pricing plans.

freshbooks pricing page
  • The Lite plan supports five billable clients and costs $15/mo. You can track unlimited expenses and use the mobile app to access FreshBooks from anywhere. 
  • The Plus plan lets you bill 50 clients and costs $30/mo. Set up recurring billing with this plan and automatically track expenses.
  • The Premium has no limits on how many people you bill and costs $55 a month. Create unlimited invoices for as many billable clients as you wish. You can get paid with checkout links directly. Generate financial reports like profit-loss statements, tax summaries, and more.
  • The Custom pricing plan is meant for bigger businesses, or if you have custom needs. Send unlimited invoices and incur lower transaction fees. You also get a dedicated account manager. To get quotes for this plan you’ll have to talk to their sales team.

Adding extra team members to your account costs $10 per person. For an extra $20 per month, sign up for the Advanced Payments feature to make collecting and making payments easier.

Right now FreshBooks has a crazy deal going on where if you sign up today, you’ll get 60% for 4 months straight. 

FreshBooks Review: Invoicing and Accounting Software

FreshBooks is an easy-to-use software to manage important financial aspects of your business. All in one dashboard. 

Using FreshBooks, you can feel more in control of your finances and worry less about bookkeeping and invoices. I reviewed FreshBooks top features so you can extract an idea of how well they’ll suit you and your needs.

Creating Invoices

Creating your first invoice with FreshBooks is quite straightforward. After you log in, select Invoices from the left panel, then click on New Invoice.

The editing features are designed with invoicing needs in mind. They are enough for most solopreneurs and freelancers.

freshbooks invoice example

You have all the essentials like your address, logo, client’s details, date of issue, and invoice/reference numbers, all of which are editable. 

Then add all your billable items by rate and quantity. If there are applicable taxes, and discounts, just add the amount and FreshBooks will reflect them in the total amount due. If you’ve been recording time entries and expenses, Import them directly as billable items (more on time entries and expenses later).

Invoice styling is customizable, although limited. You can change the font, and theme color, and choose between 3 layouts: Simple, modern, and classic. For this example, we used the Simple layout.

My favorite feature of invoicing is the ability to set automatic reminders, charge late payment fees, and set up recurring invoices. You can choose how often and after how many days to remind your clients to make payments. You can even choose to charge them a percentage of your total amount if they’re late on payments. If you do choose to do this, make sure you’ve agreed upon late payment penalties beforehand!

Once you click on save, you’ll create an email template to send invoices to your client. The email will go out, and if you’ve set up your invoice to be recurring, you’ll find it in your recurring templates menu. 

freshbooks invoice history

A neat invoicing feature is that if other FreshBooks users send you an invoice, you can access them directly from the app by toggling the ‘to me’ option in the Invoices menu.

Connecting Banks and Payment Gateways

FreshBooks connects with 14000+ financial institutions. Connect with your bank accounts to reconcile payments, match expenses, and more.

freshbooks bank connection options

You can set up online payments to receive money with a single click. By using FreshBooks’ payment function, your customers can make payments to you. This service is in fact a rebranded version of WePay. The industry standard rate per transaction costs 2.9% plus 30 cents.

You can connect to payment gateways using Paypal, Stripe, or FreshBooks Payments.

Once connected, you can edit your invoices to add options to get paid directly.

Contacts

Contacts, known as clients in FreshBooks, is a feature to save information on people you’ll be dealing with. Besides company information, save phone and address information. All of which get consolidated into a single business card-like format. 

When editing contact information, choose whether to send payment reminders, charge late fees, and your currency of choice. Once you click save, the contact will be available in the Clients menu.

freshbooks client dashboard

In the Clients dashboard, FreshBooks shows overdue, and outstanding amounts in all currencies you’ve used in invoices. You can even directly important contacts and view your invoicing history.

Using these client management features, you can:

  • Keep your business organized and efficient
  • Bill clients quickly
  • Save time by having all your contact information in one place
  • Accept payments (if you’ve added payment gateways)
  • Spend less time on administrative tasks, like adding contact information each time you create an invoice

Expenses

When working with a client, there are always expenses involved. FreshBooks makes it easy to track these expenditures. 

From the Expenses menu, create a new bill by choosing the amount, client, and type of expense. FreshBooks offers many categories to choose from. These include advertising, contracting, education, office expenses, meals, and more. Choosing these categories makes it easy to organize and filter your expenses.

freshbooks expense example

I really like the ‘assign to client/project’ feature included in expenses. Sometimes you incur expenses that you don’t want to charge your client for, but still want to track. Choose if you want to mark any expense as billable. You can even add markups to your total expense amount.

All your expense history is available in the Expenses menu. There you’ll find an option to connect with your bank to import expenses. This can come in handy when it’s tax preparation season and you need to organize all your business spending.

I found expense management features in FreshBooks to be intuitive and versatile. You can use a variety of methods to record expenses. And assigning them to certain projects or clients is straightforward.

Time Tracking

Time tracking can be an essential part of a freelancer’s job. Often you charge per hour so it becomes necessary to have a well-documented history of your performance. FreshBooks lends a helping hand to track your projects.

From the Time Tracking menu, add a new entry for time spent on a task or start a timer to record your progress in real-time. In a new time entry, add details like total time spent, the name of the project/client, and the service offered. 

You can keep a track of all your entries and see how much total time you’ve spent.

freshbooks time tracking and billable hours history

Filter time spent by day, week, or month. When you’re ready to create an invoice, just choose which client to charge, and all the unbilled time will show up.

freshbooks invoice using billable hours and time tracking

You can even import a time entry directly into an invoice. 

Overall time tracking in FreshBooks is simple and easy to use. You can view hours logged by project or by team members. And all the tracking history is available to you.

Project Management Tools

FreshBooks lets you create two types of projects. Flat-rate projects and hourly projects. 

When you create a flat-rate project, you can assign it to an existing client, or create a new client from the project menu.

freshbooks flat rate project menu

Add details like the end date, the total rate, the total estimated hours, and the services to be provided. You can add team members to the project. One feature I appreciate is assigning hourly billable rates to project members. This way, whenever they log in their hours for this project, I can see exactly how much they’re owed.

Once you start working on the project, you can track all its details.

freshbooks project menu

Get a quick overview of hours logged, remaining time in the budget, and total spent on the project. Whenever you assign an expense to the project, see how much profit you can expect to make from your quoted flat rate.  

You can view all time entries, invoices, expenses, and estimates for the project. Making it easy to stay on top of progress, and adjusting if need be.

Once you’re done with the project, you can generate an invoice with a single click to send to your client.

Related: Project Management Tips for Non-Managers

Reports

FreshBooks offers a ton of business health reports to help you keep organized and informed. These can be divided into:

  • Invoice and expense reports
  • Payment reports
  • Accounting reports
  • Time tracking and project reports

You can star your favorite reports so they always show up above the fold in the Reports menu.

freshbooks reports dashboard

The reports themselves are detailed but not exhaustive. When you open the reports, you can filter them by date, items, clients, and currency. Drill down into specific areas of your performance so you can analyze how your projects and business health are doing.

FreshBooks Accounting

FreshBooks generates financial reports, helps in compliance with business regulations, and informed decision-making. You get access to an array of accounting reports to monitor your business health and be compliant with accounting standards. Manage your accounts receivable, accounts payable, revenue streams, and more.

You can perform double-entry accounting by making journal entries in the Chart of Accounts menu. Add entry name, date, accounts affected, and descriptions. Whenever you generate invoices, make payments, or add expenses, entries are automatically added to your ledger.

freshbooks double entry accounting ledger

Bank Reconciliation (Bank Rec) allows you to match any bank transactions to FreshBooks entries in your account. This way your FreshBooks balance matches your bank account balance.

There are 8 types of accounting reports available:

  1. Balance sheet
  2. Profit and loss
  3. General ledger and double-entry accounting reports
  4. Trial balance
  5. Bank reconciliation summary
  6. Sales tax summary
  7. Cash flow
  8. Journal entry

Much like other reports, apply filters to these reports to dig down into specifics, and find insights. You may also export reports in .csv format to perform advanced calculations in Excel.

Solopreneurs and freelancers will find the accounting features to be a breath of fresh air. With FreshBooks generating a lot of the reports automatically, you can track your financial health quite easily. Although it’s still recommended to be familiar with accounting basics. Check our list of top accounting books to get you up to date with all the essentials you need to know on the subject.

FreshBooks’ Mobile App

The FreshBooks mobile app is a great addition. Track mileage expenses, take quick screenshots of bill receipts, create invoices, and communicate with clients on the go.

freshbooks mobile app screens side by side

The FreshBooks app is not as extensive as its desktop cousin. You can’t work with projects, accounts, and reports. But it still lets your record time, expenses, and mobile mileage tracking. Plus you get to see all your invoices in a consolidated panel, even when you’re away from your computer.

FreshBooks Integrations

freshbooks integration options

FreshBooks directly integrates with over 100 apps.

You can connect with booking appointment apps, finance apps, CRMs, time tracking apps, tax apps, and more. And with Zapier, you can connect with as many apps as you like.

 FreshBooks Customer Support

Reach out to FreshBooks’ customer team through live chat, email, or  24/7 phone support. The phone line is active from 8 am to 8 pm, giving you extra hours to get in touch with their team.

If you speak with reps on the phone, most of them are knowledgeable about the software and will be able to give you help right away. 

FreshBooks also has a Resourses section that offers recorded webinars, a reports library, a support page, and blog articles. All of these are handy in learning about FreshBooks and making the most of its features.

FreshBooks: Is it the accounting software for you?

Congratulations! You made it to the end of this review. You understand how important it is to have the right accounting and invoicing tool. One that is powerful and fits a small business owner’s or freelancer’s needs.

FreshBooks fits the bill for an easy-to-use yet capable accounting software. Here’s how we score it:

Ease of use5/5
Invoicing4.5/5
Expense tracking4.5/5
Accounting4/5
Customer support4.5/5
Value for money4.5/5
Overall score4.5/5

FreshBooks get a mighty 4.5/5 on its apt functionality for freelancers and solopreneurs, its ease of use, and good value for money.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is FreshBooks free?

Yes, FreshBooks offers a free trial but it’s only limited to 30 days. After that you have to sign up for one of 3 plans:

  • Lite for $15/month
  • Plus for $30/month
  • Premium for $55/month

Sign up today to start your free trial and get 60% off for the first 4 months.

Can I create a budget in FreshBooks?

You can create a Budget in FreshBooks by integrating it with a budgeting app like Mint or PocketGuard to create budgets. FreshBooks already records important budgeting information like expenses, hours spent, and project profitability that you can use to create budgets.

Which is easier to use FreshBooks or QuickBooks?

FreshBooks is easier to use for freelancers and solopreneurs, while QuickBooks offers features that are more suited for small and medium-sized businesses.

What are the pros and cons of FreshBooks?

Pros of FreshBooks:

  • Easy to use and understand the software
  • Double-entry accounting feature
  • Useful time-tracking tools

Mileage tracking feature in the mobile app

Cons of FreshBooks:

  •  Adding team members is an add-on and not included in the plans
  • Invoice customization limited compared to other similar software

Try FreshBooks for Free

Does FreshBooks have an app?

Yes, FreshBooks has a mobile app for both android and iOS devices. The app lets you perform essential tasks like recording expenses, tracking mileage, and checking updates to invoice statuses.

Is accounting software secure?

Cloud-based accounting software like FreshBooks are secure. They store backups, their data is encrypted, and are usually safer than traditional software.

What are the benefits of FreshBooks?

FreshBooks benefits include:

  1. Customizable invoicing: Generate professional invoices easily, and use a range of parameters to quickly generate invoices.
  2. Intuitive dashboard: FreshBooks is easy to navigate and even easier to get used to
  3. Diverse and thorough reports: Find reports on all aspects of your business including invoice history, expenses, project profitability, taxes, and more.
  4. Handy mobile app: Use it to track mileage expenses, take snapshots of bills and keep notified regarding payments and invoices.
  5. Great customer support: Phone reps are available for a call in the after-hours and reps across all channels are helpful and usually quick to reply.

Does FreshBooks charge a fee?

If you use a payment gateway with FreshBooks to get paid, you’ll be charged a 2.9% fee + 30c, which is standard for online payments.

Who is FreshBooks owned by?

FreshBooks is owned by the company 2ndSite. The company was founded in 2003 and is run by CEO Don Epperson.

Is FreshBooks good for accounting?

Yes, FreshBooks is good for accounting as it offers useful features like:

  • Double-entry accounting systems
  • Client retainers
  • Recurring billable clients
  • Bank transfer reviews
  • Automatic late payment reminders
  • Expense and time-tracking tools

Sign up today to get 60% off for the first 4 months of FreshBooks.

Does FreshBooks do payroll?

FreshBooks offers payroll capabilities using Gusto integration. With this integration, you can provide unlimited payrolls, automate tax filings and payments, and make direct deposits to vendors and employees.

FreshBooks Alternatives

There are many accounting software available in the market. To make an informed decision about which one you should choose, it’s important to compare it with the options available. We’ll compare FreshBooks with three other popular accounting software.

FreshBooks vs. Xero

Xero is more expensive than FreshBooks. However, Xero offers a more comprehensive set of features, including support for many currencies and languages. 

FreshBooks is geared towards small businesses, while Xero is a better fit for medium to large businesses. 

FreshBooks has a wider range of integrations than Xero. Although this may become inconsequential if you use an app like Zapier to sync software. 

So, when choosing between these two accounting software solutions, consider your budget, and desired feature set.

FreshBooks vs. Wave

One of the main distinctions is that Wave offers a free plan and its plans are separated by type of use. 

For example, invoicing, accounting, and banking are separate plans. In comparison, FreshBooks doesn’t have a free plan but all its features are bundled in a single plan. 

This makes FreshBooks a better choice for businesses that need more advanced features. While Wave is more suited for personal use or very small businesses. 

In terms of customer profiles, both programs are designed for business owners and freelance professionals. Wave also offers a plan dedicated to advisors.

Considering features, Wave offers invoicing, accounting, and bookkeeping capabilities. While FreshBooks also includes project management tools and time-tracking features. 

FreshBooks vs. Intuit QuickBooks Online

The main difference between FreshBooks and QuickBooks is that QuickBooks is designed specifically for businesses, while FreshBooks is more geared towards freelancers and sole proprietorships. 

In terms of features, QuickBooks offers more comprehensive tracking and reporting tools than FreshBooks. However, FreshBooks is easier to use and has a more user-friendly interface. 

QuickBooks is also more expensive, with the lowest plan starting from $30/mo, and the Advanced plan costing $200/mo.

They are two of the most popular products on the market are FreshBooks and QuickBooks. But the best accounting software for your business will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Check out: The Best Books for Starting a Business That Every Entrepreneur Needs

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