Freshbooks is a cloud-based accounting software used mainly for small and medium-sized businesses. Using the Freshbooks online software, or their mobile app, you can send estimates, invoices, track time, manage receipts, expenses, accept credit card payments, and much more. FreshBooks is genuinely a versatile program and a must-have for any small business owner.
The program is an efficient way to manage your business, whether you are an entrepreneur, a freelancer, or a business owner. With the built-in capabilities of inviting your accountant to join your portal, you never have to worry about scrambling come tax time. Your accountant can gain access to reports, expenses, and can even create journal entries. That being said, as long as you make an effort to use the program accordingly, you’ll always have the information you need right at your fingertips.
This review will be based on the computer-based software, not the mobile application.
The Index At A Glance:
Dashboard – View any outstanding revenue, your total profit, revenue streams, spending, and unbilled time.
Clients – All client information is stored in this section.
Invoices – View or create invoices, retainers, and add in other income.
Expenses – Log and track any job or business-related expenses.
Estimates – Create and submit estimates and job proposals to your clients.
Time Tracking – Where you and your employees will log their work hours.
Projects – View any existing, current, or future job projects.
My Team – Manage all team members and their roles.
Reports – Where you will view all invoice & expense reports, payment reports, accounting reports, and time tracking reports.
Accounting – All accounting reports and charts of accounts. The section that will make tax time easy.
Now let’s break it all down:
The User Dashboard
The FreshBooks interface is extremely user-friendly and informative. There are walkthrough tips and video tutorials on each landing page to assist you after joining. It’s visually appealing, and everything is laid out as straightforward as it can be. It all starts with the user dashboard.
The dashboard offers you a general outline of your overall business standing. As mentioned, this is where you will view any outstanding revenue, your total profit, revenue streams, spending, and unbilled time. From this page, you will also be able to invite admin members, managers, employees, contractors, and your accountant(s) to join your business.
When you log in for the first time, FreshBooks will assist you in setting up your business profile. Once complete, you will be walked through invoice customization and sending a sample invoice; a great way to see what your client will receive. Sending a sample invoice also gives you a better idea of how to tailor your invoice to be viewed to your liking. Once these steps are complete, you’re ready to run that business!
Your user dashboard will change based on your usage of the software. The more invoices you create, the more payments you collect, the more hours you input, etc… your dashboard will update accordingly.
In this section, you will see which clients have overdue invoices, outstanding invoices, and invoices in draft, along with a list of your client history. When you click on a client’s contact, you will have all of their information in one hub; their contact information, outstanding revenue, and any items you may have sent to them. You can even add in relationship notes that you want to keep for your records, and they are private so your client won’t see them.
This is where you will view all of your invoices. There are two sections to this page, ‘from me’ and ‘to me,’ In ‘from me,’ you will see all of the invoices you have issued along with what’s overdue, outstanding, and in draft. In ‘to me,’ you will see the invoices other FreshBooks users have sent you. It will show how much you owe and what’s overdue. You can also accept online payments from this page.
Your invoice dashboard will look like this:
Here’s a sample invoice we created. To the left, you will see the description of all labour and materials, as well as total cost and billing information. To the right, you will see a list of settings. It is here that you will be able to customize your invoice further and accept payment.
On the bottom half of the invoice, you will see your total with taxes added. You can add taxes to specific products and services or apply them to the entire invoice; you can also set a deposit amount. Further down, you can add notes and terms for your client to see and sign off on.
Under Invoices, there are two subcategories – retainers and other income. If your scope of work requires collecting an upfront retainer or sending recurring invoices, you can set the terms and submit the retainer invoice in this section. ‘Other income’ allows you to track any other income you or your business may earn, and it can be completely unrelated to your regular scope of work. This feature is particularly great if you happen to own a business but sometimes do side work for someone else.
In this section, you will be able to add in your expenses, and even upload the receipts for them. By doing so you will be able to organize your expenses for tax time, automatically import your expenses from your bank or credit card, and rebill clients when necessary.
In estimates, you will find the ‘from me’ section where you will see a list of all estimates and proposals you have sent and a ‘to me’ section where you will see all estimates and proposals that have been sent to you.
When creating an estimate, you will list the services that you’ll be providing and the cost. You will then send it to your client for review and approval. Once your client views and accepts your estimate, you can convert it to an invoice and get the job going.
When creating a job proposal, you will showcase your value with custom content, images and attachments, and request e-signatures. On your proposal, along with the job description, you can add text boxes that include your job timeline, project overview, and the scope of work that’s being done. You can also attach photos (renderings or past job experience), word documents (references, resume, etc…), or any other file you may want to include.
On the estimates page, you will see ‘recently updated’. Here you will find the estimates and proposals you’ve recently created and their current status, i.e. sent, viewed, accepted, or invoiced. On that page, you will also see a list of all your estimates and proposals sorted by date. From there you can edit them, or choose from a list of actions, such as: send an email, convert to invoice, duplicate, print, download PDF, archive, or delete.
The time tracking section allows you to keep track of time worked and on which job the hours accumulated. This is especially handy when you have employees that have access to this page, they can easily input their hours and information pertaining to what job they worked on. When you view the ‘track’ page you will see the information listed by day or by week. Time tracking can be inputted for multiple jobs and multiple employees to keep everything organized and accounted for.
On the main page for projects, you will see a list of all past or current projects. Therefore, when you click one of the projects, you will have all the information associated with that job at your fingertips. Hours logged, renovation information, client information, all-time entries, etc… A great tool for general contractors working with more than one trade. If you slide over to the ‘discuss’ portion of this page you will be able to post updates to your team, and even pictures of the job getting done. This is an excellent way to check-in/keep track of your team members.
In this section, you will be able to invite team members and view who has registered. Next to each team member, you can add in their billable rate so you always know the amount they work for. You can add admin, managers, employees, contractors, and accountants.
In the reports section, you will have access to ready-made financial reports when you need them. FreshBooks crunches numbers for you and compiles everything you input into handy reports that will save you time and make tax season stressless.
Accounting / Chart of Accounts
The accounting section identifies revenue items and their related expenses, accurately totalling your profits and losses. The information in this area is exactly what your accountant will need and a good tool to keep you up to date on your business finances. From here you will be able to see if your books are balanced, view a complete record of your transactions, determine how much you owe the government in sales taxes, and view your balance sheet which offers a snapshot of your company’s assets, liabilities, and equity.
What Each Role Has Access To Do
Can view the dashboard and financial reports for your business.
Create invoices, estimates, retainers, projects, manage clients and your team.
Track their own time, and review time tracked by the rest of the team.
Manage account settings and bank connections.
Managers can view, create, and edit all invoices, estimates, projects, clients, retainers, and tracked time.
They can track their own time and review time tracked by the rest of the team.
Can create and view their own expenses, and view non-financial reports.
Can track their time.
Capture their expenses.
Keep up-to-date on project progress.
Contractors can track time towards the projects you invite them to.
They can send you invoices through FreshBooks, so you know what’s outstanding.
Can also see the dashboard, invoices, clients, estimates, and expenses.
Accountants will have access to accounting reports like the general ledger, balance sheet, and profit and loss.
They can add journal entries, manage chart of accounts, review and manage invoices, expenses, payments, and other income.
Freshbooks offers four pricing plans, each one extending more features. All prices are in USD.
Each plan comes with customizable invoices, customer support, job estimates, secured information, project budgets, business reports, and the ability to accept credit cards and ACH bank transfers online. As you increase your plan, you will be adding more services to your customer profile. See below for extra plan features and pricing:
The Lite Plan – Most suitable for self-employed people
$15 per month or $13.50 per month if paid for the year
5 Billable clients
Unlimited expense entries
Automated bank import
Unlimited time tracking
Insightful tax time reports
Team members added for $10 per person
The Plus Plan – Suitable for small businesses
$25 per month or $22.50 per month if paid for the year
50 Billable clients
Receive all lite features
Automated recurring invoices
Double-entry accounting reports
Scheduled late fees
Automated late payment reminders
Team members added for $10 per person
Advanced payments ($20/mo)
The Premium Plan – Suitable for growing businesses with effective teams
$50 per month or $45 per month if paid for the year
500 billable clients
All lite features
All plus features
Up to 500 clients
Team members added for $10 per person
Advanced payments ($20/mo)
The Select Plan – A customizable plan for thriving businesses
Pricing to be determined based on customization
500+ billable clients
A personal account manager
Low credit card transaction rates
Easy QuickBooks/Xero integration
When using Freshbooks payments, you can accept Mastercard, Visa, Discover, Amex, and Apple pay. You will be subjected to a 2.9% + $0.30 charge per transaction, and 3.5% + $0.30 for Amex cards.
Stripe (as we use on Trades Buy Sell) is another method of collecting payment with Freshbooks. Stripe accepts all major credit cards, international payment methods, and is a safe and secure payment system that charges 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction and 3.5% + $0.30 for Amex cards.
** ACH ( Automated Clearing House – direct debit payment) is only available for US customers.
For more information on the transaction fees for FreshBooks Payments (US & Canadian Businesses), click here.
Customer service can be reached via chat, email, and phone support.
Their office hours are Monday – Friday: 8am-8pm EDT. All contact methods can be found on their website.
Trades Buy Sell Experience
I have to say, we’ve used this software for many tile jobs in the past, and it’s great. It’s very user-friendly, visually appealing, and easily accessible. We had full control of our invoices and user information through a desktop or mobile phone and could reference any quote or receipt when needed. I would even go so far as to say it’s the most helpful tool we own.
Working in trades, you know that time is of the essence; we are always on the go, working job to job. Finding time to sit down and compile receipts, our tax information, organize invoices, clients, our employees, etc… can be difficult. With Freshbooks, it’s all put together in one hub for you.
So that being said, we highly recommend it for any business owner and especially those working in trades. It has been a lifesaver for us on many occasions.
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