Invoices can be created on a mobile phone, on a tablet, or using a computer, and in addition to printing and mailing, distributing via e-mail, or delivering via a portal, FreshBooks will print an invoice and send it via snail mail (for a small fee) to the intended recipient. Users can pay with a number of supported merchant services providers, including Authorize.net, PayPal and Google Checkout.
FreshBooks is a single-entry system, and does not have a traditional general ledger as such. Despite this limitation, many small business owners find that it meets their needs for tracking and reporting revenues and expenses. The Expenses module is less useful than the invoicing functions however, as FreshBooks is not designed to track and pay outstanding bills as they are due, but is configured to report on transactions imported from a linked bank account or credit card account.
Expenses are classified automatically based on the payee name and amount of the expense during the import process. Users can change the classification of any transaction after FreshBooks has initially assigned an expense account. The expenses module does a good job of tracking out of pocket expenses for reimbursement by clients, and a credible job of automatically classifying transactions, although adjustments will always be needed.
The strengths in receivables, along with the less robust payables management functions and lack of support for inventory make this product a good fit for professional services firms and others who invoice for time and do not need to track inventory. The product supports both traditional sales tax as well as value added taxes (e.g. HST, GST, and PST in Canada).
(Users could prepare payroll in a web-based application and then record the imported banking transaction to properly distribute the pay to the proper accounts as a workaround.)
While the FreshBooks user interface is available only in English, the languages used to sent invoices and estimates can customized for each client. Languages available include Danish, Dutch, Estonian, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish and Swedish.
Day to Day Operations: 4 Stars
There are a number of supported third party online shopping carts available for Freshbooks, however, there are not any traditional retail point of sale applications listed in the company’s add-on site. Sales tax support for U.S. and Canadian/EU style Value Added Tax is also included in the product.
FreshBooks has integrations with a wide range of line of business applications, including Basecamp Classic for project management, ZenDesk for IT support, SalesForce CRM, WuFoo and MailChimp e-Marketing, as well as GeoOP and BlueFolder for mobile workforces. The product also has some integration with itDuzzit and OneSaaS, generic tools for syncing data across multiple cloud applications.
The product does not support inventory tracking and valuation, and is best suited for service-based businesses.
Management Features: 4 Stars
FreshBooks primary dashboard is called the Account Overview screen, and is shown in Figure 1. This page updates automatically based on account activity, but is not customizable. There are no interfaces for external report writers like Crystal reports, although existing reports can be filtered using on screen controls, and can also be downloaded from the website in either CSV or Excel format.
Users can be granted access to FreshBooks with a few very simple permission levels. The product does not support role-based user security, although staff access can be restricted by client project. Both staff members and contractors can track time for use in creating customer invoices.
[Read a "First-Hand Perspective" about an accountant using FreshBooks for her clients.}
Integration and Import/Export: 5 Stars
Many types of data, including bank import files and client lists, can be brought into FreshBooks. Most data can also be exported to CSV (comma-delimited text file), including expenses, clients, invoices, staff, and timesheets. The application has integrations into over 70 third party applications and services through its developer program.
Freshbooks launched its bank integration module in early 2013. This tool permits users to download their bank and credit card transactions directly into FreshBooks. Transactions are automatically classified based on logic in the FreshBooks servers which looks at the date, amount, and name of the expense, and assigns an expense account if one appears appropriate. Some transactions are not assigned to an account, and are flagged for end user follow up.