Like the grandaddy in the small business accounting field QuickBooks, FreshBooks has been around for quite some time. Last year, FreshBooks completely revamped their website from the ground up. The re-do was long and gradual, which made using the program a bit problematic for a while. However, since then, the update has turned out to be quite the vast improvement. Nowadays, FreshBooks is incredibly easy to navigate and quite user-friendly. It is a great choice for the small business or freelancer looking to do the books.

Like most small business accounting programs, FreshBooks offers three different versions. (And, also like most of these apps, FreshBooks is cloud-based and offers a 30-day trial period with each version.) 

The most basic version is called Lite, offered at $15/month. With Lite, you can bill up to five clients. The next version is called Plus, offered at $25/month, with which you can bill up to 50 clients. The most advanced version is called Premium, offered at $50/month, with which you can bill up to 500 clients. Besides the amount of clients you're able to bill, all three versions offer all the same features (except for Lite,) which is part of what makes FreshBooks stand out from the competition.

FreshBooks is designed especially for freelancers/contractors, which means that bigger businesses might want to look elsewhere. Specifically, FreshBooks does not offer the ability to generate financial reports, nor inventory tracking, double-entry accounting, customer statements, payroll, and bank reconciliation - all of things a more robust accounting program (Like QuickBooks) can offer. That said, these features are often not necessary for freelancers, and so for the micro-business, the lack of detailed accounting reports and the like should not be a problem. But for others, there are better choices. 

Though FreshBooks may not be suitable for every type of business, it still certainly excels in many areas. The user experience is fantastic; this user interface is perhaps the most intuitive out of all comparable programs, even QuickBooks. This level of usability makes a big difference with something as intimidating and sometimes foreign as accounting.

Not surprisingly, invoicing is one of FreshBooks's biggest strengths. FreshBooks makes it incredibly easy to create an invoice, and even allows you to view the invoice as it moves through various states (i.e. in draft, sent, read, etc.) You can also set up automatic reminders and charge late fees with the click of a button - this feature is unique to FreshBooks, and is one of the reasons it stands apart from the crowd. The only downside to Freshbooks's invoicing capabilities is that there aren't a ton of customization options available.

No other comparable accounting program offers more robust project-management tools than FreshBooks. Once you've created a project, you can assign it to staff members (or clients.) You can also specify your budget and hourly rate, as well as choose between paying an hourly or a flat rate. FreshBooks makes it effortless to report project hours with its above-par time-tracking technology (another reason this program is so great for freelancers.)

Although FreshBooks doesn't offer standard financial reports, it does offer very extensive expense records (the most extensive out of any other comparable program.) You can mark certain expenses as billable, attach images of receipts, and even change the currency.

FreshBooks is one of the best options out there, but again, would not be suitable for the larger small business. However, when it comes to freelancers and contractors, FreshBooks is probably the choice for you.

See our selection for Best Accounting Software.

Published on: Sep 24, 2018
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