I absolutely love Freshbooks! I’ve been a dedicated customer since 2009 and have been extremely pleased with this service from day one. They say it best on their website, “Accounting Made for You, the Non Accountant.” Do you hate Quickbooks and Quicken as much as I do? If so check it out. FreshBooks is everything you need in one powerful web-based portal.
- Expense Tracking
- Invoicing & Billing (both one-time and reoccuring invoices)
- Payment Processing
- Financial Reporting
- Customer Resource Management (CRM)
- Project Time Keeping for Time Based Jobs
- Creating Estimates
As with most online products FreshBooks offers a free trial and you can even create actual customer accounts, connect to a payment gateway and give it a test run for real. I remember when I first started using it I was unsure as I had been used to QuickBooks so the trial period allowed me to test it out and I was very happy with the results.
Here are some of the best features of FreshBooks in my opinion:
- Amazing Customer Support – I kid you not, I know this sounds like a B.S. sales pitch but its not! Every single time I’ve called these guys, they literally pick up on the first ring! I thought I had the wrong number! No waiting, you connect to a live person and they are well spoken and usually domestic. I’ve never had to endure a foreign accent or someone who didnt sound like they were from the states. Seriously if you dont believe me call them tomorrow and see for yourself (1-866-303-6061). That is truly something that sets them apart and in 5 years they have not changed it at all.
- Customer Logins – customers can be assigned their own personal log in (you can even add multiple users per customer) so they can login, track payments made, owed, etc at any time. Also if you have any time based projects that are on-going the customer can log in and see how much time has been spent and on what (if you give them permission to do so).
- Multiple Payment Gateways – giving customers options to pay in a way they feel most comfortable greatly increases the likelihood of collecting payment quickly. Back before FreshBooks my customers had the option of paying by credit card over the phone, via PayPal invoice, or by check. For whatever reason and still to this day I’ve noticed some people just do not like PayPal. They don’t get the concept that its not a payment method but simply a way to facilitate a payment transaction. Also the way their website is setup if you’ve ever used the checkout system out on Paypal to pay for a product, you’ll notice they always prompt you to log in to pay even though you can pay below that log in with a credit card. They make it confusing and many customers had a hard time understanding how to pay, especially if they didn’t have or didn’t want to set up a Paypal account. However, now with FreshBooks they currently offer over 12 different payment gateways such as Authorize.net, Stripe (our favorite), Paypal, Blue Pay, 2 Checkout, and many more. Ever since integrating several payment gateways we’ve seen a quicker response time in bills being paid and had little to no complaints from customers about the payment process.
- Reporting – the reporting section of the site contains some of the best features by far. At any time we’re able to pull any kind of report we want whether its per client, job category, expense category, month, year, etc. They also have some wonderful “projection” reports that help us plan our finances for the year.
- Reoccurring invoices – there is nothing more annoying than having to keep track of on-going bills you need to send to customers regularly. Its frustrating to have to waste time sending monthly, quarterly, or annual invoices and also keeping track of who has paid and who hasn’t. If you only have a few customers, than sure! No problem! But what happens when your business grows? We have well over 100 active customers… can you imagine the opportunities that exist for things to slip through the cracks if we were not automating this process? FreshBooks reoccurring invoice system is awesome because we can create the invoice one time and never have to worry about it again. Each time the billing cycle starts again a new invoice is generated and put into the regular list of invoices so we can track it like any other. You also now have the option of auto-billing which means no more waiting to get paid. The customer upon first paying the invoice enters their payment info and you no longer have to wait for payment each billing cycle.
- Customer Activity Updates – there are two types of customer activity updates we love. First, on the main home page after logging in… our dashboard… we can see the latest activity in our account. Usually we will see which customers logged in and at what time, and if they paid or just viewed their invoice. Similarly in the list of invoices (they are listed by date or by invoice number) we can see which customers paid, which customers viewed the invoice, which customers never looked at it yet, and which customers are past due. It is extremely easy for us to see what accounts we must prioritize and deal with sooner than others. This enables us to control our cash flow and stay on top of any customer negligence before it gets out of hand.
- Automated Reminders – throughout the billing cycle you can set up FreshBooks to send out payment reminders at certain dates. For example in our business we have late notices go out at 30 and 60 days. Then at 90 days a final notice is issued and the account is sent out to collections. We are able to customer tailor these messages and time periods so they make the most sense for us and its been highly effective keeping the books balanced.
- Expense Importing – FreshBooks allows you to connect just about ANY bank account to their system. This will allow you to import all your expenses direct from your bank without having to manually enter them into FreshBooks. Talk about a time saver! What would typically take hours per year takes mere moments to scan through the list and make sure all expenses are applicable. You can also connect multiple accounts. This works out great for us as we have our payroll coming from one account and our purchases from another.
I’m sure there are other Cloud Accounting programs out there that will be a powerful and useful tool. But with over 5 milllion users, it would be hard to at least not consider FreshBooks as a major contender for your invoicing, payment collection, and customer management systems. Also, talk about affordable, we manage over 100 customers, probably around 100 reoccurring billing profiles, have clocked well over 1000 invoices in the last 5 years, and have run hundreds of reports on an annual basis all for less than $30 bucks per month! Their maximium package is only $39.95 per month so no matter how big your organization its a total win win. Check it out, you will not be disappointed.Click Here to Try it For Free
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