FreshBooks Review

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Date Established
2003
Location
Canada

Highlights

  • Easy to use
  • New interface
  • Client portal
  • Great customer service
  • Strong mobile apps

Overview

There are some people in the world who are good with change. I am not one of them. I firmly believe in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy. So, when FreshBooks redesigned their software in November 2016, I was worried—not because I wasn’t excited for potential improvements, but because I loved the old FreshBooks so much. The FreshBooks I knew and cherished was timeless, classic, elegant—the Audrey Hepburn of accounting software (and you can’t beat Audrey Hepburn).

All that to say, I was relieved when I discovered that FreshBooks has no plans to get rid of the FreshBooks Classic interface. Existing FreshBooks users still have complete access to their accounts and the features that come with it.  However, is worth noting that the company’s focus has shifted to the newer product, so existing users should expect a decrease (or complete stop) of updates to the classic software. But again, there are no plans of retiring the software at this point.

The main difference between the two versions is feature availability. With New Freshbooks, the company has definitely sacrificed functionality for a cleaner aesthetic (cutting features like inventory and default email messages and limiting the client portal, time tracking, and reports significantly). But while I have some issues with these cutbacks, the new software does show promise. Going forward, the company’s focus is going to be predominantly (if not exclusively) on updating New FreshBooks.

No matter which version of the software you use, there is one huge drawback to FreshBooks: it’s not actually accounting software. FreshBooks does not use double-entry accounting (a big no-no), offers limited reports, and has very poor bank reconciliation capabilities. For companies seeking full accounting features, FreshBooks might not be the best choice. That said, if you’re looking for strong invoicing and billing features, unique time tracking and client management tools, and some light bookkeeping/accounting functions, FreshBooks is definitely worth considering. The customer service alone makes this software worthwhile, and the company’s developed, full-featured mobile apps are a joy to use.

At this point, only time will tell whether FreshBooks’ 5,000,000 users will gravitate toward the new software or whether ‘classic’ is key. Continue reading to learn more about the unique features offered by each FreshBooks design.

Pricing

FreshBooks Classic

As mentioned above, I have been assured that FreshBooks Classic isn’t going anywhere. At this point in time, there are no plans to eliminate Freshbooks Classic, nor are there plans to force existing users to switch to the newer interface. Current users can keep their accounts as-is and pricing plans are locked in.

FreshBooks Classic offers five scalable pricing plans and new users can request a free 30-day trial. No credit card information is required.

Sprout

  • $12.95/mo
  • Unlimited invoices
  • Expense tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Project management
  • Contact management
  • Inventory
  • Mobile apps
  • Bill up to 5 clients
  • 1 user

Seedling

  • $19.95/mo
  • Unlimited invoices
  • Expense tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Project management
  • Contact management
  • Inventory
  • Mobile apps
  • Bill up to 20 clients
  • 1 user

Evergreen

  • $29.95/mo ($26.96/yr)
  • Unlimited invoices
  • Expense tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Project management
  • Contact management
  • Inventory
  • Mobile apps
  • Bill up to 200 clients
  • 1 user

Mighty Oak

  • $39.95/mo ($35.96/yr)
  • Unlimited invoices
  • Expense tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Project management
  • Contact management
  • Inventory
  • Timesheets
  • Mobile apps
  • Bill unlimited clients
  • 2 users

Redwood

Note: The Sprout, Seedling, and Evergreen plans only support one user. Additional users cost an extra $10/mo each. There are user permission options for these additional users; however, each user must sign in with the same login (a feature that could stand to be improved).

New FreshBooks

There are three pricing options for New FreshBooks that fit most businesses. Payments are made monthly, and with no contract necessary, you can cancel the service at any time. There is a free 30-day trial of New FreshBooks as well. Again, no credit card or banking information required.

The company has recently made a great affiliate program even better by offering companies $55 for every referral that ends in a FreshBooks sale, and $5 for every referral that ends in a free trial.

The three pricing plans for New FreshBooks include:

Lite

  • $15/mo
  • Invoicing
  • Time tracking
  • Project management
  • Contact management
  • Expense tracking
  • Mobile apps
  • Bill up to 5 clients

Plus

  • $25/mo
  • Invoicing
  • Time tracking
  • Project management
  • Contact management
  • Expense tracking
  • Mobile apps
  • Bill up to 50 clients

Premium

  • $50/mo
  • Invoicing
  • Time tracking
  • Project management
  • Contact management
  • Expense tracking
  • Mobile apps
  • Bill up to 500 clients

Note: Each of the plans above only supports one user. Additional users cost $10/mo per user, and no user permissions are available at this time. Unlike the Classic plan, New Freshbooks has no accountant access.

Web-Hosted or Locally-Installed

Web-Hosted. No downloads or installation required.

Hardware or Software Requirements

As cloud-based software, FreshBooks can be accessed anywhere at any time (so long as you have internet access). FreshBooks Classic offers strong mobile apps for iPhones (iOS 8.0+) and Androids (4.2+). New FreshBooks has an iPhone (iOS 8.0+) and Android (4.2+) app as well called FreshBooks Cloud Accounting.

Specific Size of Business

First and foremost, FreshBooks is not accounting software. This software is not a good choice for companies in need of accounting. Instead, both products are designed for businesses looking for invoicing and light bookkeeping tools.

FreshBooks Classic is one of the most scalable software providers, with five pricing plans to fit nearly any size business. FreshBooks Classic also offers user permissions and accountant access.

New FreshBooks is not nearly as scalable. It offers only three pricing plans with fewer features for a much higher cost. The software is not optimized for multiple users as there are no user permissions.

Neither software is great for companies with many users as the additional costs can add up quickly.

Accounting Method

Both accrual and cash-basis accounting.

Ease of Use

FreshBooks Classic

FreshBooks Classic is incredibly easy to use and well-organized, though the setup can take a bit longer than it does with New FreshBooks.

  • Setup – You’ll begin by contacting customer support for a FreshBooks Classic link. Then add your name and basic business information. Create a password and log in to get started. The first thing you’ll want to do is add additional company information, your invoice preferences, sales tax rates, and employees (via Settings). After this, be sure to add or import your contacts and items and connect to your bank accounts (if desired). After that, your software is all set.
  • Organization – FreshBooks Classic is very well-organized. There’s a main menu across the top of the screen with tabs for Home, People, Invoices, Estimates, Time Tracking, Reports, and More (this lets you manage tabs so you can add or hide tabs depending on your preferences). Each tab has a submenu with the corresponding features. In the top right-hand corner of the screen, you see the options Recommend (for referrals), My Account, Settings, Help, and Log Out.
  • Instructions and Guidance – When you first go to your dashboard in FreshBooks Classic, you’ll see a list of suggested tasks to help get you started. You can also attend a 45-minute webinar where FreshBooks experts will walk you through setting up and navigating FreshBooks. If you need additional help, there is a large selection of how-to articles on the FreshBooks Classic Help Center. Customer support responds quickly to emails.
  • Problems – While FreshBooks is mostly easy to use and intuitive, I ran into a few problems with the software.
    • Not Accounting Software – FreshBooks claims to be an accounting solution, but has never offered typical accounting capabilities like accounts payable. It also does not use double-entry accounting. My main beef with FreshBooks is not that the company doesn’t offer these accounting features, but that it markets itself as a cloud accounting software when it’s not. This sort of advertising is incredibly misleading, especially to users who have no idea the software isn’t robust enough for their small business accounting needs.
    • Importing Issues – I experienced issues importing both contacts and bank statements into FreshBooks Classic. Luckily, the support team was helpful and we were able to resolve the issue very quickly.
    • Glitch – I experienced a slight glitch where I couldn’t add new tasks directly from projects because the save button was non-existent, so I had to go to directly into Tasks to complete this step.

New FreshBooks

FreshBooks has always been incredibly intuitive and easy to use, and the new version is even more so.

  • Setup – Total setup of Freshbooks Classic took me around an hour (to go through each setting, set default email messages, import contacts and expenses, etc.). But I was able to set up New Freshbooks in just ten minutes. After creating your account, I’d recommend beginning with adding clients and connecting to your bank account. After that, there’s not much left to do except to get started using the software.
  • Organization – New FreshBooks is well-organized and the design has been improved since our last review. Before, New FreshBooks only had icons to mark each feature; now there is a written menu alongside these icons. The menu reads Dashboard, Invoices, Estimates, Clients, Expenses, Projects, and Time Tracking. In the top right-hand corner, you can hit the ‘create new’ button to quickly create invoices, clients, estimates, and expenses. In the top left-hand corner, your business icon will take you a screen with options for My Account, Need Help?, Log Out, My Team, Company Profile, Apps & Integrations, Accept Credit Cards, Bank Connection, Billing and Upgrade, Your Company, and Add Another Business.
  • Instructions and Guidance –  When you open your account for the first time, you can watch a quick video tour of the software and click the “set up my business” button, which will guide you through the setup process. If you can’t find something you need or can’t figure out how a feature works, have no fear, FreshBooks is here. FreshBooks offers incredible support. If you run into trouble, you can just give their customer service team a call and you’ll go right through to a kind and helpful representative. Or, you can search the expansive New FreshBooks Help Center for beneficial articles and advice.
  • Problems – There is very little to complain about in terms of interface design. However, there are a few problems with this cloud-based bookkeeping software.
    • Newer Version Is Even More Limited – The New version of FreshBooks is severely lacking compared to the Classic version. With no inventory, no default emails, no ability to request customer reviews, limited multi-currency support, and a weak client portal and time management feature, my favorite aspects of FreshBooks have been effectively eliminated. The company may address some of these features going forward, but they need to do so quickly. To the company’s credit, they have added an estimates feature since our last review of the new version, so hopefully, this forward progress continues.
    • No Settings Section – Currently, there is no settings section in FreshBooks, which makes navigating the software confusing.
    • Limited Import Capabilities – There is no way to import existing contacts or items. Entering everything manually is a time-consuming process. The software has added bank statement importing, which was a much-needed addition for business owners who are uneasy about live bank feeds or whose banks aren’t supported by Yodlee.
    • Limited Integrations – The software went from integrating with 40 add-ons to only 25, which could be a negative for a lot of users.

Features

FreshBooks Classic

FreshBooks Classic boasts a clean user-interface and expansive, in-depth features. While this version may be slightly more difficult to navigate than the new version of FreshBooks, the extra effort more than pays off in terms of features. Inventory, time tracking, and the ability to request customer reviews are just a few of the many features available. Since the FreshBooks website now only pertains to New FreshBooks, contact support for a free trial of the FreshBooks Classic features or check out our thorough feature list below:

  • Dashboard – The home screen displays well-organized, and appealing charts to give you a quick view of your business’s activity and financial health. These charts are labeled Invoices and Expenses, Outstanding Invoices, Expense Categories, Recent Activity, Active Projects, and Recent Customer Reviews.

FreshBooks Review

  • Invoicing – FreshBooks offers two invoicing templates. Each invoice can be customized with notes to clients, discounts, taxes, etc. You can set recurring invoices and default terms and conditions. You can set default email messages as well. FreshBooks tracks when invoices are received and read. Invoices are sent by email and customers receive them in their own client portal. You can set reminders and charge late fees for overdue invoices. There is also a great snail mail option, and you can purchase stamps and envelopes directly from FreshBooks.

FreshBooks Review

  • Estimates – Estimates are easy to create and turn into invoices. You can customize estimates with default terms and conditions, and you can accept estimates and batch convert estimates to invoices.
  • Client Portal – FreshBooks Classic has one of the best client portals out there. It’s simple and appealing. Clients can view their current invoices, estimates, and projects and their past history. They can request changes and make payments directly from the Client Portal. Customers can also enable auto-billing.

FreshBooks Review

  • Contact Management – You can manage customers and vendors in FreshBooks Classic. You can add basic contact information and internal notes (that only your team will be able to see). You can also add multiple contact names per business. When you click on each contact, you’ll see a beautiful contact dashboard that shows your history with that contact. FreshBooks Classic will even tell you how many days on average it takes for that customer to pay their invoices.

FreshBooks Review

  • Expense Tracking – FreshBooks allows you to use live bank feeds, import bank files via .csv, or enter expenses manually. The latter option is a little annoying because the price shown does not include the taxes you pay, which can be very misleading. You can look at the tax summary report to see your total taxes, but this seems like a lot of time wasted. You can use mobile apps to take pictures of your expense receipts for quick importing on the go, and any of these expenses may be assigned to specific clients. You can also attach images to expenses as well. Expense categories are set up to closely resemble IRS tax filing categories, which will come very handy come tax season. Note: Like almost all software using live bank feeds, FreshBooks partners with Yodlee, which may violate some banks’ Terms and Conditions. Consult with your bank to see whether live bank feeds are a good choice for you.
  • Inventory – FreshBooks offers a light inventory option. You can add items and check the track inventory button to have FreshBooks Classic calculate your total quantity on hand. This feature is pretty limited compared to most cloud-based accounting competitors as there is no way to track inventory value or set low inventory alerts, but it’s better than nothing (which is where New FreshBooks is at; you can’t even save items in New FreshBooks).
  • Project Management – You can create projects and tasks in FreshBooks Classic. You can budget for time, but not for cost, so the feature falls short of job costing. You can select multiple billing methods for projects and can easily invoice for completed tasks and/or projects. One of the coolest parts of this feature is that you can allow customers to see the tasks logged and dates worked on their project from their client portal.

FreshBooks Review

  • Time Tracking – This is where FreshBooks shines. FreshBooks is ahead of most of its competitors in terms of time tracking. Time tracking is available on every plan (unlike with most software companies, which make you pay extra for this feature). You and your employees can enter time manually or with the built-in timer and apply them to any task or project. You also have the option to allow your clients to view the hours you’ve logged on a project. Timesheets can be generated into invoices easily. The only issue with the feature is you have to link time to projects and can’t record time for non-project related tasks.

FreshBooks Review

  • Reports – FreshBooks offers 22 reports total, including your typical profit and loss statement, balance sheet (you’ll have to manually enter many of the fields), and tax summary, though some businesses may want more year-end tax reports and traditional accounting reports like accounts payable. Some of FreshBooks’ most notable reports include timesheets, customer reviews, and a quarterly report card. All reports can be exported to a .cvs or .xls file or shared with an accountant. In addition, you can choose to receive a weekly overview report via email.
  • Default Email Messages – You can set default email messages for new invoices, payment notifications, late payment reminders, new estimates, new credit, new clients, and new staff.
  • Customer Review – One of the more unique features in FreshBooks is the option to request reviews from your customers after completing business with them.
  • Sales Tax – FreshBooks allows for extensive default tax settings. You can add as many sales tax options as you need and can apply different sales taxes within the same invoice if necessary.
  • Multi-Currency – FreshBooks supports 150 currencies and you can send invoices in 13 different languages. If you change the language for a client, your own screen will remain in English. Only their side will be affected by the change.
  • Importing/Exporting – You can import clients via .csv, vCard, Simply Accounting, or HighRise. You can import expenses via .csv or .qbo. You can export clients, invoices, staff, and timesheets via .csv. You can also export clients to QuickBooks and Simply Accounting if you’d like.
  • Open API – FreshBooks Classic has open API for developers

New FreshBooks

Many changes have come with the software redesign. This design is easier to navigate and nice to look at, but features available in older version are simply absent from New FreshBooks. The company has recently added an estimates feature which was much needed, but other features like inventory are still missing completely. The features the software does offer are as follows:

  • Dashboard – The dashboard is organized by graphs: Outstanding Revenue, Total Profit, and Spending. There is also a selection of advanced reports at the bottom of the screen and a quick-create button at the top.

FreshBooks Review

  • Invoices – FreshBooks offers two invoice templates that are customizable. The software will automatically save the information you enter from each new item line. Simply click on the saved item in the drop-down menu to keep from re-entering all of the information manually. Premium users can send reminders and late fees. There is no place to add terms and notes before sending the invoice off by email. New Freshbooks does not offer the default email automation available with Classic, but you can send a custom email to clients and manually write terms and conditions, notes, and anything else you’d like for each invoice. One really cool feature in this version of invoicing is the chat feature. If you click on the small cloud-bubble icon, you will be taken to a screen that shows any recent action(s) on that invoice, as well as messages from your client. You can still send payment reminders and charge late fees (found under Clients for some reason).

FreshBooks Review

  • Estimates – Happily, you can now send estimates to customers and easily convert those estimates to invoices. You also have the option to duplicate estimates.
  • Client Portal – While not as developed or aesthetically pleasing as the FreshBooks Classic client portal, I was glad to see New FreshBooks still offers a client portal. Your customers can accept, save, print, or comment on estimates and pay, print, save, or write messages on invoices.

FreshBooks Review

  • Contact Management – The contact section allows you to add basic client information as well as internal notes and a relationship status (not the Facebook sort). You can also set a default currency and language (but this feature has a long way to go before it’s up to speed with FreshBooks Classic’s international business capabilities). The client page features graphs that show total money overdue, amount outstanding, and money in draft. Underneath this chart is a list of recently active clients and a full client directory. Weirdly enough, this is where you would go to send invoice reminders and charge late fees.

FreshBooks Review

  • Expense Tracking – Expense tracking is made easy with FreshBooks. You can enter expenses manually or use live bank feeds–and now you can import bank statements as well. When you enter an expense manually, you can add a receipt image, a vendor, description, total, and a category. Categories are set up to closely resemble IRS tax filing categories, which will come very handy come tax season. There is no way to mark these expenses as deductions, but you can separate business and personal expenses. However, if you’re looking for bank reconciliation in addition to expense tracking, you won’t find it. Note: Like almost all software using live bank feeds, FreshBooks partners with Yodlee, which may violate some banks’ Terms and Conditions. Consult with your bank to see whether live bank feeds are a good choice for you.
  • Project Management – I was glad to see the project feature intact. With this feature, users can create projects and assign them to employees or clients. You can set a time budget and due date as well. There is also a new communications tool called “discuss.” This feature allows users to communicate internally with employees and clients. You can send messages, reminders, and even attachments with this tool. When a project is completed, FreshBooks makes it easy to bill projects as an invoice (you can bill by hourly or flat rates).

FreshBooks Review

  • Time Tracking – Although slightly less developed than FreshBooks Classic, the time tracking feature is still well-designed and easy to navigate. You can customize the screen to display a daily or weekly calendar. Time entries can be added manually, or there is a built-in timer that can be activated with the click of a button. Time is recorded in total hours, rather than by showing a time range (i.e. 7.5 hours, not 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM). Time can be added to projects and billed as an invoice, or you can choose to record unbillable time as well. The time dashboard is one of the best parts about this feature because you can easily review where your employees have spent their time and how much time has been spent on each of your projects.

FreshBooks Review

  • Reports – In another downgrade, FreshBooks went from 24 reports to a measly seven. These seven reports do cover most basic bookkeeping needs and include Profit and Loss, Sales Tax Summary, Accounts Aging, Invoice Details, Expense Report, and Time Entry Details. Reports are easy to run and look professional and aesthetically pleasing. You’ll find reports at the bottom of the Dashboard. It’s a bit unconventional, but it works.
  • Sales Tax – You can set any number of sales tax settings, and you can add multiple tax rates per item.

Customer Service and Support

The one thing that hasn’t change is FreshBooks’s great customer support. FreshBooks has won countless awards for its customer service. This staff lives the words: “We’re more than just a program that they use, we’re people who really care.”

One user said:

“No matter the issue, big or small, the FreshBooks Support Team is your own tiny army of helpful humans just waiting to make your day easier.”

And they were right. FreshBooks support is by far the best I have seen. All of my calls go straight through to a real person and I’ve never been put on hold (if we’re being honest, I called their support more times than necessary just because I was so pleased by it). Emails receive quick, informative responses. And since FreshBooks is such a large company, it offers many other resources to its customers. Some resources are limited to a specific version of FreshBooks, which I have marked below. These resources include:

  • Phone – FreshBooks phone support operates Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm EDT. US and Canadian users can call toll-free at +1 (866) 303-6061. For worldwide support call +1 (416) 481-6946.
  • Email – Contact the FreshBooks Classic support team at support@freshbooks.com. Contact the New FreshBooks support team at help@freshbooks.com.
  • Contact Form – FreshBooks has an online contact form here.
  • Webinar – My favorite support option for FreshBooks Classic is the free introductory webinar. Sign up here to learn about the new software—and if you’re lucky, you just might hear some awesome Batman jokes.
  • Help Center – The Help Centers feature lots of how-to articles when you need them. The sheer amount of articles can be a bit overwhelming, but the articles are categorized, and there’s a search bar to make your life a little easier. Personally, though, when I had questions, I turned to the phone support and YouTube video demonstrations first. Make sure you are using the right help center as the Classic Help Center and New FreshBooks Help Center are different.
  • Blog – Much like the help center, FreshBooks’ blog offers a bunch of articles which offer business advice and introduce product updates.
  • YouTubeFreshbooks’ YouTube channel features how-to videos, set-up demonstrations, advice for small businesses, and customer testimonials. I found the how-to videos particularly helpful. These videos are predominantly focused on the classic version of Freshbooks.
  • Social Media – FreshBooks keeps active accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. The Facebook and Twitter accounts mostly point to new blog posts and updates. Their Instagram features motivational quotes, customer stories, and contests, while Pinterest has interesting boards on how to save on taxes, set up a productive workspace, and host cool company parties.
  • In-Software Support – Both versions of the software have an in-software help button.
  • Press Center – There is also a FreshBooks Press Center if you are curious about the company’s business news and coverage.

Negative Reviews and Complaints

In past reviews, FreshBooks has received almost all positive feedback across the board. While there are still many positive reviews, recurring complaints are slowly increasing. In most customer comments, it’s hard to differentiate between New FreshBooks and FreshBooks Classic, but we’ve tried our best to gather the general impressions and issues users have with both versions.

  • Not Accounting Software – Despite the name, FreshBooks simply is not “cloud accounting” software. One customer said, “the ‘books’ part of the name ‘FreshBooks’ led me to believe it would work on my entire book. That’s weird to me that it doesn’t.” FreshBooks does not use double-entry accounting, managing your bills is limited, and bank reconciliation is below par compared to other software programs (you can only import expenses, and while there are live feeds, these feeds only get updated once a day and deposits are not recognized). FreshBooks does not offer important accounting reports like accounts payable, general ledger, or a completed balance sheet (there is a balance sheet report in FreshBooks but you have to fill in the majority of the fields yourself). For some smaller companies this may not be an issue, but for customers looking for true accounting software, this could be a huge drawback–especially because without double-entry accounting and the ability to reconcile income as well as expenses, there is no way to get a real look at your total financial state. A few customers just want FreshBooks to be called what it truly is, an invoicing or billing software.
  • Lack of Feature Updates – Some customers feel that FreshBooks has stalled on updates lately and that their suggestions are not being listened to. Users commonly call out for better reports, a QuickBooks Online integration, and a better search function.
  • Limited Users – Some customers would like to see more users supported per account (without the extra $10/mo charge per extra user). They also want to be able to set stronger user permissions.
  • Miss FreshBooks Classic – A few users like FreshBooks Classic better than the “weird sketchy style” of New FreshBooks. Users also dislike the limited functionality of New Freshbooks, particularly the lack of an inventory feature. One user said:

“I don’t like the newer version of their software, however it may have been that I was just so comfortable with the older version. They did let me revert back to the older version which I really appreciated.” – Shannon Riter Osborn

  • Too Expensive –  Many people find New FreshBooks to be far too expensive.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials

Overall, customers seem to like the FreshBooks product. FreshBooks has an A+ rating on BBB and receives 4.6/5 stars on both GetApp and G2Crowd. Customer testimonials can be found on the FreshBooks site or on their YouTube channel and on review sites across the web.

Some of the features customers love most are:

  • Ease of Use – This is one of the most common praises. Users like that FreshBooks is simple to use and saves them time on expenses tracking, invoicing, and billing. Users also like that they don’t have to be accountants to learn how to use the software successfully.
  • Amazing Customer Service – FreshBooks’ customer service is highly praised by users who appreciate that they can talk to the friendly phone support staff after only one or two rings.
  • Strong Mobile Apps – Despite a few reported glitches, most users find the mobile apps convenient and well-designed (particularly the FreshBooks Classic apps). While not capable of all desktop functions, FreshBooks seems to have one of the most developed mobile apps in the cloud accounting world.
  • Professional Invoices – FreshBooks is praised for making users’ invoices look professional and appealing. Freelancers especially appreciate this aspect of the software.
  • Company’s Values – How many companies do you know who partner with a nonprofit like Girls Learning Code and turn their whole office space into a camp for a week? Or whose CEO’s office is made of clear walls so his work and his cute dog are always visible? Watch this video to learn more about girls learning code, or read this article to hear about Freshbooks’ values and office vibes.

Here’s what a few customers are saying about the software:

“FreshBooks is hands down the simplest and easiest to use billing software for freelancers and small businesses of any size. The part I like the most is their outstanding customer support.” – Gabe Arnold, Software Developer

“The biggest benefit to me about FreshBooks is the transparency it offers my clients. My clients can see when I’ve logged into FreshBooks and I’ve done work for them. I do believe that FreshBooks has helped my business grow in the simple fact that it gives us a more professional look to our business versus me just typing out an invoice and mailing that to my client. I could not imagine doing what we do today without FreshBooks.” – Nnena, Venture Gain Legal

“I don’t spend hours doing accounting stuff when I’m not an accountant. I can give my clients what they need and work with them on their projects instead of stressing over expenses and invoicing.” – Marina, Web Designer

Integrations and Add-Ons

FreshBooks Classic

FreshBooks Classic users have full access to 40 add-ons, including 6 payment gateways. Some of our favorites include:

  • Paypal – Accept online payments and enable electronic payment of invoices. Read our full PayPal review for more details.
  • Stripe – Payment platform for both web and mobile payment methods. Read our full Stripe review for more details.
  • Capsule – A CRM and basic task management software. Read our full Capsule review for more details.
  • Basecamp – A team management and communication platform. Read our full Basecamp review for more details.
  • ReceiptBank – Receipt data entry made easy.
  • Gusto – A payroll software that also manages health benefits, worker’s comp, and even 401(k) plans.
  • MailChimp – An emailing and marketing management tool. Read our full MailChimp review for more details.
  • Avalara – Automated sales tax solution that automatically calculates sales tax from a customer’s address.
  • Partial.ly – A payment solution that allows customers to make partial payments on products or services.
  • Zapier – Connects FreshBooks to over 750 other apps and add-ons.

New FreshBooks

Another one of the changes brought on by the redesign of FreshBooks is a decrease in the number of integrations available. The software has gone from 40 integrations to 25. Moreover, it only supports Stripe for online payments, which could be a dealbreaker for small businesses that need PayPal. While I’m not very happy about this decrease, there are still several great integrations worth mentioning:

  • Stripe – Process and accept credit card payments. Read our full review here.
  • Gusto – Full payroll software with US tax and benefit capabilities.
  • Capsule – CRM software. Read our full review here.
  • Shopify – E-commerce platform for online stores. Read our full review here.
  • AcuityScheduling – A customizable booking software to keep your calendar organized.
  • Avalara – Automated sales tax solution that automatically calculates sales tax from a customer’s address.
  • Partial.ly – A payment solution that allows customers to make partial payments on products or services.
  • Zapier – Connects FreshBooks to over 750 other apps and add-ons.

Security

FreshBooks is secured by 256-bit SSL encryption as well as Cisco-powered firewalls. Data is backed up on two servers in two separate (undisclosed) locations and is also backed up nightly onto a physical tape. FreshBooks has intrusion detection and vulnerability test programs that run frequently.

In addition to cloud-based security measures, FreshBooks servers are housed in Rackspace’s data centers. To learn more about FreshBooks’ security and their partnership with Rackspace, go here.

Final Verdict

When you compare the two designs side by side, I am not convinced that new is better. FreshBooks Classic offers inventory, customer reviews, great time tracking, scalable pricing plans, more integrations, and one of the best client portals I’ve seen. Minus a few navigational difficulties, the software’s original design was and is beautiful and highly praised by users across multiple customer review platforms.

The new software has an attractive design which has addressed some navigational errors while bringing others to the board. No inventory, fewer reports, fewer integrations, and fewer scalable (and affordable) pricing plans leave New Freshbooks wanting. When I first reviewed New FreshBooks, I was not impressed and dropped the company’s rating to 4/5 stars. New additions, like estimates, and the promise of future updates have caused the software to slowly grow on me, but there’s still a long way to go.

FreshBooks as a company, though, gives me hope. They are handling the software changes honorably by not phasing out the old software for current customers or changing prices. The company is obviously focused on the future and on updates. This could be a positive, especially since in our last review a common complaint was that the company wasn’t listening to customer feedback or updating the software fast enough. My biggest concern? Previously, customers cried out for a better inventory feature, a mileage tracker, more accounting reports, more invoicing templates, separate shipping and billing addresses, and the option to send estimates via snail mail. Not only have these features not been added to FreshBooks Classic, they have been completely stripped from the new version.

I can see some promise in the new design, but FreshBooks needs to raise the stakes in future updates. For small business owners looking for a strong user experience and basic invoicing features, FreshBooks could be a good option, but I’d definitely take the software for a run before buying with a free 30-day trial of New FreshBooks. And if I were you, I’d contact support and ask to use FreshBooks Classic until the new software becomes comparable in terms of features.

Let us know what you think of both versions of Freshbooks in the comments below.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause

Head Accounting and Invoicing Writer
Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she's not working or daydreaming about her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.
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22 Comments

    melissa

    Can anyone verify whether Freshbooks is still going to offer the Paypal Business Payments flat 50-cent fee for invoices? I’ve searched high and low and can’t find the answer.

    Chelsea Krause

    Hi Melissa,

    Thanks for reaching out! This is going to depend on which version of FreshBooks you are using. FreshBooks Classic sill offers the PayPal Business Payments integration with a flat fee of $0.50. However, New FreshBooks does not. Let us know if we can help with anything else!

    Best wishes,
    Chelsea Krause

    P M

    Changes to Freshbooks have (I can hardly believe I have to type this) removed your ability to remove a credit card from your auto-pay profile. That’s right, if you discovered your credit card number is overdrawn there is NO WAY to remove that card from auto pay other than completely canceling your freshbooks account. What’s more their console no longer even shows which credit card they have on file so if you put in a test credit card number like 1234-1234-1234-1234 which used to be a way to prevent auto-charge, it will not only not accept that number but not show that it hasn’t accepted that number and will continue to ding whatever card it successfully charged last. Nothing like having an overdrawn bank account and having no way to remove your card. This is likely not even legal. It’s obviously unethical. Their nice support staff will undoubtedly apologize but it won’t change the fact that their system will screw you. Truly infuriating.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    tmama

    Very disappointed the new version has eliminated customers ability to pay via paypal. A lot of small businesses have small clients who bark at the idea of having only one means of online payment. Paypal was convenient for many of my clients an the $.50 charge per echeck was easy on the pocket. Surprised this article mentioned nothing about that.

    2

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Donna

    BEWARE. As a small business I was looking for an easy to use invoicing program. Fresh books offered that. However, one very important drawback is that following log-in, the user can actually be thrown off-line for what Freshbooks has explained is “likely” the user’s own server issues. This means that after four hours of solid work today, upon attempting to send an invoice – it didn’t exist and it is not recoverable! Freshbooks has cost me time and money not to mention unnecessary frustration. The solution – save as you go, save, save, save. You will get no warning and no apology from the customer service team. I have used the program for nearly two years – I have lost invoices in the past but was assured that the “new” Freshbooks would address the issue – clearly it has not and clearly I’ve purchased the wrong program.

    2

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Michael L. Parmley

    My company has used Freshbooks for a long time and do all of our billing via their API. We bill in both US and Canadian dollars and Strip allows that, which Freshbooks supports, however, a few years ago, they got a bug in the API that prevents recurring profile updates in anything except your base currency. As a work around, they suggested I just do item adds and deletes. That worked until recently during the PCI compliance upgrade, they got a new bug that prevents line adds and deletes on some accounts. Now I am trapped between two bugs and having to do a lot of billing by hand. If you call, you can never talk to anyone in the API development team or a supervisor who can put pressure on them. It will be very painful to switch to another company because I don’t store any customers credit card info. But that may be what I have to do. Stripe has an API now, stores customer information for you and will do recurring billing with invoicing. I wish it was not necessary, but nobody at Freshbooks seems to care about a little guy who only bills one million per year.

    3

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Majid

    On Nov 16 I did instal FreshBooks and did download all information from that time .Since about 20 days that passed already , I did try to refresh my page but the bank informations is still from Nov 16 ! I tried couple times to countact the FreshBooks customer service and everybody just puted note To follow up this problem but I have this issue!!

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Todd

    I’ve been a long time Freshbooks customer. Overall, it’s been a good experience. Freshbook support has been excellent, the product itself has been easy to use and reliable. I have no regrets.That said here are my biggest critiques:Expenses – It’s easy to miss but % discounts put on an invoice apply to EVERYTHING including expenses that have receipts. This makes no sense and was obviously an oversight on their part. It will make your accountant furious to deal with expenses with receipts that were only partially reimbursed. The Expense feature has been out a long while, this should have been fixed by now, but last I checked it still wasn’t. It cost me a significant amount of reimbursements before I caught the design flaw. The workaround is to always put expenses into an invoice that doesn’t have a discount applied to it. So if you routinely discount a customer’s invoice, then you’ll have to make a separate invoice for Expenses reimbursements. Not elegant but it works.No longer has a public forum — Freshbooks used to have a public forum, but somewhere along the way it disappeared. I immediately lose a degree of trust for any software service company that doesn’t have a public forum. To me it means they’re the bad kind of control freak, and more importantly it means I will have a difficult time finding out if other users are having problems or what pitfalls to watch out for. I get there’s an overhead and PR risk to having a public forum but trust doesn’t come for free…No weekend or night time support — Work doesn’t always happen during the 9-5. Invoicing means getting paid…staying in business. It’s time sensitive. On the otherhand it would cost Freshbooks more to have off hours support, so we customers would have to pay more. Do I want to pay more? Maybe a compromise is possible here: What about an option to purchase add-on weekend support?Wepay partnership — Freshbooks partnering with WePay to start doing their own credit card processing is worrisome to me. WePay rates seem to be slightly lower than the equivalent Paypal service, but those lower rates come at the cost of some important features. In my experience WePay is slooow to post money back to my bank. They also have no option for a debit card. With Paypal money is in my (Paypal) account and available for me to use via debit card the same day, even on weekends. With WePay you have to wait until it posts to your bank account, which takes 2 – 5 business day. That means you often won’t see the money for a full week. With local customers picking up and manually depositing a check often posts to my bank faster than WePay. This feels like a big step back techwise. But my real worry here is that by monetizing off their credit card processing partnership with WePay, Freshbooks is going to be incentivized to limit or drop their Paypal payment gateway integration. If that happens I’ll unsubscribe the same month. Rumor from another review here states that Freshbooks already plans to drop the Paypal Business integration later this month. (Paypal Business integration is a low flat rate fee for transactions through Paypal that don’t use credit cards.)—————————————————————————————————-Regarding the critic that Freshbooks is not real full fledged accounting software: It’s a mistake to see this as a Con. Whether this is a Pro or Con really depends on your use case. Pros:Simpler more efficient at invoicing, not needing costly user licenses for full fledged accounting software for users who only need invoicing, automatically creates a some separate from accounting or booking features that you might not want certain staff to access.Cons: You’ll need another solution for your accounting needs. You’ll need to integrate or feed Freshbooks into your accounting solution.Freshbooks seems to be on a slow path towards becoming a full fledged accounting platform. They already have ton more accounting features than when I first started using them. This means smaller businesses or consultants might now be able to get away with just Freshbooks and not use a full fledged accounting solution. But overall I feel like this in between space is undesirable and a mistake. Accounting feature creep has reduced some of the elegance of the invoicing features, but the lack of full fledged account features means you’ll likely still want accounting software. Essentially, I see this middle ground as the worst of both worlds.

    4

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Todd,

    Thanks for your detailed and insightful review! I wasn’t aware of the expense reimbursement problem–and that’s a significant issue, one we’ll want to keep an eye on in our next review update. Your insights on WePay are also likely to be helpful to prospective users, so thanks for taking the time to write all of that up! I agree with you that invoicing software serves a different purpose than accounting software, and FreshBooks is well-suited to some businesses looking for the former. (My objection on that count is that FreshBooks advertises itself as accounting software, and as a result, I’ve heard complaints from a number of people who assumed it was full accounting software when they signed up.)

    As cloud-based accounting solutions continue to expand their invoicing features (along the lines of what Zoho Books and FreeAgent have done), I think we’re likely to see more companies opting for a combined invoicing and accounting solution. Most good accounting software allows for invoice-only access permissions, and the user license issue you raise is becoming less of an issue with the emergence of plans that offer unlimited user licenses with a single subscription (Xero and Zoho Pro, for instance). For that matter, even QuickBooks Online offers more users at a lower rate than FreshBooks.

    FreshBooks could definitely become an important player in that space–if they can expand to cover full accounting. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Thomas Black

    Freshbooks decision to drop Paypal pro payment gateway as of July 31 2016 has me looking for another invoicing system.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    tmama

    Thomas I know!!! So disappointed the new version does not have the paypal option. I’m staying on the old version but my fear is that EVENTUALLY they will notify us we must move over to new version.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Andrew Chang

    I like accwing online invoicing. it have different invoice field, multiple payment, statement individually or in batches. and 60 days free try.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Chris

    I am so thankful to have found this company. I tried it free for 20 days and found it was perfect for my small business. All I needed was to create invoices and input my expenses. That’s it. Customer service responded to my questions very quickly and helped me with the sprout sign-up procedure for $9.95/month. Well worth every penny.

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Excellent! I’m glad it’s working out so well for you.

    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Steve S.

    A LENGTHY REVIEW FROM A DAILY FRESHBOOKS USER:

    I’ve been using Freshbooks for the last couple of years, and at first it was a breath of fresh air after getting away from Quickbooks (both online and desktop version prior to that). If you don’t have a proficiency for accounting, systems like Freshbooks are great, so I enjoyed the simplicity of it. The problem is – it’s just way too simple and there are some major gaps in functionality. Additionally, it’s a stagnant system. Very little improvements or features were tweaked or added in the system during the entire time I used it which is pretty unsual for a web based service.

    Freshbooks shouldn’t even call themselves accounting, because their forte really is in time tracking and invoicing. I now use Freeagent and wish I’d switched sooner.

    If you don’t care about tracking profit margins on projects or really tracking expenses accurately at all, then Freshbooks might work for you.

    Freshbooks gets plenty right. Tracking billable time against customers or customer projects is a breeze, and their invoicing and methods for collecting payments is really hard to beat. Plus, they integrate with so many other services, it makes it really easy to get addicted to.

    The things I love most – and the main reasons I’m glad that I left Quickbooks for Freshbooks years ago is:

    Automated invoice reminders, which are totally flexible. This alone saved me a lot of time chasing down late payers.

    Your customers get a really nice interface for viewing all their invoices online – although I will say I think I only have one or two clients who ever even used the client portal for doing that. Most of them just go to their email to retrieve the links for invoices or statements, but it is still a really nice feature.

    No connections to your banking / credit card accounts. You can do this with expenses to some extent, but it’s just awful to work with, when compared to Quickbooks, Xero, FreeAgent – pretty much anyone else. In order to use Freshbooks, you have to have some other software or service for managing the accounting aspects of your business. This ended up being a bad thing for me. I like having it all connected, and there are plenty of great alternatives for that, and some even charge less than Freshbooks.

    My reasons for leaving Freshbooks? Freshbooks is downright awful at expenses…

    You can’t record non-billable expenses against a customer or project. If you want to record the expense without billing the customer for it, you cannot assign it to the customer or project. No easy way around that without messing up your accounting records.

    And with expenses that you DO want to rebill the customer for, there’s no easy, intuitive way to handle marking up those expenses for goods or services to make a profit on. In order to do that, you must first add the expenses to the customer invoice, and then modify each line item expense amount up to the amount you want the customer to pay.

    You cannot record bills as you receive them your vendors. Say for example, you get an invoice from a programmer who did work for you on 4 different projects in a given time period. Most vendors will just send you an itemized invoice with all the billable time across the various projects. Well, you can’t record it that way in Freshbooks. Each line item on your bill must be entered into freshbooks one line item at a time, and you cannot correlate them easily to know that they are all part of one bill/invoice. Freshbooks also can’t help you with managing when your bills are due. That’s accounting, which Freshbooks doesn’t do.

    Freshbooks solutions to their shortcomings with expenses is all handled with hacks and workarounds for how their system is currently built. They are not easy or intuitive and they also throw things off with your accounting reports.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your review. You’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head with my major gripe with Freshbooks: It’s not accounting software. Why the company has chosen to market itself that way is beyond me. Freshbooks is excellent invoicing software, for many of the reasons you mentioned. But as for accounting . . . the software simply doesn’t support it, at least not yet.

    Glad to hear that FreeAgent is working out for you so far!

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tommy

    Here is answer from FreshBooks:
    —-
    Sorry about the confusion on this! We actually run price tests all the time and in this case, that review is referring to one. That said, I’ve moved your account over to the test group so you should be able to see it now.
    —-
    So it looks like they could have different pricing pages. Since they applied the change to my account, now I can see the Sprout plan on the “upgrade” page of my account (using Safari on Mac – yesterday the first upgrade plan available was Seedling at $19.95). When I access the public pricing plans page, I still see the Free plan and the first plan starts at $19.95. I tried with Firefox, and yesterday I was able to see the Sprout plan but today there is no more Sprout plan even when I clear my cache. There is no more Free plan with Firefox, but there is a Free plan with Safari. Anyway… if someone is confused, the best thing will be to contact FreshBooks. They answer very quickly.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Thanks for posting this info, Tommy! That’s very good to know.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tommy

    Hi Katherine,

    Thanks for the quick follow-up. I tested the link with Firefox (Mac) and I was able to see the same page (with Sprout plan for $9.95 – no free plan). With Safari, even when I cleared the cache, I was unable to see the page with the Sprout plan. There was a free plan, and other plans starting at $19.95/month. With Chrome (Mac), there was no free plan anymore (except for 30 days), and no Sprout plan. Even with a complete clear of the cache, impossible to see this plan. Plans started at $19.95. So, three different browsers, three different results. I wrote to FreshBooks to ask for the real information and to let them know that their pricing pages were displayed with random content and different information.

    I’ll keep you updated…

    Tommy

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Interesting. The prices are displaying consistently across all 3 PC browsers I tested (Firefox, Chrome, IE), so perhaps this is a Mac issue. Very odd. I’ll look forward to hearing what you find out.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tommy

    The Sprout plan at $9.95/month doesn’t seem to exist. There is no information about it on the FreshBooks website. Plans starts at $19.95/month (Seedling). That’s a bad thing, as the Sprout plan would have been perfect for my current needs.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Tommy,

    Good news for you! The Sprout Plan does exist. It’s fairly new. Check the FreshBooks pricing page here and click the link on the right side of the screen that says “Pricing Packages start at $9.95/month.” That will pull up a pop-up box with the information. Only reason I can think of that you wouldn’t see it is if you have an old version of the page cached. If you don’t see it when you follow the link above, clear your cache and cookies and try again.

    Let me know if you run into any problems. Also, if you only have 5 clients, you might want to check out Zoho Invoice – they have a free subscription that might be appealing, depending exactly what you need.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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