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- Date Established
- Easy to use
- Excellent customer service
- Good mobile apps
- Well-designed UI
- Attractive invoice templates
- Numerous integrations
- Expensive monthly cost
- Limited users
- Limited features
FreshBooks, one of the biggest names in the invoicing and accounting scene, was created by Mike McDerment after he became frustrated with Word and Excel. Since its inception in 2003, the software has grown to support over 10 million customers.
In 2017, the software was completely redesigned and relaunched as “New FreshBooks.” Now that time has passed, New FreshBooks has gradually just become called FreshBooks. FreshBooks Classic, the original version, isn’t going anywhere (existing users who have used FreshBooks Classic in the past can still opt to use the FreshBooks they know and love), but the company’s focus is now on improving the new iteration of FreshBooks. You can learn more about the difference between each version in our FreshBooks VS FreshBooks Classic post.
Initially, the newer version of the software was a bit of a disappointment. It was less developed and more difficult to use than Freshbooks Classic, and it didn’t address many of the issues users had with the software. However, as time has passed, the vision for the newer FreshBooks has come into fruition. The company has been constantly updating the software by adding more features, improving navigational issues, adding user permissions, and increasing the number of integrations — and, best of all, it’s added double-entry accounting and key accounting features.
While I am incredibly excited to see the software improved so much, there are still several drawbacks to FreshBooks. The app is expensive. Each plan only comes with one user, so the cost of additional users adds up fast. With no accounts payable, the software still has some improving to do. Despite these drawbacks, FreshBooks is incredibly easy to use and has some of the best customer support on the market. It’s also one of the few programs to offer built-in proposals. This software could be a good option for some small businesses.
Read on to see if FreshBooks is right for you.
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Table of Contents
- Specific Size Of Business
- Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed
- Hardware & Software Requirements
- Accounting Method
- Ease Of Use
- Customer Service & Support
- User Reviews
- Integrations & Add-Ons
- How Is FreshBooks Different From FreshBooks Classic?
- Can I Still Use FreshBooks Classic?
- Final Verdict
Specific Size Of Business
With the recent addition of double-entry accounting, I finally feel confident recommending FreshBooks as an accounting solution. FreshBooks is ideal for freelancers, micro-businesses, and small businesses in need of simple accounting and basic features, such as invoicing, expense tracking, and project management. The software is not ideal for small businesses that require in-depth accounting and more advanced features, such as budgeting, accounts payable, or tax support. FreshBooks does not offer native payroll but does integrate with Gusto for businesses in need of payroll services.
The software is also unsuited for small businesses needing many users. Each of FreshBooks’ pricing plans only supports one user, and the software does not support multiple businesses. FreshBooks has decent user permissions to help you manage your employees’ access to the software.
FreshBooks offers three different pricing levels. Only the two largest plans come with double-entry accounting and the subsequent accounting features. You can make monthly payments or purchase a yearly subscription, which will get you a 10% discount. There is a free 30-day trial. No credit card or banking information is required, and the service can be canceled at any time.
FreshBooks also offers a generous referral program where you can receive $5 for each referral that ends in a free trial and $55 for referrals that end in a paid subscription. There is also a 30-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind about the software.
The three pricing plans for FreshBooks are as follows:
FreshBooks Lite costs $15/month and includes:
- Unlimited invoices
- Unlimited estimates
- Expense tracking
- Contact management
- Project management
- Time tracking
- Five billable clients
- One user
FreshBooks Plus costs $25/month and includes everything in the Lite plan, plus:
- Double-entry accounting
- Advanced reports
- Live bank feeds
- 50 billable clients
- One user
FreshBooks Premium costs $50/month and includes everything in the Plus plan, plus:
- 500 billable clients
- One user
If you have more than 500 clients, FreshBooks offers a fourth service called FreshBooks Select. FreshBooks Select includes all of the features of FreshBooks Premium but adds more users and more features, such as advanced payments, QuickBooks and Xero integrations, and a dedicated account manager.
Contact FreshBooks directly for a quote for FreshBooks Select.
Before purchasing FreshBooks, there are a few extra costs you may have to factor in, depending on your business’s needs:
- Additional Users: Each of the plans above only supports one user. Additional users cost $10/month per user. FreshBooks has recently added a new manager role to help you better control user permissions. You can add contractors for no additional cost. (The contractors will have to pay for the software if they invoice to more customers than just your business.)
- FreshBooks Payments: FreshBooks Payments allows you to accept payments from most major credit cards directly from your invoices. Payment processing costs 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for most credit cards.
Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed
FreshBooks is cloud-based, so no downloads or installation are required.
Hardware & Software Requirements
As cloud-based software, FreshBooks is compatible with nearly any device so long as you have an internet connection. FreshBooks also offers a mobile app for iOS (11+) called FreshBooks Cloud Accounting and a mobile app for Androids (4.2+) called FreshBooks — Invoice+Accounting.
FreshBooks uses accrual accounting.
Ease Of Use
FreshBooks has always been incredibly easy to use, and the newly redesigned software is no exception (plus, the company has been rolling out small navigational updates nearly every month to further improve usability). The software is easy to set up and use and requires little previous bookkeeping experience. The company is listening to users and has addressed previous navigational issues. For example, since our last review, the company added a designated reports tab to make the software easier to use.
There is still the occasional navigational difficulty, but if you do have any trouble using the software, FreshBooks offers strong customer support and provides plenty of tools to help.
In terms of features, FreshBooks covers all the basics and has a lot of built-in automations to help save time. Here are the most notable FreshBooks features that you can expect to find in the new version of the software:
- Dashboard: FreshBooks has an attractive dashboard where you can quickly view important financial information about your business. The dashboard is organized by graphs for Outstanding Revenue, Total Profit, Revenue Streams, Spending, and Unbilled Time. The side menu offers quick access to key reports. There is also a quick create button in the top right-hand corner of the screen and a help button in the bottom right-hand corner.
- Invoicing: FreshBooks offers two basic invoice templates that are customizable. You can change the colors, font, and logo or header. You can add terms and notes to invoices (which is a nice improvement since our last review). There’s still no way to create default email messages. Plus and Premium users can send reminders, charge late fees, and set recurring invoices. One of the coolest parts about FreshBooks is the built-in 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.
- Estimates: FreshBooks makes it easy to send estimates. You can create duplicate estimates, quickly convert them to invoices, and view the status of your estimates (sent, viewed, accepted, etc.).
- Client Portal: FreshBooks offers a beautiful client portal where your customers can accept, save, print, or comment on estimates; pay, print, save, or write messages on invoices; or view, comment on, or accept proposals. Your clients can also choose to save their bank information in the client portal if they wish.
- Contact Management: The contact section allows you to add basic client information as well as internal notes. You can also set a default currency and language and create default invoice reminders and late fees for each customer. There is a nice client page that features graphs that show total money overdue, amount outstanding, and the amount in draft. Underneath this chart is a list of recently active clients and a full client directory. You can easily send statements directly to your clients. There is no way to manage vendors.
- Expense Tracking: Expense tracking is made easy with FreshBooks. You can enter expenses manually, import bank statements, or connect to live bank feeds (FreshBooks’ live bank feeds are not automatic like you would expect and are updated once daily). 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. 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 the right choice for you.
- Bank Reconciliation: With the addition of double-entry accounting, Freshbooks added a much-needed bank reconciliation feature. You can now reconcile your bank accounts in FreshBooks. Double-entry accounting is only available on the Plus and Premium plans.
- Accounts Payable: FreshBooks does not have an accounts payable feature where you can enter and manage bills. However, on the invoicing screen, you can view the invoices sent to you by other FreshBooks users.
- Chart Of Accounts: FreshBooks offers a basic chart of accounts. There is no way to edit or delete the existing accounts. There is the ability to create custom subaccounts, but only your accountant can do so.
- Items: You can add items and services to FreshBooks. While there still isn’t an items tab, having a place to view items is a much-needed improvement from our last review. You can enter basic information, such as the item name, description, rate, and any default taxes.
- Project Management: With this feature, users can create hourly or flat-rate projects and assign them to employees or clients. You can set a time budget and due date as well. FreshBooks sets itself apart by offering an internal communications tool called “discuss” where you can discuss the project internally with your team. You can send messages, answer employee questions, and even add attachments and images with this tool. When a project is completed, FreshBooks makes it easy to bill projects as an invoice.
- Time Tracking: You manually log time in FreshBooks or use the built-in timer. You can also easily review the logged time of your employees and contractors. Time can be added to projects and billed as an invoice, or you can choose to record unbillable time as well.
- Reports: FreshBooks offers eight reports and three extra accounting reports for Plus and Premium users. The company has also added a reports tab for easier access. While the new FreshBooks does offer more reports than the last time we reviewed the software, FreshBooks Classic used to offer 22 reports.
- Journal Entries: Your accountant can create journal entries. They are available on the Plus and Premium plans only.
- Proposals: One of the coolest features of FreshBooks is the proposals feature. It’s well-developed and allows you to showcase your work with plenty of space for writing, images, and attachments. The sections include Overview, Scope of Work, Timeline, Pricing, Notes, and Terms. You can also require an e-Signature on approved proposals and easily convert proposals into invoices. Available on the Plus and Premium plans only.
- Sales Tax: Since there is no settings section, you have to add sales tax manually on each line item of an invoice. FreshBooks does save the sales tax rates that you add, but you still have to select them manually.
- Multiple Currencies: FreshBooks is compatible with nearly 170 different currencies as well as fourteen different languages, making the software ideal for international invoicing and business.
- Importing & Exporting: You can import clients and expenses via .csv. There’s no way to personally import items or services (which is a bit annoying), but if you send a file to FreshBooks’ support, the company will import the data for you. You can export reports and download estimates and invoices as .pdfs, but that’s about it as far as exporting is concerned.
Customer Service & Support
The one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is FreshBooks’ great customer support. FreshBooks highly values its customer service, so much so that every FreshBooks employee spends their first month in customer support. The company has also won numerous customer service awards. One user put it like this:
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 are right! Phone calls get answered right away, and in my experience, representatives are friendly, informative, and helpful. Emails are also responded to quickly, and there’s a well-developed help center as well as an expansive blog.
Here are all of the support options available to FreshBooks users:
- Phone: FreshBooks’ phone support operates Monday through Friday from 8 AM-8 PM Eastern. Reps answer calls quickly, making this a great go-to support option.
- Email: You can contact the FreshBooks support team via email. Emails are generally responded to within a few hours.
- Support Form: FreshBooks also has an online support form.
- In-Software Help: FreshBooks offers an in-software help section where you can search the built-in help center or leave a question for the FreshBooks team. You can also access FreshBooks’ FAQs, email, and phone number from within the program.
- Help Center: The help center features a large number of how-to articles and a list of FAQs. The articles are well-written with step-by-step instructions. There are two separate help centers — one for FreshBooks and one for FreshBooks Classic — so be sure you’re using the correct one.
- Webinar: FreshBooks offers free introductory webinars to help you become acquainted with the software.
- Blog: Much like the help center, FreshBooks’ blog provides a ton of articles with helpful business advice and information on product updates.
- Press Center: There is also a FreshBooks Press Center if you are curious about the company’s business news and coverage.
- Social Media: FreshBooks maintains active Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts. Freshbooks also has a well-developed YouTube channel featuring how-to videos, getting started demonstrations, advice for small businesses, and customer testimonials.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
FreshBooks receives predominantly positive reviews from its customers. When New FreshBooks launched, there was an increase in negative reviews; however, these have decreased as FreshBooks has addressed common issues, such as the lack of double-entry accounting and some navigational difficulties.
Here are some of the most common issues users still have with the software.
- Limited Features: Users commonly call out for better reports, a QuickBooks Online integration, more invoice templates, and more supported currencies. These features were not added when the company redesigned FreshBooks, and these requests still seem overlooked.
- FreshBooks Classic Was Better: Several users like FreshBooks Classic better than the new version of FreshBooks, especially since the new version offers far fewer features. A few users note that they appreciate how FreshBooks allows them to still revert to the Classic version.
- Too Expensive: Many people find FreshBooks to be far too expensive, particularly when considering its free competitors, such as Wave, offer more features for $0/month.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Overall, customers seem to like the FreshBooks product. FreshBooks has an A+ rating on BBB and receives 4.5/5 stars on GetApp (based on over 2,800 reviews), 4.6 stars on G2 Crowd (based on 241 reviews), and 8.4/10 stars on TrustRadius (based on 130 reviews). FreshBooks also features customer testimonials on its website and YouTube channel.
Some of the aspects customers love most are:
- Ease Of Use: This is, by far, the most common point of praise. Users like that FreshBooks is simple to use and saves them time on expense 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. Users particularly appreciate the fast email responses and that they can talk to a representative on the phone right away without waiting.
- Strong Mobile Apps: Despite a few reported glitches, most users find FreshBooks’ mobile apps convenient and well-designed. The iTunes app even receives 4.8/5 stars from users. While not capable of all desktop functions, FreshBooks seems to have some of the most developed mobile apps in the cloud accounting world.
- Professional Invoices: Users appreciate that FreshBooks makes their invoices look professional and appealing. Freelancers especially appreciate this aspect of the software.
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.
I’ve used Freshbooks for years and it has only gotten better with each update. I couldn’t imagine operating my graphic design business without Freshbooks.It’s simple to create invoices, track time, create projects, send invoices, receive payments…it’s an integral part of my day to day business operations.
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.
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.
Integrations & Add-Ons
FreshBooks offers 85 integrations to cover just about any need businesses might have. While FreshBooks offers many of the popular integration options, such as Gusto, Asana, and Basecamp, there are only two payment gateways available. API is available for developers as well.
Many accounting software programs are offering bookkeeping services, including Wave and QuickBooks Online. While FreshBooks doesn’t have its own bookkeeping service, the company does integrate with Bench Accounting.
Interested in accepting online payments from your customers? Read our comprehensive merchant account reviews to learn the pros and cons of popular providers and see which payment processing option is best for your business.
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 its partnership with Rackspace, contact the FreshBooks team.
How Is FreshBooks Different From FreshBooks Classic?
The biggest difference between these two versions is that FreshBooks offers double-entry accounting, which qualifies the software as a true accounting program. FreshBooks Classic does not offer double-entry accounting, so it’s technically an invoicing software platform with a few bookkeeping features tossed in.
Want to learn more about what makes these two programs different? Read our complete comparison in our FreshBooks VS FreshBooks Classic post.
Looking for a FreshBooks Classic review? Look no further.
Can I Still Use FreshBooks Classic?
FreshBooks has always received high praise from its users, and some of those users believe in the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While the most recent upgrade to double-entry accounting puts the new FreshBooks far ahead of FreshBooks Classic in terms of functionality, some users don’t want accounting tools — they just want the invoicing and basic bookkeeping features they’ve loved for years.
Existing FreshBooks users have complete access to their FreshBooks Classic accounts and the features that come with it. It 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 to phase out the software at this point.
I have heard mixed responses about whether or not new users can opt for the Classic plan or if they have to get the new plan. One representative said the company can only reactivate previous Classic accounts, while another said a special request can be made to give new users access to the Classic version. If you’re new to Freshbooks and you’d prefer the Classic plan over the new plan, be sure to give customer service a call to see what they can do.
In the past, FreshBooks has not been a viable accounting solution for small businesses, and the fact that it marketed itself as “FreshBooks Cloud Accounting” was deceptive. Now, FreshBooks finally lives up to its name by providing double-entry accounting and key accounting features, such as bank reconciliation and reporting.
While FreshBooks has made promising strides with its latest updates, the software is expensive and is missing important features, such as accounts payable. QuickBooks Online and Xero both have only slightly more expensive plans than FreshBooks but offer far better accounting, more features, and more users — and even free companies such as Wave have more to offer for $0/month.
That said, FreshBooks’ ease of use and amazing customer service put both Xero and QuickBooks Online to shame, which may make FreshBooks 100% worth it for your business. FreshBooks also has a unique proposal feature. Take the free trial for a spin to see if the pros outweigh the cons for your business, or explore all of your options by taking a look at our top accounting picks.
We've done in-depth testing of each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth testing of each and confidently recommend them.