FreshBooks Review

  • 15 comments
  • Updated on:
Date Established
2003
Location
Canada

Highlights:

  • Easy to use
  • New interface
  • Beautiful invoices
  • 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 loved 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 Classic FreshBooks interface. Existing FreshBooks users still have complete access to their accounts and the features that come with it. The price these users pay for the software is also locked in. 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.

I have received mixed responses about whether new users have the option to go with Freshbooks Classic. 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 older version. So, if you’d like the Classic plan over the New plan, be sure to give customer service a call to see what they can do.

The main difference between the two is feature availability. With New Freshbooks, the company has definitely sacrificed functionality for a cleaner aesthetic (cutting features like estimates, inventory, reports, default email messages, and limiting client portal and time tracking capabilities 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, so you can whether or not FreshBooks is a good choice for your business.

Pricing:

New FreshBooks:

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

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.

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 does not make an accountant access/portal available.

Classic FreshBooks:

As mentioned above, I have been assured that classic FreshBooks 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:

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).

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 also has apps for iPhones/iPads (iOS 8+) and Androids (4.2+). There are apps for both versions of the software.

Specific Size of Business:

FreshBooks was once one of the most scalable software providers on the market. However, since the newer FreshBooks plan offers only three pricing plans (as opposed to five), this scalability has diminished slightly. The new version’s relative lack of features now keeps the software from fitting the needs of many small business owners (see features section below for more details). Right now, New Freshbooks is ideal for businesses with basic bookkeeping and very light accounting needs. The software is not optimized for multiple users as there are no user permissions, and the additional cost of users can add up quickly.

Accounting Method:

Both accrual and cash basis accounting.

Ease of Use:

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. I’d recommend starting with adding clients and connecting to your bank account. After that, you are basically good to go and can start using the software right away.
  • Organization – New FreshBooks is well-organized, though the design takes a little getting used to. Instead of the clearly written labels that defined Classic, you’ll now see small icons for Dashboard, Invoices, Estimates (coming soon), Clients, Expenses, Projects, and Time Tracking. My only grievance with this system (besides the fact that I loved the classic software and don’t understand why it had to change) is that the icons aren’t particularly intuitive. For example, the Expenses tab is represented by a slice of pizza. I love pizza as much as the next person, and it accounts for a good deal of my personal grocery expenses, but it’s not exactly a universal symbol.
  • Instructions and Guidance – 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 or Classic 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 accounting software:
    • Lacking Features – 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, which could be a big drawback for some businesses looking for true accounting.
    • Newer Version Is Even More Limited – To piggy back on the complaint above, the New version of FreshBooks is severely lacking compared to the Classic version. With no inventory, no estimates, 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.
    • No Import Capabilities – There is no way to import existing contacts or manually import bank statements. Entering everything manually is a time-consuming process. For business owners who are uneasy about live bank feeds, this could be a huge issue.
    • Limited Integrations – The software went from integrating with 35 add-ons to only 19, which could be a negative for a lot of users.

Features:

Many changes have come with the software redesign, but the best way to sum it up is that FreshBooks traded feature capabilities for good looks. While this design is easier to navigate and nice to look at, features available in older version are simply absent from New FreshBooks. Some features, like estimates, will be added in again soon, but the Freshbooks team has no plans to replace others at this point. 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. The higher paid plan allows users to 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 the Classic version, but you can send a custom email to clients which includes terms and conditions, notes, and anything else you’d like. 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 recent action(s) on that invoice, as well as any messages from your client. There is no estimates feature at this time.

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). 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.
  • Expense Tracking – Expense tracking is made easy with FreshBooks. You can enter expenses manually or use live bank feeds. When you enter an expense manually, you can add a receipt image, a vendor, description, total, and a category. Categories are set up closely to 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. There is also no way to manually enter a bank statement into FreshBooks, which could be an issue for some. Note: Like almost all software using bank live 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.
  • Client Portal – Traditionally, FreshBooks has had the best client portal on the market. So I was incredibly disappointed to see this feature diminished in the new version. Customers can still save, print, and pay their invoices directly from the portal. They can also write messages directly to the sender, which is a new touch, but that is all. Hopefully, FreshBooks will continue to improve and address this issue down the road.

FreshBooks Review

  • Reports – In another downgrade, FreshBooks went from 24 reports to a measly six. These six reports do cover most basic accounting 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 very professional and aesthetically pleasing.

FreshBooks Projects

  • 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 with clients. You can send messages, reminders, and even attachments with this tool. When a project is completed, FreshBooks makes it easy to bill as an invoice.
  • Time Tracking – Although slightly less developed than in Classic FreshBooks, the time tracking feature is still designed well 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 8:00AM to 4:30PM). Time can be added to projects and billed as an invoice, or you can choose to record unbillable time as well.
  • Sales Tax – You can set any number of sales tax settings, and you can add multiple tax rates per item.

Customer Service and 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.” There’s a reason for this reputation. 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 it’s true. FreshBooks support is by far the best I have seen. All of my test calls went straight through to a real person and I was never 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 classic FreshBooks 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 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 Center features 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. Although, 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 introducing 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. Their Facebook and Twitter accounts mostly point to new blog posts and updates. 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 – In the classic version, there is a help tab accessible from inside the software itself.
  • 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:

For the most part, FreshBooks receives positive reviews across the board, although there are a few complaints that stand out. Very few reviews are specific to the new version of FreshBooks, so these issues predominantly surround the Classic version, though there is some overlap.

  • 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 (you can only import expenses, and while there are live feeds, these “live feeds” only get updated once a day and deposits are not recognized). FreshBooks also does not offer important accounting reports like accounts payable, general ledger, or 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 is truly is, an invoicing or billing software.
  • No Integration With QuickBooks Online – A few customers complained about the lack of integration with Quickbooks Online.
  • Lack of Feature Updates – Some customers feel that FreshBooks has stalled on updates lately and that their suggestions are not being listened to.
  • 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.
  • Mobile Apps – The new mobile app needs work, as evidenced by its 2.9/5 star rating on Google Play Store.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

Overall, customers seem to really love the FreshBooks product. FreshBooks has an A+ rating on BBB and receives 4.7/5 stars on GetApp. Customer testimonials can be found on the FreshBooks site or on their YouTube channel, in addition to review sites on the web.

Some of the features customers love most are:

  • Saves Time – 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.
  • Intuitive Interface (Classic) – Many users find FreshBooks easy to learn, and they enjoy the effective and appealing organization of the software.
  • 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 App – Despite a few reported glitches, most users find the mobile apps convenient and well-designed. While not capable of all desktop functions, FreshBooks seems to have one of the most developed mobile apps in the cloud accounting world.
  • Advanced Time Tracking Feature (Classic) – The time tracking featured is well-loved and much used by FreshBooks subscribers. Users particularly comment on the built-in timer feature.
  • 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:

“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:

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 35 integrations to 19, though I’ve been told that existing users still have access to the old number of payment gateways (and possibly all old integrations, but the verdict is still out on that one). 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.
  • CapsuleCRM software. Read our full review here.
  • Shopify E-commerce platform for online stores. Read our full review here.
  • Zapier – Connects FreshBooks to over 500 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. Classic FreshBooks offers inventory, estimates, customer reviews, great time tracking, scalable pricing plans, more integrations, and the best client portal I have ever seen. Minus a few navigational difficulties, the software’s original design was beautiful and highly praised by users across multiple customer review platforms.

The new software has a beautiful design which has addressed some navigational errors while bringing more issues to the board. No estimates, no inventory, fewer reports, fewer integrations, and fewer scalable (and affordable) pricing plans leave New Freshbooks wanting. Unique touches like the communication feature within invoices and projects are nice, but not nice enough to redeem the software—at least not in my eyes. And then, there’s still the issue of FreshBooks not really being true accounting software.

That said, I have hope for FreshBooks as a company. They are handling the 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, which 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 big 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 Classic FreshBooks, 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, the new design might still be a good option, but I’d definitely take the software for a run with the 30-day free trial. (If I were you, I’d beg the company to let me use Classic FreshBooks until the new software becomes comparable in terms of features.) Let us know what you think of both versions in the comments below.

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 visiting England, she can be found creating new stories, drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files.
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15 Comments

    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.

    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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