Our FreshBooks review will walk you through the software and answer some questions to see if it suits your business. All our views are independent and are from using the software. We will look at some of the main features that every business uses and include screenshots.
FreshBooks was founded in 2003, and the software has developed since then. It is an online cloud-based system aimed at small to medium-sized businesses.
FreshBooks is making tax digital compliant for VAT, and you can even submit your self-assessment tax return by using Go Simple Tax. There is an additional fee of £49 for single or £69 for partnerships.
The first thing to look at is their pricing structure. Most small businesses that I have dealt with try and keep their costs low, and the accounting software is one place where they do not want to pay much or anything.
The most popular plan is their plus; this will suit most small to medium-sized businesses. One thing to think about is that if you have lots of different clients, you may quickly outgrow the Plus plan and need to upgrade to the premium.
All plans have an additional rate for team members of £7 per month. However, the pricing is very similar to QuickBooks or Xero. Some of their packages include additional users.
Check out the comparison and full pricing on FreshBooks.
FreshBooks Free 30 Day Trial
When looking for the best accounting software, it is always worth taking out their free trial to see if it is suitable for the business needs. FreshBooks offers a 30-day trial, which I signed up for.
Sign up and setting up the business was easy. Below is an image of the opening dashboard; it will walk you through each setup stage.
When I take out a trial, I always set it up for my business, that way I can see if it is suitable.
On first impressions, the software looks simple to use, with easy navigation on the left menu.
The main problem I found for my business with the trial it is set to the Lite package. This meant there are restrictions on the package. I linked up the bank feed to find it only enters the outgoings. You have to post income manually, which is easy.
As a very small business, you may find the FreshBooks Lite version is enough, but for me, it has too many limitations, including:
- Not being able to enter opening balances.
- Journal entries are only available to an invited accountant.
- Only imports bank expenses.
The Lite version is aimed at people who do not want to get involved in complicated accounting. It is a single entry version of the system. This could make it an ideal starting point and then upgrade as the business grows.
FreshBooks Review Support
Having the limitations on the Lite version, I contacted support. They replied very fast, within a couple of hours and were very helpful. I managed to get the plan upgraded, and they also provide some good links to a webinar to get started.
This is about the fastest accounting support I have received from any accounting software providers.
FreshBooks Review – Plus Plan
Having upgraded to the plus plan, everything is there that I would expect. Bank feeds are working well. One thing that they have achieved is user experience. They have made the software easy for a user to find their way around.
FreshBooks Invoice Template
One of the most important tasks for any business is raising invoices for customers. This is something that FreshBooks has made simple.
They have three different invoice templates, it is quick to import a logo, and you can change the base colour. Some other packages allow you to import a template, although this is often complicated.
Below is an example invoice created using the simple template.
You can email, print or download the PDF invoice directly within the software. Payments can also be made by the customer either through Stripe or Paypal, although there are transactions charges for this feature.
One thing that FreshBooks does well on invoicing is tracking costs to a client. As a business this allows you to easily check that all expenses are passed on to the client.
It is simple to add a bill from a supplier to the system, allocating it to a code. Whilst entering a bill, you can add a client or project, enabling you to track costs.
Once the bill is added it is included in the list as below:
If you want to track how much you owe a supplier, you have to upgrade to the premium version. The standard accounts payable is not available in Plus. For small businesses and people new to accounts, this system might be easier to understand.
Bank Reconciliation – FreshBooks Review
Having the bank feed and using the reconciliation feature, saves time in manually adding payments and reconciling everything.
The image below shows the bank feed and supplier invoices; the process is to tick the matching payment and invoice. When the amounts match at the top, the ‘mark as’ changes to ‘match’ – click on match, and they both disappear.
If you do not have a supplier invoice to match, you can add it by using ‘create new entry’. It opens op a new window. the only problem with this is you can’t see the transaction details, so either write it down or remember it. Other accounting software packages I use allows you to add a quick entry on the same window.
The bank reconciliation is simple to use and speeds up the accounting process, rather than adding payments manually.
One of the most important section of our FreshBooks review is to look the reports availble.
There is a good selection of reports, including balance sheet, profit and Loss, invoice details and expenses. There are filters within each report; this enables you to get the information required.
There is an option to set the favourite reports for easy access. The one thing I do not like about the reports is there is no PDF version. There is an Excel download, and you can email it within the software, but there are times when you may require a report that can’t be changed.
As with most accounting packages, FreshBooks has created an App for use on the go. The app has been rated 4.5 stars with over 3000 reviews.
The image on the right is the standard dashboard and allows you to see your account at a glance.
One of the most useful things on any accounting application is raising invoices on the go. This allows you to finish a job and create an invoice immediately. If you have also got payments set up, the client can pay immediately.
Mileage tracking is also a great feature, even if you do not claim mileage costs from customers you can use it to claim any business mileage. The current mileage rate claimable is 45p per mile.
The expenses section enables you to add the expense details and also add a photo of the receipt directly to the software.
Time tracking is also available. This may be an important feature for a freelancer, knowing how many hours you have worked and what’s invoiceable.
I think the app is an excellent part of the FreshBooks software and will help a business that is on the go to record transactions as they happen. It saves time at the end of the day to deal with paperwork.
Additional Features – FreshBooks Review
So far in our FreshBooks review, we have looked at the standard features you would expect from an accounting package. FreshBooks has included some additional features that might be the turning point for some businesses. These features include:
- Time Tracking
All these features integrate well within FreshBooks and may save you time and money trying to integrate them from Excel spreadsheets, or pulling information from other places.
There are many accounting software packages available and different businesses will require different software. I feel the FreshBooks is more suited for a small freelancer, who wants to spend little time on accounting.
FreshBooks is easy to navigate and setup. It has some fetures like time, mileage and allocating expenses to clients that will help some businesses.
As with choosing any software it is always worth spending time reviewing the business requirements and if the software fits. Take time and use a trial is available.
If you have found our FreshBooks review useful read our other accounting software reviews.