FreshBooks Review: Pricing & Features for 2021

Cody Cromwell
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What We Recommend FreshBooks For

FreshBooks Accounting Software Is Especially Good For

  • Very Small Business Owners (<2 employees)
  • New Businesses
  • Professional Services
  • Partners
  • People Who Work At Home
  • Non-Profits
  • Accountants

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What’s Inside:

Our FreshBooks review delivers detailed information about pricing, features, pricing, and discounts for the service. We also discuss setup procedures and guides, security, support, user experience, and pricing across all plans. The FreshBooks review confirms how they compare to other business financial software like Quickbooks and Xero.

Follow our up-to-date business financial software reviews, and stay ahead of the competition.

There is a drop-down for you to choose which accounting package you wish to use. If you are looking for a no-obligation quote, choose ”I want a quote. ”

FreshBooks Accounting Is Not a Good Fit For

FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting application that lets you manage your business. When we first opened up FreshBooks during the site’s beta testing phase, I was really impressed with how easy it was to start accounting with the platform. I also liked that the tool made it easy to keep a paper trail in case the company ever needs to make a purchase or tax return. I’ve been using FreshBooks for over five years now for our personal and business accounts, and the platform has continued to remain relevant and as user friendly as it is.

However, it’s still not a good fit for companies that don’t have more than five employees. The reason is that FreshBooks simply doesn’t do a great job of helping them manage their accounts. While the platform is great for families or businesses with two or three professional employees, it isn’t the best for companies that aren’t using it to its fullest potential.

The main issue is that FreshBooks is really designed for businesses with 250+ employees. This is obvious when you look at the platform’s revenue breakdown across the board – 97% of the company’s revenue comes from one of its Enterprise customers.

FreshBooks Overview

"FreshBooks is a cloud accounting software service providing businesses, organizations, and individuals with easy to use time and billing software for the creation, maintenance, and revision of invoices (and estimates), time tracking with timesheets, an online business invoice manager, credit card processing, accounting, and project time & expenses tracking. All software is accessed from a dashboard."

"FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting program that offers invoicing, time tracking, expenses, and tools to help you track your expenses, manage your finances and grow your business. Customers need only install a one-time desktop application on their desktop and a browser plugin on their mobile devices, then they can connect to the FreshBooks online dashboard to access their solution of accounting software."

"FreshBooks is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux and a few other web-based operating systems. The FreshBooks business management solution is available at an affordable price. But for businesses that wish to outsource their accounting and invoicing needs to a qualified third party, FreshBooks offers a premium and paid subscription service."

"Businesses who use FreshBooks can save up to 50% on their expenses by eliminating the use of costly paid professional accountants. With FreshBooks, customers can: Set up and manage their invoicing.

Gain full control and balance their time tracking and expense reconciliation.

FreshBooks Pricing

In this FreshBooks review, we’re going to take a look at the pricing and features of FreshBooks and compare them to some of its competitors, such as Ashford and Wave.

Starting with the pricing, we’re looking at a self-hosted FreshBooks license because we’re going to talk about features that only work where FreshBooks is installed.

For comparison, we’re also including a self-hosted Ashford license, which is a bit cheaper but won’t allow you add pricing and shipping info. You’ll keep that info in FreshBooks, which is an extra expense. Ashford does have a bit more functionality than FreshBooks, however.

Finally, we opted for a PayPal subscription because that’s what most consumers go with.

FreshBooks Features

FreshBooks Reviews, Pricing & Features.

Double-entry Accounting

A System And An Intentionally True Story

I switched from Quickbooks to FreshBooks yesterday. To my knowledge, there’s no one else out there that does what FreshBooks does … and that’s the key to its appeal.

And I conducted some experiments, which I won’t go into, to test this out. I was already an extremely heavy user of FreshBooks. But I wasn’t thrilled with the new version. Its features were similar but not the same. So I was close to switching back to Quickbooks, even though I knew it wasn’t the perfect tool. I didn’t feel like switching was worth it. I was in the market for a new CRM.

And then I came across a reviewer who mentioned the company’s hiring process. He didn’t like it and it dissuaded him from a future career at FreshBooks.

This hit a nerve with me.

When I was in college, I interned for a law firm … one I didn’t want to work for. And this was in 1995.

Invoicing

The major feature of FreshBooks is invoicing and payments, and this's where they excell.

To invoice you simply use the Forms button and choose Invoice from the bottom of the form. The result is the immediate creation of an invoice including all of the pertinent item details, a beautiful PDF version of the invoice and a PDF/X version of the signed document (which can be enhanced with contract links, signature lines, and so on).

Additionally, once an invoice is submitted, FreshBooks will automatically send a link to the customer, so they can take a look at the document and even pay it either on the spot or later.

The invoices are sent all at once so you don't have to worry about paying them all up front and keeping track of a payment schedule. Additionally, if your client does decide to pay it up front, your paid balance will go up by the corresponding amount and you'll receive funds for expenses as they come in.

Oh, and with invoices, the client is presented with a few different options. They can choose to pay immediately, pay later by choosing a date for the payment, and they can also change their payment method (either credit card or check).

Expense Tracking

Fresh Books takes care of billable and project management in cloud-based software. Fresh Books has two key areas of tracking and organizing … 4 types of bills and 8 types of projects.

What is special about the FreshBooks platform is that it’s always in sync with your bank accounts, making it easy to track by history and by your budget. It’s a fantastic application for business people who need to stay within budget every month or year.

Other than tracking expenses, the FreshBook software also has room for your time sheet, credit card statements, and notes. You can also add in-app payments like to your store credit card.

Customer Support for Basic Features

FreshBooks also offers an impressive level of customer support to help you out or to get further help from the company if you run into an unforeseen problem.

There’s both phone and live chat support. When you do use the live chat, they’ll be able to view your screen, answer your questions, and coach you through any issues you’re having with your data and the software as well.

Time Tracking

FreshBooks lets you instantly track time on what you are doing. Whether you are doing that on-demand or on a recurring basis, you will be able to easily put the time in and know exactly when to invoice your clients.

There is also an option to mark time, where you can put a value on certain activities like managing a support ticket or tax preparation. This way, when you use the time tracking feature, you can tell FreshBooks what you actually did and it will calculate the billable time accordingly. This feature is definitely one of the unique things that sets FreshBooks apart from other online accounting platforms.

The time tracking mode is further divided into four types, as follows.

Guard: In the guard mode, you will be able to enter the amount of minutes you used on an hourly basis. The time remaining can be measured in terms of days and hours. This means, for example, that there are 180 minutes left, but there are also 30 days left on the timer.

All-Day: This mode will be active for a long period of time.

Every-Day: This mode will be active for a short period of time.

Other: This is a catchall mode where you can be in any of the three modes above, but you will be able to enter a description for it so it will be easy to find.

Estimates and Proposals

Can Save You 50% On Your Billing.

FreshBooks provides a fully functional accounting and billing software that is fully integrated with their accounting portal. As a business owner, you can receive emails from your customers to your Gmail address or from your FreshBooks account. To begin, click on the "Start a new bill" button. You will need to enter your Invoice Number, Customer Number or Contact Number, Vendor, and the start date of the bill.

From there, the service will populate the next screen with the customer’s name, address, email, invoice number, service provided, date, and the item number and amount of the bill. If you just hit "Next" you’ll have a draft, which you can then save, print, or email. When you’re happy with your draft, you can take it to the next level with the "Send Invoice", "Print Estimate", or "Download Pro forma".

Project Management

Software: Just-In-Time or Just-Work

FreshBooks offers software that helps organize your projects so that you can better manage your clients and workflow. While you might think that FreshBooks is a great project management software for the just-in-time (JIT) project manager, you might come to learn that it’s not the best project management software for the just-work project manager.

The best project management software for the just-in-time project manager focuses on project planning and scheduling. You can use it to create a project schedule, assign tasks, and record the work in progress, but it doesn’t have any project management features that can help you better manage the work as it’s happening. It also doesn’t have any collaboration features such as chat or document sharing.

The best project management software for the just-work project manager focuses more on project management features. It has just-in-time project management and time management features that can help you better manage the work as it’s happening. It has collaboration features such as chat and document sharing but lacks any project management features.

Payments

Made to your FreshBooks accounts in 2021 will be made instantly. This means that at the end of the day, your FreshBooks bookkeeper will add up all the receipts you're paying, and make the payment to you at the designated time you set on your accounting page in the app.

There's also a new, simpler pricing model. All pricing is based on the number of days you're planning on using your business. For example: a small business owner who does a lot of banking from home and bills once a month might be charged a small amount for staying on payroll for 31 days. For long-distance driving truckers, a monthly subscription for 365 days might be a more cost effective alternative to paying for daily on-the-go tax services.

FreshBooks’s goal with the 2021 update is to empower freelancers and small businesses owners everywhere with the tools to take control over their business, financial records, and themselves.

Learn more about the FreshBooks 2021 update in a feature interview highlighted in the ”What Industry Leaders Think” section.

Reports

Integrations

Connect FreshBooks to your website’s shopping cart (or, any third-party shopping cart of your choice) through the Discounts system. The Discounts system automatically keeps track of quantities of items sold, and you’re able to set a flat discount rate at which the customer pays.

This feature further reduces customer’s shopping cart abandonment, since they only pay straight off their bill.

You can then use the Discounts system to estimate your customer’s lifetime value (their average future spending), using a algorithm provided by the Premium feature.

This feature is the brainchild of a disgruntled customer who needed a way to estimate their future spending.

The customer was so frustrated with his customer-facing website attempting to do all of the estimations, that he hacked together a back-end app. (Ironic, as the app would become the most widely used application ever developed.)

Once the Discounts system's integration with your website is set up, you're able to pull your CLV estimates based on your customers' purchases.

The Discounts system also offers the option to set restrictions on sales, allowing you to track and block malicious purchasing by suspected spammers or users on sponsored websites.

Customer Service and Ease of Use

FreshBooks Alternatives

Pricing & Features for 2021

Freshbooks is surprisingly the oldest of all the Freshbooks alternatives out there. It was launched back in 2001 and has been helping professional freelancers and businesses manage their time properly, bill and collect on their time, plus keep track of expenses and invoices ever since.

Freshbooks's cloud accounting system works ok I guess- and it's actually one of the only ones that works well for a "low-entry" freelancer. You've probably heard of that term. A "low-entry" freelancer is someone who is used to working for mostly small clients who don't want to grow beyond their initial agreement (you are your own boss).

FreshBooks has a slew of other features that will appeal to less well-heeled contractors, but they are a bit too expensive for the average small-business owner who just needs to get their sales book and invoices together for taxation purposes.

So what does Freshbooks provide that you don't already get yourself with QuickBooks or FreeAgent?

You get a lot of things. But it doesn't end there. Look at their pricing tiers. You get integrated assessment and booking, a mobile app, custom invoices, and then you go into the Third-Party Integrations section of their pricing page.

Bottom Line

FreshBooks has been around for more than a decade and is best known as a cloud accounting system for small businesses. However, not everyone can or wants an online accounting system. And for most small businesses, using FreshBooks is not directly required to manage the books of accounts.

While FreshBooks is free, the free account does not have all of the features that are available in the paid accounts. You can go with the free version, but you will find that there are restrictions on the number of contacts you can monitor and billing cycles for estimating and invoicing clients.

On the other hand, the paid version offers many powerful features that smaller businesses can really benefit from. With the paid version, you can receive client billing, monthly and yearly payroll, multiple reports on financial trends, and unlimited sub-accounts.

Even so, the free version still makes a lot of sense for those who like the idea of FreshBooks, but are not ready to commit to a month-to-month or yearly revenue-based payment plan. And if you regularly work with other freelancers, the free FreshBooks account offers even more value if you are trying to build your clientele.