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 unusual 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 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.
33 of 34 people found this review helpful
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