This isn’t just another FreshBooks review about the pros and cons of the software. In our FreshBooks review, we’ll look at what you can do with this business accounting software, what kind of investment you can expect, and how it compares to project management tools.
FreshBooks is an accounting software designed to manage the financial aspect of a business. From invoice creation to double-entry accounting, this customizable platform offers everything you need to manage money and grow a business the smart way.
One of the most time-consuming and challenging aspects of running your own business is keeping up with your books. You might find yourself asking questions like what accounting program to use, how much you can afford to spend, and where you can get the most support. FreshBooks is one of easiest solutions for small business owners, but does it have all the tools freelancers need to manage a successful business? We’ll answer all the questions and help you decide the best software for your business.
What this article covers (Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- What is FreshBooks
- FreshBooks for Freelancers
- Pricing Plans
- FreshBooks Review
- FreshBooks Alternatives for Freelancers
- Do You Need Accounting Software?
- FreshBooks Review Recap
What Is FreshBooks?
FreshBooks is a user-friendly accounting software for freelancers and small business owners. Started in 2003 out of a basement work area, this company was designed to do what other software wasn’t capable of at the time. It was born out of the desire for professional-looking invoices that didn’t take hours of time to manage. The initial program was developed over the course of two weeks but has been in a constant state of growth and evolution ever since its inception.
The company boasts that the software can help you save around 46 hours each month on invoicing and accounting, get paid faster, and save an entire week of work when it’s time to file your taxes.
Freelancers and self-employed professionals will feel right at home with FreshBooks. Some of the capabilities from its wide range of offerings include:
- Double-entry accounting and advanced accounting
- Professional invoices with just a few clicks
- Expenses tracking with imported purchases
- Collaboration with other employees (if applicable)
- Client management
In addition to helping you assemble more customized invoices, it also integrates payments within the platform. With FreshBooks on deck, you’ll be able to take payments with credit cards or debit cards, ACH bank transfers, PayPal, or Stripe for a nominal fee (2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction).
FreshBooks for Freelancers
As a freelancer, you have unique needs when it comes to running your own business. You’ll find that FreshBooks is designed with larger enterprises in mind, specifically ones looking to manage finances. This is where our FreshBooks alternatives come in clutch.
What services can help freelancers to get the best use out of their FreshBooks subscription?
- Invoicing and payments: Set up recurring invoices, automatic payment reminders, including late payment reminders, and online payments to make it more likely that you will get paid on time.
- Accurate billing: Track all aspects of your latest project from time-tracking and account statements to estimates and proposals. Never lose track of what your clients owe you for work that you’ve already completed.
- Simplify tax time: As long as you keep FreshBooks updated all year long, it will be simpler than ever before to file your taxes at the end of the year. Your accountant will thank you or you might even brave doing them on your own.
- Third-party apps: FreshBooks allows you to integrate with hundreds of apps, including Gmail, Dropbox, and Zoom, to streamline client projects.
The best thing is that your subscription is scalable based on the number of recurring billable clients you need. For those who work with just a handful of clients, the Lite plan should be sufficient but more clients will require the Plus or Premium plan.
If you aren’t sure whether FreshBooks is right for you, signing up for a 30-day free trial is simple. All you have to do is enter your email, choose a password, and follow the prompts to get started. You don’t even need to enter a credit card payment, ensuring that it stays free if you decide to discontinue your membership.
Of course, every freelancer knows the importance of saving money and investing back into their business wisely. FreshBooks offers an affordable double-entry accounting solution that isn’t likely to break the bank. You can choose from three unique plans, each with an increase in billable clients. This ensures that you are only paying for the services you actually need.
The Lite plan allows you to send unlimited invoices to up to five clients. It also comes standard with unlimited expense tracking, unlimited estimates, payments with bank transfers and credit cards, and access to reports.
The Plus plan covers up to 50 billable clients with automatic expense tracking, (with a bank connection) receipt captures, and recurring billing. You can also invite an accountant to review your setup and access financials on the go with access to an iOS and Android app.
The Premium plan allows for unlimited billable clients, bill tracking, project profitability, and even customizable email templates.
Pricing for the three plans is:
- $15 per month for FreshBooks Lite
- $25 per month for FreshBooks Plus
- $50 per month for FreshBooks Premium
All plans allow for only one user (sole proprietor). Each subsequent user has an additional cost of $10 per month, so be sure to take this into account if you are a freelancer who manages a team. You can also save roughly 10% by choosing to pay for an annual plan instead of the monthly cost.
Overall, FreshBooks is a pretty robust program that is excellent for small business owners who need more advanced accounting features while keeping better tabs on bank accounts. It’s great for those who work solo but can easily adapt if you want to add employees or contractors to increase your income.
Accounting features with the lowest FreshBooks Lite plan are comprehensive. Users can upgrade to Plus or Premium plan options for extra bells and whistles including unlimited billable clients and more detailed reports.
FreshBooks accounting platform is fairly user-friendly. It starts by asking a few key questions about your business so that the platform is tailored to you before you start with its accounting software. Depending on what you sell, it can even help you tabulate sales taxes.
- Access to robust financial reports
- Improved and sleek invoice designs
- Tailored to sole proprietors, creative professionals, and freelancers
- Cloud-based accounting software
- Reasonable pricing
- Great customer service
- 30-day free trial
- Limited project management features
- Expensive to add additional users
- Limited clients on Lite and Plus Plans (only 5 to 50)
FreshBooks Alternatives for Freelancers
Before you sign up for this service, you should start with the 30-day free trial. However, you should consider FreshBooks alternatives if you’re looking for more than financial management.
FreshBooks vs Bloom
Bloom is a top competitor for creative professionals who need business invoicing software that is easy to use, especially if you’ve never managed books before. It features an all-in-one solution for freelancers that contains everything you need to:
- Create and customize branded invoices
- Book clients and collect payments
- Schedule appointments and events
- Manage projects
- Manage leads
- Sign contracts
The best feature of Bloom is that its Starter plan is completely free which gives you the ability to use most of these features. You can always upgrade to the full suite of tools when you’re ready for $39 per month.
While FreshBooks is great for keeping tabs on your books as an accounting platform, Bloom offers more robust options that take care of every aspect of your business, not just your bookkeeping. You get many of the same accounting software features with practical tools to enhance how your business runs.
FreshBooks vs QuickBooks Online
One of the main considerations when deciding between cloud-based accounting software is how many users need access to data. FreshBooks is geared more toward solopreneurs or businesses without employees. While you can add more users, it comes at an additional cost that is quite hefty when compared to its base rates.
QuickBooks Online offers a better solution if you have a team that needs access to accounting data regularly. You will also find more customization with QuickBooks Online, though FreshBooks is fairly competitive in this area for freelancers and solopreneurs.
Both have great mobile apps and plenty of third-party app integrations like Shopify. They also both have a 30-day free trial so you can sample both programs to determine which is the better fit for your business.
However, FreshBooks tends to score higher on customer support and is more intuitive for users.
FreshBooks vs Square
If your freelancing business is on a budget, Square might be on your list of accounting software options – namely, because it offers a free version. You can send unlimited invoices, estimates, and contracts without paying a dime on Square. It also allows you to create recurring invoices, save credit card data and charge on-file cards, collect deposits, and more.
For free software, Square is a great option. However, you do get more features by signing up for its Plus plan ($20 per month), which is just a bit more expensive than FreshBooks’ Lite plan.
Both have fairly customizable features that allow you to tailor them to your business and have similar ratings when it comes to customer service. You can access both through phone, email, live chat, and a knowledge base for commonly asked questions.
FreshBooks does have more to offer when it comes to accounting features though. It is a more well-designed and thoughtful way to manage your books whereas Square is designed more for simple invoice creation and very basic bookkeeping.
Do You Need Accounting Software?
Any of the accounting software programs above can help you to keep better tabs on how much you earn and spend. However, most freelancers don’t need the advanced, expensive accounting software that larger enterprises use. This is where an all-in-one project management software comes in. If you’re looking for tools like invoices, contracts, lead and project management, client communication, and customizable forms, FreshBooks is not the right solution as it lacks these tools. On the other hand, if you need robust financial reporting, FreshBooks makes sense for your business.
Here are a few instances where a cloud-based accounting software might be able to help:
- You want to spend less time on expense management and getting things straight for tax time.
- Your accountant recommends that software could limit errors in your bookkeeping.
- You need an advanced accounting system for payroll.
A good invoicing software or free invoice generator may get the job done without having to spend hours learning how to use a more advanced accounting software like FreshBooks. Ask yourself if you really need a robust accounting system for your biz.
FreshBooks Review Recap
If you haven’t already guessed it, FreshBooks is one of the best cloud-based accounting software options on the market today. It’s user-friendly, robust, and highly customizable with a price tag that is extremely reasonable. Given how much time it can save you when it comes to balancing your books or filing your taxes at the end of the year, it may be worth the small financial investment.
Keep in mind that FreshBooks is designed mostly for business owners looking for advanced accounting solutions. For those that manage their own business, a project management software with basic bookkeeping plus all the additional features may be a more cost-effective solution.
Our recommendation? Try Bloom for free to see if the full suite of tools (including free invoicing) is a good fit for your business.