NOTE: This article was reviewed and updated on June 5, 2020.
One of the lessons business owners have learned over the last few months, impacted by the coronavirus, is the importance of accurate (and accessible) financial records. A lack of good accounting made it difficult for many businesses to get approved for one of the small business loans that were part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Post PPP, this will be even more important as those funds are exhausted and business owners turn to more traditional financing options like term loans, lines of credit, cash flow loans, or business credit cards. Below is our FreshBooks review.
FreshBooks, originally created in 2003, is a cloud-based accounting program used by millions of small business owners world wide. Many business owners use FreshBooks accounting software to manage invoicing, recurring billing, accounting, and even payroll.
The online service is a solid option if you’re looking for an online accounting solution and invoicing software to help your business keep track of cash flow, track expenses, create expense reports, take online payment for goods or services more efficiently. The cloud accounting platform’s wide array of features is one of the reasons why FreshBooks is a favorite of many small to mid-sized businesses. Yet although it’s used by many small business owners, FreshBooks seems to have a special appeal where freelancers, sole proprietors, and project-oriented businesses are concerned.
In this review we’ll cover:
- FreshBook Features
- Pros and Cons
- FreshBook vs QuickBooks Comparison
- FreshBook Reviews
FreshBooks online accounting package comes in three different options — Lite, Plus, and Premium. Each option includes different features, based upon the type and price of the plan you select.
Here’s an overview of FreshBooks’ three available plans.
|Lite||$15 per month ($13.50 per month if paid annually)|
|Plus||$25 per month ($22.50 per month if paid annually)|
|Premium||$50 per month ($45 per month if paid annually)|
|Additional Users||$10 per month (per person)|
|Advanced Payments (Recurring Payments, Phone Payments, In Person Payments)||$20 per month (plus 3.5% and $0.30 per transaction)
*Not available with FreshBooks Lite
As mentioned, the features included with your FreshBooks plan will depend upon which version of the accounting software you choose. Below is a break down of the three plan options and the features included with each.
Starting with the $15/month FreshBooks Lite plan, all plans include the following features:
- Customized Unlimited Invoices (Bill Up to 5 Clients)
- Expense Entries (Unlimited)
- Accept Credit Card Payments and ACH Bank Transfers Online (Additional Fees Apply to accept online payment)
- Automated Bank Account Import to track expenses (Expense Reporting)
- Time Tracking (Unlimited)
- Create and Send Estimates (Unlimited)
- Tax Time Reports
- Customization Options
FreshBooks cloud accounting software offers some more robust features as well, detailed below. These features are available through FreshBooks’ more expensive monthly programs.
In addition to all of the features included with FreshBooks Lite, the Plus Plan (priced at $25/month) includes the following:
- Customized Invoices (Unlimited — Bill Up to 50 Clients)
- Unlimited Proposals
- Automated Recurring Invoice capability
- Double Entry Accounting Reports
- Scheduled Late Fees
- Automated Late Payment Reminders
- Double-Entry Accounting
- Client Retainers
- Advanced Payment Options ($20 Per Month + Additional Transaction Fees)
Does your business need invoicing software with the ability to invoice a larger number of clients? If so, FreshBooks Premium at $50/month may be the best fit. The Premium Plan includes everything both FreshBooks Lite and Plus have to offer. Plus, you’ll have access to this additional feature:
- Customized Invoices (Unlimited — Bill Up to 500 Clients)
Technically, there’s a fourth FreshBooks plan available if one of the standard plans isn’t a good fit for your business. You can speak with a dedicated Account Manager from the FreshBooks team to discuss a customized option (and price).
Perhaps the biggest benefit for companies that process a large volume of payments is the fact that a FreshBooks Select Plan could potentially save you money on your payment processing costs. If your credit card and/or ACH payment volume is high enough (aka you process a lot of credit card or ACH payments each month), you might be able to negotiate a lower transaction rate.
As a small business owner, anything you can do to save time on mundane tasks and free up time to generate a bigger profit is a win. Depending on the size of your business and how much time an accounting software feature might save you, a higher monthly fee could potentially be well worth the cost.
Naturally, you’ll have to crunch the numbers and make that call for yourself. But there’s some wisdom behind the idea that sometimes you need to spend money to make money—regardless of which accounting software you ultimately choose to get the job done.
Read below for an overview of three of FreshBooks’ key features — invoicing, client limit, and the FreshBooks mobile app. If you do opt to use FreshBooks as a small business accounting solution, understanding which benefits you may or may not have access to with each plan can help you choose your best option.
One of the biggest appeals that FreshBooks offers users is a fast, easy way to create professional looking invoices and collect payments online. Below you’ll find an easy-to-understand guide that highlights the different invoicing features available with each FreshBooks monthly subscription plan.
|Email Invoice Reminders||No||Yes||Yes|
|Automated Late Payment Reminders||No||Yes||Yes|
|Automated Late Payment Charges||No||Yes||Yes|
|Recurring Invoices||No||Yes (Additional fees apply.)||Yes (Additional fees apply.)|
Extra Charges for Collecting Payments
FreshBooks Payments lets your business collect payments directly from the invoices you send out. But there is an extra charge for those features.
- Online Invoice Payments: Payments made via invoices cost 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction for most credit cards.
- Virtual Terminal and Recurring Payments: Want to set up a virtual terminal which gives you access to features like recurring billing and manual payments (over the phone or in person)? It will cost an extra $20 per month plus another 3.5% and $0.30 per transaction.
FreshBooks Client Limit
One of the biggest differences between the three FreshBook plans is the number of clients you’re able to invoice. Starting with the lowest-priced Lite Plan, you can send an unlimited number of invoices each month. However, you can’t send those invoices to an unlimited number of clients.
Here’s a look at the different client limits, side by side, based upon the plan you choose.
|Number of Billable Clients||5||50||500|
FreshBooks offers a user-friendly mobile app, available on iOS and an Android app. Unfortunately, certain features (like reporting) are not accessible through the app.
Still, you can use the app to access dozens of other features, depending upon the monthly plan you’ve selected. Some of the app’s most popular features include:
- Creating and Sending Invoices
- Snapping Pictures of Receipts
- Tracking Time
- Logging Expenses On the Go (iOS Devices Only)
Pros and Cons
FreshBooks is a reputable software option that millions of businesses rely on every month. Many customers who sign up for the service enjoy the features and are happy about making FreshBook their accounting solution of choice.
However, that doesn’t automatically mean everything about the software platform is great. You should take some time to review the pros and cons of FreshBooks before you make a decision for your business.
|FreshBooks offers a free trial so you can play around with the software before you make a financial commitment.||The mobile app is limited and doesn’t allow you to access reports on the go.|
|The program has a user-friendly FreshBooks dashboard and interface that is easy to navigate.||The program reportedly doesn’t work well for larger or more complex businesses, such as those that need inventory tracking and vendor management.|
|FreshBooks has undergone several major updates in recent years to upgrade its software features for customers.||At least one of the recent software updates was reported to include a rate hike—a fact that made many existing customers unhappy.|
|FreshBooks is slightly less expensive than several other popular cloud-based accounting software programs.||Although FreshBooks costs a little less per month than some of its competitors, it also lacks some of the features these competitors offer.|
FreshBooks vs QuickBooks
Although FreshBooks is certainly popular, it’s not the only accounting software option on the market for your small business. In the world of business accounting software, there are two options which consistently compete to be the software of choice for small business owners—FreshBooks and QuickBooks.
If you think a cloud accounting platform might be a good fit for your business, you’d do well to consider both of these options.
In North America, QuickBooks and FreshBooks hold the number one and number two spots, respectively, in terms of paying subscribers. Both platforms give small businesses the ability to streamline accounting, invoicing, payments, and much more.
|Lite: $15/month||Simple Start: $25/month|
|Plus: $25/month||Essentials: $40/month|
|Premium: $50/month||Premium: $70/month|
|Select: Custom Pricing||Advanced: $150/month|
As you can see above, the price points of the products are similar, with QuickBooks plans coming in slightly more expensive than Freshbooks’ Lite, Plus, and Premium offerings. However, while QuickBooks does cost a little more, it has some added features that your business might want to consider before you make a decision.
Click here to see Nav’s full, side-by-side comparison of these two accounting solutions and find out if one of them is the right fit for your business.
FreshBooks Review Reddit—What Are People Saying?
Overall, FreshBooks has a good reputation online. The Toronto-based company boasts an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and has been an accredited member of the BBB since 2014.
Of course, anytime you’re researching an unfamiliar product, it can be helpful to take a look at what other customers of the company have to say about their experiences. Though Reddit comments about FreshBooks range from raving fans to disappointed users, many comments took on a positive tone, including the following:
“For me, paid FreshBooks is a must. I sign up all clients on it as I hate asking for money. I like to focus on the work and deliverables without worrying about accounting.”
~Reddit username: mangrovesnapper
“I’ve used FreshBooks for over 10 years. Pretty straight forward and makes it easy to get paid.”
~Reddit username: jmbullis