When I set up my business last year, the first thing I did was start browsing for some accounting software. Accounting, bookkeeping, tracking income and expenses, however you call it, that’s my weakness. And I knew that I had to invest in software that would help me with invoicing, tracking expenses and tracking time. Through some recommendations, I came across Freshbooks. I was pretty happy from the beginning, and while I did look at a few other programs, Freshbooks turned out to be the right program for me.
So, in the second post in the What Is series, I introduce you to Freshbooks.
(Note: *This post contains affiliate links. Disclosure at the bottom.)
What is Freshbooks?
Freshbooks* is cloud accounting software especially designed for service providers, small businesses and freelancers. It can track your time, create invoices, track expenses, provide reports, design estimates, send follow up emails, and allow your team members and clients to log in. And it’s really easy to use on top of all that functionality.
Why I love it
The first tool I knew I needed to invest in when I started my business was accounting software. I didn’t want to mess with Excel spreadsheets, numbers that didn’t add up, or tracking down clients for payment. Freshbooks handles all those things and allows me to focus on my business and making clients happy.
With the paid version they allow me to remove the Freshbooks branding and have up to 25 clients stored in my database. So far, invoicing has been straightforward, and I love the reports on Profit and Loss and Timesheet Details (I can see where my time is being spent).
3 ways it helps your business
1. You save paper (which equals more time and more money)
With businesses, client bases and communication moving online, there’s good reason why invoicing should make the move too. It saves you time by removing the print, sign, fold, stuff, stamp, walk to post box, and send steps, and it saves you money on paper, ink, envelopes and stamps. They may be minimal expenses, but they’ll add up if you are sending a lot of invoices.
For those of you working with corporate clients and need paper invoices, you have the option to save and print, or send via SnailMail and purchase stamps through Freshbooks.
2. Reoccurring invoices and follow up emails do the work for you
For those clients whose monthly invoices remain the same, you can set up a reoccurring profile and have Freshbooks generate and send the invoices for you. If you’d rather proof the invoice before its sent, you can set that option too, and then send it manually.
Freshbooks also has multiple automatic emails that can notify clients of late payments, received payments and when they have a new invoice. Once you get the copy and settings on these set up, they go automatically when you do certain actions. Both of these settings could save you valuable time that you could be spending on the work you actually enjoy doing (unless you love invoicing and reminding clients to pay you!)
3. Easy customizations help your brand shine
One of the first actions you’re prompted to take when you set up your Freshbooks account is to upload your logo. You’ll see it when you sign in and in the top left corner of your account. You also have the choice to use your brand’s color and then the menu, buttons and design elements will appear in that color.
These two branding elements provide you an experience that unique to your company. This is great if you have team members who sign in to track their time or when clients sign in to view invoices. They’ll be reminded of your company and brand, and not feel as though they are using a third-party program.
Features to look out for
Here in Europe we’re very fortunate to have a free bank transfer system between any banks using SEPA (Single Euro Payment Area). My clients can pay me via bank transfer and while I have to manually register their payment, I save on bank fees.
If you need to have payment options outside of this bank transfer system, you can easily link your PayPal account to your Freshbooks account and give your clients the option to pay via PayPal on their invoice.
To find this option, go to Settings > Accept Credit Cards, then connect with your PayPal account. When you’re creating an invoice, just below the Invoice number and date, you’ll find the check box for whether PayPal should be an available payment option.
If you decide for the paid version, you’ll want to customize your automatic emails a bit to let your brand and personality shine through. Go to Settings > Emails and you’ll see all the emails that could be sent out through Freshbooks. Start with “New invoice” and “Payment notification” as those are the ones you’ll use the most. Customize to your heart’s desire!
Change language on individual invoices
You can set your main language and currency settings when you set up your account, but sometimes if you have a client who would prefer their invoice in a different language you can easily change that when you set up their client profile. Go to People > Clients > New Client. And once you’re creating an invoice, if you need to change the language you’ll find the same three buttons below the company name as on the new profile page.
Automatic VAT calculations
Don’t spend time calculating VAT on your invoices again! If you register your account with a European country, Freshbooks will automatically provide the VAT calculations and the option to add it to your invoices. Additionally, when you add an expense, you can designate how much is VAT to ease payments later on.
And if you need a different type of VAT or tax, you’ll find those options in Freshbooks too.
I want more!
If you need to streamline your invoicing and expense tracking, I highly suggest Freshbooks. While it’s really geared towards the service industry, it has so many features that allow you to remain mobile and manage your expenses from one spot. I didn’t even mention that you can create estimates for a project, email it to your potential client and go from there…how easy is that?! There are other programs out there like QuickBooks, Harvest or Wave, but Freshbooks works for me, and if might for you too.
You can find more information with their
- Freshbooks Blog
- Webinars, once you’ve started your free trial
And if you want to talk to someone about it or need help converting over to Freshbooks, contact me and I’ll gladly help!
What’s your biggest accounting challenge?
I look forward to hearing from you in the comments.
*Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a “thank you” commission if you make a purchase. I only suggest programs and tools that I use and wholeheartedly love. Thanks for your support in this way!