When striking out on your own as a freelancer or business owner, one of the major hurdles you’ll have to jump over is how you’re going to keep your money organized. There is a lot to get your head around—more than you may imagine, including client payments, how much money is coming in, how much money is going out, and more.
Without having a good idea of your cash flow when running a freelance business, it’s easy to make a misstep or overlook something. In turn, it could lead to costly mistakes, time wasted, or moments of frustration.
It can be a lot to juggle if you’re not an accounting or tax professional or if you haven’t hired one. And that’s where a service like FreshBooks may come into play.
What is FreshBooks?
FreshBooks is an invoice and accounting platform for self-employed folks. Through the online platform, you can send invoices, track time spent on projects, record your expenses, and create basic financial reports.
What are FreshBooks’ main features?
-Invoicing. No more hastily slapping together an invoice. With FreshBooks, you have the capabilities to send an invoice from your computer or through your app. You can add a business logo and send invoices that look properly formatted, polished, and professional.
-Receiving payments. FreshBooks enables you to accept payments directly from your clients through ACH or credit card. (Note that there is a processing fee to pay.) If a client is late on making payments, you can charge a late fee or send a friendly reminder that payment is overdue.
-Expenses. Connect your bank account or a credit card and transactions will automatically be imported into your FreshBooks platform. From there, you can properly account for each expense by categorizing them. There’s also a handy feature to snap photos of your receipts and log them into the cloud.
-Time tracking. If you’re charging an hourly rate, you’ll need a way to keep track of your hours. Beyond that, time tracking helps you figure out how much time you spend on different parts of your business, and how much to charge going forward.
-Project proposals. Creating a request when courting new clients can be tedious and time-consuming. FreshBooks has a built-in feature to create necessary project proposals that include the scope (aka the parts involved) and provide an estimate.
-Project management. If you’re working with a team on a project, FreshBooks has a feature where you can invite clients, contractors, and other collaborators, and create a schedule, assign deadlines, and share assets.
-Integrations. In our modern age, you’ll want to consider how your different accounts and platforms talk to each other and work together as a whole. It’ll make for easier flow and save you time and hassle. To date, FreshBooks integrates with a variety of popular payroll, financing, bookkeeping and tax services, shipping and tracking, customer relationship management, and inventory management platforms.
-Reports. With a few clicks, you can create customizable reports to see how well your business is performing. Need an expense report? How about a profit and loss statement? Or would you like to dig into the details of your invoices or sales taxes? You can whip up a report through FreshBooks.
Who is FreshBooks for?
FreshBooks is an invoicing and accounting platform for freelancers or single-person businesses. It’s designed for those who don’t have an accounting background or don’t particularly enjoy crunching numbers. The main goal is to provide a fast, easy solution to help freelancers and business owners stay on top of their financial housekeeping. In short, this will likely work for those who don’t have a ton of resources to hire a bookkeeper but want to avoid making costly mistakes.
FreshBooks is typically for those who provide services—think graphic designers, photographers, UX designers, writers, legal professionals, and coaches. While it could be for those who offer products, and there are some integrations for inventory management and shipping, there may be other accounting platforms that have more robust tools and features for product-based small businesses.
Who isn’t FreshBooks for?
While FreshBooks does cater to those who have hundreds of clients they bill, if one has hundreds of employees and more complex accounting needs, they might want to consider some other accounting and invoicing services. Small businesses with larger enterprises may be better off looking at different platforms, systems, and solutions to make for a stronger fit.
If you’re just starting and have, say, one client and a few gigs a year, the cost may not be worth it. You may be fine using free or low-cost software.
FreshBooks offers a few plans, ranging from $4.50/month, which accounts for five billable clients, to $15/month, which allows users to bill up to 500 clients.
FreshBooks is a robust accounting and invoicing solution for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses who typically specialize in service-based offerings. It’s a reliable, affordable option for those who want something affordable, easy-to-use, with plenty of convenient app features.
If you’re looking to scale, particularly if you’re a product-based business that relies heavily on inventory tracking, shipping, and fulfillment, you’ll want to take a close look at what FreshBooks offers and compare it side-by-side with alternatives.