In Praise of FreshBooks - Online Invoicing, Time Tracking & Billing
Approximately four years ago I struggled within my business with all things related to the books and record keeping. It was common to forget to send out a bill, to forget to log hours, and to neglect to send out periodic reminders on overdue receivables. I'd worked with a bookkeeper in order to keep the office paperwork in order, but I myself was intimidated and frustrated with the bloated accounting software that I was using.
On a whim, and based on a some positive reviews within my industry, I heard about FreshBooks, an online service for time-tracking, expense tracking, and invoicing. Within the first three months there was a noticeable difference in my outstanding receivables... for the better.
FreshBooks features that I can't live without
- recurring billing, with overdue reminders (email & regular post)
- built-in payment options using established payment gateways (including PayPal)
- time-tracking for projects
- support for multiple recipients of email notices
- login control panel (heads up display and overview of your activity for the last three months)
- tracking 'viewing' of invoices & estimates that were sent electronically
- ability to include unbilled expenses & unbilled hours (just released this morning) within recurring invoices
- a support team that quite simply kicks ass!
- they are progressive in the ongoing development of their service, I mean, REALLY progressive!
Support Team — I've had a few occasions to contact their support to find out the best way to do something. They're always incredibly prompt and responsive to my requests and have to be the most friendly support people I've ever encountered.
Recurring Billing — I offer hosting and domain name registration services to a few of my clients, so the recurring invoicing comes in extremely handy. You can setup monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, annual, bi and tri-annual billing easily within their recurring invoicing service. The term of the recurring invoice is also customizable, so it can end on a certain date or be set to never expire.
Payment — Although most of my payment experience within FreshBooks is with PayPal, there's a multitude of payment gateway options (I'm currently making the switch to Beanstream for this - another great Canadian company).
Time-tracking — Tracking my time is critical to remaining successful with my business. I can quickly setup new projects and allocate the relevant tasks as well as setting a budget for time to spent on the project. This way I can easily see if/when we're getting close to exceeding the budget so I can alert my clients and make any necessary adjustments in order to stay on target.
Multiple invoice recipients — over the years I've run into several scenarios where a billing contact leaves a company, is on holidays, or just isn't very good at sending invoices along for processing. The ability to set multiple recipients has eliminated a lot of frustration on my end.
Control panel landing page — without question this is one of the biggest contributing factors in turner the corner with my business. I get a snapshot of: recent activity (invoices sent, clients logging in, payments processed, invoice totals for the last three months (broken into billed, received, outstanding), expenses totals for the last 3 months, timesheet totals for current week & month, and a project dashboard with graphs to indicate project progress in relation to budgeted time.
Unbilled expenses & hours — this is a *new* feature added recently that allows me to pull in any unbilled expenses and hours for a given project on a recurring invoice. So, I no longer have to remember to generate a month-end invoice for site maintenance work that I perform for some of my clients. (I can not express how happy this makes me!)
FreshBooks has created a fanatic in me! My business looks and performs better as a result of my using their services.
If you're interested in checking them out, be sure to let them know just where you heard about them, in fact, using this link will let them know that I sent you (and they will show me some gratitude too)
» Check out what FreshBooks can do for you!