PROS / FreshBooks tells you when your customers receive and view the invoice emails you send them.
CONS / It does not offer batch invoices.
VERDICT / FreshBooks is an extremely intuitive program with the features you need to manage clients, send invoices and process payments.
When it comes to services to help you with your company finances, FreshBooks is our top choice. Setting up your company, creating and sending your first invoice, and all its other processes are intuitive. The FreshBooks system monitors the status of invoices after you send them, and it lets you know when customers receive and view their invoices. A customer portal allows your clients to keep track of their accounts and pay their bills. The ease with which all steps are completed, the online conveniences for both you and your customers, and its inclusion of all the features we look for in billing and invoicing software are the reasons FreshBooks wins our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for this category.
When you run your own business, the last thing you need is to struggle with an invoice program that is supposed to make life easier. You will not have that problem with FreshBooks. Setting up your account is a quick process, requiring minimal steps. Your account page is clean, organized and clearly labeled. The main dashboard provides an overview of your company's information, such as paid and unpaid invoices for the past six months and a report showing what amounts are 30, 60, or 90 days old or more.
Creating a one-time or recurring invoices is a simple process, as you can add new customers, products and services as you go. Some billing software requires you to add that information first, or they do not save the information you manually add when creating invoices. With FreshBooks, you can select customers from your list or add a new customer and information. Invoices allow you to add tasks for services, including the rate, time, and items, including the cost per item and quantity. You can add personalized notes on the invoice or in your email.
You can add further personalization by customizing a few elements of your invoices. FreshBooks has limited options for customization compared to other services we reviewed. You can choose from two templates, either classic or clean, edit fonts and colors, and add your logo. The templates look professional, but if adding your personal charm and flair to invoices is part of your company identity, the lack of customization may be a downside. One of its few other downsides is that you cannot send batch invoices for customers who have the same invoices at the same rate.
Billing & Payment
When sending an invoice, you have the standard choice to email the invoice or send a hard copy by snail mail. Few services still offer the option to send invoices by mail, so this option is a bonus for customers who do not have readily available internet for email or wish to hold on to their hard copies. Setting up your email with FreshBooks is, like other processes with this company, very simple. By including your email address in your company profile, you've done all that's required of you. Other services require you to include a server name and port number and even your login credentials, which is a hassle when it works and a headache when it doesn't.
From your customer's end, the email process is hassle-free as well. The email displays the invoice total and any message you include. A link takes your customer to a personal portal login. In this portal, customers can see all of their account activity, including when you create and send an invoice. They can view their invoices and save them as PDFs or print hard copies.
If you use FreshBooks' credit card payments, which is an additional fee, your customers can process payments directly from their portals. You can also set up a payment gateway using Stripe, Authorize.net or Braintree. These payments apply directly to customers' accounts.
If you accept payment via other means, you can post a payment manually. If you accept checks or money orders, you can include a remittance slip on the bottom of your invoices for customers to return with their payments. If your customers do not make a payment by their due date, you can set the invoicing software to automatically charge a late fee and send an automatic email reminder.
When you want to track aspects of your business finances, FreshBooks offers an assortment of reports. Aging reports provide a more detailed account than the summary on the dashboard, with each client and amount itemized. Other client reports detail revenue per client or the average time it takes for each of your clients to pay their bills. You can run reports for revenue, sales, time tracking, taxes, and profit and loss. After running reports, you can print a hard copy or export to a CSV file or directly to Excel.
Help & Support
The website does a great job explaining the service, and you can try the service for free to decide if it works for your company. A customer coach contacts you via email to offer support as you get your company up and running, and you can contact customer service any time after that by email. You can call customer support on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mountain time. You should find a support key code before you call in, which links to your account so the representative has access to your account.
FreshBooks is not only for accounting. You can use it for billing and invoicing. Setting up your company is a breeze, and you can jump right into creating and sending invoices faster than you can with the majority of other services we reviewed. You can keep track of the status of your invoices, even seeing when customers open and view their invoices. The customer portal adds convenience for your customers and for you, and the payment options can further streamline the process of you receiving payment for your business's invoices. The entire process is intuitive, and with the exception of a few missing features and the lack of customization for your invoices, FreshBooks is unlikely to fall short of your expectations and needs. Being so simple yet so effective makes FreshBooks the best billing and invoicing software.