Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Freshbooks Makes Business Invoicing Simple - Review

FreshBooksIf you're in business, what is the most tedious jobs you have to do? When meeting with clients or figuring a bid estimate for some new work you're doing what all business do, scrape up new clients and serve their needs in a timely fashion. That's how a thriving company make money. The problem with the entrepreneur is that's what they do great. What they do poorly is bill. In my business, many contractors can't stand to send invoices or track accounts receivables. They hate it and because of it they bill improperly or not at all. They want to find an easy way to send clients invoices and get paid.

The Answer


Freshbooks is the business mans answer to invoicing. It lets you create—or import—databases of companies, contacts, and products/services. It provides customizable invoice and quote/estimate forms that you can either fill in manually or complete using lists. FreshBooks lets you dispatch these forms by e-mail or U.S. Mail, and you can record payments and expenses. Reports give you a birds-eye view of your finances. 



Collaboration


FreshBooks also builds in a lot of collaboration. For example, clients and contractors can access pertinent subsets of the site, this is unusual. It incorporates time-tracking and support tickets, and it lets you upload documents to a shared area, something competitors don't do. Basically, it does everything that everyone else does, and a lot more. Multiple subscription levels are available, ranging from free (three clients, unlimited invoices) to $39.95/month (unlimited clients and invoices). 


Decisions


With FreshBooks you get a clearinghouse for all of the options that serve as the site's backbone. When you click on the 'Settings' link, a number of tabs appear that open informational screens. Here, you can set up things like taxes ,colors and logos, and invoice templates.

You can edit default e-mail text for new invoices, late payment reminders, and so on. You can also set permissions for staff and clients who will have access to portions of the site. FreshBooks only allows one person to access the system unless you sign up for the priciest level ($39.95/month), and then it's only one additional individual. It's $10/month to add another. That's not cheap, compared to the competition. The next-best scoring service, Zoho Invoice, gives two people access in even the free version, but it doesn't let you set permission levels like you can do in FreshBooks. And FreshBooks lets clients and contractors to view pertinent data.

You'll also have to make decisions about payment gateways. FreshBooks supports several: three flavors of PayPal; several merchant accounts, including Authorize.net and iTransact; and Google Checkout. These options are more generous than competitors. You can also set up several defaults, like levels of client and staff access to Documents. 


Pros


  • External collaboration. 
  • Support tickets. 
  • Project and document management. 
  • Many payment gateways. 
  • Multiple currencies/languages. 
  • Numerous add-ons/integrated sites. 

Cons


  • Pricey for multiple staff members. 
  • Could make better use of screen space. 
  • Skimpy online help. 

Bottom Line You get it all with FreshBooks: client and product/service records, easy invoice creation and dispatching, document-sharing and reports, and the best integration/smartphone support on the Web. 


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