- Incredibly easy to use
- Automates invoicing, expense and time tracking
- Includes many features that are "Premium" in QuickBooks
- No tax filing integration
- No desktop client
If you’re relatively new to accounting and looking for an accounting solution that’s extremely easy to use on your Mac, FreshBooks may well be for you.
FreshBooks bills itself as “accounting for the non-accountant” and it really is about as simple as it comes when it comes to accounting on a Mac.
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Based on one of its customer surveys, FreshBooks claims it helps small business owners save 192 hours every year in administration so it’s a worthwhile investment if you find yourself drowning in financial admin.
The closest rival to FreshBooks is QuickBooks but FreshBooks offers many features for free which are only available in premium plans with QuickBooks.
These include Billable Hours, Time Tracking, Expense Categorization, Team Roles, and Simultaneous Users. There are also features in FreshBooks such as Project Collaboration and Proposals which aren’t even available in QuickBooks.
You can also currently get 60% off FreshBooks for a limited time making it considerably better value for money that QuickBooks overall.
FreshBooks has been around since 2003 and is now one of the most widely used accounting solutions in the world with over 10 million users in 120 countries.
What’s made it so successful is that from automatic sending of invoices, tracking time and logging expenses, FreshBooks does all the hard work for you.
FreshBooks uses a classic Double-Entry Accounting system which keeps tabs on revenue and related expenses so that you have an accurate calculation of profit and loss.
This uses automatic checks and balances so that debit and credit amounts are equal which reduces the chance of errors when you file taxes at the year end.
For small businesses or freelancers in particular, FreshBooks is affordable, accessible and very well thought out.
The main features of FreshBooks are:
- Balance Sheet
- Trial Balance
- General Ledger
- Cost of Goods Sold
- Other Income (interest, rental income, etc.)
- Chart of Accounts
- Accountant Access
- Journal Entries
One of the most important tasks any accounting software handles is connecting to and reconciling bank accounts. FreshBooks not only connects to most major banking institutions reliably, but the bank connections are both easy to setup and reliable.
FreshBooks can also automatically reconcile invoice payments and card payments. FreshBooks will learn how you reconcile regular payments and automatically suggest reconciliation details for your approval.
Internal transfers between accounts and refunds are clearly highlighted so there’s no confusion between them and invoice payments that have been accounted for.
Overall, the smoothness and intelligence of bank rec is one of FreshBooks best features.
Invoicing is slick with professional, customizable templates that are easy to track once you’ve sent them. You can add your own logo, payment method and a nice touch is personalized automated thank you emails for payments.
We like the fact that you can also setup automated payment reminders to be sent out at customizable intervals with an option for charging late fees too.
If you work in a team, FreshBooks makes it easy to share invoices and expenses with your accountant or colleagues, share files and follow-up payments.
The same goes for creating Estimates and then converting them to invoices. You can convert Estimates to invoices in a few clicks and add buttons to Estimates for client to agree or disagree to them.
Expenses are automatically imported from any business, debit or credit card you connect it to which takes just a few minutes to setup.
We like the fact that the level of access is automatically set depending on the type of person you invite to view your accounts such as accountant, contractor, business partner or employee.
Sharing files and accounts with them is therefore extremely fast and easy.
You can also setup online credit card payments via FreshBooks Advanced Payments for clients so that you get paid quicker and get notification confirmation when customers have received and read your invoice.
You can also use Stripe to accept payments from clients.
FreshBooks can also be used for Time Tracking which often comes as a Premium feature in many accounting packages. This is ideal for teams to track how much time they’re spending on a client’s project.
If you already use a project management tool such as Asana, Basecamp, Trello or Teamwork then FreshBooks can also import data from them.
In fact, the project management tools in FreshBooks go way beyond what you normally get in an accounting package with the ability to upload attachments, set due dates for completion and follow threaded chats between team members.
A big bonus for Mac users is that you can use FreshBooks on any platform since it’s hosted in the Cloud. This is definitely a plus when it comes to Macs because most accountants and other finance professionals still use Windows.
Of course, it would be nice to have a desktop client but the fact is most accounting software is going cloud based nowadays and desktop clients are gradually being phased out on both macOS and Windows.
There is however an excellent FreshBooks mobile app which works on iOS and Android. The mobile app allows you to invoice, take photos of receipts and even respond to client questions and queries about invoices.
FreshBooks uses 256-bit SSL encryption which is about the most secure encryption available in the Cloud. This means any information you send or receive from your Mac is protected so your data is safe and also constantly backed up by FreshBooks.
Last but not least is the way FreshBooks handles Reports. Reports are the fastest way to get an overview of how your business is doing at any given moment and FreshBooks gives you a range of useful summaries of how your business is doing.
This includes year-end business reports, profit and loss and sales tax summaries. Although FreshBooks can’t generate tax time specific reports, it does neatly summarize all the essential data you need to enter at tax time.
FreshBooks is very reasonably priced with plans for self-employed users starting at $15.00 per month (currently on limited offer at $7.50 per month).
That gives you unlimited invoices and estimates, time tracking, credit card payment facility and expense importing from your bank account.
You can also get 50% off FreshBooks for a limited period which makes it a very good deal compared to the competition.
You can try FreshBooks free for 30 days with no credit card required to judge for yourself.
If you choose not to subscribe to a plan after the trial is finished, you can still access your invoices, expenses and other data so you won’t be locked out like some accounting trials do.