What is Freshbooks?

Freshbooks is a cloud-based invoicing and accounting package for freelancers, self-employed professionals, and small businesses hiring contractors or full-time employees. Providing a fresh and inviting user interface, Freshbooks offers you a lot for your money, providing everything a small business needs to estimate, invoice, and receive payments while tracking time, mileage, expenses, and project status. Freshbooks also integrates with over 100 apps to optimize your operation and link your systems.

Canadian company 2ndSite Inc. owns Freshbooks. The company is headquartered in Toronto, employs over 500 people globally and was founded in 2004 by three entrepreneurs. One founder, Mike McDermott, was running a small design agency and was billing using Microsoft Word and Excel. He was disappointed with the time it took him to invoice and the less-than-professional look he was achieving. He coded up his own solution, which ultimately became the core of Freshbooks. The company’s value exceeds $1 billion, having served more than 30 million clients in over 160 countries.

The workflow provided by Freshbooks is smooth, with estimates turned into invoices upon client acceptance, while project tracking allows both client and team members to stay on top of progress. You can manage expenses, with pictures of till slips being imported and converted as costs against a job, with multi-currency capability and auto-categorization. A built-in timer allows you to track time against a particular job and add detailed notes, with Freshbooks able to bill for tracked hours automatically. A nice touch is the automated mileage tracker that tracks mileage as you drive to give an accurate cost for client billing and tax purposes.

Freshbooks makes receiving payments easy, with a payment link embedded in the invoice, payment schedules or part payment options available, and multi-currency capability. Multiple payment methods exist, including VISA, MasterCard, AMEX, Apple Pay, and ACH transfers. When it comes to accounting, Freshbooks integrates seamlessly. While double-entry accounting may make an accountant’s heart race, most of us dread its complexity. Freshbooks provides simple-to-use and intuitive double-entry accounting tools to prepare your reports for use by, or discussion with, your accountant.

What popular features do you get with Freshbooks?

  • Automatic mileage tracking
  • Simple estimate to invoice conversion
  • Team and client collaboration space
  • One-click payments via invoice link

  • Multi-currency estimate generation
  • Inventory tracking on invoices
  • Auto-billing for tracked hours
  • Manage credit notes and prepayments

  • Automatically calculate taxes on invoices
  • Professional invoice and estimate templates

Customer Support is available at Freshbooks

Freshbooks guarantee you’ll always speak to a human when you ring, and they offer toll-free numbers for calls from the UK, Australia, and the US. Customer support hours run from 8 am to 8 pm eastern time, Monday to Friday. There is also a fax number if you still own a fax, or you can use their web chat facility, which starts with a web bot but directs you to a human if your query needs more comprehensive assistance. Freshbooks also offer a small business resource hub with articles on managing each stage of your business, from estimating to accounting.


What kind of business is Freshbooks ideal for?

Freshbooks is suited to micro, small, and mid-sized businesses, with pricing to suit one-person operations, freelancers, and self-employed professionals. Medium-sized operations will appreciate Freshbooks integration with over 100 partner apps to ensure all third-party systems like payroll and human resources get along and play nicely together. Larger organizations may need a more end-to-end solution that includes HR and payroll, making Freshbooks less aligned to their needs.

Pros and Cons

  • Affordable
  • Clean user interface
  • Simple and intuitive to use
  • Good integration with partner apps
  • Double-entry accounting for reporting
  • Estimate to invoice conversion feature

  • Expensive to add additional team members
  • The advanced payment and subscription feature is an expensive add-on
  • Unsuitable for larger businesses

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How much does Freshbooks cost?

*based on information provided by the vendor. Actual cost may vary.

Freshbooks offers four levels of subscription plans that you can choose to pay monthly, or annually, they are Lite, Plus, Premium, and Select. The major difference between them is the number of clients you can have and some additional features like managing client retainers, customized email templates, automated expense or bill data capture, and bank reconciliation and double-entry accounting reports.

The Lite plan allows you to track unlimited expenses, send unlimited estimates and invoices, and automate recurring invoices and late payment reminders. Time and mileage tracking come as standard, as does a client portal.

When you step up to the Plus plan, the greatest difference is the increased number of clients you can bill, management of client retainers, automatic expense capture, and additional accounting features such as double-entry accounting and bank reconciliation.

The Premium plan gives you unlimited clients, automatic bills receipt data capture, accounts payable, and project profitability functions. The final Select tier allows subscription-based payments, phone credit-card acceptance, the addition of two team members, and a dedicated account manager.

Plan Lite Plus Premium Select
Payments monthly $4.50 $7.50 $15.00 Quote
Annual Payment $130.50 $217.50 $435.00 Quote
Client Limit 5 50 Unlimited Unlimited
Add Team Members $10 $10 $10 $10
Advanced Payments N/A $20 $20 $20

Final thoughts...

Freshbooks is a great product for small to mid-sized businesses, offering a professional-looking estimate-to-payment workflow while providing basic accounting support and a few great automated features, such as time and mileage tracking, recurring invoicing and late payment reminders. We think the five-client limit on the Lite plan is a bit tight, particularly given the jump to 50 clients in the next tier; perhaps a 20-client limit would be more appropriate?

Past criticisms have been the lack of live chat and limited ticketing support, which Freshbooks appear to have rectified with a more comprehensive support option, so kudos to them. Overall, we think Freshbooks is a great product for solopreneurs and small businesses, offering a great user experience and some nice features at an attractive price point.