FreshBooks is a Web-based and 256-bit encrypted accounting, time billing, estimate, and invoicing application that seeks to replace desktop-based accounting programs like Quicken, QuickBooks, FirstEdge, and AccountEdge. It’s an aspiration that FreshBooks reaches for and nearly meets.
Good business accounting packages do a few things well: Track income and expenses, manage estimates, invoices, and customer payments, and give you clear, concise year-end financial information. Really great accounting applications also let you create and manage inventory and track the cost of goods sold.
FreshBooks excels in almost all these areas, but offers only 19 reports. While this is far fewer than you’ll find in most desktop accounting applications, the reports FreshBooks does offer are sufficient for most businesses. FreshBooks is also limited when it comes to inventory management, offering basic inventory tracking that will only be useful for those businesses where inventory isn’t a major source of income.
Like Ballpark, FreshBooks offers several cost tiers, from free to $149 per month. Paying more increases the number of clients and employees you can carry, and free accounts display a small FreshBooks ad on every email, invoice, and estimate you send. As a business finance app, FreshBooks offers most of the features found in similar business accounting apps like AccountEdge and QuickBooks and offers many more features than Ballpark.
FreshBooks’ workspace is broken into ten tabs that you use to manage clients, employees, invoices, estimates, and expenses. FreshBooks also offers tools for time tracking and billing.
You can access these time tracking tools using any Web browser, including mobile Safari. If you have an iPhone or iPod touch, you can use the £8.99 MiniBooks for FreshBooks (iTunes link).
Using MiniBooks on your iPhone or iPod Touch lets you create new clients, invoices, and estimates. I much preferred MiniBooks to FreshBooks on my phone, as FreshBooks’ Web interface didn’t scale well to the iPhone’s smaller screen.