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FreshBooks Review

top10.com staffByTop10.com StaffJan. 29, 2020

In a Nutshell

Freshbooks’ project functionality integrates seamlessly with its cloud accounting platform and is tailor-made for freelancers and small business owners that are working on projects for their clients—whether billing hourly or for a flat fee. Its functionalities include a pop-up time tracker, automatic invoice generation from an hourly log, and a discussion tab for posting updates and sharing files about a project.

pros

  • Separate discussion area for sharing files
  • Automatic invoice generation from hourly log
  • Drag-and-drop user interface

cons

  • No Gantt charts of other project diagrams
  • No built-in VoIP for in-app phone calls

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Freshbooks Project Manager At A Glance

Best For
Freelancers and solopreneurs
Key Use
Tracking time spent on projects and automatically generating invoices
Price
$15/month for 5 billable clients (Lite plan) up to $500/month for 500 billable clients (Premium plan)
Storage
No limit on storage for attached project files
Free trial
Free unlimited 30-day trial

Features and Functionality

Pop-Up timer

Keeping track of time expenditure on client projects couldn’t be easier with Freshbook’s pop-up timer. 

In order to use the pop-up timer, users simply need to create a client, associate a project with them, and click on the play button. Users can even change the timer if, for instance, they move between several client projects in close succession. A ‘billable’ button lets users toggle whether or not the current activity should be added to the client’s invoice. Finally, a “what are you working for” section allows users to populate notes describing the exact activity they were working on. 

Activity Tagging

In addition to adding narratives manually, users are able to create and assign tags for their projects. These make it easy for clients to quickly review what they are being billed for—and divide the invoice between different departments.

One Click Invoice Generation

Freshbooks makes it easy to track time expenditure on client projects—but even easier to get paid! Because the Projects tool sits within the online cloud accounting platform, it’s main purpose is to easily generate invoices to bill clients. All users have to do is click the ‘Generate Invoice’ button from the drop down at the top of the screen and an itemized invoice for their client will be automatically produced. It can then be inspected and sent to the client for payment.

Collaboration Tools

Freshbooks knows that freelancers don’t work in a vacuum—and its Project tool makes it easy to quickly send project files back and forth with clients. The Project tab is divided between ‘Review’ (for reviewing time tracking entries) and ‘Discuss’ (for sharing files).

In the ‘Discuss’ tab users are able to quickly upload, annotate, and make notes about files that they share through the system.

Additionally, users can invite other team members to the project. The search functionality also lets them filter according to the user role. 

The list of file types that can be shared through this means includes:

  • Documents such as Word files and PDFs
  • Image files includes .gifs, .jpeg and .png
  • Spreadsheet formats including .xlsx

Files can be up to 50MB in size. A maximum of 40 files can be attached to any one project post.

Users are able to add additional Freshbooks users to their Project teams—and give them different levels of access. Adding an ‘Accountant’, for instance, is free, but only gives the user the ability to access reports, categorize expenses, and create journal entries. All other access types, including Admins, are billed at the usual cost of Freshbook licenses.

Plans and Pricing

Project is simply one of the features within Freshbooks, which is primarily intended as a cloud accounting and invoicing platform. In addition to the project management and billing functionalities Freshbooks allows users to;

  • Generate and send invoices
  • Collect and log invoices
  • Generate client invoices

The software must be bought as one product; individual components are not sold. The licensing costs are:

Yearly pricing:

Plan:
Lite
Plus
Premium
Cost per month (billed annually):
$13.50 
$22.50
$45
Billable clients:
5
50
500

Monthly pricing:

Plan:
Lite
Plus
Premium
Cost, billed monthly:
$15
$25
$50
Billable clients:
5
50
500

Custom pricing is also available which provides a personal Account Manager, customizing training, and integration with Quickbooks and Xero.

Besides allowing users to bill more clients, Plus includes the following extra features above Lite:

  • Double entry accounting
  • Configure retainers for clients billed on that model
  • Automate recurring invoices
  • Create unlimited client proposals

Premium includes all Lite and Plus features and increases the total allowable clients to 500.

Our opinion is that all plans represent good value. Freshbooks is a mature solution which includes everything businesses need to streamline their client invoicing and billing process. For freelancers and small business owners that spend a lot of time working on projects—whether billing on a fixed basis or per hour, the extra features that Project provides are a great value-add.

Apps

Freshbook does not offer any apps for desktop; rather all its functionality is designed to be accessed online from its website.

The company does, however, offer mobile apps for both Android and iOS. For freelancers that want to track time spent on work done when not at their workplace—such as meetings and visiting client customers—this is a great addition.

Both apps can be installed through the official app repositories: the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Both apps offer the following features:

  • Create invoices on the go
  • Photograph lunch receipts and other deductible expenses and import them directly into the online expenses area
  • Notifications for important client questions and conversations

Data Privacy

Freshbooks does store all users’ business data in the cloud, so it’s important that users feel confident in trusting the provider with their sensitive business particulars.

Some good news on that front:

  • Freshbooks has an easy-to-understand privacy policy posted on their website which details the encryption that the company uses to secure all data transmitted through the app. The tool always uses the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol when transmitting any information, such as credit cards, between the user and its cloud.
  • Additionally, the company appointed a dedicated Data Protection Officer (DPO) and is fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Any European citizen wishing to exercise their rights under the GDPR can make a data request to the company and obtain any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that it holds about them. Although all PII is always scrambled within Freshbooks’ internal systems and not held in human-readable format. 

Customer Service

Freshbooks offers excellent customer support that is noted for being both responsive and competent. 

The company operates a live chat system powered by Solvvy which automatically tries to guess the best solution for users’ queries:

In fact, that was all that was required to resolve our “problem.” But if we had to dive deeper, we could have either opened a ticket or spoke to the company’s dedicated helpline. The company even promises that a “Support Rockstar” will answer the call “within 2 rings.”

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How Freshbook Compares


Freshbooks
Monday.com
Proggio
24/7 Support
Enterprise tier only
x
Dedicated Account Manager
Enterprise tier only
x
x
Drag and drop
Some functions
Integrations
Hundreds including Dropbox and Hubspot
Multiple options including Jira, Zendesk, and Outlook
Jira
Unlimited boards
Not board-based
Yes
Yes
Time tracking
Pro and Enterprise tiers only
Yes
Users
Unlimited 
Unlimited
Free up to 3. Premium offers 26 or more.

Bottom Line

If you’re a freelancer, solopreneur, or small business owner that works on lots of client projects, then Freshbooks’ Projects feature is a terrific tool. We loved the fact that users can view a tagged list of time entries and then automatically generate an invoice. The collaboration feature is a nice add-on and the interface is mostly drag and drop. It is highly recommended.

top10.com staffByTop10.com StaffJun. 30, 2019
FreshBooks