Everybody loves to hate QuickBooks. Sure, it is the most complete small business accounting software, but sometimes that’s the problem. If you are simply looking to track hourly income and a few expenses, QuickBooks is too much of a good thing.
Why worry about double-entry accounting if what you really need is just to send and collect invoices? Now you can get just the simple billing and tracking you need through a subscription website called FreshBooks.
FreshBooks was made specifically for business owners who just want one place to create, manage and mail invoices. And in large measure, the simplicity works. The best features are the simplest… and here’s the 4 that top my list:
- Faster Billing
The program makes and prepares invoices for e-mailing – even mailing a physical copy of the invoice to the client if you choose.
- Automated Collections
To make collections simpler, FreshBooks sends regular reminders to delinquent accounts. Plus, clients can login and check the status of their own payments so you don’t have to. And of course clients can pay with any of the major credit cards (Discover, Visa, MasterCard American Express) or PayPal.
- Recurring Billing
Recurring billing is also no problem. You can also choose an automatic payment program for even faster payments from clients.
- Works with Other Tools
Freshbooks is compatible with more than 70 different sites and software tools. This includes popular project management software BaseCamp plus PayPal and Google Apps, which is great if you want to experiment with adding more functions.
But what about bank accounts and income statements?
For full accounting features, combine FreshBooks with Kashoo. Together they can handle multiple currencies and multiple bank accounts, creating a more traditional accounting system where you can manage bank transactions and financial reports too.
Of course, FreshBooks is not your only option for simple tasks like sending invoices. PayPal, Sage Billing Boss and others will do this for you… kind of. PayPal does not have project management capabilities and charges fees for certain deposits. Sage Billing Boss has little or no connectivity to third party apps.
Not sure what’s right for you? Take the quiz at the FreshBooks blog. The limited functionality of a single-purpose site may be a good alternative to big complicated software.
…My Bottom Line…
Best Bet for Simple Billing: FreshBooks.com with or without Kashoo.
Who Should Buy It: New small business owners, businesses that send out invoices every few weeks, freelancers and moonlighters with just a few clients and anyone who’s trying to track the time they spend on a project.
Cost: The free account allows you to bill up to 3 clients. Keep that level forever, or upgrade with a 30-day moneyback guarantee to any other level: $19.95 per month to manage 25 clients; $29.95 per month for unlimited clients; and $39.95 per month to give an additional staff member access to the FreshBooks account. Kashoo adds $9.95 a month.
One Warning: By the time you’re buying both FreshBooks and Kashoo, you’re probably spending a LOT more than just buying QuickBooks to start ($149 recently at Best Buy!). But if web access and simplicity are important, these are good solutions.
Dedicated to your (Fresh!) business success,
– Joanna Ebizie
FUSE contributor Joanna Ebizie is a writer and editor whose clients include magazines and businesses such as the Business Finance Store. Joanna earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from St. Edward’s University.