What is FreshBooks (and Can It Help Your Business)?Claude Harrington 01.26.2016
Yesterday, CBS This Morning aired an interesting piece about FreshBooks, the popular cloud-based accounting software provider. Surprisingly (though enjoyably so), the story didn’t talk much about what closed-based accounting is or why FreshBooks has become the #1 invoicing software for small businesses. Instead, the story focused on how FreshBooks was taking workplace satisfaction to a new level by setting up blind dates for its employees.
As unusual as that may sound, that kind of outside-the-box thinking falls in line with a lot of what FreshBook’s innovate business approaches. All of which made us more curious to learn about what FreshBooks does and how their software might be able to help small businesses. So let’s take a closer look at FreshBooks and see what they have to offer…
First, a little bit of background: In 2003, Mike McDerment was running a four-person Internet design and consulting company called Anicon. After losing one of his invoice files (by inadvertently saving over it), he decided to look for an easier and more reliable way to bill clients. The solution: 2ndSite, a small-business-friendly invoicing software that he coded himself.
Sensing that other business owners might benefit from something like 2ndSite, McDerment partnered with Joe Sawada and Levi Cooperman to deliver a commercially viable product. Slowly but surely this Toronto-based trio worked to make this a reality and, in 2006, rebranded themselves in the style of Web 2.0 and became FreshBooks.
Since then, FreshBooks has exploded. Growing from that original three-man operation (whose base of operations was, at one point, McDerment’s parent’s basement) to thriving Canadian tech company with over 250 employees and have tallied over 5 million paid subscribers (most paying $19.95/month). With numbers like those, it’s no surprise that Forbes called Freshbooks “one of the world’s leading online invoicing services and one of the stars of Canada’s high-tech sector.“
But what is it exactly that makes them a world leader? We did our research and below are a few of the things that stood out…
Everything You Wanted to Know About Invoicing But Were Too Afraid to Ask: As we mentioned above while discussing FreshBook’s history, invoicing was the inspiration behind the company. True to that initial vision, FreshBooks makes invoicing quick and easy. But, as we learned during our investigation, it actually does much more than that. In addition to providable customizable templates and automated workflows, it also does the following:
- Enables you to accept credit card payments immediately (which clients can even pay directly from their mobile devices)
- Let’s you know when clients have viewed the invoice
- Integrates with a companion app (for both Android and iOs) so that you can genuinely send invoices from anywhere at any time
Track Anything, Work Anywhere: Those four words, in many ways, describe exactly what FreshBooks is about. Just about every feature they offer lends itself to this end goal: enabling you and your business to exist anywhere, paperlessly and with ease. To this end, they offer the ability to track a variety of relevant things (i.e. time, expenses, etc.). That alone might be sufficient, but it’s how you track those things that particularly impressed us. Such as:
- Through FreshBook’s App, you can snap a picture of your receipt and log expenses directly from your phone.
- After expenses have been logged, you can allocate them to different clients and request reimbursement. Especially valuable if you are working for multiple clients at once (and want to keep your cash flow in order)
- A built-in timer enables you to effectively “punch the clock” from anywhere, for any amount of time. Especially valuable to freelancers who might toggle their time frequently and/or might have previously just discarded short bursts of time spent (if they didn’t reach, say, 15 minutes).
Award-Winning Customer Service: Although many companies brag about “quick and helpful” customer service, FreshBooks actually has the accolades to back it up. In the 2014 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, FreshBooks’s Management Team won the Gold for “Customer Service Management Team of the Year.” In addition to that, they boast an average customer satisfaction score of 97.3%.
Anticipated Integration: If you’re using a digital business solution like FreshBooks, chances are it’s not the only one in your arsenal. Which is why it’s nice to know that it’s been set up to integrate with popular services like MailChimp, PayPal and Zenpayroll.
If you are interested in learning more about FreshBooks, visit here to find more information and a link to sign up for their free 30-day trial.
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