These basic billing features are nested inside a larger suite of online business tools. Your contractors or employees can bill based on time. You can create estimates and monitor expenses. You can compile reports and opt for online payment. It takes five minutes to bill a client.
What you don't get: FreshBooks isn't a comprehensive accounting program, not does it integrate easily with your existing IT architecture.
All the the data-entry screens are simple, but they still require you to enter information manually. It's possible to import and export data, but task lists aren't easy to transmit.
While FreshBooks offers an open API that allows developers to adapt the program to their systems, software support is limited. For example, the only project management tool that worked with my test program was Basecamp, from Chicago-based 37signals.
And then there's the 800-pound gorilla in the room: your accountant. Your bean counter is probably accustomed to Intuit's QuickBooks. That means your accountant might need to redo your ledgers manually in QuickBooks if you rely on FreshBooks. That's likely to make him or her cranky at tax time.
Bottom line: If you're stressed about being 15 days behind in billing clients, get FreshBooks. It's fast. It's easy. It sends professional-looking invoices. But you will eventually outgrow it, and move on to QuickBooks.
FreshBooks will help you start tracking your earnings. Just keep in mind that it's only a start.
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