Freshen your Accounts with FreshBooks

by Claire Minnaar

I’m not a fan of change – I’m the first to admit that, but when starting a business coaching process, I’ve been forced to start looking more closely at my finances and where I’m spending money and where my main source of income is coming from. One would think you would know these things, but the reality is that when running a business – it’s easy to get side tracked into all the doing and until something goes a bit wonky, you don’t have to time to studying things in closer details such as your Accounts!

I’m the first to recommend an Accountant – I did write a blog post on it last year. I don’t have an accounting background at all and do feel that leaving most of the stuff to the accountants is the better solution, but it does give one slightly less control over your books and your income.

Our company has been using Quick Books for 8 years. I don’t find it particularly user-friendly and it’s very complicated to run reports as you need.  It’s also limited as it needs to be on one machine and we use Remote Desktop in order to access it and capture the necessary stuff. And, we personally find it VERY slow!

Our accountants do our VAT every 2 months, so we don’t know at any given time what our Profit and Loss figures are and that is where a massive problem lies. As business owners, we should at any given time KNOW what our projected figures are for a given month PLUS where we are financially at any point in time.

Ryan, my business partner and hubby, suggested we try this system called FreshBooks. This I might add was about 2 YEARS AGO! Leigh-Ann, who is also responsible for accounts in our office, and I kicked and screamed and for some odd reason, he listened to us and FreshBooks became a distant memory. It did pop up in conversation a few times, but Leigh-Ann and I destroyed the thought of it before it could materialize.

Eventually, Ryan ignored us (YAY for him!) and signed up for a FREE TRIAL of Fresh Books. Needless to say, I’m officially eating HUMBLE PIE because I love it and guess what!? So, does Leigh-Ann!

About FreshBooks

FreshBooks FreshBooks is an online billing system. It allows you to capture your estimates, invoices, expenses, do time sheets and a lot more. What I really love about FreshBooks is I can capture the information or run reports no matter where I am. So, when I go away for a weekend and I need to check something, I can – I don’t have to Remote into our server and try and deal with that connection and then the speed of our version of Quick Books.

I am able to record what items I paid (my expenses) plus which ones included VAT and which ones didn’t. Expenses can also very easily be exported from our bank accounts and imported which makes expense capturing MUCH quicker.

The system is able to email invoices directly to the client and one of the greatest features which I LOVE is that you can actually see when a client has opened the invoice so you never need to worry that an invoice didn’t get through.

Recurring billing has also been made easy through this billing system, so if you have a monthly invoicing requirement or an annual one, then this system helps you make that process easy and simple! Those of you with a large client base that require regular payments, this will most definitely save you time.

So in summary…here are the key features that have made me fall in love with my accounts (not in any particular order):

  • EXTREMELY easy to use!
  • I can do my accounts anywhere and at anytime on either a computer or mobile phone.
  • Support is very good – you can call or email them and you DO get a response (we put it to the test!)
  • Your data is backed up which is ALWAYS an important aspect!
  • It also integrates with other widely used systems e.g. Mail Chimp (mailing / newsletter system), Base Camp (Project management tool), Google Apps and more.
  • Your information can be exported and imported into a few accounting systems – there is a plugin for Quick Books apparently which we are still investigating.
  • Clients have a login and can view their invoices at any time. If you use the time tracking system, they can also be prepared for the invoice you are about to send at the end of the month if you make sure everything is kept up to date at all times.
  • Clients can even pay online if you want to allow that option.
  • Full track-able!
  • Emails get sent to the client directly and they look “pretty”.
  • You can brand your emails if you are one of their paying accounts.
  • They give you your first 30 DAYS FREE to try it out!
  • Can save you money by reducing the amount of work your accountants have to do – BONUS!

Check it out and give it a try as it is free for the first 30 days – see what you think!

Perhaps you will love it as much as I did!

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