Invoices and accounting are not exactly my favourite part of being in business. Doing my books was a necessary evil, something I had to do regularly to keep my bank and Canada Revenue Agency off my back. I do a lot of business online, so I was really quite pleased to find an online tool to help me out!
For years I did my company books in an Excel spreadsheet. Actually, I started in a paper ledger for the first few years and then graduated to a spreadsheet. And my invoices were custom Word templates which were actually pretty slick, for the time: they calculated charges based on number of hours and added the tax, etc., all by running custom Word macros.
When I outgrew that combination, I switched to a web-based application built by a programmer friend of mine. Worked pretty well for a few years, but I outgrew that one too. I wanted a way to allow clients to pay me online, mostly.
Enter FreshBooks. I looked at some other online invoicing systems but this one really appealed to me. I like how I can customize it, how I can set it up for regular recurring billing, and how my clients can pay online — or offline. It’s easy to use for me, and easy to use for my clients.
I don’t use their advanced features, the full meal deal of online accounting, because I have a bookkeeper now who (thank goodness) does all that for me. I don’t, for example, use it to track expenses, or product sales through my shopping cart. Nor do I use it for time tracking. And I did find its Estimates module far too simplistic for the proposals I was writing when I was building websites.
But for generating, sending, and tracking invoices? It’s terrific. It’ll even handle late payment reminders and late payment fees. I don’t need that often, but it’s nice to know I can set it and forget it, and they’ll just go out on schedule.
Check it out! It’s a good tool for streamlining this part of my business.