FreshBooks Review: The Best Small Business Accounting Mobile App

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Our best overall paid small business accounting software was QuickBooks Online which we felt provided the best value for money and reliability of any accounting package today for small business. However, if there’s one area in which QuickBooks Online is still weak – it’s its mobile app which is incredibly basic in terms of its functionality. So with that in mind we went looking for the best small business accounting mobile app and we found it in FreshBooks.

Why Did We Choose FreshBooks?

There were a fair number of factors which led to our recommendation of FreshBooks including:

Reputation

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FreshBooks is one of the accounting software industry giants. It began in 2003 when the owner Mike McDerment overwrote an invoice on his computer and decided there had to be a better way to manage accounts on the PC. Today they boast an impressive user base of nearly 2 million businesses and have one multiple awards for their service including a 2013 IXDA Design Award for iPhone design.

Cost of Use

The FreshBooks mobile app is free to use, however in order to get the app – you have to be a FreshBooks subscriber for their desktop accounting software so it’s not “free” in the traditional sense either. FreshBooks plans begin at $19.99 a month and there is a discount for paying a whole year up front.

That means FreshBooks is good value when you consider the overall small business accounting software market and for those who really need access to full featured accounts software from their tablet or smartphone – it’s the best value package there is.

It’s Easy to Use

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FreshBooks is a cloud-based solution which means you can access it on any device, anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. It doesn’t take long to download the mobile app using an ordinary mobile connection and of course you can speed the process up by using a Wi-Fi connection with a faster throughput rate.

You can run a 30 day trial of FreshBooks before you commit to buying it and we very much approve of the fact that you don’t need to supply your card details to access the trial. It’s a pet hate of ours because in many cases the “free trial” is simply relying on the fact you’ll often forget to cancel a service before it gets billed. There’s no chance of that happening here.

The app itself is a work of art and is by far the cleanest and simplest accounting app to get to grips with. The home page offers access to pretty much everything you’re likely to need at a single touch with key functions such as invoicing, expenses, time-tracking, etc. very clearly available.

The home page opens with a chirpy motivation phrase, which changes each time you open it, which is a nice touch. For ease of use it also has a “Create New” option highlighted so that you can quickly generate invoices, expenses, etc. on the fly.

There’s Plenty of Task Automation

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FreshBooks mobile app is designed to make the tasks that you carry out on the go as simple as possible to carry out. They know that small businesses owners don’t want to have to carry out laborious processes and they particularly don’t want to them through a mobile device.

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The invoicing side of things is a particular highlight which allows you to import details from your phone book and then add any additional data such as discounts, dates, etc. with ease. You can also generate invoices that offer payment facilities such as card processing or PayPal and the client just clicks a hyperlink to pay up. You can also photograph receipts and categorize expenses including linking them to clients or suppliers.

One of the nicest automated features is the project estimation tool which quickly crunches the data to give you a useful quote to provide a client with.

Customer Support

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FreshBooks has excellent over the phone support for their customers. They’re also happy to talk to people with enquiries and they won’t spend their time trying to sell the product; FreshBooks is clearly a company that believes in the quality of its product and its service as the sales tool.

The downside is that support is only available during office hours from Monday to Friday Eastern Standard Time. That’s not a big deal for businesses which keep regular office hours but might be a real problem for those operating in different time zones or late nights and weekends.

As with nearly every accounting package provider there’s also a ton of online support that you can access as part of the deal – this includes FAQs, blog, video tutorials, etc. and we found that this support can be relied on to answer about 99% of the questions you may have.

FreshBooks Has Its Limits

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While FreshBooks is definitely the best mobile app for small business accounting that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have some limits.

The reporting functionality is, perhaps, the most bizarre aspect of the app. While it’s easy to generate a report – if you want to view it, you’ll have to close the app and use viewer software to view it. That’s not a big deal but it does seem unnecessarily cumbersome for an app which is otherwise impeccable for its ease of use and functionality

You should also be aware that FreshBooks only supports the “Big Two” of the mobile eco-system that is Android and iOS; there’s no support for Windows Mobile or BlackBerry (which admittedly is less of an issue than it once would have been).

Summary

FreshBooks offers a very decent desktop accounting software experience but one that doesn’t quite match up with our best paid accounting software for small businesses; QuickBooks. However, it does the mobile app segment of accounting software better than any of its competitors at least for the moment. Business owners who want the best possible experience of their accounting system via mobile or tablet devices need look no further than FreshBooks. It’s good value for money, comes with excellent support and the company’s reputation is very, very good.