In a previous post (The 4 online timesheets that you can use as a freelancer), I peeked at four very viable online timesheets for freelancers. I think there’s a high chance you have used some of them at least for a quick trial in order to gauge their capabilities. But let’s be honest – this post was only gliding on the surface level of things. It was a short introduction to your possible choices when it comes to timesheets and timers.
Because some of the online timesheets offer a stunning catalogue of features for any freelancer (such as you and me), I figured out it would be even better to dig deeper. So this time I’m going to focus on what the most popular online timesheet software has to offer.
I’m talking about FreshBooks, of course. Let’s see why is it the best choice for many freelancers and do an in-depth rundown on what it offers.
It goes beyond the definition of online timesheet software
As I mentioned before, FreshBooks is a true pioneer in the online timesheet industry. It was started way back in 2003 and you can bet that it serves as a rolemodel for many up and coming timesheets and companies offering tracking time services to freelancers. Good on Michael McDerment for losing his invoice record and starting FreshBooks!
The truth is that FreshBooks extends way beyond the simple online timesheet paradigm. It contains a whole collection of features that can turn every freelancing career into something way more simpler and coordinated. I’m talking about a portfolio of services ranging from your essential time tracking feature to invoice creation, accounting reports, extensive booking software and stunning 3rd party integrations with a mindblowing set of other types of software.
A good word to describe all that is “multifunctional”. Because there surely are a lot of online timesheets, but few (except perhaps Harvest) match the flexibility and functionality of what FreshBooks offers you.
Let’s go further down the software rabbit hole.
Timetracking made not only easy, but visual too
Of course, the most sought after feature of FreshBooks is it’s online timesheet functionality. The software excels beautifully here as it remembers one very important trend: everything is slowly transitioning into the mobile world. Tracking your work hours as a freelancer is not only limited to desktops and FreshBooks acknowledges that by providing mobile device time tracking too.
Along with platform flexibility, the software also takes care of interactivity when it comes to your schedules. You can track your progress better with a clean chart that emphasizes on whether you have met your hour estimate on a certain project. Ever forgotten that you are going overboard with a budget? Not a problem with FreshBooks as this visual presentation will keep you right on track in case you have missed your estimates and should take reign of things.
Some bonus awesomeness comes with the fact that FreshBooks allows you to automatically turn your working hours into invoices. This helps a lot with underbilling and keeping a clear payment policy as a freelancer. The process is also simple, as it only needs you to review your freelance working hours and send it over to your clients.
Speaking of invoices…
Taking the weight of invoice hassle off your shoulders
…this is where FreshBooks exceeds expectations. I don’t know about you, but invoicing has been a great pain for me on some occasions. It’s just that one thing that sits on the pile of things you already have to do as a freelancer and bugs you all the time.
McDerment was a freelancer himself so he perfectly understood our concerns as out-of-the-loop working boys and girls. Putting a huge emphasis on invoice creation, FreshBooks lets you not only open up an invoice, but it also allows for great customization and additional client-related features.
Invoices created with FreshBooks can be personalized by adding your logo, any specific payment terms, and, of course, the client info. This might seem a standard deal, but FreshBooks does in a very stylish and slick way, and on top of that adds automatic tax deduction. Oh, and invoicing supports just about every currency – after all, freelancing is a global trend.
But both you and I know that an invoice is not the end to it all. Some clients are a bit…slow in delivering payments. Sometimes they make excuses with being too busy and not even having the time to take a peek at the invoice you sent them. FreshBooks has a built-in feature that shows when a client has viewed an invoice and allows you to follow up on lazy clients who are delaying your money.
Additional very thoughtful features include credit card acceptance, the option to employ repeat invoicing, a huge set of data (like account statements, payment history and others) and even snail mail sending. That’s right – if a client wants a physical copy of your invoice, forget about going to the post office. FreshBooks can do even that instead of you!
Flexible timetracking, simplified invoicing, rich data and reports and getting you perfectly ready for tax time. All these are a good reason why FreshBooks goes well beyond the definition of online timesheet software and just timetracking software.
What completely solidifies this though is the absolutely marvelous catalogue of possible 3rd party integrations. I know my enthusiasm might seem a bit marketing-ish, but really, take a look at the list of possible add-ons FreshBooks offers you. Yes, it is all those options on the right.
FreshBooks, being borne out of a freelancer’s ideas, knows pretty well that freelancers are quite versatile. Some of us are developers, others are marketers, and you can bet that there are a lot of web designers, graphic artists, copywriters, content creators…Freelancing is a big tree with dozens of branches where you can start your journey and excel in.
This is the reason why their features (timetracking, invoicing) have been extended by 3rd party apps ranging across different industries and with various purposes.
Are you a developer? Well, there are excellent add-ons like Google Apps, Shopify, Magento, ZenCart, Envato or Tuts+.
Perhaps you are swimming in the vast ocean of online marketing? Not a single worry, as FreshBooks offers you fresh integration with lead generation services like BidSketch or Proposify, email marketing tools like MailChimp, distinguished CRMs like AgileCRM, Oprius or ClickDesk and customer support help desks like HappyFox or ZenDesk.
The 3rd party integration catalogue is really huge and you might want to take a look at it yourself on FreshBooks’s official add-on page. Time for a quick moment of personal pride: I have the honor of being listed in their Time Tracking category!
The final verdict
I guess it’s already pretty obvious, but I really like what FreshBooks brings to the table for freelancers of different freelance fields. It’s efficient, simple to use, flexible and includes a great deal of features that can really spare you time…and let you focus on your current projects.
This is only a suggestion, but if you haven’t tried FreshBooks yet, you can do so for free as the guys offer you a 30-day trial that requires exactly $0. Give it a spin and see if it works for you as it does for many other freelancers like you and me.