For the past two years I've been a happy customer of Freshbooks (referral link). There came a time, fairly early on, when my business partner and I realized we needed a better system for invoicing our clients. We were a young company still figuring some basic things out. After looking around at various solutions we landed on Freshbooks. I can't say how much hassle their service has saved us these past two years. With those kind words said, I must admit that we're actively looking for the "next step."
Update: After writing this I was directed toward Freeagent. At face value it looks like an excellent competitor. I'll probably add some thoughts about it in this post at a later date.
Why leave Freshbooks?
Freshbooks is great for tracking time around categories, creating invoicing and making it easy for clients to view those invoices. They have some pretty good reporting options and they also make it easy to send clients "account statements." Where they fall short is really anything beyond invoicing. I'm in need of a more well rounded accounting package for a small business owner without an on-staff (or on-retainer) accountant. I've looked into a few other solutions but yesterday I found one that looks golden. Well, maybe more like silver than gold.
Let me explain.
Thanks to a tweet from Marcus Neto I found out about WorkingPoint last night. After a brief look through the features it looked like an excellent solution for my needs. It has invoicing, truer expense tracking, much better reporting, better contact management and more. The focus of WorkingPoint is much more "small business accounting" based rather than just "invoicing" based (which is what I consider Freshbooks to be).
Looking through the features tonight made me take the time to really slow down and determine what it would take for me to leave Freshbooks in favor of a better solution. I've come up with a few things that are must-haves for us and then some like-to-haves that would make it that much sweeter. Here are the must haves:
- Great support
- Basic contact management (client profiles & the ability to run reports on clients)
- Reporting that includes breakdown of tasks billed and items billed
- Easy invoicing
- Online interface for clients
- Expense tracking
- Import and export of data
So far we're looking pretty good since most online SAAS offerings in this department have all of those features. Here are the like-to-haves:
- Pretty graphs (I'm a sucker for graphs)
- Mobile interface/application
- Tax reports
- Automatic late notices
- Custom invoice design
- Banking integration
- Recurring Invoices
- Time tracking
- API for extendability
So now that you know what my must haves and my like-to-haves are let's look at how these two services stack up against one another (in my terms).
So as the table above indicates, there's no true winner right now (assuming my facts are straight). I don't quite have enough to pull me over to WorkingPoint due to the missing time tracker and lack of API as it stands. I really do hope to find (and transition to) a better all around solution for my business. It's really just a matter of making the call and adjusting our team's habits accordingly.
Technically speaking we could just use another tool for time tracking if we wanted to. The Freshbooks widget for OS X has become second nature though, so that will be a tough one.
What do you use?
I've asked on Twitter a few times this year, but that can only get so far. What do you use for your small business accounting? Do you primarily focus on invoices and estimate for when it comes to SAAS or do you look for a more fully featured accounting package? I look forward to your thoughts!
If you see any erroneous information regarding Freshbooks or WorkingPoint please let me know and I will correct it.