How I Automated My Invoicing System

For years I have used QuickBooks memorized transactions to send out invoices to my clients. This meant printing, stamping, and mailing out invoices to each of my clients for every renewal. A while back another web designer I trust suggested I look at changing to FreshBooks. Because I had just lost my bookkeeper and wanted to revisit that idea anyway, I set up a trial account. Here’s what I found out (good and bad).

Pros:

  • I can set up all of my clients with recurring billing so it automatically sends out an email with a link to the invoice
  • It automatically reminds my clients of the outstanding invoice if not paid within a predetermined time.
  • It tracks aging (how many and how far my clients are delinquent).
  • It has some very helpful reports
  • Their on-line forum is packed with helpful people, eager to help answer questions
  • The support system is great. I called them a couple of times with questions and got prompt and helpful responses immediately.
  • If you have clients not wanting emailed invoices, they can get it snail-mailed for an additional fee. (I had one client wanting his invoice mailed which I gladly offered at an added charge to cover my cost. He decided he’d rather get it emailed and save the mailing surcharge).
  • It is easy to understand and to use.

Now here are some things to consider that could be cons:

  • It takes some thought process to interface with QuickBooks — although there is plenty of help from the forums on how to do so.
  • The reminders are one-size-fits-all. I have a couple of clients that I’ve agreed to extended terms so they pay 60 days after invoicing but my reminders still go to them as well as everyone else.
  • A client must log onto the web site to get their invoice rather than it being attached to the email. I thought this would be a bigger issue than it was as no one has objected to that
  • So far, a client can’t make partial payments on their account, although FreshBooks is working on that issue. In other words, if I send out an invoice for $1000 and the client wants to pay 1/2 now and another 1/2 in a month, I need to reissue the split invoices for the exact amounts. This isn’t a big deal for my clients but something to be aware of.
  • You can import all of your clients to the system from QuickBooks and others. However, when I tried to do that, I had to go back and change the address and city/state for many of my clients because they had been imported in the wrong spot. This was likely due to my bookkeeper not getting those fields exactly correct in QB but it did take me some time to tweak those.

If you want to, FreshBooks gives you the ability to give it a trial run. When I tried it, I ran it with a couple of understanding clients, and side-by-side with my QuickBooks for everyone else. When I was fairly sure it was what I wanted, I started loading clients on. You can go to https://blarneystone.freshbooks.com/signup/ to find out more and sign up for a FREE trial and if you sign up, I’ll get a modest stipend for referring you. Or go directly to www.freshbooks.com if you prefer.

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