Tax Time Help: Freshbooks versus Cloudbooks

One thing I do is to introduce technology solutions to small businesses. One of the best small business solutions on the market are software as a service (saas) accounting software built on cloud computing platforms accessed by the internet. That is a lot of words to say, we can use applications that we don't even "see" as applications for small business. In my view, if you can not account for your business then you do not have a business. So, the basis for business is the accounting system!

57 bloggers wrote, "It's very stressful for any business to spend most of their time in invoicing every month where their valuable and precious time is lost. Not only in Invoicing, the businesses from small scale to a larger scale are facing difficulties in various areas like the Time spent on Projects, Online Payments, Sending Estimates, Tracking the Expenses. When coming to the problems faced by the startups, the above accounting problems are the most time consuming things which actually eat up most of the time.

According to United States small business association office of advocacy, 70% of the small businesses are owned and operated by a single person. So, in this case the business owners face a lot of difficulty in dealing all the matters on their own. We all know that growing a company to a high level is a big task and doing the accounting stuff simultaneously is much bigger task which actually hinder the growth of the organization or the company. If the owner of the company keeps his most of the time in maintaining the accounts, tracking the expenses, seeing the online payments, sending the estimates to the clients etc, then where does the owner gets the time to develop the company?"

The 57 bloggers website goes on to write, "Cloudbooks is a simple online invoicing software for small businesses and freelancers. It will take care of online invoicing, time tracking and project management. To use this Invoicing software you need to sign up with their plans which starts from $0 per month to $20 per month. Once you are signed up with Cloudbooks, then you can actually do 6 things.
1. Online Invoicing
2. One-Click Time Tracking
3. Online Payments
4. Send Estimates for Approval
5. Track and Bill Expense
6. Automated Invoice Reminders "

This writer agrees with the 57 bloggers review, that Cloudbooks is an even simpler system to use than FreshBooks. (Source: www.57bloggers.blogspot.com/2014/05/A-Review-of-Cloudbooks-A-Simple-Online-Invoicing-Software.html)

The Merchant Maverick gives the Freshbooks software as a service solution 4.5 out of 5 stars which is quite useful for it's over 5 million customers. The review states "FreshBooks now has 122 employees and serves customers in more than 120 countries. In North America, they have more paid subscribers than any cloud-based accounting service except QuickBooks Online. In 2013, FreshBooks won gold at the Stevie Awards for "Best Front-Line Customer Service Team," and its iPhone app took home the IXDA Award." In addition, like all cloud-based solutions, it is "Web-hosted. No downloads or installation required."

The review goes on to say "FreshBooks is tailored to independent contractors and small, service-based businesses. Sprout and Seedling plans allow for only a single user. Evergreen includes access for 1 additional user, and Mighty Oak includes access for up to 5 additional users. You can add more users for $10/month each. FreshBooks settings allow you to customize a level of access for staff (however, all staff will have the same level of access)."

The Merchant Maverick review was based on ease of use, help and problems. The following is quoted from the review, "Ease of Use: FreshBooks is very easy to use, though it lacks some of the options you would expect to find in such a popular invoicing package. Setup - Fill out a single page of information about your business, and you're good to go! You'll be directed to a video on how to [build] an invoice. You can also bypass the video and access it later from Help.
Organization - FreshBooks has a simple interface. Tabs along the top of the screen direct you to Home, People, Invoices, Estimates, Expenses, Time Tracking, Reports, and More (Support and Documents). In the upper right hand corner are additional links to the Add-on Store, My Account, Settings, and Help. Finding your way around is pretty easy, and if you need help, the FAQ will open in a new tab so you don't lose what you were doing.

The only significant problems encountered were:
Missing Basic Functions - FreshBooks used to be at the cutting edge of invoicing software... but as they've shifted their focus to accounting, they've fallen back a bit. You can't attach files to your invoices and estimates, you can't do much to customize your invoice, and you can't easily mark an invoice as sent if you print and mail it to a client (you can follow a multi-step workaround on this last, but it's a pain). These are features many other invoicing programs provide."

This author's review is based on marketing and reports. Marketing - This is where Freshbooks still has the edge on competition. From a marketing perspective, I love this feature! Freshbooks will receive and share feedback on your business. Most business owners do not take the time to gather feedback so it is great that the accounting system does it for you. Reports - Cloudbooks has 7 basic reports including the Profit & Loss Report but Freshbooks delves deeper into accounting with 22 reports including the Balance Sheet and the Aged Receivables. (Source: www.merchantmaverick.com/reviews/freshbooks-review)

The choice really depends on the budget of the business. They say "you get what you pay for". If you want to pay for a simpler system with no additional marketing support and manually building accounting reports, Cloudbooks is a great choice but for a more robust system with a higher monthly fee that includes accounting and marketing solutions, FreshBooks is also a great solution!

Nicole Newman is passionate about seeing businesses grow using technology tools that increase productivity. The digital divide is separating the United States into two communities: technology-savvy and technology-illiterate. With a Temple University bachelor's degree in Management Information Systems, she is armed with solutions.

This article was published on 19 Mar 2015 and has been viewed 669 times
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