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FreshBooks Review: Best Mobile App for Small Business Accounting

FreshBooks Review: Best Mobile App for Small Business Accounting
Credit: FreshBooks

Our 2017 research and analysis of accounting software leads us to again recommend FreshBooks for iOS and Android as the best mobile accounting app for small businesses. We chose FreshBooks from dozens of accounting software options. To understand how we chose this software and to see our methodology and a list of accounting software vendors, visit our best picks page.

FreshBooks, a cloud-based accounting software for small businesses, is our best pick for mobile accounting apps because it's available for both iOS and Android phones and tablets, and it includes nearly all of the features found on the browser version of its software, allowing you to accomplish most of your accounting tasks on the go.

This accounting software is best suited for freelancers and service- or project-based agencies because it includes time tracking and project management tools. However, it lacks A/P features, so it isn't well suited for businesses with inventory.

FreshBooks' pricing is competitive. Like other accounting software, it offers several pricing plans, but instead of separating them by features, these plans are based on the number of active clients you're working with.

The Lite plan costs $15 per month and allows you to bill up to five clients. The Plus plan costs $25 per month and allows you to bill up to 50 clients. The Premium plan costs $50 per month and allows you to bill up to 500 clients. There's no additional cost to use the mobile app, though you do need to subscribe to one of the paid plans mentioned above to use it. 

If you want to add employees to the system, it costs an extra $10 per month per employee, though you can add contractors at no additional cost. If you have more than five employees, you can contact the company for special pricing. The difference between employee and contractor access is that employees are added to your account and can view and create invoices and expenses, view the dashboard and generate reports. Contractor accounts are separate from yours and these users can only view the projects you've added them to, track time toward those projects and invoice you for their time.

You're not required to sign a contract to use FreshBooks, so you can cancel your account at any time without incurring a hefty cancellation fee.

One unique aspect of FreshBooks is that it supports financial education for college students by offering free accounts and classroom materials to college-level educators and their students.

FreshBooks describes itself as a "simple and intuitive" cloud-based accounting software that is easily accessible across all your devices. To see just how easy it is to use the app, we decided to find out for ourselves.

Downloading and installing the FreshBooks mobile app was a breeze, and we were able to set up our account in just a few minutes. The signup process doesn't require a credit card – you simply enter your company name, first name, last name, email address and password – then check your email and click a link to verify the setup.

The home screen has a clean layout, with navigation to everything you need on one screen. The top bar highlights your outstanding balance so you don't have to dig around for it. Further, there are easy access buttons for key functions, such as invoices, client records, expenses, time tracking and project management. It also has a Create New button, a shortcut that lets you quickly create new invoices, enter new expenses and start its time tracking feature right when you launch the app. Overall, we found the FreshBooks mobile app to be as easy and intuitive to use as the company claims.

To learn more about what the FreshBooks mobile app can do, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial or check out the tutorial videos on the company's website. 

Editor's Note: Looking for information on accounting software for your business? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information and quotes you need:

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When we asked small business owners what they sought most in accounting software, the consensus was that it should save time. FreshBooks accomplishes this with the features in its cloud-based software and with the functionality of its mobile app. Here are some FreshBooks features that can save you time:

Invoicing – You can easily create, send and manage invoices from any computer with internet access or from the app when you're using your phone or tablet. You can schedule the system to automatically send recurring invoices, payment reminders and add late fees to past-due invoices, either as a percentage or flat fee. After your invoices are sent, you can see when clients view your invoices, so you don't have to wonder whether the invoice was received or got lost in a spam folder. If you provide your clients project estimates, you can convert them to invoices in a few clicks rather than creating new invoices from scratch.

Faster payments – When you set up FreshBooks Payments and send invoices to clients electronically, you can accept credit card payments through the system, allowing your clients to pay online by clicking a payment option on the invoice. If you prefer to use another processor, you can use Stripe, which you can connect to your account under the Settings menu. Each invoice tracks how much your client has paid toward it and whether there are any outstanding balances, so you don't have to manually track this information.

Expense tracking – Using the app, you can photograph receipts and log them as expenses. You can then categorize them, connect them to transactions imported from your bank account or credit cards and mark them as billable so you can add them to invoices. Expenses can be attached to projects or clients, so you can see what you're spending, helping you stay on budget.

Project management & time tracking – FreshBooks can serve as the hub for your projects. After inviting contributors, clients and employees to projects, you can share files, discuss the project and set deadlines. Your contributors and employees can track their time, allowing you to easily monitor the hours spent on a project. You can also bill your client for hours tracked and expenses incurred on their project.

FreshBooks offers both phone and email support. Its customer support representatives are friendly and knowledgeable. When we first called the company as a small business looking for accounting software, the representative we spoke with answered our many questions patiently, without pressuring us to upgrade our trial account. However, 24/7 support isn't available; hours are Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

If you need help while you're using FreshBooks' mobile app, you can easily find the company's contact information by tapping on the Help link (located in the upper-right corner of the screen), saving you the time it would take to look it up on the company's website.

FreshBooks offers a collection of helpful resources on its website so you can learn about the program and find answers to your questions on your own. These include a getting started guide, FAQs, a blog with helpful accounting and business tips, tutorial videos and free webinars.

Although FreshBooks offers the best accounting mobile app, it isn't without its drawbacks.

When we tested the app, we found that to view reports, you have to leave the app. While you can use the browser on your phone or tablet to access your FreshBooks account and see the reports, which include more than 20 report types, such as profit and loss, tax summary, expense reports and revenue by client, the program recommends that you view them on your computer, which is inconvenient if you're on the go.

Another drawback of FreshBooks' mobile app is that it isn't yet available for the Apple Watch or Android-powered smartwatches.

Ready to choose an accounting software? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Additional reporting by Sara Angeles.

Lori Fairbanks

Lori Fairbanks has years of experience writing and editing for both print and online publications. After graduating from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, she worked as an editor for Creating Keepsakes magazine and then as a freelance writer and editor for a variety of companies, including marketing firms and a medical university. She joined Purch in 2014 as a senior writer for Top Ten Reviews and now writes for Business.com and Business News Daily.