The FreshBooks mobile app takes invoicing and expense tracking on the go. Business owners can keep their books up to date while away from the office.
Do you remember buying your first smartphone? Mine was a BlackBerry Bold. Back then, people marveled at the idea of checking email and making phone calls on the same device.
We expect more from our smartphones these days. We complain when our iPhones freeze while streaming to our TVs, video calling friends, and sending emails simultaneously.
Business owners should also expect more from their accounting software. Enter the FreshBooks mobile app: a solution for freelancers who want to keep their books up to date while away from the office.
Overview: What is FreshBooks?
FreshBooks is accounting software that helps small businesses issue invoices to clients, track business expenses, and create financial statements. Designed for sole proprietorships and startups, FreshBooks boasts an Ascent score of 9.2 out of 10 for its easy-to-use interface and live customer support.
When you sign up for a FreshBooks account — which will cost you between $14.99 and $49.99 per month — you get access to its mobile app available on Android and iOS devices. There’s also a 30-day free trial that lets you test out the service before committing.
5 Features of the FreshBooks Mobile App
The FreshBooks app takes bookkeeping on the go, making it easy to record business transactions before you return to the office.
The FreshBooks mobile app gives you no excuse to be lazy about sending invoices on time. Like the web version of FreshBooks, you can fill in customer information when filling out an invoice. This feature is ideal for freelancers who often work with new clients.
As an accounting tutor, I often had to wait to send invoices until I returned from sessions with students because of my clumsy invoicing system. If I had used FreshBooks mobile back then, I probably would have invoiced faster, reducing my days of unpaid sales.
Businesses with standard services and rates can save them in the app to speed up the billing process.
The FreshBooks app tracks when a customer has viewed your invoice. Customers can pay using FreshBooks Payments, although fees apply.
2. Expense tracking
For many, expense tracking is a Sunday project where you turn in your jacket pockets and let all your business receipts from the week rain down on your dining table. Then, meticulously, you enter each expense in your accounting software.
FreshBooks integrates with your business bank account or credit card to import your business expenses, which is a common accounting software feature. For expenses paid in cash, you can use the app to enter the expense amount, vendor, and category. Don’t forget to take a photo of your receipt to keep it.
The app includes an option to bill your expenses to your customer. You can include a photo of the receipt in the customer’s invoice or add a markup.
Immediate recording of cash transactions reduces the likelihood of missing deductible business expenses. Expenses you enter in the app will appear in your business’s income statement.
3. Time tracking
FreshBooks’ time tracking feature is ideal for businesses that bill customers based on time worked. The mobile app allows users to log time worked or start a timer within the app.
Either way, FreshBooks stores time worked, client, project, department, and notes. You can also track time for non-client work.
Time tracking and invoices work together. The app can populate a new invoice with the information entered in the time tracking feature.
4. Mileage tracking
In other articles, I’ve recommended taking photos of your odometer before and after business trips to track mileage. I still consider this the most accurate way to track mileage. But for those who won’t go through the hassle, FreshBooks mileage tracker might be a good option.
The app detects when you’re in a car and estimates the approximate IRS vehicle use deduction you can get based on the IRS mileage reimbursement rate.
The catch: it’s not great. You must let the app track you at all times and you will need to manually delete personal car trips. The “missing trip” in the screenshot would lead you to believe it’s for entering trips that the app missed, but you can’t. It simply notifies FreshBooks that there was an error tracking your ride.
You can easily turn off the mileage tracking feature.
5. Estimates and proposals
You can write real-time project estimates and proposals using the FreshBooks mobile app. The experience of creating a quote or proposal mimics preparing an invoice. Your customers receive an email inviting them to accept the quote or proposal.
Proposals offer more scope than an estimate. Where estimates tell clients how much they should expect to pay for a service, a proposal also outlines your plan for executing the project. You can create both types of business documents in the app.
Similar to invoices, you can see when a customer views quotes and proposals. When customers accept an estimate or proposal, you can convert it to an invoice with just a few clicks.
How to use the FreshBooks mobile app
Now that you know what you’re getting, let’s start setting it up for your business.
1. Add your business information
The FreshBooks mobile app syncs with the web app, so only newcomers need to complete this step.
You need a business profile, including the following information:
- Company Name
- Street address
- Phone number
- Base currency for invoicing
- Standard hourly rate (if applicable)
When you create your first invoice, you can add your company logo to the top by choosing it from your phone’s photo album. FreshBooks saves the logo and adds it to subsequent invoices.
2. Add your products and services
The easiest way to add products and services from the FreshBooks mobile app is to write a fake invoice. Add the most common products and services your business sells so that every time you want to send an invoice, you have a menu of pre-populated options.
As a tutor, I charged different rates for CPA candidates and undergraduate accounting students. If I was using FreshBooks, I would create two services for CPA candidates and undergraduates.
3. Set up mileage tracking
Self-employed people who use their personal car for business purposes may want to enable mileage tracking. For this to work, you need to allow the app to track your location at all times, not just when the app is open.
The app uses your phone’s GPS to detect when you’re in a car. The FreshBooks mobile app generates a list of your car trips, and you have to manually mark each one as a personal or business trip.
The app also spits out the estimated deduction for your car trips based on the IRS mileage rate, which is $0.575 in 2020.
Mileage tracking can only be used for car trips taken in a car that you or your business owns. You cannot deduct your Uber, Lyft, or taxi business trips using the IRS mileage rate because you deduct them at the actual cost.
4. Enter customer information
The FreshBooks mobile app has a contact book that syncs with the web app. When you need to make a quick call to a customer, you can find the customer in the app and tap the phone icon on their contact card.
5. Manage notifications and security
The FreshBooks app can keep you in or out of the loop as you wish. You can receive a notification whenever a customer views an invoice, or only when you get paid. Go to the app settings to determine what works best for you.
While you’re in Settings, take a moment to add a layer of security to the FreshBooks mobile app. As an iPhone user, I enabled Face ID so that the app only opens when it’s me or my doppelganger in front of the screen.
You can do a lot, but not everything
The FreshBooks mobile app isn’t meant for doing financial statements, but it’s handy for those times when you want to be able to send an invoice or enter an expense while you’re away.