FreshBooks builds accounting ladder into the cloud. Will you climb it?

FreshBooks is now a 100% cloud accounting application and no longer just an invoicing system. Well, at least one in the making anyway.    It seems the popular web-based application is intent on becoming a mature turnkey accounting package that it hopes will one day challenge Quickbooks Online in terms of user “numbers”.


“We are not changing our name, we’re just changing the way we describe our services,” said founder, Mike McDermot.   FreshBooks, by all accounts, is growing up!

“Indeed, when we began FreshBooks was built around the concept of invoicing. But not everyone is aware that for the last 4 years, we’ve offered expense-tracking capabilities. Additionally, we offer a Profit and Loss statement and other ‘accounting’ style reports, as well as the ability to track time and send estimates to customers. What’s been very interesting to us is that, over the last 24 months, you – our cherished customers – have started describing FreshBooks as your “accounting system”, instead of just what you use for billing,” he said.

Thus, FreshBooks is growing up in the cloud and taking all its users with it.   This maturation is symbolic of broader developments taking place elsewhere in SME cloud platforms including private, public and hybrid clouds offered by Virtual Internet.

Only Quickbooks Online has more online subscribers in North America, making FreshBooks arguably the leading alternative for SMEs wishing to simplify their accounting back office.

However, while FreshBooks is known to be wonderfully simple and intuitive to use, it does have the reputation of being a lightweight accounting application.

“Sure, there are lots of great cloud based accounting choices available, like FreshBooks, Invoice Bubble and Billing Boss.  These are fine, inexpensive applications particularly if you’re a super small company looking to do invoicing, cash collection and manage receivables.   But they don’t have the capabilities required for a more mature business.  No advanced inventory management.  No purchase orders.  No sales order processing.  No gross profit or FIFO/LIFO reporting.  Those are just the basics of a good system that most manufacturers need.  And if you’re a distributor or a service company you’ll be disappointed too.  These applications are still not mature enough to support advanced time and billing, job costing and warehouse management,” said Forbes Magazine.

Other alternatives to FreshBooks in the cloud arena include NetSuite. But the annual costs are way too expensive for SMEs and likely to remain that way for a while.

In the last several months another alternative to all those mentioned above has emerged, called, which believe it or not, is free.  And, according to CloudTweaks, it has the same features as its paid rivals

“With Wave Accounting, users are given a user name, sign-in page and password. From there they log-in, link bank accounts and credit cards and update their spending and income instantly. Wave Accounting allows users to generate estimates, invoices and statements that can be personalized to the user’s needs for a professional company image,” said CloudTweaks.

Sales, Marketing and IT functions are all rapidly moving into the cloud and it stands to figure that accounting back office functionality must go that way too. The latest announcement by FreshBooks confirms the growing maturity in the cloud-based accounting app as they become more powerful, scalable and cost-effective to SMEs in the UK and United States.

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