FreshBooks, the cloud accounting software designed for service-based small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, today announced the launch of an entirely rebuilt user interface (UI) designed to make managing invoices, clients and expenses faster and easier. The platform is also expanding its ecosystem of integrations and adding companies such as Google, GoDaddy and Apple.
“The new FreshBooks is designed to be the most ridiculously easy to use accounting software ever built — yet still packed with powerful features for self-employed professionals,” says Mike McDerment, CEO and co-founder of FreshBooks, in the announcement. “This isn’t innovation for innovation’s sake. This is about making it easier for self-employed professionals to succeed because it’s hard enough being out on your own serving your clients.”
According to McDerment, who spoke with Small Business Trends via Skype, a year and a half ago the company took a hard look at the future and determined that if there was one thing that it could do differently, it would be to make the UI much easier for customers to use. The new design reflects that mindset.
“We determined that the only way to get there was to go from the bottom up,” he said. “You can’t iterate your way to a design change like that. It demands a completely different user experience from top to bottom.”
A Look at the Freshbooks Redesign
New Freshbooks Interface Features
Freshbooks’ new interface includes the following features:
Redesigned Dashboard. The new dashboard is designed to help self-employed professionals see at a glance how their business is doing. First, it shows a graphical representation of outstanding revenue, followed by a picture of profit, a review of expenses and other commonly-used reports (P&L, account aging, expense reporting, etc.).
Notifications Center. A feature unique to this version is a notifications center, which acts like an assistant that keeps a record of any activity taking place on the platform since the last time a user logged in. Click the bell icon to see the latest activity.
Reimagined Invoices. “Creating a FreshBooks invoice is now simpler than typing in Word and packed full of new benefits,” says the announcement. That includes options for customization (layout, color, logo, etc.), due dates and the ability to communicate with clients directly on an invoice.
Project Management. A new simple to use project management tool allows teams to share files and communicate inside a single interface.
Time Tracking. The time tracking component was completely redesigned to reflect a time of day orientation and show the hourly utilization rate more clearly.
Multiple Business Management. Many self-employed people own more than one business. The new UI lets users switch from one to the other seamlessly, without having to log out and back in, something the older version did not accommodate.
Redesigned Mobile Apps. The new version also offers a mobile app for iOS and Android, to enable business owners to run things at anytime from anywhere.
Older Features Made More Visible. McDerment told Small Business Trends that the old interface prevented users from seeing all the available features, such as the ability to accept credit cards, send payment reminders and charge late fees. In fact, many customers did not know these features even existed, he said. The new interface makes such features more conspicuous.
Expanded Integrations Ecosystem
FreshBooks is also expanding its ecosystem of integrations to include major players such as Google, GoDaddy and Apple.
“We’re expanding our network of partner integrations, launching with 14 partners today, and will be rapidly adding more as we continue to invest in our platform,” McDerment said in the announcement. “When your accounting data flows effortlessly between the apps you use every day … you end up spending less time on administrative tasks and more time serving your clients.”
The new interface was beta tested with 1,000 of Freshbooks customers. The company is conducting a gradual rollout so not everyone will have immediate access. Users will also have the option to switch back to the older version if desired.
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I liked that Freshbooks has finally added these changes that captures cash flow. It’s a feature laking in the Paypal invoices, and was one of things I considered between it and Quickbooks. Alas I did pick Q-books because of costs, but I may revisit if the price is right. Great report, BTW!
I’ve been a freshbooks customer for over a decade. The new version is truly terrible. Once simple tasks are much harder and more opaque. I hope the “old” version will stick around.
Agreed. While I haven’t looked at all of the features to see what has changed, the time-tracking changes alone are enough to turn me off. No more calendar view, you now have to manually scroll (and scroll, and scoll) through days/months to track time. And PayPal Business Payments is no longer a payment option for your invoices, credit card only.