I have been using Freshbooks for timekeeping and billing since March 2008, when I quickly realized it is a better solution than anything I had used before (Time Matters, Timeslips, ProLaw, and Amicus). I’ve used it ever since, and it is getting better as my practice grows. [Edit: I’m still using and loving Freshbooks in September 2013!]

Freshbooks has become one of my “gold standard” applications* — it is the standard by which I judge all other timekeeping and billing software.

(FYI, Freshbooks is not QuickBooks. They do different things.)

Easy Timekeeping and Billing

Freshbooks makes timekeeping simple and easy to use. You can set up clients, then set up one or more projects for each client. You can bill based on the timekeeper’s default rate, a project rate, or different rates for different tasks. You can also track expenses and assign them to clients and/or projects. There is a pop-up timer, if you like to bill that way, or you can just enter your time manually.

If you want to, you can allow clients to log into Freshbooks to see the progress on their file. They get their own login information and you can control what they can see.

Billing is easy with Freshbooks, too. The easiest way to do it is to simply send your invoices by email. Freshbooks sends an email with a link to the invoice, and your client can just click to see it (no login necessary). This keeps the contents of your invoice confidential, instead of dumping it in your client’s email inbox by default. You can also connect your Freshbooks account to a PayPal or credit card merchant account so your clients can pay their bills by credit card just by clicking on a link.

If you prefer sending bills by mail, you can download and print them to send yourself, or you can have Freshbooks send them for you. I love having the option to just click a button and have Freshbooks send a paper invoice so I don’t have to lick the envelope myself.

Freshbooks Plays Well with Others

Since I frequently work with independent contractors and co-counsel, the software I use must be easy for them to interface with, too. Freshbooks has two important features that make this possible: (1) a free account for up to 3 clients; and (2) easy contractor integration. The first means it is easy to ask contractors to use Freshbooks to track their time on my projects. The second means I can receive their invoices in Freshbooks, then convert them to an expense or add their time to an invoice.

I am not aware of any other timekeeping and billing software with such easy contractor integration, and it has become one of the most useful features for my practice.

Freshbooks is also easy to use as your practice grows. Your staff can easily access Freshbooks through their own login from any web browser. You can assign them projects, set their billing rates, and so on. Since it is web-based, you don’t have to muck around with setting up servers, either. Just get them a computer with a web browser, and they are good to go.

Mobile Options

If you like tracking time from an iPhone, Freshbooks has got you covered with apps for iOS and Android. Both work great for timekeeping, recording expenses (you can snap photos of receipts to attach, too), and even sending bills.

Customer Service

Freshbooks has the best customer service I have ever used, although I have only used it twice. The first time, I wasn’t seeing what I wanted in the default Freshbooks pricing plans, so I called. To my surprise, an actual human — Levi — answered the phone and helped me construct a custom plan (1 staff and up to 150 active clients for $19/month).

The second time, I needed to figure out how to use a particular setting. Levi answered and got me straightened out quickly and pleasantly.

In short, I love Freshbooks. I have been a loyal customer for over two years, and I think it’s the best timekeeping and billing software available. Best of all, you can even start using Freshbooks for free.

Summary

Freshbooks is the gold standard for timekeeping and billing. It’s easy to use, mobile-friendly, and comes with world-class customer service.

Score: 5 (out of 5)

Freshbooks, originally reviewed on July 6, 2010, and updated on Sam Glover on .

*My other “gold standard” applications include Gmail, Google Calendar, Basecamp, and Remember the Milk.