Maybe Freshbooks (timekeeping and billing software) just got tired of being confused with Quickbooks (accounting software). Or maybe it was just inevitable that an awesome timekeeping and billing software would start to add accounting features, which is what Freshbooks CEO Mike McDerment just announced is coming up.

I’m really excited about this, but I’m not going to uninstall QuickBooks just yet. Freshbooks doesn’t even have an account register, at this point. I’m guessing it will take months before we start to see any new features of the accounting kind, and longer before it could replace Quickbooks. Plus, I don’t have any idea at this point whether trust accounting will be on the radar.

But I no longer have any doubt that lawyers are a priority at Freshbooks. Check this out:

if you are a lawyer, a marketing or advertising agency, a plumber, an interior decorator, an IT professional, a therapist, an architect, a web professional – if you create value for your customers by applying your time and expertise to other people’s problems – FreshBooks is designed for you

(Emphasis mine.) I used to have to persuade people that Freshbooks was okay for lawyers to use. It looks like Freshbooks has taken notice; we’re now first on the list of its target market.

Full disclosure: I have been a paying Freshbooks customer since May 2008 (first for my firm, then for Lawyerist and Bitter Lawyer). Lawyerist participates in the Freshbooks referral program (open to all users), which means you can help support Lawyerist by using this link if you sign up.


  1. Drew says:

    As a litigator, my invoices run chronologically, showing my hours and a detailed breakdown of tasks for each day. (Yes, my invoices can be long.)

    I must be missing something, because I see only two invoice styles in Freshbooks (“Classic,” and “Clean” templates). This seems extremely limiting, and not suited to lawyers, since the invoices do not seem to be listed by date (or at least lack a date column). What am I missing?

    • Sam Glover says:

      When you generate an invoice, Freshbooks will ask you how much detail you want to show on the invoice. My invoices from Freshbooks are arranged in chronological order, showing the date, the person doing the work, and the notes, along with the time and rate.

  2. Lori Aycock says:

    First of all – thank you for the invaluable advice that you post. My husband is in the midst of starting his new, solo law firm; and I am helping him with the office-related items.
    We have used several of your suggestions already. One of which is Freshbooks. So far we really like the concept and think it will work for him. However, I am having a hard time deciding which accounting software to use (and unfortunately I am not very accounting-savvy). I initially was interested in Outright because it integrates so well with Freshbooks but then I realized that it doesn’t print checks so it is out. I have had several conversations with QuickBooks and they try to convince me to use their software for the time-tracking and billing portion and not to use Freshbooks at all but that doesn’t seem like the best choice either. I feel like there has got to be a way to sync Freshbooks to QuickBooks (and even found an online site that Intuit referred me to called that claims to help with the import). So – I have three questions for you. 1. How do you integrate Freshbooks to QuickBooks? 2. Which version of QB do you use? He will need to have a way to pay an assistant so I was leaning towards the desktop Pro Plus version (which by the way – according to Intuit, will only work with the desktop QB). 3. Are you familiar with the import?

    Thank you again!

  3. Douglas Stein says:

    Is Freshbooks the best choice for flat fee billing or am I better off typing my own invoice for all flat fee bills and Freshbooks for hourly? If I should use Freshbooks for for flat fee billling will it tell me how many hours I put in and my “profit” or “loss” on a flat fee matter?

  4. Tim says:

    I am a lawyer with my own practice. I have no employees working for me. I use a cloud-based practice management program at the moment, but am checking out Freshbooks for 30 days on the recommendation of another lawyer. I have not used QuickBooks before. It looks like it has more features than I really need. I want one program that will take care of tracking time, billing and accounting. I also want a program that can track trust account balances, additions and withdrawals. Can Freshbooks do all of those things?

  5. Drew says:

    I really like for cloud-based billing. I have not succeeded in integrating it with Quickbooks (particularly expenses), but the programmer has been very accessible and cooperative in trying to help out.

    Entering time and getting professional-looking bills out is a mission critical application in our biz. I wanted the best (and cost-effective) tool for this. I’ve sent out detailed bills with dozens of pages to major corporations with Time59. I have a freelance billing coordinator in another state who works on my bills frequently from her computer. When I checked out Freshbooks a few years back, its formatting options just did not work for me. But they might have upgraded, and Sam loves it. It would not surprise me if they do a better job integrating with Quickbooks, too. Drew.

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