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FreshBooks Accounting Review 2023: Cost, Pros, Cons

Hillary Crawford

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Table of Contents

FreshBooks at a glance

How does freshbooks work, pricing and features, freshbooks alternatives.

FreshBooks is a small-business accounting software product that's well-suited for freelancers and independent contractors. It stands out with its solid phone support and customizable invoicing features. However, it's not ideal for fast-growing businesses because of user and client limits on some of its plans.

The software started out primarily as a solution for managing invoices and grew to become an accounting product. The Toronto-based company's software is now used in more than 160 countries.


on FreshBooks' website

After testing out a free 30-day trial, you can choose from one of four FreshBooks plans; the best option depends on the size and complexity of your business. A support page can help with account setup, and video webinars explain how to use the software and its bookkeeping features.

On the main dashboard, you can see charts that summarize invoices, profit and loss, revenue streams and spending. FreshBooks also has a mobile app for iOS and Android.

freshbooks review

» MORE: NerdWallet's best small-business apps

Phone support availability

As opposed to limiting phone support to normal working hours, FreshBooks offers phone support from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET on weekdays. This is convenient for people who work on their books towards the end of the day or own a business, like a restaurant, that operates on a later schedule. Phone calls are typically answered within three rings by a customer support representative.

Instead of live chat support with a human, FreshBooks has email support. Emails are normally answered within 90 minutes.

Robust invoicing services

FreshBooks' suite of invoicing features is one of the product’s strong suits. You can choose from various customizable designs, set up recurring digital invoices, easily include discounts, and get instant updates when invoices have been viewed or paid online. Invoicing features are available on the mobile app, too.

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Time and mileage tracking included in all plans

All FreshBooks plans include mileage tracking and time tracking features, which are also built into the mobile app. That way, small businesses with multiple employees don’t have to pay for a third-party time-tracking app. QuickBooks Online , by comparison, only offers time tracking in its $55-per-month plan and above. Xero users track mileage and time through project tracking and expense claiming tools that are only found in the highest-tier Established plan.

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Limits on users and clients

FreshBooks’ biggest drawbacks are its limits on users and billable clients. It includes one user in all plans but the Select tier (which allows two users); each additional user costs $10 per month. The lower-tier Lite and Plus plans allow up to five and 50 clients respectively. These limitations may not matter for very small businesses, but they can make it more expensive to scale up.

Other accounting platforms offer more flexibility. QuickBooks Online has a limit of five users in its most popular Plus plan and 25 users in its Advanced plan. Wave , a free accounting software product, doesn't place limits on the number of users or clients. Xero doesn't cap the number of users or clients you can have, but it limits the number of invoices you can send in its lowest-tier Early plan.

Lite plan lacks double-entry accounting basics

The lowest-tier Lite plan doesn’t include basics like bank reconciliation tools or double-entry accounting fundamentals (i.e., a general ledger, chart of accounts and trial balance). It also doesn't allow accountant or bookkeeper access. Most accounting software companies provide these basic services even in their cheapest plans.

In the same vein, FreshBooks might be limiting for growing businesses that have multiple people working in the software. Regardless of which plan you choose, your accountant will not have access to a full audit trail.

How FreshBooks compares

Read more about how FreshBooks stacks up with the competition.

FreshBooks vs. QuickBooks Online.

FreshBooks vs. Xero.

FreshBooks vs. Wave.

FreshBooks vs. Zoho Books.

6 Best FreshBooks Alternatives.

NerdWallet’s accounting software ratings favor products that are easy to use, have a robust feature set and can grow with your business. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including scope of features and integrations, customer support and cost, among others. Learn more about how we rate small-business accounting software .

These ratings are meant to provide clarity in the decision-making process, but what’s best for your business will depend on its size, growth trajectory and which features you need most. Simplicity doesn't always translate into ease of use. Less scalable products are typically simpler, but diminished functionality can cause headaches down the road for growing businesses. We encourage you to research and compare multiple accounting software products before choosing one.

NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines .

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FreshBooks   Reviews

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Reviews 3.3.

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Extremely Happy

Extremely happy! The staff helped me navigate the software and made sure I knew what I as doing. This is a great product and package. Every small business owner should use Mazuma/FreshBooks. I’m learning so much and have expanded my business knowledge and productivity. I also feel more confident about my accounting. Thank you

Date of experience : May 17, 2023

Our 2022 Transparency Report has landed

Great customer service.

Although I struggled to manage to speak to someone initially at Freshbooks, I eventually managed to speak to Rajan, who in the first instance owned the problem I was facing. Time was of the essence, and Rajan took full ownership and re-assured me of how he will help resolve my issue. Communication and time scales were exceptional, answered my questions competently and confidently. I'm pleased I got to speak to Rajan, who resolved my issue quickly and efficiently. Thanks Raj.

Date of experience : April 24, 2023

Terrible Experience and time wasted

Wow. Just terrible. The actual UX is okay but you can see that there are clunky flows straight away: duplicating an invoice doesn't update the invoice number sequentially etc BUT the real problem is the Support and Billing. You can't downgrade/upgrade without calling or emailing. We wasted a lot of time getting to the point where we realised Freshbooks is going to cause more problems than it was worth. A terrible experience from start to finish

Date of experience : February 09, 2023

Reply from FreshBooks

Hey there, thank you for taking the time to share your review of FreshBooks. I'm sorry to hear of the frustration you've experienced. Invoice numbering in FreshBooks is based on the last Invoice created in the account, regardless of the client. I have ensured your feedback regarding your billing experience and Invoice numbering has been shared with our team on your behalf. If there is any other feedback you wish to share or questions you need assistance with, our Support Team is happy to help however possible: ^DM

OK product from unresponsive company

OK product for small business. Good live support. Unresponsive software development organization. The memorized transaction function works 10% of the time. Unable to recognize and match transactions to memorized vendors and categories. Even vendors like ADP for payroll transactions. The reason given by FB is each transaction has a unique transaction number. Well duh! Ignore the transaction number and match what is constant, like the vendor name and category. It isn't rocket science, but they still can't sort this out after five years of using the product and writing to them annually about the issue.

Date of experience : March 10, 2023

Hey there, thank you for taking the time to share your review of FreshBooks. I have ensured your feedback regarding Expense merchants and categories has been shared with our Product Team on your behalf. To stay up to date with any changes or updates made to FreshBooks, you can check out our Help Centre: If there is anything our Support Team can assist with, please feel free to reach out ^DM

Could not even get started

I started my free trial and thought I could import the Customers/Vendors lists, then maybe try importing the journal and other stuff from QuickBooks, but even the simple things did not work. For example, I exported the Customers.xlsx from QuickBooks, converted it to CSV as FreshBooks wanted, and immediately ran into a problem. QuickBooks records customers' names as "First Last", and FreshBooks wants them separate, like "First" and "Last". Would I really need to go through and split those manually in the 21st century? I imagine how much trouble it is to convert the more complex tables, and FreshBooks does not provide any means to migrate from QuickBooks. Later I found that there are companies that do the migration professionally, but I do not even know whether I would like FreshBooks or not. After it took several days for the FreshBooks support team to get back to me, I already made my mind - there is a reason I pay much more for QuickBooks.

Date of experience : March 23, 2023

Hey Eugene, thank you for taking the time to share your review of FreshBooks. I have shared these comments about your experience with our team, including the data import experience. My apologies for any inconvenience caused! Our Support Team would be more than happy to assist with any matters in your account, including importing data. If any assistance is needed, please reach out: ^DM

really bad customer service

really bad customer service. I have a limit of 50 customers and invoices every month. Wanted to upgrade as I have lots of new customers gain to 100 of invoices every month. Have been trying to contact someone for weeks with no response!! My business is affected now because of them NOT RECOMMENDED!!!!

Date of experience : March 11, 2023

Hi there, thank you for taking the time to share your review of FreshBooks. I apologize to hear of the frustration you've had connecting with the FreshBooks team. If you are working with a member of our Support Team on these matters, please look out for any further updates from them. If not, please reach out to our Support Team - we're happy to assist however possible:^MR

Unreliable invoicing and abrupt end of service

Really really disappointed and have had to leave. I was a Freshbooks user for 3 years and it was a nice platform to use. However - in December 2022 the software didn't send ANY of my invoices - which I didn't appreciate until everyone was late paying in Jan. They 'investigated' but told me ALL of my contacts who had ALL received numerous invoices before had had their firewalls change and not receive my invoice. Utter nonsense. I lost £300 as a result of one of these invoices not going through. I decided to cancel the subscription at the end of my year because of this. I sent my cancelation request for the end of the term and they tried to take payment for another year, then when I told them not to b/c I'd cancelled they completely stopped it dead then and there - a month early - which meant I had no access to any of my data. As I write this I'm still a paying customer with absolutely no way of getting my invoices or contacts. I've repeatedly tried to contact them - but they've clearly 'firewalled' me now! I'm really annoyed at the lack of service and most of all inability to access my data. (At the start they were almost annoyingly intrusive with add on's) Leaving, it seems, is the best decision I could have made. I'm delighted to have found a far cheaper and more integrated and reliable service with Xero. --- The reply they've given me below is exactly what you've said on the bounce back emails. I know how to contact you on the website - I've tried this approach 4 times in the last 2 weeks, you simply don't reply back. I don't think it's ok that I've have to go public in order to get a response. Invoicing is an essential tool for any business and the data you store is essential for me to have access to for my files. The 'go to the website' response is flippant and patronising. I sincerely hope your team will be in touch.

Hey there, thank you for taking the time to share your review. I apologize for the inconvenience caused in these matters. I have ensured your feedback regarding account cancellation has been shared with our team on your behalf! If you still need any assistance in accessing your account or assistance in any way, please reach out via ^DM

Quantity not quality

Charged me $75 to process an AMEX payment, which after 7 days had not cleared. When I emailed to relay my disappointment, they cancelled the now 8 days ‘Pending’ transaction, closed my Freshbooks account without explanation, and sent me an automated email stating that my business was suddenly “to high risk” for them to handle. Class act! (For contrast: the response to this review was three business days with no reference to my suddenly closed account, and still no direct (not automated) response to my complaint email that was the catalyst to the closed account. Translation: Damage control to their reputation on Trustpilot does not band-aid bad customer service.

Date of experience : March 03, 2023

Hi Barry, Thank you for taking the time to share your review of FreshBooks. I can certainly understand there can be frustration with processing payments through Wepay. If you are working with a member of our Support Team on these matters, please look out for any further updates from them. If not, please reach out to our Support Team - we're happy to assist however possible:^MR

Used to be good

Used to be good, then they "fixed" it. The old freshbooks interface was great, you could find everything you needed and didn't need a degree in accounting to run your business. Now the new interface is a nightmare, I can't even complete the simplest task, they have taken a gem and turned it into a coprolite. No one in their right mind would call that interface an improvement over the old design. FFS, I've spent an hour looking for where to find my GST number, Unsuccessfully. I'll be leaving FreshBooks after my annual subscription is up.

Date of experience : December 26, 2022

Hey Vince, thank you for taking the time to share your review of FreshBooks. I appreciate your honesty in this matter, and wish to let you know our team is here to help however we can. To best assist with the concerns you've raised, hearing any specific feedback on workflows, feature suggestions, or to troubleshoot matters in your account, our Support Team would be happy to help. As a note, you should be able to see your GST (or any tax number) when creating or editing an Invoice that has tax applied - details found here: To best assist with any other questions or concerns you have, details for contacting our team are located in your FreshBooks account or at ^DM

Great experience so far

Great experience so far! We evaluated a number of options before choosing FreshBooks. Ultimately we decided to go with FreshBooks, because of how easy it was to get started. I’m not an experienced bookkeeper, so ease of use was a big factor for us. So far I’m really impressed. Invoicing and time tracking are very important to us (we’re a 3 person Graphic Design shop) and FreshBooks gives us everything we need.

Date of experience : December 05, 2022

Good for invoicing small business

I use this to do my invoicing for my side gig. The only reason I am giving it 4 and not 5 is that some of the features are a bit hard to figure out, and now that I've done them wrong it's hard to go back to doing them a new way. Still, it gets the job done and is cheaper than many other options I looked at for invoicing.

Date of experience : January 16, 2023

received a call from them

received a call from their account manager yesterday asking for feedback and if I wanted to continue with them after my trial ends. After agreeing as I initially thought this was a very helpful sight, he proceeded to send me a “50% off”discount making the plus subscription £9.50. I went on their website today to find that the plus subscription is £5 something at 70 odd % off and I was just thinking that they have just tried to scam me. Would not recommend to anyone. Use canva for invoices, been using canva for graphic and document design for years, never let me down

Date of experience : December 19, 2022

Hello, thank you for taking the time to share your review of FreshBooks. Our account management team is here to assist you wherever possible so if you are still working with one of the members of that team please reach back out in regards to the subscription fee. If you need any further assistance in this matter, you can find the contact details for us here: ^MR

Not fit for purpose yet..

Not fit for purpose for VAT registered UK businesses unfortunately. MTD is an add-on that just doesn't work. Expenses can't be emailed as this function doesn't work. They were the 2 main functions I signed up for so it is completely useless and a waste of time for me unfortunately. I emailed the customer service and they try to be helpful but are quite confused and did not resolve any of my issues just said they wre 'bugs' they are working on. So feels more like a buggy startup beta software than a working reliable product I would pay for at the moment.

Date of experience : December 06, 2022

Hey Owen, thank you for taking the time to share your review of FreshBooks. I certainly appreciate the frustration that can be caused by issues within a software, and have shared your concern with our team here. If you are presently working with a member of our Support Team, please do keep an eye out for further updates on these matters. If not, please feel free to reach out to our Support Team for further assistance. ^DM

Something to Consider before signing up for FreshBooks..

I have been using Freshbooks for years. This past year I had issues with my Freshbooks linking to my Credit Union account. After weeks of trying, Freshbooks still has not resolved the issue. As a result of their efforts, I was locked out of my bank account 6 times and had to call my bank to unlock my account each time. I am switching to Wave, and I realize there may be issues with their bank connection also, but at least Wave's software is free, so I will not be paying to manually import my expenses.

Date of experience : December 13, 2022

Hey Dennis, thank you for taking the time to share your review of FreshBooks. I certainly understand the inconvenience caused by a Bank Connection issue, and appreciate you sharing your feedback on this experience. If you are still working with one of the members of the Support Team, please look out for any updates on your case. If you need any assistance in this matter, you can find the contact details for us here: ^DM

Wouldn’t recommend they get charging…

Wouldn’t recommend they kept on charging every single month after emailing multiple times to cancel my monthly plan. I received no response and there is no way of simply cancelling yourself via your account.

Date of experience : December 20, 2022

Hello, thank you for taking the time to share your review of FreshBooks. Our team can certainly take care of the cancellation request for you. If this has yet to be completed you can find the contact details for us here: and either myself or my colleagues can assist further. Thank you again for your feedback^MR

I was looking for an invoicing system…

I was looking for an invoicing system that linked to a bank account. Freshbooks does link to bank accounts but it seems to be pointless because there is no link between a payment into your bank and any of the overdue invoices. You need to upgrade for that sort of facility. Second, you are only allow five clients I now realise, unless you upgrade. The support is pretty rubbish too; entirely bot driven. I can't find out if I can get a refund of my annual subscription since I've got most of the year to go. Basically I just chose the wrong package; my mistake. An expensive lesson I suppose.

Date of experience : May 01, 2022

Hi James, thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. If you are looking to connect a bank account to receive payments from clients you can do so by choosing one of the three payment processor options: FreshBooks via WePay, Stripe, and Paypal. This feature is available on all plan options. In regards to the Lite Plan, you have chosen - the client limit is 5 actively billed clients at a time. Meaning if you have clients that are not being billed those can be deleted (data will be saved) to free up an active client spot. If you're looking to speak to a human our support team is available by phone and email from Monday to Friday. Please reach out to us directly at where I or one of my colleagues can assist you in the plan change/refund.^MR

Echoing so many other long-time…

Echoing so many other long-time Freshbooks users here to say that the new version is a hollow and buggy shell of the legacy product. It takes more than twice as long to do our monthly invoicing, and mistakes are far more likely given the constant manifestation of serious bugs that result in undependable reporting. After what must be close to a year now, we've given up on Freshbooks support and on the possibility of product improvements. Painful as the transition will be, we're moving off and can't wait to put this ugly chapter behind us.

Date of experience : May 04, 2022

Hi Mark, thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. I understand the new platform can be challenging at times and the differences between the previous platform can be frustrating as well - that being said, all feedback like yours is taken into consideration by our product development team when fixing bugs to updating the platform for better service. Although the platform is currently not fitting your needs we are sad to see you go. If you are ever in need of assistance with your previous account you can find our contact details here I or one of my colleagues can assist however possible. ^MR

domeo review

So far I like freshbooks. The interface is simple and easy to navigate. I would prefer smaller sized icons etc to provide more info on screen. The overview page doesnt work for me. The numbers are inaccurate so it is meaningless. When it shows your overall income it excludes any invoices that have been archived. So the numbers don't represent an accurate reading of total invoices and expenses etc.

Date of experience : December 08, 2021

The perfect solution for my Small Business

FreshBooks is the perfect solution for my Sidehustle/Freelance business. I own and operate a small advertising agency. We usually work with 1-3 clients at a time. I use FreshBooks, primarily as an invoicing and expense tracking solution and find it to be intuitive and easy to use. I’d highly recommend FreshBooks — especially for small business owners who are not accounting experts but want a simple, streamlined solution to manage their books.

Date of experience : December 02, 2022

Why use 5 apps when you can use 1? Freshbooks is the answer.

I love using Freshbooks! The ease of use has immensely improved the longer I've been using the platform. The updates that have been made make it easier than ever to log expenses, track time, create proposals (and have my clients sign them) and send invoices. I love that it makes it easy for my clients to pay (and automatically logs the credit card/ACH Banking fee as an expense on my end). It's like using 5 different apps in one. Also, being able to add my tax guy and team members/contractors to the account helps so much in tracking my goals, and end of year finances.

Date of experience : June 15, 2021

FreshBooks accounting software review

A quick and simple accountancy solution from freshbooks.


TechRadar Verdict

FreshBooks is a well worth considering if you’re a small to medium-sized business or sole-trader looking to simplify your accounting needs within the convenient confines of an affordable package.

Extensive features

Impressive support

Quality iOS and Android app

Premium edition packs a punch

Less options for high-volume users

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

FreshBooks is a one-stop, cloud-based accounting software that for a relatively small outlay can provide you with an easy-to-use package that ticks most boxes, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. Within its browser-based design you’ll find a whole host of options that cover any and all aspects of running a business . It doesn't matter if you're a lone freelancer or someone who’s growing a business and employing staff. 

FreshBooks is a doddle to use, has the capacity to expand with your business needs and, thankfully, keeps those stress levels low as you build up your accounting profile. New features for this year include advanced search, the ability to download your own statements, Dropbox connectivity , new keyboard shortcuts and much more.

In the UK, Freshbooks has teamed up with Barclays to offer joint bookkeeping solutions for customers, offering new ways to help with invoicing and wider business management tasks. It's now possible to integrate Barclaycard Payments into FreshBooks , providing extra convenience for business customers. Competitors in this software area include QuickBooks , Xero , Sage Business Cloud Accounting , Kashoo , Zoho Books and Kashflow .

View Freshbooks here

FreshBooks comes with a selection of package and payment options that should provide a solution for most. For the self-employed there’s a no-messing $15 per month Lite package (currently available for $7.50) that allows for 5 billable clients. 

Next up, the Plus edition is $25.00 (currently available for $12.50 per month), which is aimed at small businesses and has the capacity for 50 billable clients. 

Premium, meanwhile, has potential for business that are expanding and costs $50.00 per month (currently available for $25.00 per month) with a 500 billable client capacity. 

Any requirements over and above this selection and you’re best advised to contact FreshBooks for a custom deal. FreshBooks also gets a thumbs up for its try-free option, which lets you explore the package and cancel within 30 days if it’s not right for your needs.

FreshBooks comes with an impressive array of features no matter which of the package options you adopt. Even the Lite edition sparkles with the capacity for unlimited and customizable invoices, unlimited expense entries, the ability to accept credit card payments online and ACH bank transfers too. 

Naturally, the beefier the package the more features you get, so Plus adds to the Lite feature set with unlimited proposals, automated recurring invoices, double entry accounting reports and more besides. Similarly, Premium gets all the Lite and Plus features along with up to 500 client capacity and the ability to add team members (at $10 per person). 

Anyone with a custom-priced deal can also enjoy a personal account manager, personal FreshBooks training for you and your team along with other value-added features.


FreshBooks has had plenty of time to perfect its operation and this cloud-based system is one that works with little to worry about. The service delivers a neat experience depending on what kind of business you run, and if you’re a one-man-band then there’s very little to go wrong it seems. 

Even if you’re operating a large or expanding business FreshBooks seems nicely engineered and rolls with the punches if you’re dealing with large chunks of customer data. 

Freshbooks is also available for iOS or Android and the app edition is a clever supplement to the desktop arrangement. Not everyone wants to do everything on their app, especially if that involves large reams of numbers, but this is a great option if you’re keeping track of things on the go.

Ease of use

Accounting software can be a long and arduous journey if you’re not au fait with its different sensibilities, let alone the work involved in mastering a new system. However, FreshBooks has been honed and fine-tuned over the years and is now an inviting option, especially if you’re starting out in business. 

In fact, FreshBooks is refreshing in its set-by-step setup, with initial manoeuvres involving little more than picking a package and following the email address and password route so common with cloud-based operations. 

Ease-of-use is enhanced as the system can be adapted to suit what type of user you are. Larger concerns, for example, allows team members to be added. Freelancers and self-employed sole trader-types have it even easier.

FreshBooks has a dependable and well-established support system that goes back as long as it has been operating. To start, there’s an excellent online area of the FreshBooks site that offers up a delicious selection of quick fix answers. There are top categories too, such as dashboard and settings, invoicing and payments or handling online payments, which cover the majority of newbie enquiries. 

However, for the more unusual requests you may have, or indeed if you prefer a human to advise you, then there’s an easy-to-find phone number in the same section of the site. Live support is available from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm EDT (Excluding Holidays) in the US. Alternatively, FreshBooks has a support email address to beef up the contact and support options.

Final verdict

We’re really pleased with the way the latest incarnation of FreshBooks looks and performs. It’s been around for a while now and that is obviously a strength as the FreshBooks folks have refined the essence of the accounts package , while making it a wonderfully straightforward user experience. 

It’s easy to setup and configure, the menu systems and sections are plain and simple, plus there’s plenty of power behind it to ensure things keep on ticking even if you’re asking a lot of it. All told, FreshBooks seems like a mighty fine way to do your accounting and, depending on your requirements, is actually pretty cost-effective.

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.

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FreshBooks Review


What is FreshBooks?


Technical details.

Verified Quality

FreshBooks is an award-winning finance & accounting software and one of the best cloud solutions for small business owners. It is the current holder of FinancesOnline’s  Best Accounting Software Award for 2023  and has the highest customer satisfaction rates of all similar apps in this category. As you will find out in this review, there is a long list of reasons why our experts considered FreshBooks for these prestigious acknowledgments.

Freshbooks is popular among businesses for streamlining client invoicing and time tracking processes. Built with small and growing businesses in mind, the software packs a robust set of features that are offered in flexible, SMB-friendly pricing plans. In fact, freelancers who want to optimize their sales cycle and collection can easily deploy the software. This gives them the ability to customize the branding of their financial documents by modifying its design, colors, and logo to be more professional.

FreshBooks is a reliable and fast accounting suite that turns otherwise complex financial management into an enjoyable experience.  Creating professional-looking invoices can be done in a few clicks as the software doesn’t require experience in accounting. It automates tasks such as client follow up, time tracking, expenses organization to save you more time. Meanwhile, its online payment solutions help you get paid faster. The software integrates seamlessly with a variety of third-party apps such as Stripe, Shopify, PayPal, and G Suite, among others, to extend the app’s functionalities.

Freshbooks mobile apps, available on both iOS and Android, enable you to run your business anywhere, anytime using your mobile device. You can send invoices, log expenses, track time, receive updates and chat with clients. The information is synced across all your devices to ensure you have access to data even when you’re out of the office.

Nevertheless, there is more to FreshBooks than what has already been said: currently, the company is introducing a completely new version of their product and inviting all FreshBooks classic users to upgrade to it. The new FreshBooks will be modernized, easier to use, and fully enabled with the necessary collaboration features for faster and more efficient delivery. At the same time, users will enjoy a friendlier and completely redesigned interface, where invoices are even more customizable and enabled with advanced tracking capacity. Time tracking is also completely redesigned making FreshBooks even better at prioritizing tasks for you and allowing for complete transparency for every separate operation. What you will also like about the new version is the improved search filter, invoice conversations, and multi-currency expenses.

Continue reading our detailed review to familiarize with all features and particularities related to the innovations in this system. We’ve also compared its capacity to other accounting programs featured on our platform, and we encourage you to check those comparisons for a better understanding of the program. There is also a great Freshbooks 30-day free trial that you can try out first.

Overview of FreshBooks Benefits

Now that FreshBooks has an amazing new version rich with improved features, the list of benefits became considerably long. Below we analyze the most important among them and explain how they can benefit your company.

Dynamic solution for SMBs

The developers of Freshbooks keep small teams in mind when developing the software. Hence, they continue to constantly reinvent the wheel of how midmarket accounting should be done and eliminating even the slightest possibility of human errors that lead to harmful inconsistencies. The proof of this dedicated approach is their new FreshBooks version, which simplifies the function of the current system, and adds long-awaited, advanced features. The new version lets you enjoy a beautified and modernized interface, natural collaboration with your team companions and partners, and improved quality of work. Managing your business is much simpler than it used to be, having in mind their automated task prioritization, the redesigned dashboard with outstanding customization possibilities and late payment tracking features.

Responsive mobile design

Freshbooks mobile apps ensure you stay connected and continue managing your business even when you’re away. Available on both iOS and Android devices, you can create and send invoices, take a photo of receipts, manage expenses, keep up with updates, communicate with clients, and sync data across all devices on-the-go.  Both mobile platform function impeccably, and feature secure backups to keep your data safe. With the new version of the product, they are even empowered with a comprehensive Projects suite which empowers streamlined and seamless communication.

Time-saving auto-bills and recurring payments

To save time, Freshbooks lets you set up a billing schedule. Automating recurring payments with auto-bills charges your client’s card automatically and securely. Invoices are also sent in any currency you and your client prefers.  What is really facilitated in the system now is capturing expenses, as all tasks are prioritized by the system, and displayed in a way which helps you depict the most important assignments for your team.

Preserved simplicity

Features are and, as designers promise, will continue being customizable, and allow you to attach all the files you want, trigger notifications and set alerts for delayed payments, assign expenses and different rates for each project, track billing, and brand invoices in an easy manner. This is one of the many fields in which FreshBooks is completely unsurpassed.

Invoice-to-payment functionality

Freshbooks has a reliable invoice-to-payment functionality. For instance, you can see when a client receives and opens the invoice you sent.  This can help you deal with customers who claim they didn’t get the invoice. FreshBooks effectively gives you the certainty that your invoices have been properly delivered to clients. In the latest version, you will also be able to set invoice due dates, charge late fees, and turn on new online payment options.

Another thing FreshBooks is considerably good at is managing billing history. It offers a wide range of features to keep track of past and current invoices. For instance, you can quickly pull out any unpaid invoices from past months. There’s also a convenient feature that sends automatic overdue payment reminders to your clients. This enables you to stay on top of your cash flow and you don’t need to argue with customers about missed payments.

Finally, FreshBooks makes managing payments flexible as you can settle accounts with MasterCard, Visa,  Amex, Google Checkout, or use PayPal for online payments. Cloud invoicing can be easily streamlined with an online payment gateway which provides an efficient tool to collect payments without the need to discuss these issues with a client. You can easily automate the recurring billing process to save time. To make matters even better, FreshBooks also offers multi-currency invoicing that enables you to bill customers in local currency.

Optimize expense tracking

Freshbooks makes it easy to keep track of expenses. Receipts can be attached and organized in the software. They will be prepared during tax time and help you stay in budget with an easy-to-read summary.  You can also easily track which expense belongs to which client or add the expense to an invoice as a reimbursement deal with a particular client. It is also possible to link the Expense Tool to your bank or credit card account and import expenses directly from your bank. All these features make it really easy to track your company’s day-to-day expenses.

Accurate time tracking

You can track time against specific clients and projects in Freshbooks. A Chrome extension is available to enable time tracking in apps such as Basecamp, Asana, and Trello. This gives you more confidence to bill clients for tracked hours with accuracy as you can add the hours you’ve logged into your client’s invoice.  In addition, FreshBooks offers flexible billing features: you can charge an hourly or flat rate according to your agreement with the client. Your team members can also log in their time separately for projects, allowing you to track individual and team time worked, and calculate a running bill for payment.

Brilliant reporting

Entering data in a spreadsheet is time-consuming and error-prone. FreshBooks is a much better alternative as it enables you to generate financial reports by simply processing data already entered. You can easily generate a profit and loss report with just a few clicks. You can also create an expense report to track monthly costs and monitor your balance sheet in real time. Handling taxation issues is likewise simple. You can easily filter your accounts records and generate accurate tax reports and tax summaries. These reports can be then exported to a CSV file or other popular formats for sharing with a tax adviser or accountant.

Innovative accounting solution

Freshbooks is constantly adding and updating the features of their platform to continuously improve its functionality. Advanced features such as non-invoice income recording and bank accounts reconciliation are expected to be added. Some of their most recent updates include enabling saved credit cards to be visible on the Client’s Profile and filtering by Uncategorized expenses when searching in the Expense section. Meanwhile, Freshbooks Classic, the previous version of Freshbooks, is still available should you choose to keep it.

Overview of FreshBooks Features

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FreshBooks Position In Our Categories

Bearing in mind companies have particular business-related needs, it is only practical they steer clear of getting a one-size-fits-all, ”best” software solution. Nevertheless, it would be difficult to stumble on such a software product even among well-known software solutions. The better thing to undertake would be to take note of the different critical functions that entail consideration like major features, costing, technical skill ability of staff members, company size, etc. The second step is, you should do the research fully. Read these FreshBooks evaluations and look over the other software programs in your list in detail. Such detailed product research ensures you stay away from mismatched apps and pay for the one which offers all the features your company requires.

Position of FreshBooks in our main categories:

FreshBooks is top 1 Accounting Software product

FreshBooks is 1 Online Accounting Software product

Enterprises have unique wants and requirements and no software solution can be ideal in such a situation. It is futile to try to find a perfect out-of-the-box software product that meets all your business needs. The wise thing to do would be to customize the application for your special wants, staff member skill levels, budget, and other aspects. For these reasons, do not rush and subscribe to well-publicized popular solutions. Though these may be widely used, they may not be the perfect fit for your specific needs. Do your research, investigate each short-listed system in detail, read a few FreshBooks Accounting Software reviews, speak to the maker for clarifications, and finally choose the product that provides what you need.

How Much Does FreshBooks Cost?

FreshBooks Pricing Plans:

What are FreshBooks pricing details?

FreshBooks offers a flexible SMB and enterprise pricing scheme where plans are tailored to suit the needs of every business or small accounting team. FreshBooks is offering a 70% off for the Lite, Plus, and Premium plans for 3 months for new customers. What is more, the company offers a 30-day free trial where you can examine the features prior to choosing the most suitable plan. The difference between plans depends on the number of active clients you intend to bill, while functionalities remain the same allowing you to:

These are the pricing details for each available plan:

Lite – $17/month or $183.60/yearly

Plus – $30/month or $324/yearly

Premium – $55/month or $594/yearly

Note that the company also offers discounts for annual payment.

User Satisfaction

We realize that when you make a decision to get a Accounting Software it’s crucial not only to learn how experts evaluate it in their reviews, but also to discover if the real users and companies that purchased these solutions are actually happy with the product. Because of that need we’ve devised our behavior-based Customer Satisfaction Algorithm™ that gathers customer reviews, comments and FreshBooks reviews across a wide range of social media sites. The data is then featured in an easy to understand way indicating how many customers had positive and negative experience with FreshBooks. With that information at hand you should be ready to make an informed purchasing choice that you won’t regret.


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What integrations are available for FreshBooks?

FreshBooks integrates with the following business systems and applications:

FreshBooks User Reviews

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The most favorable review

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PROS: It's super easy to utilize. It gives me the required structure for keeping track of my time. The same goes for expenses of my projects. What's more, it makes me look real good by delivering invoices to clients that are alluring and having all the necessary info in simplified manner.

CONS: I can't think of much, really. Maybe they ought to have further flexibility on their invoice templates. Specifically offering day-based rates instead of the typical hourly-based approach, for instance.

Reviewed 5 years ago

The least favorable review

Verified user

PROS: The only great aspect is when you call they actually pick up the phones.

CONS: Every three months I get a call from my 'new account manager' telling me about all the great upgrades and solutions for my company. Right after they are done pretending to know anything about my services, they hit you with a, 'charges are changing on your account' speech. As they double, not go up, DOUBLE my rates for the month, I'm now looking for someone else to service my accounts.

Reviewed 2 years ago

More reviews from 28 actual users:

Easy to use accounting system

PROS: The best thing about FreshBooks software is the vendor constantly keeps introducing new features. The software shows little screens with info about the new features and this helps me to discover new things that can be useful for me. The main part is FreshBooks is a top quality accounting software that helps me manage my company’s finances easily.

CONS: The only complaint I have about is expense categorization. I categorize and track my expenses on a different system and I would like to integrate it with FreshBooks instead of duplicating the work to view expense breakdowns. Because of this lack, I manage expense categorization elsewhere and not in FreshBooks.

What do you think about this review?

Nice platform, if you like payment processing at a glacial pace.

Michael J. McBride

Michael J. McBride

PROS: It's easy and fast to use. It looks professional and it's fairly affordable. Very short learning curve.

CONS: Start adding clients and the costs go up quickly. More variety in plans.

Vendor reply

Hey Michael, thank you for sharing your review of FreshBooks! I'm happy to hear that you found FreshBooks easy to use for your business. However, I am sorry to hear that you had a frustrating experience with accepting online payments however. While we do work with a partner company to provide this feature, we endeavour that have that process be as seamless as possible. I apologize that this was not the case with you. I will also pass along your feedback about wanting to see an integration with PayPal! If there's every anything else that we can help out with, please don't hesitate to reach out to our Support Team at 1-866-303-6061 Monday through Friday, 8am-8pm EST or [email protected]. ^DM

Amazing product, great customer service

PROS: I love that FreshBooks is reliable and easy to use. I have been using it for more than five years to manage my company’s billing work. The app has boosted my company’s cash flow and my customers also love this system.

CONS: FreshBooks is advertised as a cloud accounting software. The description is not accurate as the system lacks a few important accounting features. But it offers top notch expense tracking and billing features that are one of the best in the market.

FreshBooks indispensable accounting initiative for digital marketing

Fran Maita

PROS: Performance and its ability to create and transmit important data.

CONS: The data is not safeguarded with several steps. That must improve.

Started great, then they took advantage just like Quickbooks

Hey James, thank you for taking the time to share your review of FreshBooks. I have passed along your feedback to our Account Management team, and have asked your Account Manager to reach out to you directly to discuss your concerns. Please keep an eye out for their email to come through shortly! If there's any other feedback or questions you have regarding FreshBooks, please don't hesitate to reach out to our Support Team. We can be reached at 1-866-303-6061 Monday through Friday, 8am-8pm EST or [email protected]. ^DM

A refreshing approach in accounting management.

PROS: I love how the program is cloud-based. This gives me information access in real-time regardless of my location. Another essential functionality is being able to make more than one company profile. Freshbooks deploys functionality that's intuitive allowing for simpler invoice/client generation and management.

CONS: At this point in time, I'm very much content with Freshbooks. I like how I get to make the most of its functionality that can't been seen in other third party software.

FreshBooks is useful

Anonymous Reviewer

PROS: It\'s easy and fast to use. It looks professional and it\'s fairly affordable. Very short learning curve.

CONS: It\'s easy and fast to use. It looks professional and it\'s fairly affordable. Very short learning curve.

You can save money and time with this app

PROS: I love that FreshBooks is easy to set up and use. We are saving a lot by switching over from credit card and merchant account processing through our bank which used to cost a lot. The saved money is more than the subscription we pay for FreshBooks. Another great thing is they are keeping the price constant though they keep adding new features and tools to the software.

CONS: I don’t have any issues at all with this system as it fulfills my expectations and needs.

It was okay for the first couple years, now I am trapped

PROS: Easy to use It was inexpensive and somewhat reliable the first couple years

CONS: Website is often down preventing invoicing and receiving payments I emailed customer service for 4 months with no response when they billed my credit card without authorization. This wasn\'t the annual subscription, they billed another $400 months after. Customer service phone number goes to full mailbox Does not integrate with my customer management software resulting in double entry for all customer and invoicing data I can\'t download transactions from my Credit Card website to Freshbooks as I would be able to with Quickbooks or Quicken If you want to cancel and keep pictures of receipts for expenses on Freshbooks, you lose access. If you are audited or need to look up past expenses you are completely screwed. Same is true for customer and invoicing history Mak plan is good up to 500 customers, I have 110 new customers a year so after 5 years I have to delete customers and all info or pay for the custom pricing the they choose. At this point I am paying more than I would with the most expensive Quickbooks plan.

Hey Seth, thank you for sharing your review of FreshBooks. I'm sorry to hear that you had trouble contacting our Support Team. Our Support Team is available at 1-866-303-6061 Monday through Friday, 8am-8pm EST, so as long as you call during those hours you should be able to get someone within a couple of rings (and not our voicemail). I wanted to address the concerns that were raised in your review, but it would likely be easier via email. Please look out for an email from our Support Team, so we can discuss and address some of these concerns that you've left in your review. ^DM

Highly recommended for small businesses!

PROS: Working for an internet marketing and web design firm, our clients are making monthly payments on marketing and hosting services. With Freshbooks, I get to make a monthly-based invoice. It does this with its own set-it-and-forget-it approach that's comfortable to use and highly valuable. Our clients can now save paymet info whenever they're paying their initial invoice for faster payment every one month after.

CONS: One aspect that I'd be pleased to see is being able to do more than just what it's offering. By that would mean procuring a business loan/line of credit via data within Freshbooks.

Many reasons to love FreshBooks

PROS: I love FreshBooks for many reasons. It offers excellent mobility and the customer support agents are helpful and friendly. You can use your mobile phone to input data on the go. I am able to give quotes to people right on the phone. Another advantage is I get to know when my client opens my invoice. This means I can know if my invoice went to spam and lies unopened. I can ask my client to open the invoice and get payment immediately. Plus, FreshBooks integrates smoothly with payment methods like Stripe which I prefer. You can easily scan cards using their reader anywhere.

CONS: My only grouse is the card reader is priced a bit steeply.

Saved me lots of time and prevented me from going insane!

PROS: Freshbooks did a tremendous job in convering my tedious monthly task into something that's swift and easy to do. I like how I get to have automated invoices, late payments, and reminders. Its automation was such a difference maker as I would lose track (every now and then) in sending invoices or getting them out in the later going. Its reminders prevented things from getting way too personal.

CONS: I was hopong it'd be a bit simple to my own virtual assistant to making invoices. I wanted a way in converting payments to credits. Through that approach, whenever payment is made in advance, it would automatically apply such advancement payment for invoices in the future. I feel like it's better to remove the three-invoice reminder restriction.

Easy billing software

PROS: I appreciate that FreshBooks is important for my business. I am not an accounting professional and I don’t particularly like bookkeeping. I was looking for a software that helps me do accounting easily. FreshBooks offers all that I need and more too.

CONS: My only gripe is the app lacks a browser extension for the time tracking timer. I use this feature a lot so it would be great if the vendor adds it to the software.

Good app for startups, but they don’t make any improvements

PROS: For me, the plus points are the system is easy to use on desktop and mobile. But the app is below par. It is easy to use the desktop on the phone. You can improve your business by linking payment options as this automatically records payments from your clients and saves you a great deal of time.

CONS: I have a major grouse with FreshBooks. You cannot snail mail an estimate with the “snail mail button”. When you send an email using Yahoo or the estimate gets rejected and you don’t even get a mailer daemon message about the failure. This forces me to call clients and I get embarrassed when they say the estimate is not even in their junk mail. This annoyance occurs regularly because of which I am thinking of switching to another software.

My business changed significantly with Freshbooks.

PROS: Being an artist, I couldn't fully understand how much influence the business has in terms of creativity. The lack of success has greatly impacted my creativity. When I upgraded to Freshbooks since it was suggested by a friend of mine. With my business growining, I know which problems I needed to deal with before they become major issues. I can also make monthly projections, which helped me hire an assistant part-time and freeing up time for me to concentrate further on photography.

CONS: I hate the fact that I'm a few years later in discovering this. It's a bit annoying knowing that the program itself is entirely online. I wish I get to access it from my desktop PC offline.

The software is easy to use

PROS: I like that I can access FreshBooks anywhere, anytime to manage estimates, expenses, and invoices. I love that it integrates with my bank account easily which helps me to keep track of expenses and cash flow.

CONS: My only complaint is the software does not allow me to bill a flat rate for some projects. I need to subdivide the projects to calculate hourly rate after quoting a flat rate and this has been questioned by a few clients.

My speed and efficiency in invoice payment has significantly increased.

PROS: Freshbooks is so easy to utilize. It comes with a clean interface. Its iPhone apps allows for seamless time tracking and billing. I've had this for a number of years and it really fits the bill!

CONS: I was hoping Freshbooks would let keep time-billing segregated from time tracking. Fortunately, its latest version now allows this.

Billing and time tracking has never been this simple!

PROS: Freshbooks is capable of streamlining the process on a number of projects for different clients. I like how you can have a bunch of project categorized for a certain client. This is useful in my job where we're frequently dealing with different tasks for one client. One thing I like is that you can key in time enties or items on invoices.

CONS: One issue I'm facing with Freshboosk is that I've yet determine how to remove projects/clients. This is actually clogging my list. We've got projects that we haven't been working on for a number of years. Thing is, they're still showing up on the time tracking list.

We use it for time tracking

PROS: Our company mainly uses FreshBooks for invoices and time tracking. We have multiple clients and projects so it is important that our employees track their time correctly on projects. More work is needed for some clients and we need to ensure we assign the right amount of time for these clients. We also use FreshBooks to request invoices and track which clients pay the invoices. We can set reminders for overdue invoices and make it easy for clients to pay us. If clients call our employees when they are away from their computer, they can track time on their mobile devices.

CONS: The time tracking feature gives some trouble. There are two options: you can use the timer or enter time manually. During our work, we constantly keep switching from one project to another. It is difficult to keep switching the timer constantly. If we enter time manually, it shows inaccurate estimates.

It is excellent.

Isabel Marcano Anés

Isabel Marcano Anés

PROS: This software is simple and effective. It allows to create invoices and record the balances. It can use in Android devices, is fast.

CONS: This software a bit expensive to try to be used by an entrepreneur.

Excellent system, affordable price

PROS: We use FreshBooks mainly for invoicing. I appreciate the automation of recurring invoices, email notices for overdue payments, and late fees added to overdue invoices. The app helps us to easily manage our A/R tasks. Previously, we were using Word-based invoices which used to consume a lot of time. With FreshBooks, we are able to save a lot of time managing our A/R and invoices.

CONS: The app lacks integration with QuickBooks Online, but to be realistic no app has integration with QuickBooks Online.

Amazing software

PROS: I love everything about FreshBooks. It is an excellent app for freelancers and small companies. I have been using it for the past few years and rate it the best software in the market. Whenever I had issues, the support team helped me to resolve them quickly with effective solutions.

CONS: The only drawback I can point out is when I create a new invoice using the mobile app, the invoice doesn’t get the next serial number, I need to manually change it.

An indispensable tool

PROS: FreshBooks has become an indispensable tool for my business. I use it for invoicing, estimates, managing payment schedules and other accounting work. It integrates smoothly with the other business systems I use. I love that they keep adding useful adjustments like the ability to include a deposit request.

CONS: I don’t like paying the subscription amount but the investment is worth it. My only issue is I can enter only a percentage and not a discount amount. When I give discount to a client I need to manually calculate the percentage and arrive at the correct amount to quote to the client.

Simple great!

Small and medium-scale businesses can now handle invoicing easily.


PROS: Freshbooks is easy to utilize. It's an online-based accounting software that lets you organize your invoices in an easy manner. It also keeps track of your customers. Thanks to its time tracking and highly advanced follow-up feature, it's a great and simple tool recommended for freelancers.

CONS: While Freshbooks is really simple to utilize, it's lacking an essential features in tracking time. As a knowledge worker, it's imperative to have a tracker running in the dock. That way, I get to track my actual time instead of having to do the guesswork on the time spent on a certain task. They're headquartered in Canada and their only main area of concentration is North America-based businesses.

PROS: I like how I get to mix time tracking, invoicing, and accounting in a single platform. I get to keep track of time. I can make and send out invoices, and get paid. All that in a package that's all so simple to utilize.

CONS: One downside with this is that whenever I'm out of an allotted number of projects/clients, I'd resort to either deleting or archiving some. I frequently have repeat clients. This can be bad thing, but it can be easier to have them re-instated clients I've archived.

Ideal billing software to boost cash flow

PROS: I love that FreshBooks manages invoice follow up easily. I use it to create and send out bills, it accepts online payments and automatically reminds clients about overdue invoices. It is an ideal app that service-based companies can use to keep their cash flowing.

CONS: FreshBooks cannot be used for complete double-entry bookkeeping. It can be used only to track income and expenses. You cannot use it to track Balance Sheet things, manage deposits other than from invoice payments, or to reconcile bank accounts. Another disadvantage is there is no integration with QuickBooks Online.

My company has used Freshbooks for a long time and do all of our billing via their API.

Michael Parmley

Michael Parmley

PROS: Customer interface is excellent and ability to not store credit card information locally is key to PCI compliance. We love the recurring profile concept for recurring billing and find the web portal very intuitive. We also appreciate the branding we can do for our clients so they feel this billing platform is an extension of our service and that they are in the right place. This also gives our customers the peace of mind of knowing their transactions and billing information is secure.

CONS: My company has used Freshbooks for a long time and do all of our billing via their API. We bill in both US and Canadian dollars and Strip allows that, which Freshbooks supports, however, a few years ago, they got a bug in the API that prevents recurring profile updates in anything except your base currency. As a work around, they suggested I just do item adds and deletes. That worked until recently during the PCI compliance upgrade, they got a new bug that prevents line adds and deletes on some accounts. Now I am trapped between two bugs and having to do a lot of billing by hand. If you call, you can never talk to anyone in the API development team or a supervisor who can put pressure on them. It will be very painful to switch to another company because I don't store any customers credit card info. But that may be what I have to do. Stripe has an API now, stores customer information for you and will do recurring billing with invoicing. I wish it was not necessary, but nobody at Freshbooks seems to care about a little guy who only bills one million per year.


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Nestor Gilbert

By Nestor Gilbert

Nestor Gilbert is a senior B2B and SaaS analyst and a core contributor at FinancesOnline for over 5 years. With his experience in software development and extensive knowledge of SaaS management, he writes mostly about emerging B2B technologies and their impact on the current business landscape. However, he also provides in-depth reviews on a wide range of software solutions to help businesses find suitable options for them. Through his work, he aims to help companies develop a more tech-forward approach to their operations and overcome their SaaS-related challenges.

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Small Business, Big Stress: How to Support Your Mental Health as a Small Business Owner

Owning a business can be stressful. Here’s everything you need to know about caring for your business—and your mental health.

man seated looking at mobile phone

Owning a business can bring you freedom, flexibility, and higher income potential. But it can also be stressful and challenging. Those stressors and challenges can take a toll on your mental health. According to recent research from Incfile , 65% of small business owners have struggled with anxiety, while 52% have dealt with depression.

COVID certainly didn’t help. According to a 2020 FreshBooks report , more than 50% of small business owners experienced symptoms of poor mental health for the first time in their careers in response to the pandemic. And a whopping 85% of those entrepreneurs reported their day-to-day work suffered as a result.

If you want to be healthy, happy, productive, and successful, taking care of your mental health as a business owner is an absolute must. But how, exactly, do you do that?

Major Mental Health Challenges for Small Business Owners

Before we jump into how to navigate stress and take care of your mental health, let’s touch on what is stressing out business owners to begin with.

So, what do small business owners struggle with the most?

All Things Financial

Hands down, finances are the biggest stressor for small business owners. According to our report, 44% of small business owners say they experience financial stress and fear about the future of their business.

“The ebbs and flows of owning a small business can be anxiety-provoking, especially if cash flow fluctuates dramatically each month,” says Nicole Arzt, a licensed marriage and family therapist and writer at Discussing Psychology .

And while the fear of not making enough money can affect stress levels, other financial challenges—like overhead, chasing down client payments, and trying to manage taxes—can be equally impactful on your mental health.

Loneliness is extremely detrimental to your health, both mental and physical. In fact, research shows that loneliness can have the same impact on your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

And unfortunately, business ownership can be a lonely experience. “Being a small business owner can be isolating,” says Maryam Elbalghiti, a licensed clinical social worker, therapist, and owner of Maryam Yasmin Therapy & Consulting .

That isolation can be hard. According to our report, 29% of small business owners say working alone most of the time has a negative effect on their mental health.

awkward conversations

Managing Clients

Just because small business owners don’t have a boss doesn’t mean they don’t have anyone to answer to.

“When you have no boss, your customers, in a sense, all become different bosses,” says Arzt.

And dealing with clients and their demands every day (particularly challenging clients) can cause prolonged stress, ultimately leading to mental health problems.

Crushing Responsibility

When you’re the boss, everything falls on your shoulders.

“Unlike having an employer, small business owners are [often] the admin, payroll, HR, marketing, and sales [for their business],” says licensed clinical therapist Hillary Pilloto .

The weight can feel even greater for small business owners with employees. “If the business has employees, that increases the stress on the owner,” says Pilloto. “Not only do they have to worry about their own livelihood and well-being, they worry about the well-being of their employees, too.”

All of that pressure can take a toll, causing worry, anxiety, panic attacks, and more.

Imposter Syndrome

Many entrepreneurs struggle with imposter syndrome—feeling like they’re not qualified to run their company. Not only can this lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions, but it can also lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms. For example, according to the FreshBooks report, 27% of entrepreneurs say they feel like they can never show vulnerability or weakness.

Too Much to Do (In Too Little Time)

Ever wish you could clone yourself or stop time? You wouldn’t be alone. Our report revealed that 28% of owners are concerned about having too much work to do in too little time.

This perpetual time crunch can lead to overwork, burnout, and anxiety. (“So many small business owners feel like they can’t ever stop working,” says Pilloto.)

9 Small Business Mental Health Strategies

If the challenges above are familiar and you feel depressed, overwhelmed, or stressed, it may be time to employ some actionable tips to help you take care of your mental health as you run your business.

1. Establish Personal-Professional Boundaries

“The ability to set your own schedule is a blessing and a curse,” says Elbalghiti. “Many business owners find themselves working around the clock.”

When there’s no separation between your work and personal life, it can feel like you’re always working. And what’s more stressful than feeling like you’re working 24/7?

Setting clear boundaries around work is an absolute must to keep stress at bay, avoid burnout, and support your mental health.

This means:

  • Setting start and end times for work each day (and sticking to them as much as possible)
  • Keeping work contained to a specific space (rather than working in your bedroom, on your couch, or in other living spaces)

“It’s crucial to set hours for your work as well as designate certain spaces—like your home office [or on-site at your business]— for work to keep your business from bleeding into other parts of your life,” says Elbalghiti.

2. Learn to Say No

Saying “yes” to everything—working with a client you find difficult, taking on a new project you don’t have the capacity to handle, or agreeing to lower your rate—can lead to increased stress and put your mental health at risk. To protect your mental health, you have to learn how to say no.

Saying no comes more naturally to some business owners than others. If you struggle with saying no and/or setting boundaries, give yourself the chance to practice. Start by saying no to small things in your professional and personal life. As you become more comfortable flexing your “no” muscles, start flexing them in larger, more impactful situations—like turning down a client or project you don’t really want to work with.

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3. Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate

Speaking of saying no, sometimes, if you want to support your mental health as a business owner, you must also say no to yourself.

More specifically, you have to say no to doing everything yourself.

“Many small business owners assume they need to do everything themselves,” says Arzt. “[But] it’s unlikely that you can do every task efficiently—and the more time you spend on tasks that don’t ultimately nourish or grow your business, the more drained and resentful you risk becoming.”

Instead, “learn to delegate,” says Artz.

Figure out what tasks in your business can be managed by someone else (for example, administrative or customer service tasks), and then get those tasks off your plate, either by passing along the responsibility to an employee or business partner or outsourcing it to a freelancer.

Delegating tasks that you (a) don’t want to do, (b) aren’t good at, or (c) don’t have time for can alleviate a huge amount of stress in your business.

4. Stay Productive

There’s an old saying: “An idle mind is the devil’s playground.” In other words, if you don’t have enough to do and accomplish, your brain could fill the space with stress, anxiety, or other mental health issues.

So, if you want to take care of your mental health, make sure you’re staying productive and continually working towards the goals you’re excited about.

Now, make sure not to go overboard and overwhelm yourself. That will have the opposite effect. Instead, find the sweet spot between not having enough to do and having too much to do—or, in Goldilocks terms, a “just right” amount of work, tasks, and goals.

“If you begin to think about the future and everything you need to do to be successful, you will become overwhelmed and begin to feel panic,” says Nicole Franco Gateley , a licensed professional counselor with a mental health services provider designation. “Instead, change your mindset to only focus on one day at a time by setting manageable goals.”

Not sure where to focus your energy? Consider the 80/20 rule, a framework that says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts—and figure out where to put 20% of your efforts to deliver the 80% of results you’re looking for.

You might also find it helpful to maintain a schedule. For many business owners, the predictability of having a consistent schedule can make it easier to stay on task, achieve their goals, and stay productive.

5. Take Time Off

If it’s working too much that’s stressing you out, the best thing you can do for yourself and to improve mental health? Take time off.

Mental health days—whether you take time off to spend with family and friends, go on vacation, or catch up on sleep—can be just what you need to reset, recharge, and come back to work feeling your best. (Taking time off is also essential to avoid burnout.)

“Your business is important—but it is not your identity,” says Gateley. “Take a step back to make time for family, friends, hobbies, or resting. The less fused you are with your business, the less you will be putting at risk.”

6. Try Mental Health Tools

If the stress of owning a business is negatively impacting your mental health, there are mental health tools that can help.

If you’re experiencing anxiety, you might consider trying a meditation or breathwork app. (“Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and deep breathing, are proven techniques to reduce stress and improve focus,” says clinical specialist and therapist John T. Maggio .)

If you’re struggling with loneliness, you might consider a therapy app. These apps can connect you to mental health professionals that can help you come up with strategies for fostering community.

Save 11 Hrs a Week

7. Take a Break to Move

Increasingly, scientific evidence supports the mind-body connection. The feel-good endorphins you release during physical activity can be incredibly supportive of your mental health, so you feel happier, more energetic, and better equipped to tackle the rest of your to-do list.

So, if you find yourself feeling stressed throughout the day, take a break and move your body!

8. Find a Community

As mentioned, mental health can be adversely affected by the loneliness of running your own business. That’s why finding a community and building support networks is so crucial. “Social support is vital for small business owners, as running a business can be isolating,” says Maggio. “Networking with other entrepreneurs and seeking guidance from family, friends, and colleagues can provide a much-needed support system.”

If you’re dealing with loneliness or isolation, start fostering more connections in your day. Reach out to a friend and ask to meet for coffee. Call a family member to catch up. Attend networking events to meet other local business owners. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but making a conscious effort to drive more connection is key to fighting loneliness and building community as a small business owner.

9. Lead With Positivity

If you manage a team, it’s not just your own mental health struggles you have to think about; you also want to provide mental health support to your employees. Ensure your team can access the mental health resources they need to feel their best.

That might include providing information about local mental health support groups or contact information for local clinicians and therapists. Or it might mean building mental well-being into your workplace through benefits and other supports.

One simple and effective way to support your team members is to change how you speak about mental health by eliminating stigmatizing language, listening with empathy to employees dealing with mental health issues, and offering mental health days.

On an even broader scale, you could support mental health initiatives as a whole by donating to organizations.

Figure out how you want your business to make a difference—both for your team and for improving mental health in general—and then invest your time and resources into making that difference.

Deanna deBara

Written by Deanna deBara , Freelance Contributor

Posted on May 10, 2023

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