Cloud Accounting Tool FreshBooks Debuts iPad App to Build Out Mobile Strategy

With tablet ownership hitting 62 percent among SMB owners in 2012, and 57 percent of SMB owners reporting the usage of cloud services, it comes as no surprise that Toronto-based FreshBooks, the cloud accounting and invoicing platform, has debuted an iPad app, which comes on the heels of its iPhone app launch in August. To date the company reaches over five million users in over 120 countries, helping everyone from freelancers to medium-sized businesses manage their invoicing, time tracking, and cloud-based accounting.

“The iPad app is really about reenforcing this promise we’ve made to our customers of being able to access FreshBooks anywhere, and really run their business anywhere,” Avrum Laurie, FreshBooks’ iPad Product Manager, said in an interview. “The iPad is one of the most-used devices among our customers, and one of the most requested platforms they’d like to see FreshBooks on, so it was really about ultimately giving customers what they were asking for.”

The native iPad app offers all the same features as the web app, including the ability to create and manage invoices, attach images of expense receipts, and keep up to date with receivables. The time tracking feature also lets users collaborate with other users simultaneously and view time sheets filtered by projects or tasks.

“One of the ways we’ve leveraged the iPad and the big beautiful screen that an iPad affords is that we have a full view of your financial health on a dashboard,” Laurie added. “It gives you a flavour for how your business is doing, how much money you’re taking in, how much money you’re sending out.  We kind of present it in a fun and visual way. That’s an experience that’s only available on the iPad and it’s a neat way to leverage the larger screen and provide insights into how your business is doing.”

The apps are free to download from the Apple App Store, with the company’s cloud accounting services also free for customers that manage up to three clients. After that amount it has prices that range from $19.99 per month for up to 25 clients and $39.95 per month for unlimited number of clients and an added feature set of time tracking and time sheet management.

There are plenty of other companies out there looking to be the go-to platform for SMB invoicing and accounting, including BrightBook, Wave Accounting, and those catering to larger enterprises like QuickBooks. BetaKit also covered 10Sheet earlier in the summer, a startup still in private beta, which takes a different approach by providing a more automated process, letting SMB owners send in their receipts and expense reports either online or through FedEx, and tracking them online. Laurie said FreshBooks’s emphasis on simplicity and user experience is how they strive to stand apart.

He also acknowledged that a lot of FreshBooks customers also use Android devices, and the company is looking into developing for the Android platform. With a solid base of customers and an increased focus on a wide range of cloud accounting features, not just invoicing, FreshBooks is a fast-growing option for freelancers and small service-based businesses. Whether it can maintain its popularity among mobile users as mobile-first solutions emerge is another question.


Humayun Khan

Humayun Khan is a Senior Writer and Analyst at BetaKit. A marketing graduate with honors, Humayun's work experience spans the fields of consumer behaviour with noted contributions in an academic paper published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology and market research consulting having coordinated projects for a major financial services client at Decode Inc. More recently he was involved in business strategy as a Business Analyst for an equipment rental outlet and prior in the National Marketing Department at Ernst & Young LLP. He is passionate about emerging and disrupting technology and its ability to transform and create entirely new industries.

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