FreshBooks: The Brachiosaurus of Accounting Solutions

The brachiosaurus is the largest known species to have existed on our earth.  They were massive creatures with migratory habits necessary to sustain their large eating habits. With that in mind, it’s the perfect preface to introduce our next featured platform for our accounting solutions Dino Series: FreshBooks.

Brachiosaurus of Accounting Solutions

Freshbooks is the #1 cloud accounting specialist for small business owners, second only to Quickbooks Online in North America. For years FreshBooks has been the ‘big guy’ in online billing and invoicing because of its easy to use functionality, broad-spectrum industry application and out of this world customer service (we can attest firsthand to their great customer service!).

With its heritage in billing, FreshBooks recently began a new and exciting migration route down the path of cloud based accounting solutions.  Their herd of loyal users have taken advantage of the accounting style reports for years and have long described the platform as their preferred choice of accounting solutions, so this new path was no surprise to us. Over the past four years, FreshBooks’ enormous full feature set of tools have uncovered a fresh business trail for this growing company and their 4.5 million users are more than happy to follow this jolly long neck on its newest adventure.

Being the largest creature to ever grace our earth, an adult Brachiosaurus didn’t have any predators (must be nice!). Similarly, it’s pretty tough to find any competition that stacks up against FreshBooks in the invoice/billing world. Their recent product introductions (such as: expense-tracking capabilities, profit and loss statements and more) have already become invaluable assets to their new accounting solutions positioning. Here is what you can expect from our Brachiosaurus friends at FreshBooks:

FreshBooks Strengths:

  • Easy to use and great customer service
  • Easy external collaboration
  • Project and document management
  • Numerous add-ons/integrated sites (like Shoeboxed!)
  • Cloud-based and compatible with multiple devices
  • Completely affordable (most expensive plan is $39.95, excluding add-ons)

FreshBooks Weaknesses:Brachiosaurus of Accounting Solutions

  • Not designed for every kind of business’ accounting needs
  • Isn’t an in-depth/all-in-one accounting solution (BUT integrates with other accounting platforms to fill any gaps)
  • Can get pricey if you need multiple staff members to have access

FreshBooks is best for business owners who:

  • Are in the service industry (lawyers, therapists, plumbers etc.)
  • Are swamped with managing receivables
  • Own small businesses looking to scale
  • Work directly with their accountant and/or other accounting platforms
  • Are freelancers
  • Own a company that outsources a great deal of work to freelancers

With its famously long neck, the Brachiosaurus appeared to have its head in the clouds. But we don’t look at that as a bad thing. In fact, with the future of computing moving more and more into the cloud, FreshBooks is actually leading the way for many small business owners.

Don’t get stuck in the Mesozoic Period when looking at accounting solutions for your business: consider migrating with FreshBooks! You might be pleasantly surprised how helpful its feature set is at helping you with your business’ needs.

Is FreshBooks your preferred choice out of all of the accounting solutions? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Xero: the Ankylosaurus of Accounting Solutions

Since this week’s featured platform is one of the most user-friendly of the accounting solutions we’ve unearthed, it’s the first one we’re comparing to an herbivore. But the Ankylosaurus is not just any herbivore: it might just be the most indestructible one out there. And without further ado, here’s the next installment in our accounting solutions Dino Series: Xero.

At an impressive length of up to 30 feet and weight over 13,000 pounds, you wouldn’t want to meet an Ankylosaurus in a dark alley (or cave). Add some impressive armor and a large tail club, and you’d think the Ankylosaurus was built to fight– but you’d be wrong. The Ankylosaurus had a reputation for being a rather affable herbivore.

Xero Accounting Solutions

Xero is an online platform that has herds of satisfied customers. Regarded by many as an all-in-one solution, Xero combines real-time bank transactions, invoicing, expense claims and contact management into one easy to use dashboard.  Just as the Ankylosaurus sometimes traveled in packs for increased efficiency, Xero has come to understand the effectiveness of consolidation with their long list of features, add-ons and partners (including Shoeboxed!).  Even if Xero doesn’t provide the exact service you’re looking for, you can rest assured that one of its 50+ add-ons will meet your needs.  If you’re still not satisfied, Xero releases new features every three to six weeks based on customer feedback, so be sure to drop them a line and let them know what you want!

Even though it’s the most congenial of the dinosaurs we’ve featured, the Ankylosaurus was so tough that even the Tyrannosaurus Rex would have a hard time battling a full-grown adult. Xero should be seen the same way among the accounting solutions available: it is so easy to use and versatile that once Xero continues to gain momentum globally, it could be the major contender in the small business accounting space. The competition would have a hard time biting into their loyal customer base. Here is what you can expect from going vegetarian with Xero:

Xero Strengths:

  • Very user-friendly and intuitive
  • Integrates with bank feeds and cross-references receipts for reconciliation
  • Easy to read dashboard with key summaries for your business
  • Offers support for many international currencies
  • Cloud-based for multiple access points (with unlimited users!)
  • Complete sales tax support (quarterly and annual filing reports available)
  • Offers a partner program which allows accountants and/or partner(s) to access and manage accounts via one central page

Xero Weaknesses:

  • Xero is still considered a relatively new option for accounting solutions in the U.S., so your accountant might not be familiar with it
  • Does not handle inventory, purchases and stock
  • Payroll is only available in Australia for now, so users in other countries will need to use add-ons or other packages
  • Monthly fee (SaaS) increases with add-ons
  • Exporting data from Xero can be time consuming

It also happens to be true that the Ankylosaurus had the smallest brain to body ratio, making it not the “brightest” dinosaur that ever lived. That being said, Xero is designed so that users who might know next to nothing about accounting can keep accurate books that will satisfy their picky accountant. (Accountants love Xero too!)

Xero is probably best for business owners who:Xero Accounting Solutions

  • Need an easy-to-use platform with access for their accountants
  • Work in any industry
  • Are planning on building their business (very scalable option)
  • Are looking for access to tons of informational resources and people
  • Travel or do business internationally

While you’re marinating on which of the accounting solutions we’ve featured is best for your business, consider Xero. If you like free trials and products that are easy to use, Xero might be the best of the accounting solutions for you.  Like the Ankylosaurus, Xero isn’t designed to be the largest dinosaur on the block; however, it is large enough to build and support an exceptional product, yet nimble enough to deliver innovative features that fulfill users’ changing needs.

You can’t go wrong with a serving of nutritious vegetables and a powerfully simple accounting platform with a cult following.

Thinking about trying Xero? Already using Xero? Please share your Xero experiences (or any of the other accounting solutions) and let us know what you think in the comments below!

How to Get Organized: Life hacks to organize your life, go paperless, and save time (Part III)

Organizing your life might be a daunting task– and it will likely require more than a blog article of advice. So we’ve decided to dedicate our Friday posts to “how to get organized” by biting off manageable chunks of life’s clutter to help you get organized!

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 How to Get Organized for Efficient Travel

Even if you’re heading out for a relaxing vacation, traveling can be stressful if you aren’t properly prepared.  How to get organized for efficient traveling can be easily conquered if you divide tasks into a systematic plan. From planning your itinerary to how you pack your bags, there are plenty of little ‘life hacks’ waiting to make your life easier on the road!how to get organized for efficient travel

 1: Go Paperless

We live in the technology age, where it’s simple to have an entire “folder” of documents in the palm of your hand. From travel visas to GPS directions, we can plan and organize our entire travel itinerary from our phones/tablets/computers on the go. How to get organized for travel no longer requires a manila folder with printed itineraries and boarding passes. Here are some cool tools that will convert you from a confused tourist to a savvy traveler:

2: Create a Checklist

With all of the apps available these days, it’s easy to create a reusable checklist for every time you travel. Granted, how to get organized for each specific trip might require some particular items or special planning, but overall you run through the same essentials on each trip. One of our favorite apps to use is Evernote. Use the app to create a checklist that you can reuse each trip that will list your travel essentials: special clothes, toiletries, travel documents, electronics, chargers, mediations, etc. For the most part, the basics don’t change, and having a reusable list makes it easier each time you travel to not forget anything critical. It is also easy to check things off the list as you’re running out the door. You can even put your itinerary and any other travel lists in a customizable notepad dedicated to traveling in Evernote.

3: Less is More

Since most business trips don’t include a pack horse or camel, you should avoid being an over-packer since you’ll be the one schlepping your extra belongings around. Knowing how to get organized when packing your suitcase is critical to packing light and efficiently:

  • Pack heavy items on the bottom or towards the wheels of your suitcase so they don’t squish your other belongings.
  • Keep a plastic bag full of your travel-sized items that you only use when traveling. Just grab the whole bag each time you’re packing and make it easy not to forget any critical toiletries (toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, floss, etc.).
  • Pack clothing that is easy to wear twice and not wrinkle; polyester and silk jersey are great travel fabrics. Plan outfits that can be mixed/matched and also layered. (Life hack: It is more space efficient to roll your clothing instead of folding it.)how to get organized for efficient travel
  • Pick up a Tide To-Go Pen or some Shout wipes to keep your clothes spot free on the go.
  • Don’t pack unnecessaries: Do you work out at home? No? Will you really workout in the hotel gym? Doubtful. Spare yourself the trouble of hauling novelty items.
  • Checking your luggage? Plan on still carrying a small carry-on bag with a few extra clothes and essentials. You never know if your bag will actually make it to your destination or if a cancelled flight will have you spending the night in the luxurious and accommodating airport terminal…

How to get organized for travel isn’t complicated. But if you forget something crucial it can be much more of a headache when you are out of town. Being an efficient traveler also makes your life a little easier while you’re working remotely and when you come back into town. Planning ahead isn’t always easy when life throws you curveballs, but worse case scenario, you pick up a parka if you get caught in an out-of-season snowstorm. Rolling with the punches is what make traveling exciting (and also gives you better stories when you return to the office)!

What are your tips and tricks for “how to get organized for efficient travel?” Tell us in the comments below!