Freshbooks Experiment – Day 1

You know you’re a geek when you get really excited about trying out new accounting software. As I

mentioned before

, I’m going to use

Freshbooks

for my own personal bookkeeping during the month of June. If it works well, I’ll be switching (just my own) bookkeeping over to Freshbooks permanently. Just to clarify, I have used the app/service briefly in the past, so this isn’t entirely new to me. I recently signed back up for a free account, and then got inspired when I heard more about them in the book I’m reading, “

The Referral Engine

”.

A quick look at the old calendar this morning proved that it is now June, and that means it’s time for the experiment to begin.

Day 1: Gettin’ my add-on…on

One of the features I like the most about Freshbooks is its time tracking features. From the website, they have a timer that looks like this;

freshbooks_timer

As you can see, it’s very straightforward. You hit the play button, and get to work. When you’re done, click the pause button. There are two drop down menus, Project and Task. Project usually refers to the client, and the task is…well…the task you’re doing (i.e.. bookkeeping, web design, etc.).

You can set these up before you get to this point, or you can add them on the spot. The Hours field will be filled with the time you spent working. Add notes if need be, and then click on Log Hours. Now, the 1.24 hours you just spent working is now logged, and associated with the right client. At this point it seems really easy to make an invoice from the time you have logged for each client.

I usually charge a flat rate per month for my clients, but I really like this feature. I’m going to use it to see if I’m working more on a particular project than I thought. If I’m billing under the assumption that I’m working about 20 hours per month on a client, and this ends up showing me I spent 30 hours, I’ll know something needs to change.

Freshbooks

also works with a lot of 3rd party apps and widgets. Since I’m on the subject of time tracking today, I’ll show you the gadget I found. Since I’m using Windows 7, I decided on the

Vista Time Tracker Gadget

. This installs a very simple app in the Windows Sidebar that looks a little something like this;

vista_time_tracking_gadget

As you can see, it’s also really simple to use. You choose the task and project from the drop down menus, and click play. Once you’re done, click the pause button, and then click on Record. Voilà ! Your time is now logged back on the Freshbooks site.

Well, that’s what I’m doing today, tracking my time. On the next instalment of

my experiment

, I’ll try out expense tracking. And, once again, I’m way more excited about doing this than I probably should be.