Freshbooks Experiment – Expenses

Well, I’ve had almost a full week of using

Freshbooks

for all my businesses bookkeeping. Today, I wanted to talk a bit about expense tracking.

As I

mentioned before

, this is not a full featured bookkeeping program. It won’t be tracking assets and depreciation. However, if I want to keep track of advertising, bank fees, and other business expenses, it can do that.

freshbooks_expenses

Here’s what you see when you add new expenses. It’s a very clean and simple interface, but has a couple features that makes it very useful.

Most of these are pretty self-explanatory. You add the $ amount and the date of the expense. You can optionally add the vendor. The category is the type of expense you’ve incurred. There is a list of basic categories there for you already, but if you click on the Categories tab at the top, you can add your own categories. I found that there were quite a few I needed to add, but maybe that’s just because I track things differently. There’s a field for adding notes to the expenses if you need to.

There are 3 check boxes at the bottom that make this much more powerful.

1. Taxes

– This allows you to assign a tax code to the expense, such as GST or HST. If your business charges GST (and therefore must track your taxes), you will need to assign the proper taxes to your expenses. Once you do, Freshbooks simply backs out the GST from the expense. For example, if I had an expense of $42.00, and chose GST, it would automatically allocate $2 to GST, and the rest to the expense.

2. Recurring

– If you’re like me, a lot of your expenses are recurring. My internet connection,

Dropbox

, Mozy, etc. all get charged to my credit card monthly. Checking off this box allows you to set the frequency of the recurrence, so the expense is automatically added for you on those days. This certainly takes the hassle out of manually entering these each month.

3. Assign to Client

– Sometimes you will have to pay for something that you need to bill the client for. For example, if you’re fixing someone’s computer, the parts you buy are expenses to you, but they will also be billed back to the client. Checking off this box gives you a drop-down menu to select the client. These expenses can then be added later to the next invoice you send out.

QuickBooks has this same functionality, but I find that it’s presented in a much cleaner way here. Bookkeepers will be used to the complicated interface that a regular program provides, but I think this is a good reason why Freshbooks is a great option for the bookkeeping novice. Time will tell if this is going to be powerful enough for my purposes. However, if the rest of the month goes well, I will have no problem recommending this to non-bookkeepers with a basic set of needs.

Next time, I will talk about the invoicing features. It’s far enough into the month, that I’ve sent out a couple already, so I can show you how it went.