Ask ThatBookkeeper: Whose job is it to use Freshbooks?

Most of the time, pouring over my site stats and analytics is a waste of time. I usually just end up obsessing over why more people read last Tuesday's post than yesterday's, or something else equally trivial. One little nugget that I find very useful is the search terms that people use before they end up at the site. Today's "Ask ThatBookkeeper" question is one of those search terms.

Whose job is it to use Freshbooks?

This isn't exactly how it was worded in the search term. Basically, this person was searching to figure out if the bookkeeper or client was meant to be using Freshbooks, which I thought was an interesting question.

The short answer is that it's the client, not the bookkeeper, that is meant to run Freshbooks. The bookkeeper will often reference that Freshbooks data, but it's not intended to replace bookkeeping software. On the surface, it may seem strange that there's a bookkeeping app that's meant for the client. However, when you look at it closer, you realize that this is how we've done things for a long time.

In the past, a salesperson would hand write invoices when they were out in the field. In most cases, it was too cumbersome to lug around a computer and printer to a client's office or house. When they got back to the office at the end of the day, they would submit their invoices, which would end up on the bookkeeper's desk. The same went for expenses. The salesperson would keep receipts from fuel, meals, travel and supplies. In some cases, they were required to submit a proper expense report along with those receipts.

Fast forward to today. Hand written invoices and expense reports aren't gone...but they should be. This is where an invoicing app like Freshbooks or Blinksale comes in.

It's trivial to bring your smartphone when you visit a client. With it, and the right app, you can handle everything. You can create an invoice on-site that can be emailed directly to your customer. That same smartphone can snap pictures of receipts. Those pictures can be included with relevant details, and forwarded directly to your bookkeeper, whether they're back at the office or somewhere across the country. Now, at the end of the day, 2 things have improved.

    1. You're work as the salesperson is done. You don't need to create an Excel report or drop off copies of the invoices.


    1. The bookkeeper has almost real-time access to the sales and expense information. This means that instead of always being at least a day behind, the whole system has accurate sales information on the same day it was generated.

How are you handling these tasks in your small business? Are you still hand writing invoices? Have you gone completely paperless?