FreshBooks Adds Journal Entries

Thursday, while most of us were freaking out about Valentine's Day...FreshBooks was releasing a handy new feature.

With tax time fast approaching, one of the big problems business owners face is getting their data sent to their accountants. If your accountant isn't up to date with cloud-based services like FreshBooks...it's even more difficult.

Time was, you'd just burn a copy of your QuickBooks file or a few Excel spreadsheets onto a CD, or copy them to a flash drive and drop it off at their office. Or, if you are particularly blessed, you would print out hundreds of pages that make up the General Ledger.

If you were using FreshBooks in previous years, it wasn't always clear how to give the accountant all the data they needed. As a bookkeeper, I could usually generate a few key reports that would give me the info I needed. As a business owner who signed up for FreshBooks because of its simplicity, the process wasn't always clear.

This year FreshBooks has added a feature that allows you to quick create and send journal entries to your accountant. The good news is...it's simple to use and you don't need to know what journal entries are before you send them.

If you log into FreshBooks, and click on Reports...you'll see a new link.

FreshBooks Journal Entries - 1

Click on the link and you're given a pop-up dialogue. There are two key bits of info here. By default, it selects the previous calendar year as the dates for your journal entries. You can select the default or choose your own date range.

Below the Next button is a very important checkbox that says "My accountant doesn't use QuickBooks - I need a .CSV file". By default FreshBooks will create a QuickBooks-friendly file that your accountant can use to import your data directly into QuickBooks. If they aren't using QuickBooks, or if you want a little more control over the data, make sure to check this box. This will instead give you a .CSV (comma-separated values) file. Your accountant will usually open this up in Excel in order to pull out the information they need.

Click Next and you're brought to a simple email screen. Fill out your accountant's information, edit the message if you'd like, and press Send. It's seriously that simple. In about 2 minutes you've sent your accountant all the information you've collected in FreshBooks throughout the year, and in a format they can work with.

Once you've hit send you'll get this final message.

That's it.

When I tried it out with my own data, I got an email immediately. It contained a .zip file with the .csv inside. I opened it up, and guess what? All my data from 2013 in a math-nerd's favourite format...a spreadsheet!

If you're a business owner running FreshBooks, ask your bookkeeper/accountant if they'd like these journal entries mailed to them this year. And, if you're a bookkeeper, make sure to let your FreshBooks-using clients know that this feature is now available.

Check out the post on the Freshbooks blog for more details.

New: Journal Entries for QuickBooks Desktop and CSV

Freshbooks - Automatic Expense Import

One of my big requests for [Freshbooks][1] is finally here!

According to the latest post on the Freshbooks blog, this new feature is finally out of Beta, and available to all users. 

What is Automatic Expense Import?

Good question. It's just a fancy way of saying that they can now pull in transactions from your bank account automatically. The reason they used the wording they did is because it's a little different from the way apps like Wave or Kashoo handle it. 

In Wave or Kashoo (or Mint.com for that matter), all transactions are pulled in...deposits and withdrawals. In Freshbooks, only the withdrawals are imported. That means you're only going to be automating the expenses...for now. 

According to the comments, Freshbooks is looking at implementing the full picture at some point. In a very Apple-like fashion, they're making sure they only include what works. And, if it all goes well, it sounds like they'll add more features in the future. 

The only thing I can see being an issue with that right now is returns. If I buy a $600 computer today, return it tomorrow, and then buy a $500 computer instead...it will just import $1100 worth of purchases, not the $600 return. So, you're still going to need to scan your bank statements each month to make sure you're capturing everything. Once they have the ability to import all of your transactions, these complaints will be moot. 

It's obviously early days. It was just released today (or yesterday depending on when this post goes up). I went ahead and linked up a bank account and my PayPal account to test it out. The connection process was painless, and it didn't take long to have things all setup. 

Keep in mind that the amount of transaction history imported will vary from bank to bank. PayPal only brought in 1 month of history. My bank brought in 3 months. That's a limitation with the banks...not Freshbooks. If you've ever used these features in other apps like Mint or Wave, you'll already know about this. 

Editing multiple transactions at once seems simple. If you have personal expenses mixed in with your business purchases, it's easy to select and delete the ones you don't want to track. 

The only thing I don't see right now is the ability to assign tax codes to multiple transactions. Editing one line lets you assign GST/HST, and add a snapshot of a receipt. When you select multiple lines, you can only bulk edit vendor, category, or client (if they are reimbursable expenses). That's still a lot of functionality, but I'd like to see the ability to tag several as having GST at once. Maybe this will come in the future. 

At the moment, they are only supporting US and Canadian banks. A quick glance in the post comments indicates they're working on adding other countries. There's apparently a place you can submit your bank so they can develop a list as they grow the feature. 

Anyway, I'll keep testing out the feature, and will let you know if my opinion changes significantly in time. 

If you have tested out the feature, please let me know what you think. Also, if you are reading this from within the Freshbooks offices and want to drop any exclusive info into the comments of your favourite bookkeepers' site...I wouldn't mind at all. :)

If you want to check it out, here's the link to get started. 

Freshbooks

update: I ran into a snag upon further testing. It doesn't support ScotiaBank or RBC yet. Apparently it's a problem that they're working directly with those banks to sort out. Considering these are two of Canada's biggest banks, I didn't even consider the possibility that they wouldn't work. Anyway...just something you should be aware of. If you read through the full comments on that blog post, you'll find a full list of supported banks. 

Tax Thursdays Are Back at Freshbooks

Yes, no matter how much you fight it, it's that time of year again. It's time to start thinking about your tax return. 

The folks over at Freshbooks have begun their Tax Thursdays series on the blog again. Actually, I believe it started last week. Yesterday they put up my post called 5 Steps to Getting Your Taxes Together. If you want some advice on how to get organized, I hope you'll go give it a read. And, as always, be sure to follow their blog throughout the series. They will be giving a lot of great advice each Thursday. 

Tax Thursdays: 5 Steps to Getting Your Taxes Together