Online Invoicing: FreshBooks or Cashboard?

I tweeted recently that I was doing my invoicing and that I needed to find another way of doing it. Two suggestions I got from people were FreshBooks and Cashboard. I checked out both and signed up for the free trials.

Feature wise both FreshBooks and Cashboard offer similar things. Invoicing, recurring invoicing, time tracking, estimates and reports. A couple features that FreshBooks offers is the ability to enter expenses and snail mail an invoice to clients that do not have email. Cashboard has expense tracking on their being developed feature list so I image that will be added soon.

Recurring invoicing is one of the tasks I tend to get behind on and it was the main reason for me to look at finding a new method to do my invoicing. Both FreshBooks and Cashboard offer a recurring invoicing system and from what I can see they both work fairly similar. Invoices are created automatically and clients can then login and either download and print the invoice and depending on your payment options pay you online. This feature alone will save me several hours a month and my clients will no longer have to wait for me to get the invoice out to them. It also gives me a great overview of how much regular money I have coming in every month.

The tracking project time is another nice feature and again I could not see a great deal of difference between FreshBooks and Cashboard. Both offer time tracking based on projects and tasks. Cashboard does allow you to create an invoice from your tracked time, I was not certain if Freshbooks is able to do that. I still track much of my time using a spreadsheet on Google Docs because I often have GMail and Google Docs open while I work.

Invoicing in both systems is similar, but I did notice that Cashboard allows you to attach a PDF to the email when you are sending an invoice by email. This is a nice feature that means the client does not have to go and download the invoice from the Internet. It would be nice if the recurring invoices allowed that as well on Cashboard. FreshBooks does not appear to attach a PDF file to the email when invoices are emailed out. FreshBooks does however allow you to send a snail mail invoice so that could be a real plus for those people that have clients that do not have email (is that possible anymore?).

I have to say I am impressed by the features of both FreshBooks and Cashboard. At this point I am leaning towards signing up for Cashboard mainly because of Cashboard being slightly less expensive for the features I need. Hopefully soon I will be on my way to invoicing heaven.

What do you use to do your invoicing and why?

20 Responses to Online Invoicing: FreshBooks or Cashboard?

  1. FYI, Freshbooks does let you generate invoices based on timesheet entries, with a fair bit of customization available (showing each individual entry, grouping by task, by project, etc.) and you also have the option of including uninvoiced expenses.

    Hadn’t heard of Cashboard before – I like the sound of being able to automatically send a PDF invoice via e-mail, I’ll be dropping that suggestion to the FB developers (who are pretty active and responsive in the forums, even if many of their answers are “We’ll have to think about it”).

  2. Nice tips ! personally, I use quickbooks online Basic for 9.95/month – it works great for invoicing and is really powerful for the price, plus I can do all my accounting in there in addition to invoicing.

  3. Hi LGR,

    There is some method to the madness that is the inability to email PDFs. 🙂

    If you attach the pdf invoice and your client never clicks on the link in the email, then both you and the client miss out on most of the functionality and value of the online invoice.

    For example you will never know if they have actually viewed the invoice (if they click on the link then you know they have) and they will not be able to pay online from the invoice if that is an option, see their past invoices
    with you and their entire payment history…and so on.

    For what it’s worth, once your client clicks the link in FreshBooks, they are presented with an option to download a pdf for their files.

    Hopefully this adds some context to the discussion. 🙂

    Andrew [at] FreshBooks

  4. My pleasure! 😀

    Definitely see where you’re coming from. It’s always a nuissance to disrupt the flow of what clients are accustomed to. In a previous life as a consultant, change management was one of the hardest parts of my job.

    Do check back with us periodically. What I can say with certainty, is that FreshBooks values the strength of the client relationship above all else. We’re working towards that end. 🙂 Thanks for the feedback – I assure you that it goes somewhere. 😉


  5. Hey, would invite you to beta Invoicing – We are currently sending limited beta invites everyday.

    Invoicing does PDF & recurring invoices along with the other features. You may want to take advantage of the 1-Year subscription that we will give away to most active beta users.

  6. One that is complementary to invoicing is a free service, – it doesn’t seem to necessarily have the same features you describe here, for Frehshbooks, but if they have a free trial I may check them out.

  7. Hi

    I checked out Freshbooks after reading your review. Their site looked too stuffed though. I could not find inventory management in the application, which is provided by many invoicing applications. I would like to stick with my current application It is free and intuitive.


    • I don’t think either FreshBooks or Cashboard offer any kind of inventory management. I do not sell physical goods so that was not something I was looking for. I can see how that would be important if you had physical goods to sell and ship. Thanks for the link, I am sure those looking for an online inventory manager and invoicing system could find it useful.

  8. You should give a try on Curdbee(, it’s a smart invoicing service which beat both Fresbooks and Cashboard by price and feature set.

    Recently, I switched to CurdBee and I must assure it’s one of the most simplest, no strings attached invoicing service I ever used. You can send unlimited invoices from the free version itself. They also offer a $5 per month PRO version, which includes unbranded invoices, SSL etc

    • Curdbee looks interesting. I will have to take a look, although I don’t know if I will be switching any time soon. Cashboard has worked out well for me so far. Although I am not so sure about their new pricing structure, but I am grandfathered in on the plan I purchased so I should be fine for awhile.

    • That is true, all they do is invoicing and project/time tracking. I did not need a system to track my expenses so it is perfect for me, but I can see how that would be a problem for some.

  9. I’ve been using Freshbooks for a while and I like it very much. I’m considering changing because of 1 feature that it is lacking and that is the ability to send an invoice to a fax machine. When I mention this in the FB forum there are always others that want the same feature. They have not acted upon it. If anyone knows of a product that can do this…I’m interested

    • That is an interesting feature. For me it was the PDF attachments. Most of my clients just print the invoice off. With Cashboard the invoice can be scheduled and it emails the PDF.

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