Where is the Freshbooks of Accounting?

I am highly fond of Mike McDerment’s Freshbooks web-ified re-do of the invoicing app category, and I want the same thing in accounting apps. But I’ve looked, looked, and looked some more and … nothing.

Where the hell is the Freshbooks of income/expense/asset tracking? If it’s out there, I sure can’t find it.


  1. I’m guessing NetSuite doesn’t count, as it can be rather expensive… But why not Quickbooks Online Edition?
    Subscription model, monthly upgrades, great support. And the team even blogs!

  2. Wow — Have you ever actually *used* quickbooks online? You are much better off using online spreadsheets if qboe is adequate for you. If qboe didn’t have Intuit’s marketing behind it, it would have died a long time ago.
    Actually, I could care less if the “team even blogs”. How about something that works under a non-IE browser? How about a user interface that doesn’t make me long for a nice, organized collection of shoeboxes for all my accounting data?
    Also, qboe can get rather expensive, after all the add-ons, most of which (account classes) are pretty vital unless you are running a one-person consulting shop.
    whoo, that’s alot more time than I want to spend thinking of qboe — thanks for the trip down memory lane! :)

  3. Joel Norvell says:

    Does convenience trump security?
    Do you think information security issues inherent in this type of web service affect its value? I’d be most interested in your thoughts on this!

  4. Paul, Winweb claim to offer an online basic cashbook and accounting package – http://www.winweb.com. I’ve not tested it out but you may wish to. There seems to be a free edition as well as free trials of the paid for versions. Not sure about it’s “international” capabilities but it certainly purports to handle UK VAT

  5. Paul,
    Thank you for the nod – I’ll be sure to pass this post on to the rest of the team here at FB.
    As for income & expenses: hang in there…we’ll gunning to reinvent those categories in the not too distant future.

  6. Mike – just checked out freshbooks; it looks nice (I am familiar with blinksale).
    May I respectfully suggest that however you tackle the income/expenses issue, you make it “easy” to export this data elsewhere — and I don’t necessarily mean thru “an api” — make it even simpler, like a csv link, the simplest api I can think of.
    Online accounting is wide-open — we had to develop our own solution in house. We are a rapidly-growing manufacturer, and netsuite while “almost good enough” would have required the dreaded customization to get us where we wanted to go. I realize manufacturers are not the target customer of many vanilla accounting packages, but I can dream, can’t I?
    good luck and thanks!

  7. Anand Gupta says:

    Why do you need it to be online? Have you ever looked at the lazy8ledger plug in of the jEdit editor (available from jedit.org). It is not online, but easily meets the requirement of a small company.
    Personally, I would keep such information offline due to security reasons.

  8. I was working with a small company in Toronto about 4 years ago and they were using an ASP style system for Point of Sale. Browser with some fat client plugin (Java I think).
    sql-ledger is an web based open source accounting software – but the code is a mess and hard to maintain.

  9. Paul…I formalized my comment above with a blog post entitled: FreshBooks Will Be the FreshBooks of Accounting.
    – Mike

  10. Paul, do not fear…lessaccounting.com will soon launch and you will forget all about freshbooks and quickbooks and any other “books” apps.

  11. Hi,
    It’s at http://www.thinkcomputer.com, and it’s called Exponent. It’s a program I’ve built from the ground up, it’s all web-based, and it does pretty much everything a small to medium-sized company needs.
    Aaron Greenspan
    President & CEO
    Think Computer Corporation

  12. Paul,
    I run the UK territory for the Dutch product Twinfield. We are certainly aiming to be the FreshBooks of accounting. Across the various territories we operate in we’ve got over 22,000 subscribers, rising at around 10-15% per month. Customers range from sole trader businesses to 1000 users. We focus purely on accounting (no plans to move in to any other area of ERP), and make it easy for other operational applications and web services to connect to us. We tend to sell through accounting practices as our channel to market, because for SME/SMBs the business owner tends to follow the advice of his business advisor as to what accounting software to run. I’d love to hook up with Mike’s team to get FreshBooks connected to Twinfield. We’re at http://www.twinfield.com

  13. Several of our clients use QuickBooks Online to successfully run businesses large and small — from start-ups to multiple location companies with dozens of employees.
    Is it perfect? Heck no. Local backup and merchant card service functions for instance need improving.
    But given what’s out there it’s been a great way for businesses to get started quickly and without an expensive remote access IT investment, efficiently get help from outside advisors as they develop their accounting systems, and the price point is pretty good: $12-$20/month after they get a 40% permanent discount through our referral (for the record, we do NOT accept any commissions on these referrals to avoid conflict of interest).
    When I first saw FreshBooks I loved the interface – but couldn’t imagine recommending it to clients because how would they create financial statements? So I can’t wait until they come out with what I hope will be a full general-ledger package. I’ll check out the other ones mentioned in this thread, too. We’re always looking for the best solutions for our clients.
    Lots of other people report good luck with remote hosting the QB desktop versions. We haven’t had good experience with that thus far, but we’ll try again with another service provider. Any recommendations would be welcome.

  14. John Meissner says:

    Where is the Freshbooks of Payroll?
    Their approach to invoicing would absolutely be a huge hit if applied to this category. Perhaps the thought of having to deal with tax consultants and lawyers to sort out the various forms and procedures is just too off-putting. 😉