This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
We’re pleased to present this tutorial for FreshBooks, our pick for the overall best recurring billing software. In this second tutorial, we’re going to cover how to manage customers and send invoices in FreshBooks. We’ll also look at adding and viewing clients as well as how to view open invoices.
You’ll receive the most benefit from this tutorial by following along in your own FreshBooks account. You can try FreshBooks for free or receive 60% off for six months.
You can watch the video below or read the step-by-step instructions that follow.
Do you want to learn more about other options? Read our picks for the best small business accounting software.
FreshBooks allows you to add, manage, and delete your clients as your business grows, and you can use the Client Profile as a way to quickly access your client’s information in one central place. To add a new client, click on Clients on the left menu bar, which will take you to the page above.
The Clients page shows a list of all clients, and you can view more detail by clicking on any of the names. To add a new client, click on the green New Client button in the upper right corner. You can also access this page from the Dashboard, by clicking on the Create New button and selecting Client.
Once you’re in the New Client screen, you can add the following information:
- The First Name and Last Name or Company name are required; you just need to click on either of those fields and type in the name.
- Click on the Email Address field and type in the email. This will also allow you to email invoices to your client.
- You can also add a Phone, Mobile, and/or Business Number by clicking in those fields and entering the phone number.
- Enter the address by filling in the Street, City, State, Zip Code, and Country.
- Depending on the country selected, you can also include a Tax Name and Tax Number for that client.
You can also adjust your Client Settings by clicking on any of the below:
- To enable Late Payment Reminders, click on Send Reminders and enter the requested information.
- To charge for late fees, click on Charge Late Fees and enter the requested information.
- To adjust the currency and language for your client’s invoices and estimates/proposals, click on Currency/Language and enter the requested information.
- To allow the option to attach a PDF of the invoice when sending by email for individual invoices only, click on Invoice Attachments and check the box.
When the information is updated, don’t forget to click Save to confirm your new client.
To learn more about a particular client, you can view their Client Profile by clicking on Clients in the left menu bar and then selecting a client. You’ll land on the Overview tab by default. In the Overview tab, you’ll find the following information:
- Client Card: Lists information for the client
- Outstanding Revenue: This graph shows both overdue invoices that have missed the due date and outstanding invoices that aren’t yet due. Hover over the bar to view the amounts and invoices.
Below the client’s details and the Outstanding Revenue graph are a set of tabs that allow you to see all of your client’s information in one place easily:
- Contacts: If you want to add a secondary contact, you can do so here.
- Invoices: This includes only active invoices, including those generated from the Retainer and Recurring templates.
- Recurring templates: This lists all active Recurring Templates only.
- Retainer: If you received a retainer for this client, you can view it here.
- Credits: This lists all prepayment and overpayment credits created for this client.
- Expenses: Any expenses that are billed to this client are shown here.
- Estimates: Any estimates that have been created for this client are shown here.
- Time tracking: All time entries assigned to this client will appear here.
- Projects: Any projects associated with this client are shown here.
- Reports: Access reports here with the filter already set to the specific client you’re viewing, like the Client Account statement.
With FreshBooks invoicing, there are multiple ways to create a new invoice. The simplest way is to click on Invoices on the left menu bar, which will take you to the page above. You’ll see that there are three different ways to create an invoice from this screen, all of which will take you to the same page.
The Create Invoice screen allows you to customize not only the look of the invoice but also specific settings for the customer, such as whether you want to send reminders or charge late fees. We’ll go through each section in more detail below.
The first step in creating your invoice is to fill out the necessary information:
- Billed To: When you click on the Billed To section, you will have the option to add or change the client. Click Add a Client and choose an existing client or fill in the blank fields to create a new one. Once a client is selected, click on it and choose between Edit Client to update their information or Change Client to select a different one.
- Date of Issue: This field will default to the current date automatically, or you can click on it and either type in the new date or use the calendar to select it.
- Due Date: This is the date that your invoice should be paid by, and the field will autofill based on the last invoice you created. You can also click on this field and select On Date of Issue, After X Days (where you choose the number of days), or Custom, which will provide a calendar that you can select the date from.
- Invoice Number: The default number for your first invoice is set to 0000001, or you can click and type your own alphanumeric number instead. Keep in mind that invoice numbers are unique, and the same number can’t be used twice. The invoice number you set will increment +1 automatically, based on the last invoice created.
- Amount Due: This amount will adjust automatically, based on the fields that you complete in the next section.
To bill your clients for products and services, click on the Add a Line button.
This will allow you to do the following:
- Add an existing item or service: Choose from the list by typing in an existing item name. You can save time by including a specific description, rate, and/or tax for each item, which will fill it in automatically when you add it to an invoice. (You can manage this by going to Items & Services in Settings.)
- Create a new item: Fill out the blank fields for Item Name, Description, Rate, and Quantity. This will be added to your list of items for future use automatically.
- Import unbilled time and expenses: If there are any unbilled time or expenses that you need to bill the client, you can add them to the invoice here.
- Add taxes: Once the line items are added, click on the Add Taxes link under the item’s rate and check up to two existing sales taxes to apply.
If you want to rearrange or delete line items on an invoice, you can do the following:
- To move a line item: Hover over the left of any item, click and hold down the three lines icon to drag and rearrange the order of your line items.
- To delete a line item: Hover over the right of any line item and click on the trash can icon to delete that line item.
In the Subtotal area, you can modify how the invoice is paid with any of the below:
- Add a Discount: Reduce the invoice’s total by applying an amount or percentage-based discount.
- Apply Credit: If the client has a credit balance available, you can apply this amount before sending the invoice.
- Request a Deposit: You can ask for a specific amount or a percentage of your invoice’s subtotal to be paid first before the rest of the balance is due.
- Add a Payment Schedule: Make it easy for your client to pay you in stages by setting up payment installments on different dates.
Near the bottom of the invoice, you can add extra details and any files for the client as an attachment:
- Notes: Notes are unique to each invoice and won’t be remembered for next time. This is useful for any comments, details, and temporary information that’s applicable for this specific client only.
- Terms: Terms are remembered from the last invoice created, and this is useful for sharing extra information like emails or websites, terms of service, or payment instructions that are applicable to all clients. If you need to change your terms, ensure your updated terms are on your most recently created invoice.
- Attachments: Click on Add an Attachment and upload any files you’d like to share with your client on individual invoices only. These files will also be included if you download the invoice as a PDF.
These settings control the look of your invoice, allow you to enable online payments, and modify client-specific settings as needed.
For This Invoice
- Accept Online Payments: Accept bank transfers (United States only), credit cards, and more through FreshBooks Payment (WePay), Stripe, or PayPal. Your settings for online payments will be remembered based on the last invoice created.
- Customize Invoice Style: Change the template, logo or banner, color, and font here.
- Make Recurring: You can convert a new invoice into a recurring template to generate invoices automatically for you.
Once you have selected a client on your invoice, you can modify the following:
- Send Late Reminders: Send up to three personalized late payment reminders to your client at specified intervals.
- Charge Late Fees: Add a one-time flat fee or percentage-based fee on a set number of days after the invoice due date if it’s still unpaid.
- Currency and Language: You update your client’s currency or language here.
- Invoice Attachments/Save as PDF: When enabled on the client profile first, an additional checkbox appears in the Send To… popup to include the invoice as a PDF in the email as well.
To email or print an invoice, click on the More Actions drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the Invoice screen. Then, either click Send by Email or Print. You can also use this drop-down menu to share the invoice via a link or download a PDF of the invoice.
If you have received a payment outside of FreshBooks, you’ll want to add that payment to the invoice in your account so FreshBooks recognizes that you have received that money. You also have the option to send your clients a payment notification to let them know that you have received your payment. To indicate a received payment in FreshBooks, follow these steps:
- Go to the Payments section.
- Click on the green + button.
- In the Invoice field, type in the invoice number or look for the invoice in the drop-down list.
- The Payment Date of the payment will default to the current date, but you can click on it to change to a different date if needed.
- Choose the Payment Type.
- Specify the Amount Paid, which will be in the same currency as the invoice.
- Add any Notes about the payment if needed.
- Click the green checkmark to save the payment.
An easy way to view open invoices that are sorted by each client is to navigate to the Clients page. Under All Clients, you’ll see each name and a summary of the total amount outstanding for each. You can access more information by clicking on the client name, which will take you to the Client Profile page.
For a more comprehensive summary of outstanding invoices that are sorted by dates due, you’ll want to generate an Accounts Aging report. You can access this report by first clicking on Reports on the left menu, and then selecting Accounts Aging.
The Accounts Aging report will show you which clients are taking a long time to pay their invoices by pulling all outstanding and overdue invoices in one place for your review. To adjust your view of the Accounts Aging report, click on Filters under Settings.
Invoices are grouped by Outstanding (past the invoice issue date) or Overdue (past the due date) into intervals of 0-30 days, 31-60 days, 61-90 days, and 90+ days. Clicking More Actions in the top right will give you the option to Export for Excel or Print your report.
You have now learned how to manage clients and send invoices in FreshBooks. The next tutorial in our FreshBooks course is “How to Track Bills and Pay Expenses.” That tutorial will cover how to enter and view unpaid bills, how to record the payment of a bill, and how to add and view vendors.