We Like to Call It Approachable Accounting

Today we’re announcing a new option for FreshBooks customers: Approachable Accounting. It’s full, industry-standard, double-entry accounting to help grow your business.

approachable accounting

Nobody knows the challenges of running a small business better than you. You need to master so many new things, like sourcing clients and creating pricing strategies. And then there’s accounting. It’s probably the most dreaded task of business owners. Here’s the good news: At FreshBooks, we’re on a mission to make accounting easier for business owners.

One reason accounting is so dreaded is simply that most accounting software is built for accountants, not you. They put the accountant at the center of your business, with you, your team, and your clients on the outside looking in.

stand tall

Do we need to talk about how backward that is? Of course, accountants, bookkeepers, advisors, and mentors play an important role in your business. But they’re there to support you and your business growth, not the other way around. After all, it’s your business!

It’s a problem that needed solving, and solve it we did. We’ve been referring to it internally as “approachable accounting,” which is really a friendlier way of saying industry-standard double-entry accounting.

Here’s what you’ll learn today:

  • What is Approachable Accounting?
  • What double-entry accounting features does Approachable Accounting have?
  • Who Is Approachable Accounting For?

What Is Approachable Accounting?

At its core, FreshBooks is a system for you to effortlessly capture all your day-to-day transactions—invoices and expenses, but assets and liabilities, too—so you know where your business stands today and can plan for the future. In that respect, the simplicity you know and love in FreshBooks appears in everything we do and create, including approachable accounting (industry-standard double-entry accounting).

Yes, approachable accounting is full, industry-standard, double-entry accounting, and it serves two main goals:

  • Enabling painless, automatic bookkeeping and reporting that ensures owners and accountants trust their data, for tax time and beyond
  • Facilitating better relationships between business owners and their accountants, bookkeepers, and financial advisors

All Double-Entry Accounting Features in Approachable Accounting

Approachable accounting offers the ease and simplicity you already associate with FreshBooks, it’s an owner-first accounting platform that puts you back in control of your business.

Accountant Role

The Accountant user role gives your accountant, bookkeeper, or financial advisor custom access to your FreshBooks account. It allows them to update Journal Entries and your Chart of Accounts. They can also review many of your business reports. This allows them to do things like review business health reports to help you plan for growth, and hiring, or stand fast when you need to.

If you prefer to do your own accounting, you can enable accounting features for yourself (as long as you are logged in as the Owner) by turning on Advanced Accounting in your settings.

Chart of Accounts

The Chart of Accounts is a customized, accountant-friendly report of every account and balance in your double-entry accounting system. Things like your income, expenses, and equity are easily reviewed and leveraged to help improve your business’s bottom line. In FreshBooks, you or your accounting professional can customize. your Chart of Accounts with accounts and sub-accounts that are specific to your business.

Balance Sheet

Your Balance Sheet in FreshBooks is very straightforward and exactly what you’d expect in a balance sheet. It includes all business assets, outstanding debts/liabilities, and owner/shareholder equity.

Bank Reconciliation

✋ Hands up if you absolutely hate doing bank reconciliation at the end of each month. Bank Reconciliation in FreshBooks lets you connect your FreshBooks account to your bank and credit cards to auto-import transactions. As guessed, this will save you so much time every month, and avoid all the manual entry mistakes we all make, especially when we’re a little tired of looking at spreadsheets. Once the import is done, it’s a cinch to organize and categorize transactions to always stay ready for tax time.

General Ledger

The General Ledger is an essential tool for any business. It provides you with a complete record of all financial accounts and transactions, so you and/or your accountant can analyze every dollar coming in and going out. If you already work with a General Ledger then you know how useful it is to evaluate and truly understand your business.

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

This might seem fairly obvious, but it’s an important accounting tool nonetheless. Cost of Good Sold helps you associate expenses with the costs required to deliver your service to clients. It accurately tracks the cost of doing business, excluding re-billed items, by assigning a cost of goods sold category to specific items. And as guessed, it’s super intuitive in FreshBooks.

Other Income

This might not be the most obvious need for every business owner, especially those just starting out, but tracking Other Income that doesn’t fall within your typical products and services is important. Other Income allows you to log unique and other income items, view revenue streams, and get a complete picture of your business’ revenue.

Journal Entries

Journal Entries are typically something your accountant takes care of, but guess what? We built it so business owners can understand it and do it too. Journal entries let you account for one-off financial transactions by adjusting General Ledger (eg. a one-time interest payment) with manually created journal entries.

Trial Balance

Trial Balance is a statement of all the debit and credit balances in your Chart of Accounts. It’s a list of the balances to ensure there are no missing transactions and that debits = credits. Super important!

Profit & Loss (Income Statement)

The Profit & Loss report, or Income Statement, shows your total income and your total expenses, so you know exactly how profitable you are. If you’re wondering how profitable specific projects are, FreshBooks also has Project Profitability features that do just that. If you’re wondering just how effective it is, check out this case study: How Zachary Uses Project Profitability to Save $2k per Month

Cash Flow Statement

A view of all money flowing into and out of your business. Simple, but useful.

Accounts Payable Features

There are also a number of other Accounts Payable features in your FreshBooks account. They’re perfect to help you stay on top of where you stand with vendors.

For a thorough description of all double-entry accounting features, check out this great article: FreshBooks’ Double-Entry Accounting Glossary

Is Approachable Accounting for Me?

For Moonlighters and Freelancers

You’ve learned the ropes of managing your day-to-day business using FreshBooks. You know how easy it is to whip off an invoice, manage your expenses, and track time. And you’re in much better shape when it comes to annual tax filing as a result.

accounting not your passion

Maybe that’s everything you need. If you’re a freelancer, you may feel you don’t need approachable accounting. And that’s okay. For your needs, FreshBooks will remain the easy, breezy tool you know and love.

For Business Owners With Ambitions to Grow

If you have grand ambitions and anticipate needing more robust accounting, you’ll be happy to know FreshBooks can grow with you.

You won’t reach a certain scale and have to look for an alternative solution. And you’ll be able to unlock accounting features when you’re ready. What’s more: We’re here to help you wrap your arms around these features as you need them. As always, our support team is with you every step of the way!

For Rapidly Growing Small Businesses

And if you’re already growing at a steady pace today, odds are you’ve been in need of a double-entry accounting system for a while. It’s a lot easier than you think to start leveraging the benefits of double-entry accounting tools and reports.

Rapidly growing businesses want to be able to make projections and plans, weigh up options and make decisions driven by financial insights. If you belong in this category, you want to look at financials through a much broader lens.

Approachable accounting will help you do just that, giving you access to powerful information and insights that you can trust. And it also means FreshBooks can grow harmoniously alongside your growing business.


Not every business owner will be at that “building stage” of their business journey. And that’s okay. If you’re still conquering the day-to-day tasks of creating invoices and collecting payments, FreshBooks is the magic wand you’re looking for.

But if, and when, you set your sights on long-term growth, FreshBooks can grow with you too. With approachable accounting, you’ll be able to unlock all the future potential of your business and use it to reach new heights. And you’ll be able to do it with tools built just for you.

Want to give it a try? Start a free 30-day trial.

This post was updated in November 2022.

Daniel Reiter

Written by Daniel Reiter, Editor-in-Chief, FreshBooks

Posted on July 26, 2018