Introducing: 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.

Nobody knows the challenges of running a small business better than you. You need to master so many new things; from sourcing clients to pricing strategies. And then there’s accounting. It’s probably the most dreaded task of business owners. At FreshBooks, we’re on a mission to change that.

One reason why accounting is so dreaded is simply because: Most accounting software is built for accountants, not you. They put the accountant at the center of your business, with you, your team and clients all revolving around them.

stand tall

That’s backwards. FreshBooks believes you – the business owner – should be the one everything revolves around. After all, it’s your business! Of course, accountants, bookkeepers and other advisors and mentors play an important role in your business. But they’re there to support you, not the other way around.

It’s a problem that needed solving. So, now, I want to give you a look behind the curtain to see how we’ve been thinking about this at FreshBooks. To do that, I’d like introduce you to what we’ve been calling “Approachable Accounting.”

In this post I’ll cover:

  • What is Approachable Accounting? (and how it’s different than traditional accounting)
  • The Road to Approachable Accounting: Features we’ve launched and what’s coming next
  • Who Approachable Accounting Is For: High level: It’s totally up to you whether you use these features or not today. But they’re there for you to unlock if/when you need to!

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 that you know where your business stands today and can plan for the future. In that respect, the simplicity you know and love in FreshBooks will remain unchanged.

But behind the scenes, Approachable Accounting is full, industry-standard, double-entry accounting that 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 financial advisors or accountants

approachable accounting

The Road to Approachable Accounting

Approachable Accounting offers the ease and simplicity you already associate with FreshBooks. And we’ve already started laying the foundation for an owner-first accounting platform that puts you back in control of your business.

But this is a journey, and we want to share with you where we are today:

Just Launched: General Ledger, Trial Balance and Chart of Accounts

Starting today, we’ll be rolling out the features that make up the core “accounting engine” of FreshBooks: the General Ledger, Trial Balance and Chart of Accounts. These are the basic accounting reports that your accountant will use to help you understand and grow your business, and they’re backed by accountant verified journal entries.

While it’s unlikely you’ll consult these reports day-to-day, they’ll be generated automatically to facilitate the discussions you may want to have with your accountant or advisor. Want to know more about them?

  • The Chart of Accounts is a listing of all accounts that help you categorize the transactions of your business. It helps you keep all your financial information organized in an accountant-friendly way. [Learn More]
  • Your Trial Balance helps you ensure no transaction slips through the cracks and your books are balanced. It’s a statement of all the debit and credit balances in your chart of accounts, with any disagreement in the totals indicating an error. [Learn More]
  • A General Ledger provides the nitty gritty of every cent going in and out of your accounts. It’s a complete record of all the financial transactions of your company throughout its life — “journal entries”. [Learn More]

Already Launched: Cost of Goods Sold and Other (Non-Invoice) Income

Last year’s launch of the all-new FreshBooks was actually the foundation for this owner-first approach to accounting. And Approachable Accounting isn’t just a vague promise.

In fact, we’ve already shipped components of it. For example, you’re now able to get a true picture of your profitability by viewing complete revenue and expenses with the following new features:

  • Other Income: The ability to record and track income you receive outside of the invoices in FreshBooks, so all your income is in one place [Learn More]
  • Cost of Good Sold (COGS): The ability to mark any expense as a Cost of Good Sold expense to associate it with the costs required to deliver your service to clients [Learn More]
  • Revenue Streams Dashboard Graph: The ability to gain insight into exactly where your revenue is coming from, so you can double down on your strengths [Learn More]

Coming Later!

And we’re not done there! Throughout upcoming months, we’ll be rolling out…

  • Accountant Access
  • Full Transaction Capture
  • Balance Sheet
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • And maybe even a few other surprises 😉

…and using every tool in our toolbox to deliver an experience that feels effortless, automatic and helps put you in the driver seat.

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 moonlighter or freelancer you may frankly 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

But 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 Approachable Accounting 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 heady pace today? Well, odds are you’ve been asking us for this functionality! We’ve been listening. Indeed, most of our product features come as a result of customer requests.

Rapidly growing businesses want to be able to make projections and plan, to 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 stronger 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.

about the author

Senior Product Manager, FreshBooks Adam is a Lead Product Manager at FreshBooks. His days are spent helping turn the challenges of small business owners into a product that makes running a business just a little bit easier. When he’s not at FreshBooks, you can find him at the cottage, on a golf course or yelling at a TV when the Leafs are playing.