Introducing Basecamp With Your FreshBooks

March 1, 2007

Today, FreshBooks is pleased to annouce our integration with 37signals’ Basecamp project management service. You can now invoice your Basecamp projects using FreshBooks. The truth is, you can do a fair bit more than that. Please read on.

What You Should Know

This integration does *not* cover every possible workflow scenario. We have had to make a lot of tough choices in designing our integration. To make decisions we said to ourselves, “What do most people need?” We came up with two scenarios:

1) Basecamp customers need to generate an invoice for Basecamp projects based on their time entries and/or their To-Do lists.
[Watch a Screencast of Option 1]

2) Basecamp customers want to import projects into FreshBooks where they can use them to track time. In this scenario your Basecamp project becomes a FreshBooks project and when you create To-Dos in Basecamp, your To-Dos will appear in FreshBooks as tasks. Then, whenever you want, you can invoice for your project like a normal FreshBooks project.
[Watch a Screencast of Option 2]

We figure these two scenarios will cover at least 80% of the people who want to use the two services together.

In deciding to carry forward with these two use cases, we decided on a “just make it work” philosophy. To this end, we decided that people can only track their time in FreshBooks OR Basecamp – NOT both at the same time. We wrestled with this one and came to the conclusion that it’s a business process issue, not something we should solve by synching the data. 99% of teams will use one tool or the other – not both – to track their time.

How It Works For…

1) Basecamp users who just need to generate an invoice
To create an invoice, you need to enter your Basecamp credentials in FreshBooks from the “Import/Export” link on the “Home” tab of your FreshBooks account. Then, when you go to the “New invoice” page in FreshBooks AND we see you have Basecamp API credentials, you will be asked if you want to invoice for a Basecamp project. Relatively straight forward. I should add that you can import people from your Basecamp account and identify them as clients or staff, both or neither, for use in your FreshBooks environment. You will not need to import your Basecamp projects in this scenario, they will be presented to you when you want to create an invoice.

[Watch a Screencast of Option 1]

2) Basecamp users who want to track time using FreshBooks

For those of you who want to track your time in FreshBooks, but collaborate on your projects in Basecamp, we designed another scenario that allows you to manage to-dos in Basecamp that will appear in real time as tasks in FreshBooks timesheets. The use case here is you can still use to-do lists to assign work. Your staff will then have those To-Dos available in their timesheets in FreshBooks so you can take advantage of our start-stop timer and timesheet management capabilities (there is a screencast of FreshBooks’ time tracking service here). Once you are done your project or completed some period of work (let’s say a month), you can simply invoice your project in FreshBooks like normal. Again, you must track your time in FreshBooks OR Basecamp…either or, not both. You decide.

[Watch a Screencast of Option 2]

Wrap Up

That’s about it. We have two screencasts – one of each scenario – that I’ll be posting later today [note: I have added them above]. Stay tuned (here is our RSS feed) and please let us know how the integration is working for you and what you might want to see in the future.

[note: a weird thing happened at the end of yesterday and this post was saved as “private” which means it effectively disappeared for anyone who was trying to view it. Sorry about that; I’m looking into it and the truth is I’m probably the culprit. – Mike]

about the author

Co-Founder & CEO, FreshBooks Mike is the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the world’s #1 cloud accounting software for self-employed professionals. Built in 2003 after he accidentally saved over an invoice, Mike spent 3.5 years growing FreshBooks from his parents’ basement. Since then, over 10 million people have used FreshBooks to save time billing, and collect billions of dollars. A lover of the outdoors, Mike has been bitten so many times it’s rumored he’s the first human to have developed immunity to mosquitoes.