Even though she specializes in systems and processes, the owner of Neat as a Pin found accounting challenging — until she discovered FreshBooks.
Before Jennifer Snyder became a certified professional organizer (CPO), she owned a wedding and event planning company. Both careers demand refined internal systems and careful attention to detail. Yet, despite having a brain built for processes and ample experience as a small business owner, Jennifer struggled with accounting.
After years of relying on custom-built spreadsheets to manage her finances, she finally made the switch to accounting software in 2010 when she launched her business, Neat as a Pin Organizing & Cleaning. But instead of simplifying her life, the first software she tried (QuickBooks) only made things more confusing.
Everything changed for Jennifer in 2013, when she discovered FreshBooks through a fellow entrepreneur. Jennifer’s business in Waco, Texas, has since grown to a team of more than half a dozen professional organizers, cleaners, and fixers. She’s built a reputation for a non-judgmental approach to home and office organization.
We spoke with Jennifer to learn more about FreshBooks simplified her accounting, supported her business during a period of growth—and why she recommends it to her own clients.
As a professional organizer, you understand the importance of managing and organizing your paperwork, including finances. What led you to use FreshBooks for your own small business?
Jennifer: While I’m very organized, I’m not very accounting-minded. Marketing? All day long. Creativity? All day long. Accounting? It’s really black and white. Those are very square boxes. And it’s scary, you know. Taxes are scary. Accounting was one of the more frustrating, confusing, uncertain areas of business for me.
In my previous business as a wedding planner, I’d relied on spreadsheets that were mapped out in my own language. When I started Neat as a Pin, I made the switch to QuickBooks, but I didn’t like it. It was complicated, confusing, and expensive. I didn’t have the time or the bandwidth to learn how to use it and I didn’t have the money to pay someone to do it, either. I knew I needed something that was easy, intuitive, and user-friendly.
I was lamenting about this to a fellow solopreneur—a website builder and social media manager—and she said, “Why don’t you try FreshBooks?” I loved the interface and I’ve been using it ever since.
I do a lot of coaching for solopreneurs and I recommend FreshBooks to all of them.
What FreshBooks features have changed how you run your business and have saved you time?
Jennifer: The invoicing feature is my saving grace, which saves me a lot of time. Neat as a Pin Organizing’s home base is my house and my team is all over the place. I don’t want my staff to be responsible for collecting payment. If they’re in the suburbs and a client gives them a check, they’re going to have to drive to my house to give it to me. I’d like for them to do their job and let me do mine, which is the pricing, billing, and collecting.
Before, I’d have to collect payments physically from all my clients. Now, I send all my clients an invoice through FreshBooks and have them pay online. It’s a key task in my day that used to take me an hour or more, which I can now get done in half an hour or less.
Another feature that’s extraordinarily helpful is the bank reconciliation feature for my expenses. My bank account is connected to my FreshBooks account. That almost takes looking at my bank account out of the equation. I know that everything is in FreshBooks, so I can compare my receipts and know immediately if I’ve lost one.
How has FreshBooks supported you as your business has grown?
Jennifer: When I started using FreshBooks in 2013, it was just me. Before that, I didn’t even have a good set of general ledger accounts. I had maybe a handful of expense categories and I did my own taxes.
Since then, my business has grown exponentially. Now, I have 15 employees and 4 different arms of the business, including professional organizing, cleaning, handyman services, and an organizing academy, which teaches people how to organize. My business got big enough that I really needed a dedicated accountant. FreshBooks makes it easy since my accountant can access my FreshBooks account.
In addition to helping people organize their physical spaces, one of your services is digital organization. What’s the biggest challenge your clients face?
Jennifer: When I’m helping clients that run small businesses with their digital organizing, I find that accounting is a particular area of weakness. For example, they have digital receipts in their email as well as receipts wadded up in their pockets. I try to work with them to come up with a way to marry this paperwork together that fits with their habits, thinking, and lifestyle.
One solution doesn’t fit everyone, but for people who struggle with their receipts, I encourage them to take a picture with their phones, email it to themselves, upload it to their expenses in FreshBooks, then toss the paper receipt.
I definitely recommend FreshBooks to my business clients. I do a lot of coaching for solopreneurs and I recommend it to all of those people. Every single one.
Anybody that I talk to that has a business, if they don’t have an accounting background, I tell them FreshBooks is the thing. I love it.
After switching your accounting software before, what has made you stick with FreshBooks?
Jennifer: You know, you guys have always been really good to me. If I have a question I call in and you answer it. The staff is always very nice. Sometimes there are issues but the communication is excellent. And so I’m just very happy with FreshBooks. It would take a really big event for me to change. So you guys are stuck with me.
about the author
Jessica Wynne Lockhart is an award-winning journalist and fact-checker, who splits her time between Canada and Australia. She has bylines in the Toronto Star, Chatelaine, and The New Zealand Herald. She writes about e-commerce, personal finance, health, and travel. Learn more about her work at jesslockhart.com.