by Jānis Gulbis
5 Essential Custom FreshBooks Reports
To make the right decisions and to grow your business, you have to consider your numbers from different perspectives. With the new FreshBooks, it is likely that you already have all the information you need; now let eazyBI tell you the story.
It was January 2003. Mike was running a four-person design agency. When it came to invoicing clients, he used a word processor, just like many others did. The word processor got the job done, but it was frustrating, to say the least.
Then one day, when Mike accidentally saved over an old invoice again for the nth time in a month, he realized that there had to be a better way. Over the next two weeks, he came up with a solution that became the foundation of what is now FreshBooks.
It took over a year to bring the product to market. After two years, there were only 10 paying customers, bringing in a total of $99 per month. The team was forced to move into Mike's parents' basement. For the next three and a half years, despite all evidence pointing to a failure, they carried on.
Since those humble beginnings, over five million people in over 120 countries have used FreshBooks to send invoices, track expenses, manage time, and get paid easy, fast, and secure. Now FreshBooks is the number one cloud accounting software designed exclusively for self-employed professionals and their teams.
The New FreshBooks
The journey has not stopped there. Over the past two years, FreshBooks has taken all their experience, knowledge, and insight to push their cloud accounting software to a whole new level with a totally new and redesigned version of FreshBooks.
This new FreshBooks is not just a visual redesign; it’s a whole new product—one that helps you solve the same old problems in simpler and more efficient ways. The goals are:
- to make your experience easier, faster, and more cutting edge;
- to help you work more seamlessly with your clients and teams; and
- to deliver you more improvements faster and more frequently.
It’s all about spending less time on accounting and more time on doing the work you love and on growing your business.
Growing Your Business
To make your business grow, you have to consider your numbers from a different perspective. You have to step back and take a look at your numbers from above. This is where everything starts to come together—where the patterns emerge and the right decisions are forged.
FreshBooks comes with a set of standard reports that will let you gain some perspective. Profit and loss reports, expense reports, and other invoice, client, and time-tracking business reports. These basic FreshBooks reports are helpful and probably meet most needs, but the lack of customization and limited options leave something to be desired.
Sometimes there are special reports you need to generate that FreshBooks just isn’t able to provide. And there are times when you need to see your business from a fresh new perspective in order to cut unnecessary spending and improve your return on investment.
It is most likely that you already have all the information you need. What you lack is the ability to easily and quickly find the right numbers and turn them into usable knowledge.
Fortunately, the new FreshBooks comes with an impressive family of integrated add-ons that vastly extends its capabilities. You can gain an advantage and extend your FreshBooks reporting capabilities to the next level of visibility and analysis with eazyBI Reports.
eazyBI provides and add-on for FreshBooks reports. It’s an easy-to-use custom report and dashboard add-on that integrates seamlessly with your FreshBooks account, automatically pulling all your data, and giving you the flexibility to build any custom reports you might need.
Five Essential FreshBooks Reports
1. Growth and Income Reports
Every business owner needs the ability to track business growth. It is always a good idea to start with a general overview and then drill into greater detail. Let’s take a look at a report that shows the total invoice amount per year.
From the yearly overview, you can drill in and review your quarterly or monthly growth reports. To make these reports more useful, you can compare with last year’s invoice amount to see your year-to-year growth by quarter and month.
2. Spot Trends, Patterns, and Outliers
If you want to find trends, patterns, seasonal spikes, or dips in a chronological data set, use a time-line chart instead. In a time-line chart you can spot any outliers and dynamically “zoom in” to a selected time period and examine the details. You can then drill across customers, projects or other dimensions to uncover the cause of any abnormalities.
Another often neglected but useful report is a pivot table report. It is good for detecting numerical patterns, top or bottom performers, and outliers. With proper cell highlighting, you will quickly notice areas that require your attention and further examination.
3. Where Did It Come From and Where Did It Go?
Watching your growth numbers is nice, but those numbers don’t tell you the whole story. Where did the money come from? Which customers contribute to most of your revenue? Where should you focus your attention? Your top customer list is a place to look for these answers. To make it more useful, it’s worth adding unpaid amount to the total.
Income is only half of the equation; your expense charts should follow closely behind your income reports. Expenses tend to creep up without anyone noticing; be sure to keep an eye on them on a regular basis.
Find something alarming? Drill in to find out what it’s all about. Often those jarring numbers won’t look so scary if you break them down into parts and pieces.
It makes more sense now, doesn’t it? Still, who would’ve thought someone would spend so much on refreshments?
Your income and expense reports should be reviewed regularly.
4. Who Owes What?
In your business, there is the money that you have, the money that you’ve spent, and the money that you don’t have. Let’s look at the “Accounts Receivable” reports to see if there is something you can do about the money that is due you.
First, let’s look at the outstanding invoice amounts by age and the top five companies contributing to each of those numbers.
The first 30 days is probably not something to worry about now, but anything older than 60 days should get your attention.
A list of top debtors by age of invoice will quickly highlight which companies need to be contacted.
5. Digging Deeper Into Invoice Statuses
Before you send out an angry letter demanding a full payment, make sure you’ve sent an invoice in the first place. FreshBooks groups all invoices into four meaningful statuses: paid, partial, sent, and viewed. But, for the sake of simplicity, think of the partial, sent, and viewed invoice amounts as “Unpaid.”
If the “Unpaid” group is becoming disproportionately large, it’s time to drill in and examine each of the statuses separately.
Drill across all clients to see exactly who has received an invoice but has not opened it. Should you remind them or should you wait? Having the right information at your fingertips makes it easier to decide.
Bonus – Bringing It All Together
All the charts become more powerful if you put them side by side. If they have the same context, they will complement each other. With eazyBI you can create dashboards for all your report groups—growth, income, expenses, accounts receivable, etc.
Every business is different; numbers that mean something in one business might be useless in other. Nobody knows your business better than you do. You already have specific questions in your head—let those numbers give you the answers.
To make sure you never forget to check the most important numbers in your business, make sure you subscribe to automatically receive latest daily or weekly PDF reports in your email. Let eazyBI gather the numbers and help you grow your business while you do the work you love.