Technology.am (May 8, 2009) —FreshBooks, a Toronto-based an online invoicing and tracking system, is added a new networking feature to its software that allows freelancers and small businesses to work with each other directly within the program and share this information freely.
Through the “Contractor” feature, FreshBooks users can create and share client projects across FreshBook accounts, with multiple users able to access different accounts. Formerly, FreshBooks users couldn’t collaborate on projects across the Internet.
There are privacy issues to managing a project online. FreshBooks maintains that you can share certain information like invoices, time sheets, billing but also keep privileged client information private on the network.
The Contractor feature also facilitates real-time project tracking, giving businesses visibility into a contractor’s progress on a project. FreshBooks, lets you create invoices, time sheets and estimates within the browser.
FreshBooks has built up around those services, so that you can handle both sides of the billing equation fairly easily. You can ask all your contractors to send you their bills within FreshBooks, compile all those numbers into one bill, add your own fees, and send it on to your client.
Through FreshBooks’ time-tracking features, you can see what those contractors have been up to and how much progress they’ve made. If cash-flow is an issue, you can also configure your account so your contractors get paid by your client, without revealing sensitive information about those contractors to your client.
FreshBooks has free and paid plans and has served 700,000 users since its launch in 2004. The startup has steadily added useful features to its billing service over the past few years, including benchmark reports on aggregated business data, an open API, and data mining from users. Competitors in the online billing space include BillMyClients and Blinksale.