FreshBooks Review | All-In-One Accounting Tool for Small Businesses

invoice and billing software

Small businesses have way too many things to handle to take too much time tracking their billing, invoicing, and expenses. They need the best billing and invoicing software to do it all for them. This is especially true for freelancers and artists, who are great with creativity and less great with numbers. This FreshBooks review is a great way to introduce you to one of the software options for accounting, invoicing, and billing. In fact, this one was designed with freelancers and small businesses in mind. 

FreshBooks Review

A lot of FreshBooks reviews cover little bullet points of features. We wanted to offer a more comprehensive look at everything there is to know about it.

This is why our review contains the pros and cons and key features, but also breaks down various aspects and compares the new version with the older one. We will even cover the pricing structure! 

Pros

  • Double-entry accounting
  • Easy to set up and user friendly
  • Team collaboration tools included
  • Estimate and retainer functions
  • Proposals and projects available
  • Impeccable records of clients
  • Tracks time
  • Mobile app integration

Cons

  • Dashboard has some problems
  • No quarterly tax estimates
  • Limited customization options for invoices
  • Can get expensive as your business grows

Old FreshBooks Versus New

FreshBooks is constantly tweaking and updating their software to bring their users the best, streamlined product possible. Recently, it went through such a massive change that it became an entirely new product of sorts. Namely, it now follows double-entry accounting practices. This makes it far more useful to a lot more businesses because this double-entry method is the standard for the bookkeeping industry. 

This change didn’t affect the way FreshBooks looks or runs, which is nice because you still get the same great user experience. It does give your records in the accounting ledger a very structured framework for the recordkeeping process and allows you to have a better understanding of your finances. 

New features include a General Ledger and a Chart of Accounts. You also get new accounts, reconciliation features with your baking, COGS (Cost of Goods Sold) sheets, and additional financial reports. We are hopeful that the inventory management and voluminous reporting tools from FreshBooks Classic will find their way back into the updates with the new FreshBooks offering. 

FreshBooks Features


Let's take a look at some of the coolest features that FreshBooks has to offer. 

FreshBooks Accounting Method – FreshBooks Accounting Software


FreshBooks uses double-entry accrual accounting. Accrual accounting tracks your performance through economic activity rather than cash transactions. For example, accrual accounting will match your revenues to your expenses when the transaction occurs rather than when a payment is made. This offers a more accurate picture of your company’s financial health because it combines current cash flow with future income.  This is standard for most companies. It’s more accurate, and also more complex. This is why FreshBooks makes it easy and automatic. 


Likewise, double-entry accounting is also standard procedure for bookkeeping. In this method, each transaction will affect 2 accounts. This is extremely accurate because it forces debits to equal credits. 

Cloud Based or Locally Installed – FreshBooks Cloud Accounting


FreshBooks is a cloud based software. You will not be required to download bulky software. You will not need to install anything on your computer, either. 

Creating Invoices is Easy – Billing Software


FreshBooks invoicing is also really simple! When you open the Invoices area of your toolbar, you will be taken to a screen that handles every aspect of your accounts receivable that you will need. There are a couple of tabs to choose from If you select the “to me” tab, it will display any invoices you have received. Choosing “from me” will show the outstanding invoices you have sent and how many of them are overdue, outstanding, or still being drafted. 


This can also show you graphic representations of your most recent invoices based on updates. All of the invoices show up in a list at the bottom of our screen, and there are more tutorials at the top of the screen if you want a video to show you around the features.

FreshBooks auto billing is easy to set up for recurring invoices, too! One of the new features of the update is the ability to set up an ongoing business relationship. This allows you to create retainers and complex invoices. 


They also support proposals and estimates from this location. These can both be automatically converted into invoices upon acceptance. Proposals are extremely detailed, outlining all the terms of an estimate. These are documents that you can have the client sign and accept. FreshBooks is one of the only companies on the market that allows electronic signatures for these documents. 


Invoicing is very simple. Clicking New Invoice opens up a template that comes prepopulated with your business's name and logo. It will also automatically fill in the date and assign an invoice number. The rest is simple. Just fill in what's being sold and how many. If you've already assigned sales tax rates, these will be automatically calculated and assigned. If you want to add any discounts, you can do so easily. 


Unique to FreshBooks is the ability to set up payment schedules or request deposits within your invoices. The caveat to be careful about is that the way their payment structure works is based on how many active clients you have. Make sure you are careful not to end up billed too high for inactive clients. That’s why FreshBooks is considered one of the best for small business invoicing software. 

Effective UI


FreshBooks is extremely friendly for users. Their user interface is clean and simple but highly effective. Their set up tool will prompt users to enter in any data and information about their business that FreshBooks needs from them and walk them through the process of customizing their invoice (within provided templates) and sending a test. 

The Dashboard will provide you with all of the quick facts you will need to review when you’re curious about how your company is performing financially. The menu includes 5 different charts. These let you know who owes you money, and whether they’re behind on payments, through the Outstanding Revenue column. The dashboard also shows your total profit, which lets you see your current profit and loss statements in real time.


On top of that, you can see your expenses by category when you look into spending. You can also see the various streams of revenue that your company has and any time that has not been billed. 

The great thing about the dashboard is that the top of it actually trains you! The top of your screen should have tons of links right to technical support, and if you like to learn on your own they also have tutorials in video form. You can access new features and updates through a tool on the lower right side of the screen. 


On the top right side of your dashboard, you have collaboration tools. You can invite your accountants and other team members to collaborate with you and assign varying degrees of permission for them to view and edit the records and create new transactions. 

While it lacks a to do list and requires a lot of work to see the charts (no, they're not interactive, either), you do have a vertical pane on the left side of your dashboard that will take you to the different core areas of your software. From this panel, you can access your clients, invoices, expenses, projects, dashboard, accounting, reports, and team. You can also see your tracked time. 


From here, you can open your tool settings. This allows you to contact technical support, create new records for services and items, integrate any third party apps you want to run through FreshBooks integrations, and add more businesses. 


You can also set up connections and login credentials for your banking institutions, connecting these accounts right to their websites so you can import your transactions. If you want to accept payment portals, this is also where you can start taking credit card transactions by registering your business with Strip or Payments. 


The bell on the upper left side of your screen will notify you of any client updates, team member action, or other important business issues that arise. This is an extremely simple and intuitive screen with a beautiful layout where you can access any tools you need to succeed. It’s easy to understand at a glance and once you’re oriented it’s very simple.

Context Sensitive Settings

One of the great things that FreshBooks possesses is an innate ability to understand the context of your work. They will automatically display links while you’re filling out invoices. These links send you to settings that are sensitive to the context. This is something FreshBooks offers that no other software manages.

Their closest competitors all have a single, giant section for defining every single setting of your section. The FreshBooks method saves you tons of time and highlights some features and settings you may be unaware of as you work, limiting the scope to the information relevant to your current project or invoice. 

These settings include the ability to change the style of your invoice as you work, set automatic and recurring bills and specify what interval of time it will recur for, and determine whether it will be manually or automatically paid. You can also set them up for online bill pay!

This service also allows you to set reminders for yourself. You can send reminders to clients, as well, and even designate late fees. In fact, once you’ve sent an invoice out and saved it, you can even reopen it and make changes, like creating PDFs, applying payments to invoices, and emailing it. 

Hardware and Software Requirements

They work very well on very little system demands. Thanks to being located in the cloud, FreshBooks is compatible with almost anything you want to use it with as long as that device can access the internet. They even have mobile apps. 

FreshBooks Mobile App

FreshBooks offers some fantastic app support. Their app is available for Android and iOS systems and they are designed to be very similar. These apps are as attractive and intuitive as their browser counterparts. Opening the app reveals your dashboard. For the mobile app, the dashboard displays outstanding revenue, total spending, and total profit. The bottom of your screen houses a few other icons that take you to the tools you need to work from, changing invoices, data, and estimates. 

Contacts and Expenses

One of the things that makes FreshBooks such a lovely layout is that your client contact information appears as business cards. This is a clean and professional way to see each person’s contact information. Each card also has a chart that breaks down the outstanding revenue the client owes and offers a draft of the invoices and unbilled time and expenses. 

Underneath that, you will find a table. This table displays all the invoices, expenses, retainers, estimates, projects, reports, and time tracking for that client. Moving from one client to another is as easy as clicking tabs. This is an insanely simple way to handle records.

When you click over to expenses, you can see a list of all of your recent transactions between the bank accounts you’ve connected. The software automatically categorizes each expense into choices like supplies, entertainment, services, and so forth. Just be sure to check them because this service isn’t perfectly accurate. You need to teach it by fixing the mistakes, but once you do it learns and retains information. This means that tax reports will be much easier once you’ve trained the system. 

You can always modify just about any detail, too. Whether you’re using manual or automatic editing, you can add and change everything as needed. The 5 most recent updates for expenses will show up at the top of your Expenses screen. These are designed to look like cash register receipts. 

Individual records will show transaction dates, categories, descriptions, supplies, taxes, and prices. You can attach files and drag and drop these receipt images as needed, marking expenses as billable to the client specifically, changing the currency for global transactions, and even send it to the COGS report. 

Specific Size of Business

FreshBooks is a great accounting option now that it includes double-entry accounting. The pricing structure makes it ideal for freelancers and very small businesses who just need something quick and simple to handle invoicing and expense tracking. It’s not the best option for in depth accounting needs or larger businesses with lots of clients and a need for accounts payable and budgeting options. It doesn’t offer payroll on its own, but it can integrate Gusto to take care of that for you.

It's also best for businesses that only need 1 user. While you can add additional users, it costs $10 per month per person, so that can add up quickly. Even if you do have the cash, it won't offer different user permission levels, so that may be less than ideal.  

FreshBooks Pricing


FreshBooks offers tiered pricing that will grow with your business. They offer 3 levels of pricing, although only 2 of them include the industry standardized double-entry accounting. They allow you to pay per month or purchase a subscription for the entire year, which nets you a 10% discount compared to monthly payments. Their service allows you to cancel at any time, and they do offer a free trial for 30 days. 


The great thing about FreshBooks is that they offer incentives for referrals. You get $5 for every referral that downloads a free trial and a whopping $55 per referral that results in a paid subscription. 

1.

Their Lite plan only costs $15 per month. It allows you to make and send unlimited invoices and estimates. It can track your expenses and time and manage your contracts and projects. This will generate reports, too. The downside is that it only allows a single user, and only lets you bill 5 clients. 

2.

If you have more than 5 clients, you will need to move to the Plus plan. This plan is their most popular option and it costs $25 each month. With this plan, you still receive unlimited invoices and estimates. You still get contract and project management. You get the expense and time tracking, too. This service additionally allows up to 50 clients, offers live feeds from your banks, and can handle proposals and generate advanced reports. 

3.

Their Premium plan is $50 a month, which can get pretty expensive. That being said, it offers the same unlimited invoices and estimates, the same time and expense tracking, and the same contact and project management that the Lite plan offers. It continues to offer the advanced reports, live bank feeds, and proposals from the Plus plan, too. This plan will allow you to bill up to 500 clients at a time instead of 50, so the doubled price allows 10 times more clients. 

4.

For larger companies, FreshBooks Select may be the best option. This includes all of the features that the Premium level makes available but adds additional users and features. This program integrates with QuickBooks and Xero, allows for dedicated account managers, and offers advance payment options. 

You can also purchase add-ons for their plans. If you want more than 1 user to have access to your system, you can add them at $10 per month per user. Contractors can be added for free, but if they send invoices to people outside of your business they will need their own copy of the software.

FreshBooks Payments lets you accept most major credit cards as payments. These will go directly to the invoices. They charge a 2.9% processing fee plus 30 cents per transaction. A lot of smaller businesses will let their customers know that this feature is available at that fee, and pass the 2.9% directly on to their clients as part of the invoices. 

QuickBooks Review | Get Your Bills and Invoices In Order Easily

quickbooks for accounting

When it comes to accounting, invoicing, and billing, a lot of small business owners find themselves quickly overrun. They have so many tasks to oversee in the early stages, when they can’t afford a lot of help, that the finances can swamp them and ultimately lead to their demise. That’s why a lot of businesses rely upon top-rated billing and invoicing software to get the job done for them. QuickBooks is one of the most widely used and highly rated options according to almost all of the QuickBooks reviews. Let’s take a look at this software and see if it’s really worth the hype. 

QuickBooks Reviews

Intuit QuickBooks software is some of the largest and most widely used software available for accounting, billing, and invoicing. Tons of businesses rely on them, whether small or large because they have comprehensive options that generate tons of reports and can handle nearly any function you throw at it. Check out our comprehensive review to learn about everything they have to offer. 

User Experience

When you sign in to QuickBooks Online, the first thing you see is their home page. This is called your dashboard because it offers a great overview of all your needs and tools. These will link you to your balances, income, expenses, charts, totals, and tasks. They even link you to relevant activities related to the subject you’re exploring, like creating invoices and maintaining your accounts. 

This area also has graphs to take a look at. It will display invoice and expense status sheets, let you see your profits and losses, tally your sales total, and check your account balances. The charts also link you to your tax and audit trails. 

Although you can find what you need with their dashboard, it is a feature that needs to be revitalized. It’s pretty old and was never the best to begin with. Hopefully, they’ll take a leaf out of Xero’s book soon. 

Everything is displayed vertically on the left side of your browser. There’s a giant group of tabs that house each of the major site areas. These tabs are meant to highlight the most frequently performed tasks for QuickBooks small businesses and take you quickly to different areas. These include printing checks, apps, accounting, mileage, reports, taxes, sales, projects, expenses, workers, and banking. 

There are also additional icons in your toolbox. These let you create new transactions, search for specific accounts or records, and get help when necessary. You can also find the gear icon that takes you to your account and settings if you need to adjust anything there or easily access lists of products, services, and transactions. They also have user management, data for importing and exporting, budgeting, and other tools. 

When you're on a screen to perform your actual work, QuickBooks uses a series of charts, lists, and drop-down menus to help you operate. It’s designed to be easy to understand for people who haven’t studied accounting, but it isn’t the easiest either way. A lot of new users will be frequently checking with tech support for help because the online documentation is minimal. 

Thorough Data Records

One of the most convenient aspects of using accounting software online is that your information is saved and the system learns more from you as you continue to use it. Once you enter some information, it gets sorted so you won’t need to reenter it again. This means that creating customer records that have their details, or inputting vendors that you use regularly or your regularly offered services and products, leaves them in the system. The next time you need to perform an action with one of them, you can just pull the data you’ve already entered and prepopulate the form or report. 

This also means that when you want to create reports or transactions using these records, you can just find them and have them populate for you in your templates. Although it’s less customizable than Zoho Books, it’s got massive and thorough templates in the library so you should never need to build custom fields into your forms. 

Customer records can hold a wealth of good information. The standard templates contain contact information, but they also have different sections where you can keep track of relevant tax information, preferred payment options, attachments, and billing preferences as well as make any notes you need to know. 

They’ve also created the option for multiple languages. Business is expanding globally, so QuickBooks offers the ability to create sales forms in 6 of the most common languages found in business then send them. 

When you finish with a record, QuickBooks can display the information for you in a lovely layout. It will create a homepage for each customer that lets you toggle between interactive lists for their transactions, projects pertaining to the customer, and their information. 

Vendor records are just as easy to use. They collect billing rates, opening balances, terms of the contracts, and account numbers. The QuickBooks product records are some of the best in the business for accounting software. They will allow you to have separate templates for inventory and non-inventory needs, bundles, services, and assemblies. Their inventory templates also include fields for when you purchase and sell the items, relevant information, and the costs and accounting related to that item. 

You can even track your inventory by inputting a starting quantity and let QuickBooks track it for you. This allows you to generate reminders when stock is getting low so you can reorder them or decide to stop stocking them if they don’t move quickly enough. You can also adjust these levels. 

This software also allows you to track billable and non-billable time when you spend it to create service records of your company’s offerings. Just click the plus symbol that shows up in the horizontal toolbar at the top of the screen and they’ll appear. This includes timed activity reports for individuals. These reports are thorough enough to include costs and rates, taxable status, customers and projects, and the employee name. You can enter your time and choose whether to mark it as billable. This even integrates with Intuit’s TSheets! 

Still the Champ

A lot of companies have entered the market hoping to steal the top spot from Quick Books, and each of them comes with their own set of strengths. Some of them offer options that QuickBooks doesn't have, like the flexibility and power of Zoho Books. Still, QuickBooks retains the top spot because it has an insanely reliable and comprehensive system with a payroll solution that covers the entire USA. 

The price for QuickBooks has gone up, but it’s still cheaper than other premium plans, and a substantial deal for everything it entails. Other services would require nearly as much money for their more basic plans and then require you to pay even more licensing fees to the additional apps you’d need for things like payroll and project management that aren’t included the way that QuickBooks includes them. 

QuickBooks still takes the top spot for effective and comprehensive software. It has extremely useful tools that are flexible and deep enough to handle anything you throw at it. They’re great for small businesses but their large capacity and scalability mean that even larger businesses can use them. This makes it a great option to grow with your business instead of starting with a small software that you'll outgrow when your business does well. 

QuickBooks Features

Here are some of the great features that QuickBooks has to offer. 

Sales and Expenses

When you click the link for a specific area in your navigation bar, it will take you to another set of links. The Sales link will give you several different options. You get an overview of your income and invoices, including a chart on display and some extra links for setting up new tasks and transactions. 

If you click over to All Sales, you will probably see a multicolored display bar across the top of your screen. This bar will instantly inform you of your account status for Receivables. This lets you know your pending estimates and gives you a total in dollars. Unbilled activity is also reported, and you can see your open invoices as well as the ones that are overdue and the ones that have been paid within the last month. 

Clicking one of the tabs in that bar will change the lists yet again. This will allow you to see only the transactions that pertain to the totals you clicked. It allows you to select a subset of them so that you can work in batches instead of individual invoices. This lets you print out a bunch of packing slips at once or send invoice reminders to everyone whose bill is coming due. This area also lets you access underlying transactions and sort your customer list by various filters. 

The last couple of columns in the tab show you the status of your entries (whether they’re pending payment, overdue, paid, etc.) and link you to any transactions that are related. These may include linking you to actions like sending reminders and receiving payments. It also allows you to export these lists to Excel or print them out. If you need to modify the columns, you can.

The next Sales tab will open your invoices and the one after that allows you access to your customer data. Products and services that you offer will always show up as lists when you click the last tab. These tables will all follow the same format that All Sales uses when highlighted. That means that you will see interactive lists that display relevant data and link to additional actions that you may need to perform. 

This module is the biggest and busiest of any screen in the QuickBooks software set. Small businesses will need up to date information in as much detail as possible in order to protect their business and get an accurate picture of their financial health. Expenses and vendors will work in a very similar fashion to Sales, but they will pertain more to purchases and bills, as well as orders. 

Accounting Software - Accounting Method

QuickBooks offers 2 different types of accounting. You can use the standard accounts method, or you can track it by cash flow. This gives you the flexibility to monitor your business your way. 

Reports and Mobile

QuickBooks excels at reporting. No one else seems to be capable of reaching their level when it comes to reports and functions. QuickBooks offers dozens of different report templates, and they are extremely customizable. Of course, they offer the standard reports. They even structure their software’s core functions around these reports. These include expenses and vendors, sales and customers, accountant reports, accounts payable and receivable, and tax information. 

You’re allowed to save your reports and save modifications to the reports. When you do, they show up in your list of custom reports. They also offer 3 different types of management reports so you can see everything you need to about your sales, expenses, and overall company finances. 

Although the apps can't possibly replicate all of the browser's functions because of the limits of mobile phones, they can provide shortened versions of nearly everything. The reports won’t be anywhere near as detailed or comprehensive as the browser version, but you can still see product records and customer and vendor information. 

The mobile versions also allow you to take quick actions like emailing and calling contacts. Although you can’t pay your contractors, set sales taxes, or create and manage projects from the app, you are able to do other things. You can find transaction forms that are just as detailed on the app as they are on the browser. 

The Android and iOS versions are very similar to each other and they are designed to work as close to identically as the systems allow. You get a dashboard that will show subsets of everything in the browser version, activity tabs to show recent activity in your account and a vertical menu that lets you navigate. This menu slides out when you click a button so it doesn’t take over your screen when you don’t need it. You can even see a big plus symbol if all you need to do is quickly add data, accounts, transactions, and records. 

Hardware and Software Requirements

The good news is that, although QuickBooks used to take a lot of installation and hardware power, they have moved to QuickBooks Online, which allows everything to occur based on cloud services. If you still prefer the hardware, you can always download and install the classic version. 

Payroll and Add Ons

QuickBooks Online is one of the only 2 sites that offer a companion payroll solution along with the accounting application. Most of them require third party installations, but this allows you to work with one already built into the application. There are 2 different levels of payrolls integrated – self-service payroll and full-service payroll. 

Not only that, but QuickBooks Online can extend beyond its own payroll. If you decide you don't like how theirs works, you can also integrate third-party payroll services that will expand upon the built-in functions. If there’s something you need that QuickBooks can’t handle, it will be compatible with an add-on app that can. 

Building a Foundation

QuickBooks can handle a lot of different things and it plays well with other technology. For example, if your accounting data has been saved to CSV and Excel friendly files (or if you have been entering it in files that can export to these types), then QuickBooks Online makes it really easy to automatically import that information. You can import your Account Chart, your customer and vendor data, and even the files on your products and services! 

A lot of times, moving data from one application to another one can be really tricky. It may require a financial advisor and numerous stressed out calls to tech support from both applications, one of whom won’t be happy you’re leaving their service. The good news is that it’s easy with QuickBooks. 

Another thing they do is make your foundation easy to build. A while ago, you might have had to go through hours and hours of frustrating setup wizards on your desktop to get the accounting software to install. As long as you completed them, you could start working, but they took a while. Now, you can rely on QuickBooks to ask only enough questions as necessary. After that, it can do most of its setup process in the background. This lets you get started much faster and all you will need to do is make sure it tweaked the right settings to accommodate the type of business you need to do. 

Without the setup wizard, you can still get right to work. This will just take more time and effort because it will require you to manually enter all of your item records, customer information, billing, tax rates, and more as you work. This approach will mean that you’ll have to activate all the little features you need yourself and manually set up payment processing and banking transactions. 

One of the areas you’ll be asked for your preference is in Sales. You can turn almost any aspect of the sales forms on or off depending on your needs. This includes shipping, discounts, and customizable options. This is also where you will be able to turn your inventory tracking options on and off and customize your invoice forms. 

The Advanced tab offers even more options for you to explore. You can tell QuickBooks which accounting method you prefer, the type of business you run, and set local currency. The tools include automation of things like invoices for unbilled activity, automatic application of bill payments, and recurring payments. It even lets you track your time on projects and track classes as a user-defined category. 

Calculating the Project Profitability, Mileage Deduction

Something new that QuickBooks Online offers is project profitability reports. When you properly document your projects and are careful about recording details, you can start seeing the percentage of the profit at different points along the project. This is one of the most comprehensive coverages available on the market for this type of task. 

This is immeasurably helpful for most businesses because it affects your planning. Knowing which endeavors are profitable and which ones are losses can prevent costly mistakes and bad investments in the future. This helps you control variables like pricing and how much time and resources you devote to your projects. 

When you start a new project, you can designate a customer to it. Then, you can assign invoices, expenses, payments, estimates, bills, time, and more to the specific project. QuickBooks software will create a “home page” of sorts for that project which lets you see the current costs and income at a glance for the category. Aside from this, you can also see any related transactions and time spent on activities related to the project. The profit margin will always be displayed at the top of the page. 

Mileage tracking is a feature that was extremely popular with QuickBooks Self Employed that they have ported into QuickBooks Online. This lets you enter your trips based on the start and final addresses and let the software automatically calculate the number of miles you have driven and deduct them from your taxes. You can also enter it manually in cases where practical routes are more circuitous than direct mileage thanks to roads and traffic patterns. You can automatically track your mileage through their app, too, by turning on the phone’s location tracker and allowing the app to access it. 

QuickBooks Pricing Overview

QuickBooks Online has a few different versions, so you can choose the one you need for your business. All of them look and work in very similar ways, so you can scale up as your business grows. Simple Start is around $25 a month and it’s made for microbusinesses. This version lets you track your expenses and income and create and send estimates and invoices. You can run the basic reports, track your sales tax, and connect to bank accounts.

For $40 each month, you can have the Essentials plan. This comes with all the features of the Simple Start Plan but adds the ability to have 3 different users, tracks time, and allows you to manage bills. For $70 per month, you can upgrade to the Plus plan. This adds inventory tracking and project profitability to the list and increases users to 5. Their Advanced level costs more, but it supports up to 25 users and includes tons of advanced features designed for larger businesses that work globally and need midrange accounting solutions instead of basic and simple software. 

Powtoon Review | A Powerful Tool for Awesome Video Presentations

cloud powtoon

Powtoon is a powerful tool for video presentations that is effective for personal, business, and educational use. Instantly familiar feeling and easy to use, you won’t want to go back to your old apps. Powtoon is engaging and keeps your audience’s attention with

You get video and text communications and video presentation features all in one app. Intuitive and professional, yet simple to use with its drag and drop items features, Powtoon is one of the best presentation software products. This short introduction is just the start. Read our full review and try this efficient application for yourself.

Powtoon Review - All the Best Features Explained in Detail

Powtoon Features 

Easy to use

Powtoons’s interface allows for beginners to experts to create top quality and appealing presentations in little to no time. Some of the ways that they’ve done this are by enabling individuals to drag and drop items, import and export not just images, video, and audio, but also datasets. All of the templates are customizable. If you can use a computer, you can use Powtoons.

You can get professional results in an incredibly short amount of time with the drag and drop feature mentioned above. If you are having a rough day or forgot a deadline and have to put something together quickly, Powtoon has you covered between its ease of use and its ready-made templates.

Integration

One of the most beloved features of PowToon is the fact that you can integrate it into all major social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more. This makes it an ideal tool to get your professionally appealing videos spread across the internet.

You can upload a link to your social media platforms or even perform webinars through your website. Live webinars open up the door for you to do training or many other events and collaborations.

Your media

Not only can you integrate your videos onto major platforms, but you can integrate your media into your videos, from other video clips, or images, to voice recordings and GIFs. This makes PowToon an ideal tool for anyone who’s looking to not only be professional but to also be original.

Library of Templates and Images

So, you want a professional and quality looking presentations, but you do not have any templates, images, or props? That’s okay. 

Powtoon has a sizeable library of top-notch templates, soundtracks, text options, and images among many other things necessary for making this your go-to platform for video creation.

Cost-effective

Powtoon offers a free version of their services which limits video quality to standard definition, with 100MB of video storage. Alternatively, their PRO version of their services offers 2GB of storage for video and audio, with high definition quality. 

Finally, they offer a higher tier of paid service which includes 10GB of video storage. To top all of this off, all of their plans are royalty-free, which means that you get to keep whatever money you make off your videos.

Collaboration and Communication  

Communication within Powtoon is simple and straightforward. It includes all the basics – like call forwarding, caller ID, instant messaging, conference calling, and basic chat features.

This allows you to collaborate with your business partners or whoever you are sharing your presentations with from afar with ease. Screen sharing and content management are simple, even with several people conference call to view the presentation. This allows for professional viewing and sharing every step of the way.

Data Storage

Your data storage is secure with Powtoon, and you can safely import and export your video presentation. We all like to feel more secure with our data, and Powtoon’s two-factor authentication feature adds that extra measure of security.

How Do You Use Powtoon?

Your bright idea

If you are not familiar with Powtoon at this point, take some time and get to know the libraries of images and templates it has to offer before jumping in. You might see something that will help jump-start your ideas.

You’ll want to make sure that you have a great idea that you want to convey using Powtoon. Perhaps you have some video clips, audio, or some images that you want to incorporate into your presentation. If so, get them ready by moving them to an easy to find a location, such as your desktop.

Select a template

Once you’ve logged in, and started a new video, you’ll want to find a template. Powtoon has a vast library of templates to search from and choose the one that is right for you. Alternatively, you can take a whack at making your video without a premade template and just go with what feels best for you.

Your color scheme and font choices can make your presentation go from childish to professional quickly, so do be careful about your choices here. Be mindful of your audience when choosing your theme, as they are who you want to impress. 

Children will love bright colors and bubbly fonts, while a strict business environment may prefer Times New Roman and black and white.   

Adjust times

Whatever you choose to use in your video, but sure to adjust the timeframes for each item. You can do this by adjusting the scroll bar at the bottom of the screen to change how long items appear in the video.

Pick a font

One of the neat things about Powtoon is that you can incorporate text features. Use this to your advantage and capitalize on the various ways that you can engage your audience. Pick a font that fits best with what you’re trying to convey. 

The way that you incorporate text is by adding in a textbox. This is where you’ll eventually write what you want. Whether you choose to use paragraphs, and bullet points, is entirely up to you. Keep in mind the theme and fonts, as mentioned above.

Expertise Not Required

You might think that you need to be a software expert to make the type of animated presentations that you see online, but with Powtoon, expertise is not required. 

You can do it all yourself without having one made for you for some expensive price. All you need to do is figure out the beginning steps to creating a Powtoon, which is as easy to create as a PowerPoint presentation once you get started.

Starting from Scratch

You have a lot of options when it comes to your available templates on Powtoon, but you can also easily create a Powtoon from scratch if you have a specific idea in mind. Just start with a blank canvas and pick a look that you’d like to create. Keep all of your text and characters consistent as the studio leads you to the blank stage to get started.

Just click around in the Powtoon studio to add in the features that you want. If you’re having a little trouble, you can go through some step-by-step tutorials on how to add in more features that you want specifically for your project.

Simple Steps

To get started with some simple Powtoon creations, you can begin with a script. A script is what will happen in every scene, and once you have yours, you can add to it, shorten it, and figure out where you want all the pauses.

That means that you can also get started with any voicing you want to do, and add in background music. Look into recording your voice yourself, or use an online text to voice software. From here, you can divide your slides for the script, add in your graphics, and give your presentation some visual flare before you have it done in time to present.

Getting Started and Learning Powtoon

You know the basic steps of getting started with a Powtoon. Now let’s go more in detail about what tools you have available to you and what you need to know to understand the software.

Building Powtoons

First off, you should know that the area where you build your scene is on the stage. Then you can look to the side panel, which will let you add, delete, and duplicate slides. You can also look over to the timeline so that you know what the timing of your items on the slide is and can coordinate how you would like your end presentation to look. This can be done with the sound control panel too, along with the tabs and stage tools.

No matter what you do, remember that the Powtoon workspace is your personalized workspace, and you can use it to create whatever you want based on your preferences. This means that you can customize it for your specific needs.

My Space

Not Myspace as in the old social media system, but My Space, as in the space where all of your ideas sit and wait for you to engage with them. This is one part of the workspace that’s made specifically to work with you. Take a look at it to see the multiple blocks in it. Those blocks each represent a goal for your Powtoon, all of which are customized from your preferences when you sign up. You can always customize this space manually by clicking on the “Customize” button.

Top Bars

If you’re looking for a place to find everything while you’re working, take a look at the top bar, which includes the quick menu, your Powtoons, Studio Mode, and edit option, and the help option too in case you get stuck somewhere. This is where everything will be whenever you need it.

Fun and Easy to Use

Powtoon is made to be easy to use, so once you learn the ropes, it’s not hard to get into more complicated pieces of software like adding in your own voice to the characters. Well, none of it is necessarily complicated, since you can easily create something amazing in such a short amount of time. Meanwhile, the people watching will think that you spent tons of time putting it together.

For instance, you can get started using one of the available templates if you happen to be a little short on time. These are professional templates, and are made to be easy to navigate so that you can drive the message home for anyone watching.

The Fun Part

You’re stressing about your next meeting, which is definitely not fun, but building a professional-looking Powtoon is. The animations are made to keep people’s attention, which means that all your hard work will never go to waste. People will pay attention to the movement and animations of the slides, which you can change up and emphasize to keep people interested.

Pitching Your Point

It’s easy to make your pitch using a Powtoon. That’s because you have a lot of elements in it like visual, audio, and more dynamic movement than usual slide transitions. Thanks to this, you can even use Powtoon to create a video for your home page.

Scenes/Timelines

Let’s talk more about your scenes and timelines, which are integral parts of creating your Powtoon. The timeline is made to be a visual representation of the timing of all objects on your slide. When you use the timeline then, you can control the timing of what’s going on in your presentation.

Timing

Take a look at the time indicator and the playhead, both of which are features of the timeline. The playhead can be used for inserting something at a specific time while you continue to view the slide at the same time. This means that you’re able to check out what the changes you make look like right away.

The time indicator will help with that too. You can check out the duration of your slides and the entire Powtoon. When you think you’ve got the timing right, you can click play, and if there are any problems, the slide duration controls can help you change the timing by one second. All you have to do is add or reduce a second with just a click.

Just remember that by default, the duration of the Powtoon slide is 10 seconds, and can be increased to a maximum of 20 seconds.

Adding Time

When you’re adding seconds, all you have to do is position the playhead above the slide you want to add or subtract time to or from. It will let you know how many seconds you have. Just adjust your seconds to what you want and take a look to see if it’s what you want.

Export Functionalities

Many of us want to export our presentations either when we’re working on them or once we’re done, either to work on them together as a term or to share them with others. It’s fairly easy to export your Powtoons, since you only need to click on the “Export” button to get it to go for the first time. You can then go to the “Manage Exports” tab. Using that download link, you can export it to anyone you’d like.

Export

The first time you export your Powtoon, rest assured that you will be shown a preview of your presentation. You can check over all your details before you send it along in whatever format you’d like.

Manage Exports

From this tab, you can do a few other things with your exports too. Check on the date to see when you’ve exported what, and take a look at where you exported your Powtoon to. You can then click the link to publish your Powtoon in any format, or download it to your computer.

Sharing

You can actually share your Powtoon on social media as well. All you need to do is click on the “Share” tab to get it published. You can also check on the “Share” tab to find the embed code of your Powtoon. This is very similar to many other websites that have multiple export formats.

Powtoon Pricing Overview

You can use Powtoon for free, but if you’re trying to use it for business, you’ll want to check into the paid plans that will provide you with more options for your Powtoons, both for the creation and for exporting.

Monthly and Annual

First off, know that you can choose to pay for your plan monthly, or you can pay ahead for an annual price. Just choose your preference before you get started on signing up.

Pro Plan

The Pro Plan is made to be either $19 a month or $228 per year. This plan gives you access to five premium exports per month, 2 GB of storage, and access to both Pro and free content. Essentially, you’ll have a lot of options with what you can do for a lower price per month.

Pro Plus

The Pro+ pan clocks in as $58 per month or $708 per year. With this plan, your premium exports will be unlimited, you will have 10 GB of storage, and will be able to access all content without any problem. This type of plan is for real professionals.

Agency

And now we have the Agency plan, which is $99 a month or $1188 per year, making it one of the more expensive plans. This plan is made more for businesses, since you have unlimited premium exports, access to all content, 3rd-party reseller rights, 100 GB of storage, and the ability to upload even custom fonts.

Free

Yes, there is the option to use Powtoon for free. You do not have to pay to use it, but remember that if you use the free option, you will only have access to the free content, and will only have 100 MB of storage. Powtoon branding will be included on everything you create as well.

All Plans

No matter what plan you choose though, you will be able to Download your Powtoon as an MP4 file, and can make use of full HD video of 1080p for all of your presentations. You will also have full privacy over your content, and commercial rights to whatever you create. If you ever have any problems too, the 24/7 support is available to everyone regardless of your plan.

Pros

The real question is what real users are saying about using Powtoon. Well, rest assured that Powtoon really is easy to use. It should only take you about 20 minutes to get started, and maybe an hour to gain some advanced proficiency in all the features.

If you’re in a rush, Powtoon is a great option too. It includes several templates which are ready to use, and built-in assets like animated avatars, objects, short videos, graphics, and so on. Really, there’s everything you could need right there. Even the updates happen automatically, so you never need to worry about doing any of it yourself.

It helps that it’s easy to switch out features of your existing presentations as well. If you’re taking a look at some of your old presentations, know that you can take out old items to put in new ones and still use the same animations.

Cons

One thing you should know though is that Powtoon is cloud-based, so it will end up using a lot of power on your computer. You might notice that your computer gets hot when you’re using Powtoon for a while then, and that some of your typing might lag thanks to how much power your computer was using.

There are bugs in the programming too at times, which means that your items may move to the wrong place sometimes, or you might have to click multiple times. This is generally a minor annoyance, but if you’re rushing to get it done or if you’ve been working for a while, you might find yourself getting more frustrated over time.

Like this, you might find that building your presentations take longer than anticipated, but if the final product comes out like you imagined, you may find that you don’t mind too much. 

Prezi Reviews | A Reliable Presentation Software With All the Cool Features You Need

presentation software prezi

There are many options out there for presentation software, but none are quite like Prezi. That’s why this simple online presentation tool has become increasingly popular, especially thanks to how creative it can be. Don’t let the creativity and smooth transitions fool you though, because Prezi sets itself apart as a professional presentation tool that allows anyone to use slides, videos, and animations to reach your audience. Your audience won’t ever be bored either, not when you have the ability to really grab their attention with this unique tool.

Prezi Reviews and Buying Guide

Overview of Prezi Features

If you use Prezi well, you can really make something unique and cinematic. Not only that, but with these features, you can pull your audience in. With so many features though, you might feel a little lost, so let’s do a quick overview of one of the best presentation software tools out there.

Sizing and Visuals

The visual aspect of Prezi is what makes it unique. You have the ability to size different parts of your presentation to emphasize what you want people to remember and what you think isn’t as important. Not only will this help you keep track of what you’re saying, but this will help anyone listening to you to more easily understand your main points.

This is especially true thanks to the way Prezi works. It allows you to zoom into certain pieces of your presentations, it lets you pan out, and you can even zoom from left to right. Really, you have total control of all your images and details from font size to angles, and can even use templates that are readily available when you log in.

Timelines

It can be difficult to remember which project you’re doing or what needs to be done next, which is where Prezi’s timeline feature comes in. This feature will keep you aware of what’s coming next and what still needs to be done.

Choices

One of the best features of Prezi is how much choice you have when you get down to it. You can add your own background image, can share it with everyone on the internet or within your group, and can access it from any device.

You can even present using Prezi if you’re not directly with that person, since you can present to an Android phone while you’re on call with that person. You have a lot of choices when it comes to Prezi, which is part of why it’s so unique.

Presenting With Prezi

When you present with Prezi, there are a few unique presentation features that ensure you’ll be able to have something professional and good-looking. For example, you can use ALT and B when you’re presenting to turn the screen black for just a second. If your presentation ever becomes too distracting, this puts your audience’s attention back on you.

Basic Presentation Tools

It’s actually quite simple to present with Prezi. All you really need to do is click from Edit Mode to Present Mode, where all your tools will disappear and you’ll just be left with your presentation. It’s as simple as clicking into “present” and pressing “escape” to get out of it.

From the presentation mode, you only need to click your back and forth arrows to go along the path you’ve set. If you see any issues that need to be fixed before you make the official presentation, all you need to do is back out of it and fix it up.

Connection

You do not need to be connected to the internet to present with Prezi. Just download the desktop app to present without the internet, although you will need internet to play any videos you have.

Navigation Tips

If you want to move through your presentation with greater ease, just navigate through the presentation by clicking on the topic or subtopic. You can even use the mouse’s scroll wheel and the touchpad to zoom in and out. Really, this means that you can move from topic to topic without much more than moving your finger.

It’s very simple to present then, with a very small learning curve. Once you’ve figured out how to do it, you won’t need to even think about it to go from place to place in your presentation.

Simple But Great PowerPoint Alternative

When most people think about making a presentation, their minds go right to PowerPoint. If you’re looking for a PowerPoint alternative though, Prezi is a great option. It doesn’t rely on traditional slides, but it does make usage of creative methods to give your presentation a unique spin.

Different Look

Prezi provides you with a completely different look to your presentations. You have the ability to zoom in and out to show the relationships between details and to emphasize the parts of your presentation that you want people to pay attention to. It’s more of a visual map than other presentation tools, and allows you to interact more with both your audience and with your own work.

Options

You have a lot of options when you use Prezi, especially since you can choose from about 100 templates to build your presentation with. Make frames that you can zoom in and out on, and share your Prezi with up to 10 people—all of whom can work on one Prezi at once.

Usage

You can use Prezi with lots of people, but beyond the shareability, you’ll probably appreciate how uncluttered the entire system is. It’s made to be easy to use, meaning that all you have to do is drag and drop different items from place to place.

You can even use it on any device or computer. No matter what computer you have or what device you’re using your Prezi on, you can access it, since it’s completely compatible. It’s great that it’s completely free to use as well, or you can add a premium plan that has a cost per month depending on what you need in terms of presentations. Either way, you’ll find that this presentation builder is easy to use, and definitely not much more difficult to learn than the traditional PowerPoint. 

Exponential Improvement for the Slides to Elaborate

Easy Slide Alteration

With Prezi’s recent improvements, it’s easier than ever to alter and customize slides. Even if you import them from an existing PowerPoint, you can use Prezi to personalize the slides. You can change entire layouts with only a few clicks, and save palettes that you plan on using for later presentations. 

Seamless File Transfer

While many presentation programs make it difficult, if not impossible to import slides from another program, it’s a different story with Prezi. If you already have a Powerpoint presentation, just choose to import it, and get started. You can even pick which slides to include, and use the drag and drop functions to group them as a topic. 

Slide Resources

Prezi has an extensive library of resources you can use to give your presentation that extra polish. 

There are plenty of fonts, layouts, color themes, and images to choose from. They also include handy, and intuitive icons that instantly make a point to your audience. With the wide variety of visual aids available, you can get your point across right away, and use your speaking time for the most necessary points. 

Prezi also includes smart layouts, to help you create a more coherent, linear presentation, even if you want to present to multiple groups in a more conversational style. 

A Cool Twist on the Interactive Whiteboard Content 

Encouraging Engagement

New digital whiteboards are quickly becoming a popular tool for presenters ranging from educators to entrepreneurs. These whiteboard applications are most often facilitated with special software that connects the user’s drawing or writing to their display, whether by using a special stylus or drawing with a finger. 

It creates real time interaction that can be modified as the presentation goes on, making a more personalized experience. You can emphasize important points or terms by underlining them, highlighting them, or drawing in any symbol that you need to make your point. 

Benefits of Using Interactive Whiteboard Content

Interactive whiteboard content is no longer used for education only. In fact, it presents several unique advantages when used during a meeting or even a formal presentation. While the digital interactive whiteboard may resemble the physical whiteboards of a classroom, their function within presentations goes much further. 

For instance, if a shareholder has questions regarding a specific aspect of a project, and interactive whiteboard allows you to make notations while going through your presentation. These notes can easily be saved and incorporated into the next presentation. 

The whiteboard also allows you to highlight important information to make a point, or address ideas that you want to expand on further. 

You don’t have to use the whiteboard content solely within your presentation; if you want to create more dynamic interaction (having notes on subjects to address post presentation, for example), you can easily connect the digital whiteboard to another device or screen. 

Keeping Ideas for the Future

As we mentioned, using an interactive whiteboard allows you to save your ideas. Not only that, you can export your whiteboard notes into another file, as well as save them to your current presentation if needed. 

It also makes it easy to email the whiteboard notes to yourself, a colleague, or any other relevant party with only a few clicks. You can also print the whiteboard information directly, and save a hard copy of the notes from your presentations. 

Prezi Benefits

Upgrade From Slide Presentations

The typical slide by slide presentations are quickly becoming a worn out way of making your point. Slide presentations were popular years ago, when they were nearly the only option for creating your own presentation. 

As such, the Prezi app has a more dated feel, and make presentations seem more stiff and less engaging. 

The Prezi software has moved away from the slide model of the past; you can create more interactive, engaging presentations that have a better flow. As a result, it’s much easier to tailor your presentation to fit the way you need your story told, and your information presented.

Ease of Use

Even slide presentations can be frustrating to set up, especially if you need a professional, polished appeal. The Prezi interface is straightforward, and it’s designed to make creating a presentation easy, even for beginners. All the features are easy to access, and designed for intuitive use. It won’t take long (if it takes any time at all) to learn to seamlessly use Prezi. 

Design Control

Prezi gives presenters a higher level of control over their design than ever before. From layouts, fonts, and color, to transitions and flow, everything can be customized to your needs. You can zoom in on certain points, or pan across to reach the next point you want to speak about. 

Because Prezi doesn’t require a linear flow like other presentation software, you can alter your presentation to fit what you need at the moment. Of course, there’s an extensive resource library at your hands, so you never need to worry about having your own pro grade photos and fonts to add. 

Dynamic Access

Prezi is a presentation software that actually allows you to collaborate with team members in real time. Anyone with access to edit the presentation can do so, all while others are working on it. Because it works without installation, and everything is cloud based, there’s no need to run to a specific computer to work. 

Prezi Pricing Plans

Prezi offers a variety of pricing plans to fit everyone from individual users to corporations and businesses. Of course, there’s always a 14 day free trial before you purchase it. The Standard Plan is $7 monthly, and allows you to import existing powerpoints, create unlimited presentations, and gives you more privacy. 

The Plus plan is $19 monthly, and includes everything the Standard plan does, but also adds the option of PDF export, offline presentations, and access to a library of icons and images. The highest tier is the Premium plan, at $59 per month. This includes everything from the other plans, as well as training and analytical support. 

Pros

Animation

Prezi incorporates animation as part of the presentation in a unique way. You can zoom in and out of nearly any feature to get to the next point of focus. You can use this movement and animation to elaborate points, show examples, and more. 

Always Available Online

The nice thing about Prezi is that you can access it from any device, provided you have internet access. Many other presentation programs are only available on the device they’re installed on. 

Unique

Prezi creates impressive presentations, especially because the layout is so much different than slide presentations. This gives you more control over the design, content, and flow of your presentation, while impressing your viewers.  

Imports

You can use Prezi even if you have already started creating a Powerpoint presentation. Simply import your slides and keep going. 

Cons

Occasionally Distracting

Because Prezi doesn’t use the typical linear, slide by slide format, it can be easy for presenters to lose their train of thought. 

Likewise, it can be easier to lose track of the flow of your presentation if you’re not used to the program. New users should be wary of adding too many animations that distract from content. 

Offline Disadvantages

If you don’t have a steady internet connection, you won’t be able to access your Prezi presentations. It isn’t installed like some programs. At least, the free versions aren’t. Offline access is only through paid Prezi subscriptions. 

Prezi Vs Powerpoint

Familiarity - Many people have learned to use Powerpoint at some point, and it’s frequently used because of familiarity. Though there have been updates, the layout and general functions are the same. In contrast, there is a learning curve with Prezi. Most people take some time to learn to use Prezi, since it’s a new software. When learning, the ‘Zoom’ function can make people dizzy if not used correctly. 

Add-in Options - Powerpoint includes plenty of design options for your presentation, and nearly any aspect of a slide can be customized. You can also add in animated transitions, as well as hyperlinks. Prezi uses a more fluid, open canvas style for presentations. It allows for more versatility, especially when presenting to different groups. With the ‘Zoom’ function, you can zero in on topics.

Availability - Because Powerpoint is installed, you can use it even without an internet connection. You can run presentations, and print out your slides to use as an extra resource. Prezi works via the cloud, and as long as you’re online, you can access all your materials. There’s virtually no need to use computer storage.

Structure and Navigation - Powerpoint is extremely linear, and that can present problems with getting to a specific point. It makes presentations seem more like reading a script than having a conversation. 

Size and License - Powerpoint takes a lot of storage, as do the presentations you create. You have to buy a license for most devices. As Prezi is a cloud based app, you don’t need storage on your device.

Collaboration - It’s easy to use Prezi for group projects; up to 10 people can work simultaneously on the presentation. Conversely, it’s not as easy to collaborate with Powerpoint.

Prezi vs Sway

Intuitive Resources - Sway is great at getting you information and visuals to use in your presentation. It automatically looks for Creative Commons material.

Refreshed Look - Sway has an updated look on presentation software of the past. It’s easy to create a fresh, aesthetically pleasing presentation. 

Availability - There are plenty of free, or budget friendly options when using sway, especially if you’ve already purchased Microsoft products. 

Presentations - The way Sway is set up, it’s difficult to add in sections, and alter or move them. 10 slides or under is easy, but any longer and it gets tricky. When you use Prezi, you don’t have to go by a script. It’s designed to be more versatile and conversational. Simply zoom and you can change your flow. 

Image Issues - Here’s where navigation and function are somewhat tricky with Sway. While you can upload photos from nearly anywhere, it uploads every time you add it in. Delete a photo, and you have to upload it again, rather than having it in a ‘Recent’ folder. With Prezi, adding your own images or linking to a video is easy. You can also use their resources and templates, customize them, or create your own. 

Use Past Presentations - Prezi makes it easy to switch to their software, or continue Powerpoints. With a few clicks you can import a Powerpoint file and keep working. 

Upgrades - When switching from a free to paid version, it can be difficult to transfer presentations. Within the free versions of Prezi, there are limited layouts and resources included, although others can be purchased. 

Links

While you can add links to your Prezi presentations, it’s more difficult to hide a link (for instance, clicking an image to direct to online resources).

Conclusion

Prezi is certainly one of the most innovative presentation programs out there, but it’s important to know how to use it properly. While it’s easy to learn, and fairly effortless, new users should be wary of adding too many features that can distract their audience. However, once you’re familiar with it, it’s a great way to improve your presentations with little effort.