Get Shift Done: Tips and Tricks
Creating custom invoices in FreshBooks can be time-consuming, especially if you sell a wide range of products or services. Fortunately they have a built-in solution that can dramatically reduce the time you spend on future invoices with just a little up-front effort: presets for tasks and items.
Tasks and items (billed hourly and at a fixed price, respectively) are how FreshBooks categorizes line items on its invoices. Adding these manually every time is both time-consuming and irritating, but with presets you can bypass the hassle and get to the good part — getting paid.
To set these up, we’ll navigate to the Tasks and Items settings pages, which FreshBooks has put in two very different places for some reason.
You’ll find the Items option as a subsection under the “Invoices” tab:
Clicking on “Items” takes you to a list of items you’ve already set up, including your descriptions, inventory (for physical products or limited offers), unit cost, quantity (helpful if you only sell certain items in groups of two or more), and any applicable tax:
To add more items, click New Item and fill out the applicable fields. The only required field is the item name, so you can fill out the rest of the fields as needed for your business:
Once you have the item set up, you’ll be able to choose it from your invoices with just a couple clicks, pulling in price, tax, and anything other details you’ve customized. It will even adjust your inventory for you if you have entered anything in that field:
Setting up tasks is very similar, but you’ll have to navigate to the Time Tracking tab to find the “Tasks” subsection:
FreshBooks already provides you with some generic tasks (e.g. “Meetings”) but you’ll probably want to customize your own. You should be as specific as possible when creating tasks, especially if you charge different rates to different clients for similar tasks:
The New Task screen is similar to the New Item screen, but you’ll need to establish what your hourly rate is for each task (FYI — you can set $0 for non-bill tasks). For tasks that are broadly applicable and priced the same across all areas of your business, you can assign the tasks to “All Projects”. You also have the flexibility to create project-specific tasks for more granularity:
Tasks can be chosen from a drop-down in your invoice as well, but they have an added layer of power by allowing you to integrate them directly into your time tracking. Then when it’s time to invoice your client(s), you can just pull your unbilled time for a given client or project directly into your invoice.
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