Toronto-based FreshBooks has been working on an updated version of its signature cloud accounting software for small businesses that uses a brand-new platform and will likely be released this summer, the company’s CEO and co-founder Mike McDerment announced today.
In a lengthy blog post, McDerment explained that after accepting a $30 million USD investment from Connecticut-based venture capital firm Oak Investment Partners, the company realized it could no longer deliver its mission to “reshape the world to suit the needs of self-employed professionals” using its original software, which dates back to 2004, and that doing so would require building a new platform using modern technology.
The new FreshBooks has been under development for 18 months, McDerment said, and is currently being tested by thousands of the company’s 10-million-plus users. When it’s released, existing users will have access to the new version at no additional charge, and be able to switch between both versions, with access to the same data.
“We recognize that change is hard, and that some of you may be saying to yourselves, ‘I love FreshBooks — why go build a new one?'” McDerment wrote in his blog post. “For those who have concerns, I want to assure you that you won’t be forced to switch to this new product, but we believe in time you will want to, and when you do, you’ll never look back.”
While FreshBooks has not released any pictures of its new software, in his post McDerment promised users a new experience that would help solve “the same old problems” in “simpler and more modern ways”.
“It behaves differently,” he wrote. “It has new features. It’s been redesigned and rebuilt from the ground up so you can get new improvements faster than ever before.”
In particular, McDerment said the FreshBooks team had been guided by three principles when building the new platform:
- Simplify the product, to make the user experience easier
- Design it in a way that allows users to seamlessly collaborate with clients and their teams
- Faster and more frequent updates
So far, McDerment wrote, every small business owner who has used FreshBooks in both its current and updated forms has rated the newer one as easier to use. The testers are also working with more people on average, suggesting the program has made seamless collaboration much easier.
But it’s the last goal, faster product improvements, that McDerment writes will ultimately be most relevant to existing FreshBooks customers, as it now takes weeks to develop and release ambitious product improvements instead of months or quarters – though he also noted that while subscription prices will not be raised, certain improvements may carry additional fees.
While FreshBooks has not announced a specific release date for the new platform, McDerment wrote that the team is aiming for an official launch in six months. Current FreshBook customers interested in receiving early access are invited to sign up here.