Workhaus' Ryan Spears and Adrian Joaquin share how they count on FreshBooks to help manage their scaling business.
When Ryan and Adrian ventured out to start a business of their own, they were on a mission to create something that would help make a difference in their home city of Toronto.
So they co-founded , a collection of coworking spaces across the downtown core. Here, they offer anyone from entrepreneurs and freelancers to small- and enterprise-level business owners a workspace where they can feel comfortable to collaborate and thrive.
However, as entrepreneurs, it wasn’t always a field of daisies. For co-founder Adrian, he knew they immediately needed a way to manage their billing and workspace members. But the question was “how?”
Finding a Better Way to Get Paid
To suit their membership-based business model, they tested a wide range of solutions. Not only did they research accounting platforms like FreshBooks, Quickbooks and Wave, but they also toyed with point-of-sale systems like Moneris and Global Payments.
Ultimately, they found the winner in FreshBooks for its ease-of-use and functionality.
“We really looked at point-of-sales, which would sit on our front desk,” Adrian explains. “What we realized is we didn’t really need it. No one needs to pay at our front desk; we can do everything through a cloud accounting tool.”
Ryan adds the advantage of streamlining their tools. “It really works beautifully because even our membership agreements are done online. The fact that we have a platform that is easily trackable, easy to manage and easy to use for our members is a great benefit.”
A New Challenge: The Growing Pains of Running a Small Business
For any small business, scaling is a nice problem to have. And for Ryan and Adrian, the pay-off has been rewarding. Over the three years that Workhaus has been in operation, they’ve experienced significant success and growth, expecting to double their number of coworking offices in 2018.
But with a scaling business, does that mean they’ve outgrown FreshBooks? Would they have to start their search again for a better accounting solution? Based on their accountant’s initial recommendation, Ryan and Adrian would need to move to a more robust platform to support them as they scaled.
“Today our accountant finds FreshBooks sufficient for what he has to do,” says Adrian. “And we didn’t need to move over to a different solution as we scaled. We’re finding now as we’re growing, that we’re able to work with the FreshBooks team to customize our solution.”
Going Above and Beyond: How FreshBooks Grows with You
When Workhaus hit a certain scale, they knew they had to find a way to seamlessly continue to manage their accounting. To avoid moving their entire business to a new platform, Ryan ed FreshBooks.
“We said, ‘why don’t we just reach out to FreshBooks and see if they’ve got a different program they can migrate us over to,” says Ryan. “That way we’ll benefit from some of those savings and continue using a platform we’re familiar with and is simple to use for everyone we work with.”
Ryan explains how he was introduced to the FreshBooks Select program—built for high-billing small businesses—and was pleased to hear he wouldn’t have to move the business after all.
“The FreshBooks team walked me through what we could do with FreshBooks Select and they organized the platform so we’ve got our different locations running under one parent account,” Ryan says as he explains the benefits.
“We can separate P&L reports, look at the individual revenue streams and categorized expenses for each of our locations. That was a whole side to FreshBooks that we were totally unfamiliar with.”
Do What Makes You Happy, Leave the Accounting to the Cloud
Adrian stresses the advantage for him of leaving invoicing and accounting to the experts. Particularly as their business scaled, the administrative side naturally became more complex. Using the right accounting solution erased the headaches and time wasted.
“You want to do what you like and you’re driven by making a difference and passion,” he says. “The easier you make it on yourself through platforms like FreshBooks, the less painful it will be.”
And since using FreshBooks three years ago, the Workhaus team has first-hand experiences of those benefits.
Supporting a Membership-Based Business Model: Recurring Invoices
“That’s something we won’t be able to live without,” says Adrian. “Now we’ve got hundreds of accounts. So if we had to manually send invoices every month that would take a couple days of someone doing that.”
Make It Easy to Track the Money Going Out: Expenses
“The entire Workhaus business goes through our bank account,” he explains. “So the fact that the banking integrates seamlessly with FreshBooks makes it easy for us and our accountant to track our expenses and make sure we’re on top of it. It’s definitely easier than sitting back to manually do that stuff.”
A Takeaway for Growing Small Businesses
For Ryan and Adrian, their advice is simple: Cloud accounting will make your life easier.
“I’ve handled this before where it just seemed like a manual process and it sucked,” Adrian recalls. “Different parts of your business—like expenses—pile up. It’s great to own a business where everything is done online and you’re able to invoice and track seamlessly.”
And when it comes to why FreshBooks, Adrian thinks back to Workhaus’ clients and the feedback they’ve received.
“Pretty much 90% of the companies that use our space are tech startups, so they’re cutting-edge tech companies within Toronto,” he explains. “They come up to us and ask what we’re using for our accounting. The fact that these companies are interested and like our solution, I think that really speaks volumes for FreshBooks.”
about the author
FreshBooks. Before joining the team, she was the Editor of a national trade publication and has over 6 years of experience in writing and editing. Connect with Megan on and say hello!Megan Santos is the Content Marketing Manager at