FreshBooks

Dedicated team for agile development of mobile accounting apps

Founded in 2003 in Toronto, FreshBooks is a global tech company with more than 200 employees and around 10 million clients who use its all-in-one small business invoicing and accounting cloud-based software.

Industry

Financial Services

Model

Dedicated Team

Team size

6 senior and middle specialists—iOS and Android developers, Scrum Master (PM)

Tech stack

Java, Kotlin for Android; Swift, RX Swift for iOS; Firebase; CircleCI for testing

CHALLENGE

Founded in 2003 in Toronto, FreshBooks is a global tech company with more than 200 employees and around 10 million clients who use its all-in-one small business invoicing and accounting cloud-based software. FreshBooks allows self-employed pros, agencies, firms, and consultancies to send, receive, print, and pay invoices.

At the beginning of 2017, FreshBooks’s owners were looking for a new dedicated team of Android developers. The quality of a
native Java Android app created by the current vendor was unsatisfying. So, in March 2017, the team at FreshBooks chose Brightgrove as their new outsourcing partner.

The primary goal of our customer was to find a remote dedicated team that will take over the creation of a new Android app. FreshBooks had an older native Android app (Java) and a separate iOS app (Objective-C) that both relied on FreshBooks’ back-end server through their custom API. The low-quality Android app had a really low rating in the Google Play market. So, we had to upgrade the Android version to a higher level of quality and make it stable.

To meet this challenge, Brightgrove had to:
• Clean up the legacy code, providing necessary changes and quality assurance.
• Develop new features for the Android app and modernize it, following Agile Scrum methodology.
• Manage and grow the app, making it stable, optimized, and user-friendly.
• Implement an advanced payment system in the app using a virtual payment terminal and card QR scanning.
• Extend the team with iOS developers to help the customer with improvements for their iOS app.

SOLUTION

Thanks to having our own talent pool, in 20 working days our Recruitment Department assembled the initial dedicated team of 2 Android developers and 1 Scrum Master to manage the project. Our Time to Fill was 20 days when on average industry Time to Fill— 52 days.

FreshBooks’ only concern was the time-zone difference between Canada and Ukraine, but we overcame it by adjusting to the existing workflow of their in-house team. Also, as the customer required it, Brightgrove’s team worked independently from the back-end development team, using the FreshBooks API, and delivered results based on the customer’s assignments.

In 5 days after the onboarding period, the dedicated team picked up the Android development.

Later on, satisfied with the quality of our services and development speed, FreshBooks’ owners requested the expansion of the dedicated team up to 6 members with not just additional Android developers but iOS developers as well. We hired all needed employees promptly and retained them on a long-term basis.

Brightgrove’s dedicated team completed FreshBooks’ main strategic tasks with the help of our own Scrum Master:
• Reviewed the legacy code and provided the required maintenance and bug fixing.
• Stabilized, modernized, and optimized the Android app with new features and functionality, following a well-regulated Scrum workflow with weekly sprints and on-time releases.
• Covered the development process with autotests to improve the QA procedure which resulted in the boost of the Android app’s speed and increased the overall quality of the code.
• Developed and integrated a new payment feature that works based on the virtual payment terminal and card QR scanning.
• Updated and evolved the iOS app with the new functionality with the in-house team.

RESULTS

  • Utilized the Agile Scrum methodology and followed the development process based on the practices of continuous integration and continuous delivery.
  • Reviewed the old code and covered the development process with autotests, which increased the Android app’s speed and the overall quality of the code.
  • Refactored the legacy code to increase the speed of synchronization with a server, getting rid of the offline mode to make the data fetching faster.
  • Stabilized, modernized, and optimized the Android app with new features and functionality, including the new advanced payment feature.
  • Implemented key features in Android and iOS apps including: roles and permissions, attachments for invoices and proposals, dashboard, archiving and deleting invoices, e-signature, payment schedules, bulk actions on invoices, time and expenses rebilling, late fees and reminders, and sharing invoices.

WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW

We released the latest version of the improved Android app in April 2019 and continue the partnership with FreshBooks. We’re updating and evolving their iOS app with new functionality with the in-house team, as well as handling the full-cycle Android development.

Brightgrove’s team of 6 senior and middle professionals has worked for FreshBooks for over three years. The team is fully managed and controlled by FreshBooks. 

FreshBooks business keeps growing steadily, proven by the boost of the Android app’s rating in the Google Play market from 2.7 to 4.2, and the growth of the user base throughout 2018. Meanwhile, Brightgrove’s Recruitment Department has reduced Freshbooks’ expenses related to taxes, recruiting, employees’ legal and financial management, retention, and HR management. Our Legal Department protects FreshBooks’ Intellectual Property Rights with official contract terms. 

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