You’ve likely heard of at least one of the two most popular accounting software options on the market for businesses if not both: FreshBooks and QuickBooks. Technically, either option should get the job done for your company when it comes to managing your finances and invoices. Yet, depending on the specific needs of your business, there’s a good chance that one of these accounting tools will be a better fit than the other—so which should you choose: FreshBooks or QuickBooks?
FreshBooks vs QuickBooks: What’s the Difference?
While both QuickBooks and FreshBooks offer similar accounting services, each has its own strengths. If you sell products, online or in-person, and want accounting software that will grow as your business grows, QuickBooks may be a better fit. On the other hand, if you are a solopreneur or freelancer and want to track time spent on a project, FreshBooks is better aligned with your needs.
Similarities Between FreshBooks and QuickBooks
At a glance, the two accounting platforms seem similar. Both QuickBooks (created by Intuit) and FreshBooks offer a robust selection of accounting tools to help you manage your finances.
Both are useful to small businesses, and offer invoicing and expense management tools, the ability to accept payments from customers, and financial reports.
Also, both offer an option to work with a bookkeeper, in case you have more than you can manage on your own when it comes to your accounting.
Both services connect to your business bank account so you can keep track of expenses and offer financial statements like balance sheets to help manage cash flow. Both allow you to send payment reminders, calculate sales tax, accept online payments, and manage your billable clients.
Differences Between FreshBooks and QuickBooks
But that’s where the two services split off. QuickBooks has robust inventory tracking built in, whereas FreshBooks has a few integrations offering basic inventory management functionality. Both offer billable hours features, but FreshBooks goes one step further with a time tracker you can set up for each client project you work on. QuickBooks also has time tracking, but it’s offered as a separate service.
Let’s walk through different categories of accounting features to see how the two stack up.
Both FreshBooks and QuickBooks offer a host of cloud-based accounting features designed with small business owners in mind. In most instances, QuickBooks is the clear winner in the accounting tasks department. While FreshBooks does a better job of time tracking features for hourly employees and projects, QuickBooks wins the race in just about every other category.
|Yes||Payroll processing (Additional Fee)||Add-On Software Required|
|Yes||Vendor Bills and Credits||No|
QuickBooks and FreshBooks both include invoicing capabilities for their customers. Some of these features are included with certain membership plans. Others may require additional fees.
The two accounting software platforms are roughly tied within this category. FreshBooks gains extra points for ease of use and advanced features like late fees, deposits, and retainers.
However, QuickBooks has to be recognized for features like accelerated invoicing, which allows you to automate sending multiple invoices to clients.
FreshBooks gives you a user-friendly platform to create professional, unlimited invoices. You can use the invoice generator to customize your invoice, add your logo, and personalize the thank you email customers receive upon payment.
Save time by automating invoice creation, payment collection, and payment reminders on overdue invoices.
It’s worth noting that FreshBooks puts a limit on how many clients you can bill with each of its plans. So, if you need to use your FreshBooks account to invoice more than five different clients, you’ll likely have to pay for a higher level of membership.
QuickBooks also has invoicing capabilities, including recurring invoicing. The customizable invoice design selection available through QuickBooks is more robust and allows for more personalization. That being said, some users do report that the QuickBooks interface is less user-friendly and harder to navigate, especially in the beginning.
Does your business need the ability to accept payments online? Having a “Pay Now” button on your invoices could help you get paid faster.
FreshBooks and QuickBooks both have payment acceptance solutions that allow you to accept credit card payments, PayPal, or ACH payments. You can also use integrations if you accept Stripe payments. See below for a brief overview of the payment processing service costs for each.
QuickBooks Payment Processing Fees
|ACH Bank Transfers||1% ($10 Maximum)|
|Credit Card (Swiped)||2.4% + $0.25 Per Transaction|
|Credit Card (Invoiced)||2.9% + $0.25 Per Transaction|
|Credit Card (Manually Entered)||3.4% + $0.25 Per Transaction|
Freshbooks Payment Processing Fees
|ACH Bank Transfers||1%|
|Credit Card (Visa, Discover, Mastercard)||2.9% + $0.30 Per Transaction|
|Credit Card (American Express)||3.5% + $0.30 Per Transaction|
|PayPal (U.S.)||3.49% + $0.30 for PayPal accounts|
2.9% + $0.30 for credit and debit cards
|Stripe (U.S. Bank Transfer)||1%|
|Stripe (U.S. Credit Card)||2.9% + $0.30|
Both FreshBooks and QuickBooks offer iOS and Android apps designed to complement their online accounting platforms. The two mobile apps rank pretty evenly, but QuickBooks once again has a slight advantage in this category because its mobile app allows users access to reporting tools. As of the writing of this article, FreshBook’s app does not.
With the FreshBooks mobile app, you can:
- Create and send invoices
- Snap pictures of your receipts and save them for your records
- Use time tracking tools
- Communicate with clients
- Log and categorize expenses on the go
The QuickBooks mobile app allows you to:
- Access customer information
- Send invoices
- Record expenses
- Access accounting reports
- Receive payments
- Reconcile bank transactions
FreshBooks vs. QuickBooks Pricing Comparison
Like every small business, price matters for yours. Now that you’ve taken a look at how the features of FreshBooks and QuickBooks stack up against each other, here’s a comparison between the pricing of these business accounting software solutions.
|Freshbooks Pricing||QuickBooks Pricing|
|Lite: $15/month||Simple Start: $25/month|
|Plus: $25/month||Essentials: $50/month|
|Premium: $50/month||Premium: $80/month|
|Select: Custom Pricing||Advanced: $180/month|
QuickBooks is currently extending an offer that gives new customers the option of either:
- Free 30-day trial or
- 50% off the monthly price for the first three months of membership
FreshBooks also offers a 30-day free trial, and you can save 10% if you pay for a yearly subscription.
FreshBooks Pricing Plans
FreshBooks is great for tiny budgets, especially if you don’t have many clients to manage. Its Lite plan caters to solopreneurs without employees who only have five or fewer clients to manage. With it, you can create unlimited customized invoices, accept credit card payments and ACH bank transfers online, track your time, create estimates, and process tax time reports.
The Plus plan is for businesses slated for growth. In addition to the features the Lite plan offers, you also get unlimited proposals, double-entry accounting reports, scheduled late fees, and client retainers for up to 50 clients.
The Premium plan accommodates up to 500 clients, with optional add-ons like additional team members who can access your account ($10 per person) and advanced payments ($20 a month).
If you have even greater accounting needs, consider a Custom plan, which gives you access to your own personal Account Manager, as well as customized training and lower credit card transaction fees.
QuickBooks Pricing Plans
QuickBooks also offers a variety of plans for different needs. Its Self-Employed plan is the most basic of the plans, allowing you to track income and expenses, capture and organize receipts, track business miles, and estimate quarterly taxes. The Simple Start plan lets you maximize tax deductions, invoice and accept payments, send estimates, and manage 1099 contractors.
The QuickBooks Essentials plan also lets you track time, manage bills, and add up to three users. And the Plus plan provides the additional ability to run comprehensive reports, send estimates, track project profitability, and track inventory, for up to five users.
The Advanced plan allows you to pay bills, get business analytics and insights, customize access by role for up to 25 users, and automate workflows.
You may find that you start with a smaller plan when your business is still fledgling, and then upgrade as you add the number of clients you service or your accounting needs grow.
QuickBooks Online vs. Desktop Software
If you’re not a fan of online monthly subscription software, QuickBooks does have another solution available—QuickBooks Desktop Pro Plus (or QuickBooks for Mac). Currently, you can purchase the desktop software for a one-time payment of $349.99.
QuickBooks Desktop can save you money over the course of time. The trade-off for that savings, however, is that it lacks many of the features available to QuickBooks Online users. As a desktop user, you won’t have access to any of the following (at least not without paying additional fees):
- Automatic invoice scheduling
- Instant file access for accountants
- Unlimited phone support
- Automatic bank transaction downloads
- Access to product and features updates
With the online software, you always have the latest version and features. After a few years, QuickBooks stops supporting past versions of the desktop software.
FreshBooks vs. QuickBooks Online: Integration with Other Software
Both FreshBooks and QuickBooks partner with other financial services and tools to provide easy integrations that let you get more out of your accounting software package.
FreshBooks’ integrations include apps in a variety of functions, including:
- Accounts receivable
- Customer support
- Event management
- Inventory management
- Lead tracking
- And more
Here are a few examples:
- If you use Gusto for payroll processing, you can add the integration to automatically import your payroll transactions and stay on top of expense tracking.
The G Suite integration allows you to add Gmail contacts as clients, and you can create and email invoices directly from Gmail.
QuickBooks Apps also help you do more with your subscription. With its integrations, you can expand functionality in:
- Payment management
- Customer management
- Tax prep
- Data sync
- Expense tracking
- Time tracking
Here are a couple of ways you can leverage these apps:
- If you use Expensify to track receipts and mileage, you can seamlessly integrate this data into QuickBooks.
Float uses your QuickBooks data to forecast future cash flow.
A Note on the FreshBooks Dashboard
One of the FreshBooks features that users love is the FreshBooks dashboard. When you log into your account, you’ll see a dashboard with an overview of what matters most:
Recent activity tells you when clients opened or paid an invoice. Invoices and expenses show you at a glance a chart of invoices (paid and unpaid) measured against monthly expenses. You can also view client payments in transit, outstanding invoices, and active projects. Additionally, you can view your business expense categories so you know where you’re spending money.
Pros and Cons of FreshBooks
FreshBooks has a lot to love, especially if you’re a solopreneur who bills clients by the hour. One of its most popular features is its time tracking tool. Simply start the timer when working on a project, and log time when you’re done. The time you spend on a client project can be easily turned into an invoice.
If you have complex accounting needs, however, FreshBooks may not be the best choice.
Pros and Cons of QuickBooks
QuickBooks has an intuitive interface that’s easy to use, and it may be able to help with more complex accounting needs. If you’re someone who likes accessing business tools from your phone, you’ll appreciate that you can generate financial reports from the app.
One drawback is that you have to add on services like time tracking and inventory management rather than having them baked into the accounting software directly.
FreshBooks or QuickBooks: Which Option Is Best?
Overall, QuickBooks wins the race for the best small business accounting solution. The program has more features, the features it offers are more robust, and its pricing options are affordable (even if they are slightly more expensive than FreshBooks plans).
Also, consider the following. If your business is small, starting with QuickBooks now could help you avoid headaches down the road. When your business grows, you may eventually need access to some of the more robust features available through QuickBooks. Learning QuickBooks on the front end can help your business avoid the growing pains of learning a new accounting system down the road.
However, there are still a number of instances where FreshBooks might be the better choice. If you’re a freelancer or solopreneur, or you need to track hours worked by you, your employees, or contractors, FreshBooks may do a better job of meeting your needs at a slightly more affordable price.
As a small business owner, it’s important to find tools that can save you time and make your job easier. That’s why choosing an accounting software for your company is such an important decision — one which deserves some thoughtful comparison before you click the purchase button.
Click here for Nav’s full FreshBooks review.