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 the right accounting software for your company is an important decision — one which deserves some thoughtful comparison before you click the purchase button.
Two of the most popular accounting software options on the market for businesses are FreshBooks and QuickBooks. Technically, either option might be able to get the job done for your company. Yet depending on the needs of your business, there’s a good chance that one of these accounting tools will be a better fit than the other.
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 tools department. While FreshBooks does do a better job at time tracking for hourly employees, QuickBooks wins the race in just about every other category.
Here’s a head to head comparison between QuickBooks and FreshBooks. You can use the table below to compare some of the key differences in the functionality of the products.
|Yes||Payroll (Additional Fee)||Add-On Software Required|
|Yes||Vendor Bills and Credits||No|
Invoicing and Payment Acceptance
QuickBooks and FreshBooks both include invoicing and payment acceptance 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. However, QuickBooks has to be recognized for including more features and more robust options within the features it offers.
FreshBooks gives you a user-friendly platform to create professional invoices. You have the option to customize those invoices as well.
With FreshBooks you can choose from two templates and customize them with your company logo, chosen color scheme, and fields of choice. In fact, for an additional $20 per month (plus transaction fees) you can even use FreshBooks to create recurring invoices automatically if you have customers you bill for repeat goods or services.
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 5 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? Could you benefit from a “Pay Now” button on your invoices? If so, FreshBooks and QuickBooks both have payment acceptance solutions that could help you.
Whether your business needs to accept credit card payments or ACH payments, both companies charge additional fees for payment processing services. See below for a brief overview of the costs.
|QuickBooks Payment Pricing|
|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 Pricing|
|ACH Bank Transfers||1%|
|Credit Card (Invoiced)||2.9% + $0.30 Per Transaction|
|Recurring Payments||$20/Month + 3.5% + $0.30 Per Transaction|
|Credit Card (Manually Entered)||$20/Month + 3.5% + $0.30 Per Transaction|
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
- Log and categorize expenses on the go (iOS devices only)
The QuickBooks mobile app allows you to:
- Access customer information
- Send invoices
- Record expenses
- Access accounting reports
- Receive payments
- Reconcile bank transactions
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 accounting software solutions.
|FreshBooks Pricing||QuickBooks Pricing|
|Lite: $15/month||Simple Start: $25/month|
|Plus: $25/month||Essentials: $40/month|
|Premium: $50/month||Premium: $70/month|
|Select: Custom Pricing||Advanced: $150/month|
QuickBooks is currently extending an offer which gives new customers the following:
- Free 30-day trial
- 50% off the monthly price for the first 30 days of membership
FreshBooks also offers a 30-day free trial, but no discount off the membership price is currently available.
In reality, there’s not much difference between the cost of either product. The QuickBooks Online Essentials plan, for example, costs $15 more per month ($180 more per year) when compared with FreshBook’s similar option in the Plus plan.
Of course, everyone likes to save money and it’s smart to cut costs when you can. Yet if you believe the features of a QuickBooks Online software subscription could make your company run more efficiently, it’s well worth the small $180 extra annual investment.
The price difference in this scenario is small enough that it shouldn’t be a primary, driving factor in your decision. Instead, focus on the finding the accounting tool that will work best for your business.
QuickBooks Online vs Desktop Software
If you’re not a fan online monthly subscription software, QuickBooks does have another solution available — QuickBooks Desktop Pro (or QuickBooks for Mac). Currently, you can purchase the desktop software for a one-time payment of $299.95.
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
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, solopreneur, or you need to track hours worked by your employees or contractors, FreshBooks may do a better job of meeting your needs at a slightly more affordable price.
Click here for Nav’s full FreshBooks review.
QuickBooks and FreshBooks are the most used cloud-based accounting software products in North America. Both programs offer superb tools that could help your company save time and operate more successfully.
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