There are many brands of accounting software out there. If you ask business finance experts which are the best, it will usually be this contest: FreshBooks vs. QuickBooks.

How do the two accounting software packages compare?

From large companies to the self-employed, accounting is an essential part of your business operations. Both FreshBooks and QuickBooks bring some spreadsheet mojo to the table. We review the cost, user-friendliness and functionality of each program. Find out which is better for your business.

Comparing FreshBooks and QuickBooks

Trial Period

FreshBooks: 30-day free trial

QuickBooks: 30-day free trial.

Price Range

FreshBooks: 

  • $15/mo – $50/mo (monthly)
  • $13.50/mo – $45/mo (yearly)

QuickBooks: 

  • $10/mo – $75/mo (for three months without free trial)
  • $20/ mo – $150/mo (with a free trial)

FreshBooks Review

Tracing its roots to 2003, FreshBooks has customers in more than 160 countries. As one of the most popular accounting software-as-a-service programs available, it carries a wide range of cloud-based features, robust reporting and reliable customer support.

FreshBooks boasts a few features on every one of its plans that QuickBooks only offers on its higher-priced plans, including:

  • Billable Hours: Easily log hours and add them to your client’s invoice.
  • Expense Categorization: FreshBooks categorizes all your expenses to get you ready for tax time.
  • Team Roles: Assign roles and permissions to your staff within FreshBooks.
  • Simultaneous Users: There’s no limit to how many users can access your account at a time.
  • Projects: FreshBooks enables employees, clients and contractors to collaborate in one space.
  • Proposals: Add images and text content to your estimates.

Note: It isn’t that QuickBooks lacks any of these features. You just have to pay a little extra for them.

FreshBooks: Cost

Although the two programs are comparable cost-wise, FreshBooks has fewer pricing options than QuickBooks. The company offers a free 30-day trial. No credit card is required.

FreshBooks’ monthly pricing breaks down as follows if you intend to pay monthly:

  • Lite: $15
  • Plus: $25
  • Premium: $50
  • Custom pricing options (for large businesses)

You can save a few dollars a month if you sign up for annual payments instead of monthly payments. Of course, you’ll be locked into the agreement for a year.

When it comes to features, a crucial difference lies between the “Lite” and “Plus” options. The number of billable clients jumps from 5 to 50 under the Plus option, which provides access to more automation tools such as automated recurring invoices and automatic late-payment reminders.

Keep in mind you get plenty of features with the “Lite” plan. It’s an excellent option for freelancers, solo entrepreneurs and small and midsize businesses.

FreshBooks: User-Friendliness

FreshBooks’ interface is relatively user-friendly and easy to navigate. It doesn’t look quite as modern as some platforms, but it has all the platform’s features right at your fingertips.

There is an easy-to-navigate menu on the left side of the screen that contains modules for clients, invoices, expenses, estimates and more. For example, you can keep track of your projects in the projects tab. Each module contains visual elements that are easy to understand and great for quick reference.

As for integrating with other programs, FreshBooks can sync with Stripe to log payments. FreshBooks also integrates with marketing applications such as HubSpot.

FreshBooks: Functionality

FreshBooks has many of the accounting features needed to run your business, including:

  • Invoicing
  • Expenses
  • Estimates and proposals
  • Time tracking
  • Projects
  • Payments
  • Reports
  • Client management

FreshBooks is mobile-ready through its apps: You can send invoices and log expenses right from your phone. FreshBooks’ mobile apps are some of the platform’s best features. They receive high ratings from users (4.5 stars out of 5).

FreshBooks also includes a Payroll component, but it’s only available as an add-on.

FreshBooks lacks a few accounting features that may be extremely useful for some companies. You can’t use the software to process purchase orders, vendor bills and credits or sales receipts. FreshBooks also can’t be used to process inventory.

The software does provide some resources, including templates, to help in these areas.

QuickBooks is backed by one of the largest accounting networks in the world.

QuickBooks Review

According to the QuickBooks website, the brand has more than 5.6 million customers globally. As a flagship product of Intuit, QuickBooks is backed by one of the largest accounting networks in the world. Professionals are ready to help you with your bookkeeping at the click of a button.

QuickBooks: Cost

As with FreshBooks, QuickBooks offers a free 30-day trial, but with a catch: If you opt for the 30-day trial, you miss out on a 50% three-month discount on your monthly subscription price. The only way to lock in that discount is to buy a monthly plan immediately.

QuickBooks has more pricing options than FreshBooks, making it a viable choice for businesses of pretty much any size and age. There also is an option specifically for self-employed professionals.

Although QuickBooks’ cheapest online plan costs less per month than FreshBooks, it’s “most popular” option, “Plus,” is $10 more a month even with the discount. Here’s how QuickBooks’ monthly pricing breaks down:

  • Self-Employed: $5 for three months (no free trial available)
  • Simple Start: $10 ($20 after trial)
  • Essentials: $20 ($40 after trial)
  • Plus: $35 ($70 after trial)
  • Advanced: $75 ($150 after trial)

If you’re a contractor and need to submit an invoice for your time, you’ll probably be fine with the “Essentials” package. But if you track any type of inventory, you’ll want the “Plus” or “Advanced” plan.

If you want your own copy or copies of QuickBooks for yourself or your enterprise, you can pay the following prices:

  • Desktop Pro 2019: $299.95 (one-time payment)
  • QuickBooks Enterprise 19.0: starting at $1,155 (annual subscription)

The Enterprise product can host up to 30 users.

QuickBooks: User-Friendliness

As with FreshBooks, QuickBooks has a dashboard that’s easy to use and understand. Features are designed so even people with little to no accounting knowledge can learn quickly.

Perhaps most importantly, QuickBooks can integrate and sync with popular business applications, including PayPal, American Express, TSheets and Fundbox.

QuickBooks: Functionality

QuickBooks is all about functionality, but some of those elements can only be unlocked through higher-tiered plans. 

Depending on the plan, the software can help you manage inventory, accounts payable and budgeting goals. Some QuickBooks plans come with built-in tax and lending support, which is only possible because it is a product of Intuit.

Inventory management is perhaps the biggest differentiator when you compare FreshBooks vs. QuickBooks. FreshBooks is useful to businesses that provide services, but it doesn’t include the option to provide inventory tools for businesses that sell products. The tax and lending support that QuickBooks offers is a true asset, especially for small businesses and companies with complicated finances.

Both QuickBooks and FreshBooks are solid accounting platforms.

FreshBooks vs. QuickBooks: The Verdict

If you run a service-based business from your phone or tablet, FreshBooks is a solid choice. The software, which has garnered high ratings across the board, features easy-to-use tools and is backed by solid customer support.

That said, QuickBooks is the best choice for most businesses. It has all the functionalities a business could need, whether you’re starting out as a solo entrepreneur or overseeing accounting at an enterprise company. The software can integrate with many of the most-used apps and it can grow alongside your business.

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