Quickbooks vs Freshbooks ultimate comparison

Gary Culverhouse
AUTHOR
Gary Culverhouse
    10 minute read

Few products have done more to make life easier for small business owners in recent decades than accounting software. Recording transactions such as debits, credits, revenues and expenses is crucial to the success of any organisation and for longer than they care to remember, people were forced to rely on paper ledgers and filing systems to do just that. At least that was until the introduction of computers in the 20th century and, in more recent times, the birth of the internet and cloud computing, which has led to an explosion in small business accounting software.

It cannot be overstated how significantly such products have transformed the business world. The ability for owners and managers to easily monitor cashflow, invoice customers and reconcile finances at the end of the year has been a game-changer, not to mention the joy for accountants who no longer need to be physically present to ‘check the books’. With cloud computing allowing the storage of large amounts of data online, it has never been easier for vested parties to work with accounts wherever they are and on whatever device they have access to.

Having taken so many worries out of the number-crunching game, one significant headache remains for small businesses – which accounting software to use? Befitting such a valuable tool, there are seemingly endless options to choose from but two of the most popular (and for good reason) are FreshBooks and QuickBooks. While many people think they are built for the same purpose, the reality is each boasts unique features that make them attractive to different audiences.

To help you navigate the difficult decision of which is the best choice for your business, we have compiled this QuickBooks vs FreshBooks ultimate comparison guide.

Overview

FreshBooks QuickBooks
Founded in 2003, this product offers a highly user-friendly feature set for invoicing, expenses, time tracking, projects and estimates. Having evolved to be an “all-in-one small business invoice and accounting solution”, it works best for service-based businesses, freelancers and solopreneurs that need to track expenses and revenues for simple reports. Part of the Intuit product family founded in 1983, QuickBooks is one of the most well-known accounting platforms on the market and works best for companies that sell products and require scalable, fully-fledged accounting software. Please note that for the purposes of this blog, our focus is on QuickBooks Online, Intuit’s cloud-based accounting tool.

Target markets

FreshBooks QuickBooks
When FreshBooks hit the market, it was all about the sole proprietor and that continues to be a key focus. It is an excellent product for service professionals such as plumbers, architects and solicitors and anyone who works on their own. While it is a top choice for people taking their first steps in the business world, it has evolved to offer four plans that mean it can also be used by those whose businesses are growing. QuickBooks has cornered the small business market. For almost four decades, different variations of the tool have won favour with people looking to grow their small businesses into bigger businesses and QuickBooks’ flexibility and ability to be accessed from anywhere has reinforced its reputation. While there may come a point when a business outgrows QuickBooks, it will take a while given the application can support 25 users.

Key features

Comparing features of the two accounting software options is a key step to deciding which option will best suit your needs. At a glance, QuickBooks offers more features than FreshBooks but you will need to pay to access them. One thing both applications have in common is they are continually rolling out new features and enhancements.

FreshBooks QuickBooks
  • Easy-to-use double-entry accounting tools ensure accuracy, ensure compliance and make it simple to prepare financial reports
  • A powerful expense tracker means you can easily see what you are spending and how profitable you are without the headache of spreadsheets or wading through receipts
  • Businesses that spend time on the road love the automated mileage tracker app that spells the end of paper trip logs and shows potential tax deductions for every business trip
  • FreshBooks payments allow your customers to not only pay directly through invoices but automatically records each payment in your account
  • Every second counts in business and FreshBooks’ time tracking software can monitor exactly how much time a project has taken and easily generate an invoice when completed
  • Send invoices in whatever currency you and your client prefer to work
  • FreshBooks’ easy set-up allows users to accept credit cards with a touch of the button
  • Auto-bills can easily automate recurring payments and establish a schedule to securely and automatically charge a client’s credit card in a matter of seconds
  • Access multiple platforms via FreshBooks’ more than 70 unique integrations including Google Workspace, Shopify, Strip and HubSpot.
  • Create customised invoices with individualized logos, colours and fields before generating them on the go with the mobile app
  • Tracking cashflow is a seamless exercise, be it automating bank feeds, sending quotes and invoices, tracking sales and expenses or paying employees
  • Seamlessly integrate and sync with popular apps to photograph receipts and store them with QuickBooks Mobile
  • Access valuable invoicing features such as payment reminders and invoice tracking, along with dozens of reports to help manage expenses
  • Make integration a way of business life via QuickBook’s ability to quickly integrate with an incredible 650-plus apps
  • Single Touch Payroll is an automatic inclusion and powered by the award-winning KeyPay
  • Creating reports and insights is one thing but QuickBooks allows businesses to invite their accountants or bookkeepers to offer real-time advice for tax time
  • QuickBooks prides itself on its security protection features, with data completely secure in the cloud and businesses able to run from any PC, Mac, tablet or phone.

Pricing

While both products are considered affordable accounting tools for small businesses and sole operators, their pricing depends on the size of one’s business and the specific features they require. Both offer similar features in their respective applications but the key motivation behind FreshBooks’ pricing levels is number of billable clients, while QuickBooks Online is driven by number of system users.

FreshBooks QuickBooks
  • Lite: $15 per month or $180 per year if paid upfront
  • Plus: $25 per month or $300 per year if paid upfront
  • Premium: $50 per month or $600 per year if paid upfront
  • Select: custom pricing
  • Promotions may be available.
  • Simple Start: $25 per month
  • Essentials: $50 per month
  • Plus: $80 per month
  • Advanced: $180 per month
  • Promotions may be available.

Scalability

Every business will have its own reasons for choosing FreshBooks or QuickBooks as its accounting software platform but make no mistake – scalability should be a consideration. If you are looking to grow your small business into a bigger business, there is a lot to like about QuickBooks.

FreshBooks QuickBooks
  • Charges $10 per month per additional user (even on its top-tier plan)
  • Unlike most accounting software (such as QuickBooks), its Lite plan lacks some basic accounting features such as bank reconciliation and double-entry reports, meaning businesses will have to upgrade to access them.
  • Users can seamlessly transition from plan to plan as their business grows and, in turn, gain access to more advanced functions such as job costing, inventory management and automated task management
  • Upgraded plans allow workloads to be shared with or among more employees as they include multiple users.

Support

The accounting software game has come a long way in 20 years, with today’s application users no longer needing the amount of training or support they once did. That said, QuickBooks and FreshBooks both offer the likes of knowledge bases and in-product help to cover most queries and it is reassuring to know they are still investing in live support options.

FreshBooks QuickBooks
  • Telephone (toll-free) and email support during extended business hours
  • In-product help
  • In-product messaging
  • FAQs
  • Searchable knowledge base.
  • Connect with support agents via telephone, email or messaging
  • Featured articles
  • In-product help
  • Product training options
  • Searchable knowledge base
  • User community.

Ease of use

Running a business is difficult enough without adopting software that creates more headaches than it solves. Ease of use should be a key priority when deciding which accounting product to roll out as the last thing anyone wants is to spend extensive time training or seeking support. It all starts with a quality user interface that allows even rookies to self-guide through features and functions without constantly referring to a how-to manual.

FreshBooks QuickBooks
  • A well-presented welcome page that conveniently displays setup progress, with a vertical menu bar to the left of the screen
  • Once a category is selected, a range of information is displayed including recent activity, various options and a summary of all activities
  • FreshBooks offers help from all its screens, while all data entry screens boast easy look-up options to ensure efficient data entry
  • One point to note is FreshBooks prefers the system to be set up prior to first use but for those that prefer to add as they go, there are plenty of work-arounds.
  • An easy setup process that allows people to dive straight in, look after the basics and then add details as they proceed
  • QuickBooks boasts an intuitive user interface featuring a vertical menu bar to the left of the screen that allows seamless access to system functions
  • Well-defined look-up options are available in all fields on data entry screens, while users can also access the help option from any of the application’s many screens.

The big decision

As you have no doubt gathered, there is no definitive answer when someone asks: “should I choose FreshBooks or QuickBooks?” Instead, it is better to look at one’s own circumstances and decide which accounting software best suits their needs. To help them do that, here are a few final factors that may help sway your mind when it comes to choosing one over the other.

FreshBooks is best when... QuickBooks is best when...
  • You are just starting your business as it provides simplicity without needing to initially invest in more complex software
  • You are a freelancer because it makes it very easy to track time spent per project or client and can swiftly turn hours into an invoice
  • You want to prioritise quick responses from support as the FreshBooks team is renowned for being extremely helpful, along with having an excellent refund policy
  • You want access to an easy-to-navigate integration library with popular tools and syncs such as Capsule, HubSpot and AgileCRM.
  • You only want a single financial tool as it is an all-in-one solution that, unlike FreshBooks, rarely needs to sync with other tools to achieve custom outcomes
  • You are seeking a scalable accounting solution that will cater for rapid business growth because it has been designed for a large variety of business sizes and types
  • Your business sells products as it allows users to record daily sales, provides inventory management and syncs sales systems like Shopify, Square and PayPal
  • Your accountant prefers QuickBooks and its country-specific integrations and tax compliance features, which is typically the case for accountants in the US and increasingly across the world.

To learn more about the power and potential of these two accounting software tools, head to their respective websites at QuickBooks and FreshBooks.

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