6 Best FreshBooks Alternatives for Small-Business Owners

Some of these accounting software options offer more functionality than FreshBooks; others come with lower costs.
Nina Godlewski
By Nina Godlewski 
Edited by Tina Orem

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For many small-business owners and freelancers, FreshBooks stands out among other accounting software because of its helpful features, mobile-friendly setup and usability. But the cost and certain limitations on subscription plans can be a deal-breaker for some. Here are some options worth considering if you're looking for accounting software with more features or lower prices.

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FreshBooks pros

  • Robust features. All plans offer access to customizable invoices, expense management, time tracking, project budgets, reports and insights, customer service and third-party integration options.

  • Mobility. You can access your account from basically any location where you have access to the internet. The data syncs across your different devices so you can always have the latest data available whenever you need to access it.

  • Easy to use. FreshBooks is fairly intuitive so you won’t have to deal with a significant learning curve.

FreshBooks cons

  • Plan limits. You’ll only have access to a limited number of clients, and it will cost you extra each month if you need to bill more people than your plan allows. The Premium plan does come with unlimited billable clients for $50 per month, but other accounting software offers unlimited clients for free. Also, only the Select plan includes access for more than one user.

FreshBooks pricing

Compared to the competition, FreshBooks is a moderately priced accounting software option. The Lite plan costs $15 per month when billed monthly and comes with five billable clients. The Plus plan is $25 per month with 50 billable clients, while the Premium plan comes in at $50 a month with unlimited billable clients. The Select plan has custom pricing and includes advanced payments and two users.

FreshBooks Accounting

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1. QuickBooks Online: More comprehensive

Compared to FreshBooks, QuickBooks Online has more robust reporting capabilities. It's also one of the most popular small-business accounting programs in the U.S. with millions of users. The plans for the cloud-based software range from the least-expensive Simple Start plan ($25 per month) to the Advanced plan ($150 per month). With these plans, you'll get income and expense tracking, check printing, basic reporting, receipt organization and data importing from Excel or QuickBooks Desktop.

QuickBooks Online makes it easy to see all of your business financial information in one place. Your invoicing records and your tax information are quickly accessible from the dashboard. It's also simple to add on QuickBooks Payroll and other add-ons for more functionality.

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2. Zoho Books: More features

Zoho Books allows you to include more clients, users and automated workflows than FreshBooks — even with the most basic plan, which costs just $15 a month when billed annually, or $20 a month when billed monthly.

In every plan, Zoho Books also includes features for bank reconciliation, custom invoices, expense tracking, recurring transactions, projects and timesheets. A feature that helps set Zoho Books apart from its competitors is its multi-currency option. You’ll be able to invoice in a number of different currencies. If you work internationally, this could be a great option for you.

3. Xero: More app integrations

While FreshBooks allows over 110 app integrations, Xero offers more than 800. Like FreshBooks, it also comes with unlimited users, regardless of which plan you choose. You’ll also get access to a mobile app and the basic tools for tracking inventory, paying bills, creating invoices and more. Xero is also known as a very user-friendly platform that sidesteps the potentially confusing jargon that comes with accounting.

The least-expensive plan is the Early plan, which allows you to send 20 invoices and quotes per month for $12 per month. The middle tier plan is the Growing plan, which costs $34 per month. This plan allows you to send an unlimited number of invoices and quotes and reconcile bank transactions. The Established plan, which costs $65 per month, comes with everything included in the other two, but you also get the added benefit of expense and project tracking and multi-currency capabilities. If you do business internationally, this could be a huge draw for you.

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4. Wave: Free option with plenty of features

Unlike FreshBooks, Wave’s accounting software is completely free to use. Features include income and expense tracking, bill and invoice reminders, unlimited bank and credit card connections and a dashboard showing cash balances and invoice statuses. It also offers tools to help you file your business taxes; the smart dashboard can organize your income, expenses, payments and more.

Wave offers paid services for more functionality. For instance, you can add payroll software for $20 to $35 per month, plus $6 per employee per month. Payments by Wave is another paid service, which allows you to accept payments from clients via credit card or ACH payment for a per-transaction fee.

5. CloudBooks: More affordable plans, free version

Compared to FreshBooks, CloudBooks is a much more affordable option. Unlike most competitors, it comes with a free plan. There's also a Team plan, which costs $10 per month, includes unlimited invoices and five staff users, and an Agency plan, which is $20 a month and includes unlimited invoices and unlimited staff users.

Keep in mind that the free version only allows one client and five invoices each month. This is likely only a good fit for freelancers or very small businesses that don’t send many invoices. However, if this aligns with your business, this can be a viable option.

6. ZipBooks: Free version with unlimited invoices

While the Lite version of FreshBooks offers unlimited invoices, these can only be sent to a maximum of five clients. By contrast, the free version of ZipBooks allows unlimited invoices and unlimited vendors and customers.

Another great thing about ZipBooks is that you can upgrade when you need to, whether to the Smarter ($15 a month) or Sophisticated plans ($35 a month), when your business grows and your business accounting needs change. These paid plans include features like time-tracking, unlimited users and the ability to lock completed books.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.