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FreshBooks is a solid small-business accounting product that's well-suited for freelancers and independent contractors. It stands out with its good customer service and customizable invoicing features. However, it's not ideal for fast-growing businesses because of user and client limits on some of its plans.
FreshBooks started out primarily as a way to manage invoices and grew to become an accounting product. The Toronto-based company's product is now used in more than 160 countries, although it’s still not as widely used as the market leader, QuickBooks Online.
$15 and up per month.
Maximum number of users
One; $10 per user per month for more. (The Select plan includes access for two team members.)
Maximum number of financial accounts
Easy sharing with accountants?
Yes, except on the lowest plan.
Easy to scale?
No. Some plans set limits on number of users and clients.
Easy to use?
Yes. FreshBooks has an intuitive design and excellent customer support.
How does FreshBooks work?
FreshBooks offers a 30-day free trial for new users, designed to make it easy for business owners to get a feel for the platform so they can see if it’s right for them.
After a free trial, you can choose from one of four FreshBooks plans; the best option depends on the size and complexity of your business. The product has a support page for setup, with video webinars that explain the basics of using the software and its bookkeeping features.
On your main dashboard, you can see charts that summarize your invoices, profit and loss, revenue streams and spending. FreshBooks also has a mobile app for iOS and Android with access to the software’s basic features and the ability to track mileage and time.
How much does FreshBooks cost?
FreshBooks is available through four standard plans, each offered on a monthly or yearly basis. Note that the company often runs online discounts for new customers.
Benefits of FreshBooks
Well-rated customer support, available by phone and email
FreshBooks stands out from other accounting products with customer support service that's highly rated on several online review sites. Emails are normally answered within 90 minutes, and phone calls are answered within three rings by a customer support representative. Customer support is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Good invoicing services
FreshBooks' suite of invoicing features on all plans also sets it apart from competitors. You can choose from various customizable designs, set up recurring digital invoices, easily include discounts and get instant updates when invoices have been viewed or paid online. All these features are also available on the mobile app. QuickBooks Online does not offer as many invoice customization options. While Xero offers customizable invoices, it places a limit on the number of invoices you can send on its less expensive tiers.
Time tracking and mileage tracking included in all plans
All FreshBooks plans include mileage tracking and time tracking features, which are also built into the mobile app. These features are useful when you run a small operation and don’t want to purchase separate add-ons, or if you’re an entrepreneur on the go. QuickBooks Online only offers time tracking in the Essentials plan and above. Xero users track mileage and time through Xero Expenses, a tool included only in the highest-tier Established plan.
Drawbacks of FreshBooks
Limits on users and clients
FreshBooks’ biggest drawbacks are its limits on users and clients. It includes only one user to access the accounts in all but the Select plan (which allows two users); additional users cost $10 per user per month. The lower-tier Lite and Plus plans allow only up to five clients and 50 clients respectively. While these limitations may not make a difference if you work alone or have a very small business, they could make it much more costly for growing businesses to scale.
Other products offer more flexibility. QuickBooks Online also has a limit of five users in its most popular Plus plan, but it doesn't limit the number of clients. Wave doesn't place limits on the number of users or clients. Xero doesn't cap the number of users or clients you can have, but it limits the number of invoices you can send in its plans.
No bank reconciliation or accountant access in Lite plan
The lowest tier plan doesn’t include basic features like the reconciliation of bank accounts. It also doesn't allow you to give access to an accountant or bookkeeper. Most accounting software companies provide these basic services even in their cheapest plans.
No quarterly tax estimates
FreshBooks provides quarterly tax reports, but it doesn't estimate quarterly income tax payments like QuickBooks Online and some others. However, it does integrate with applications such as Taxfyle, which provides users with an upfront quote for their personal or business taxes and then pairs them with a verified certified public accountant or IRS-enrolled agent to prepare their taxes for them.
How FreshBooks compares
Read more about how FreshBooks stacks up with the competition.
Alternatives to FreshBooks
If FreshBooks isn't quite the right fit for your business, these alternatives are worth considering.
QuickBooks Online: more comprehensive
QuickBooks Online is more expensive than FreshBooks, but it also has more robust reporting capabilities than FreshBooks, add-ons like QuickBooks Payroll and the ability to scale with your business. As the industry standard for small-business accounting, it's widely used by accountants.
Xero: more app integrations
Xero is an accounting product that’s known for being easy to use. It features an intuitive design and is largely free of accounting jargon. It also has more than 800 integrations with third-party apps, while FreshBooks has over 110 app integrations. Like FreshBooks, Xero offers an integration with Gusto payroll software. Xero has some limits on the number of invoices that can be sent in lower-tier plans but no limits on users or clients.
Bookkeeping and accounting software
QuickBooks Online $25 per month and up. Read Review.
FreshBooks Accounting $15 per month and up. Read Review.
GoDaddy Bookkeeping $4.99 per month and up.
Sage 50cloud $47.25 per month and up.
Wave Financial Free (add-ons available).
Xero $11 per month and up.
Zoho Books $0 per month and up.