FreshBooks Review 2021

FreshBooks offers accounting features best suited for freelancers or very small businesses.

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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 Accounting

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FreshBooks started out primarily as a way to manage invoices and grew to become an accounting product. The Toronto, Canada-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.

Deciding factors

Price

$15 and up per month (50% off for first three months).

Maximum number of users

One; $10 per user per month for more.

Maximum number of financial accounts

Unlimited.

Easy sharing with accountants?

Yes, except on 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.

FreshBooks screenshot

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.

Designed for self-employed professionals, and it covers five billable clients.

  • Unlimited and customized invoices.

  • Unlimited expense entries.

  • Acceptance of credit card payments and ACH bank transfers online.

  • Automated bank import.

  • Unlimited time tracking.

  • Tax reports.

  • Mobile mileage tracking.

  • Dashboards that allow users to keep records of activity and share reporting with clients.

  • Business health reports.

  • QuickBooks and Xero integration through Zapier.

Aimed at small businesses, and it covers 50 billable clients.

  • All features in Lite.

  • Unlimited proposals.

  • Automated recurring invoices.

  • Double-entry accounting reports.

  • Scheduled late fees.

  • Automated late payment reminders.

  • Client retainers.

Designed for growing businesses, and it covers 500 billable clients.

  • All features in Plus.

  • Team members.

  • Advanced payments.

Designed for businesses that need dedicated support. It supports more than 500 billable clients.

  • All features in Premium.

  • Access for two team members.

  • Personal account manager.

  • Customized training.

  • Low credit card transaction rates.

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 Plus plan and above. Xero users track mileage and time through Xero Expenses, a tool included only in the highest-tier Established plan.

Frequently asked questions

FreshBooks does not offer its own payroll service, but it integrates with Gusto, a popular payroll and HR software provider. You can sign up for a free trial of Gusto’s software and connect it to FreshBooks before you commit to using it.

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; 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 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 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 Internal Revenue Service 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.

Nerdy tip: QuickBooks Self-Employed is a less expensive option geared toward freelancers that includes expense tracking, mileage tracking and tax filing features, but not accounting basics such as the ability to generate balance sheets or add journal entries.

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.

FreshBooks Accounting

FreshBooks
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on FreshBooks's website

Bookkeeping and accounting software

QuickBooks
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on QuickBooks's website

QuickBooks Online $25 per month and up. Read Review.

FreshBooks
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on FreshBooks's website

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.