FreshBooks vs. QuickBooks Comparison

QuickBooks hits the mark for most small businesses, but FreshBooks has enough basic tools for many freelancers.
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Deciding between FreshBooks and QuickBooks depends on how big your business is now and how big it will get. Freelancers and independent contractors may find all of the basic accounting functions they need with FreshBooks, and for a lower price point than QuickBooks, to boot.

But QuickBooks goes beyond basic accounting, with hundreds of app integrations, detailed inventory tracking in higher-tier plans and customizable reporting. Plus, it’s easy to scale and share with your accountant — all features you’d expect from the best accounting software for small businesses.

While QuickBooks has many different accounting products, QuickBooks Online is most comparable to FreshBooks. When we mention QuickBooks in this comparison, we’re referring specifically to QuickBooks Online.

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QuickBooks
QuickBooks

QuickBooks Online

NerdWallet Rating 
5.0
Annual Fee 

$0

FreshBooks vs. QuickBooks at a glance

FreshBooks

QuickBooks Online

Key features

Has a strong invoicing feature; app lets users send invoices on the go, scan receipts and track mileage; basic inventory tracking for billable items; least expensive plan lacks double-entry accounting reports.

Has robust reporting tools and report customization options, invoicing for an unlimited amount of clients, inventory tracking in higher tier plans, plus a capable mobile app.

Ease of use

Auto-categorizes transactions for you, but you can’t set up your own bank rules; no global search function; least expensive plan lacks bank reconciliation tools.

Includes tools that help automate the reconciliation process, along with a global search function and customizable dashboard; however, there is a learning curve.

Scalability

Can support freelancers, contractors and small businesses with a handful of employees; highest-tier plan includes two users (additional users can be added for a fee).

Can support larger small businesses with dozens of employees; highest-tier plan includes 25 users.

Ease of sharing with accountants

Least expensive plan doesn’t allow accountant access; lacks complete audit trail.

Includes audit trails and easy accountant access; has millions of users so your accountant will likely be familiar with it.

Integrations

Integrates with more than 100 third-party apps; limited choices for direct payroll and point-of-sale integrations.

Integrates with more than 750 apps and offers live, in-house bookkeeping add-on.

Customer support

Includes phone support in all plans 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET from Monday to Friday; offers email and live chat support.

All plans include 24/7 live chat support; phone support is available 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST Saturday and Sunday.

Cost

  • $19 per month for the Lite plan.

  • $33 per month for the Plus plan.

  • $60 per month for the Premium plan.

  • Custom pricing for the Select plan.

  • $30 per month for the Simple Start plan.

  • $60 per month for the Essentials plan.

  • $90 per month for the Plus plan.

  • $200 per month for the Advanced plan.

Advanced features

Project tracking tools in higher-tier plans; lacks industry-specific reports and transaction tracking tags; users with multiple businesses must pay for separate subscriptions.

Includes project tracking tools in higher tier plans; has transaction tracking tags; lacks industry-specific reports; users with multiple businesses must pay for separate subscriptions.

Why QuickBooks wins

Scalability

QuickBooks has four subscription tiers that layer on reporting and bookkeeping functions to accommodate everyone from freelancers and service-based businesses to small companies with complex workflows and inventory management needs.

Upgraded QuickBooks plans also include multiple users, so you can share the workload with or among employees. The highest-tier Advanced plan, for example, lets you add up to 25 users. FreshBooks, on the other hand, charges $11 per month per additional user and is better suited for contractors and freelancers. Each FreshBooks plan comes with just one user with the exception of the custom Select plan, which includes two. While FreshBooks also has different subscription tiers, its reporting capabilities and other functions aren’t as varied or advanced as QuickBooks.

Better feature set

While both software solutions offer features like mileage tracking, inventory management and reporting, QuickBooks' capabilities typically exceed those of FreshBooks.

Reporting When it comes to reporting, QuickBooks lets you drill deeper with transaction tracking tags that you can use to separate results by job type or event, for example. The Plus and Advanced plans go a step further with class and location tags that you can use to see how different areas of your business are doing. And unlike FreshBooks, it includes double-entry accounting reports (like a general ledger and chart of accounts) in all plans.

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Inventory managementIf you manage a small amount of inventory and need basic tracking functions, FreshBooks can get the job done. QuickBooks goes beyond basic inventory tracking, with reorder points and the ability to purchase inventory directly from within the platform. You also can set pricing rules to customize rates, and run inventory reports to find out which products are your best sellers and which carry the highest cost. QuickBooks' inventory features are available only in Plus and Advanced plans. FreshBooks, on the other hand, offers basic inventory tracking in all plans.

Accounting fundamentals FreshBooks lacks some basic accounting features, like bank reconciliation, in its Lite plan. You can upgrade to get these features, but you shouldn’t have to. And while the software will automatically match some transactions for you, it doesn’t let you create bank rules to further automate the categorization process. These functions are standard on the entry-level plan for QuickBooks and most other accounting software platforms.

Ease of sharing with accountants

FreshBooks’ least expensive Lite plan doesn’t allow for accountant access, which can be limiting for micro businesses that want an accountant to look over their financials every so often. And regardless of plan tier, the software doesn’t provide audit trails, which help your accountant verify information and catch errors. Alternatively, QuickBooks includes accountant access in all plans. And thanks to the software’s popularity, most accountants should be familiar with it.

When you might choose FreshBooks instead

Low-cost plans for freelancers

QuickBooks is the more expensive option at all plan levels, and FreshBooks’ lower price tag may be the deciding factor for freelancers looking for a simple, mobile-friendly bookkeeping solution. For example, all FreshBooks plans let you re-bill expenses to clients. You’d have to subscribe to QuickBooks’ Plus plan ($90 per month) or higher to access that feature. All FreshBooks plans boast other features that are particularly useful for freelancers, like the ability to chat back and forth with clients via the mobile app and find out when a client has viewed an invoice.

While QuickBooks does offer a more scaled-back product for freelancers and gig workers — QuickBooks Self-Employed starts at $15 per month — you can’t seamlessly grow into QuickBooks from this version.

Time tracking

Time tracking is easy and automatic with FreshBooks, and it's included with all plans. You can log in online to track your time or mark it via the mobile app, a browser extension or a third-party app like Asana. You also can record time by project and bill for tracked hours. QuickBooks offers automatic time tracking through QuickBooks Time, but it costs extra, regardless of which plan you choose. And you need to subscribe to QuickBooks’ Essentials plan ($60 per month) or up to enter billable time and add it to invoices.

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Alternatives

Xero

Pricing:

  • $15 per month for the Early plan.

  • $42 per month for the Growing plan.

  • $78 per month for the Established plan.

Xero, a popular alternative to QuickBooks and FreshBooks, has more than 3 million subscribers worldwide and allows unlimited users in every plan tier. It also integrates with more than 1,000 apps. While all of its plans include bank reconciliation (unlike FreshBooks), its lowest-tier Early plan doesn’t let users send more than 20 invoices, enter five bills or claim expenses.

Wave

Pricing:

  • $0 for the Starter plan.

  • $16 per month for the Pro plan.

Wave, a free accounting software product, offers unlimited invoicing, unlimited income and expense tracking, unlimited users and basic reporting. While it can’t necessarily support a quickly growing small business, it’s a great solution for very small service-based businesses with a tight budget. The company also offers its own Wave Payroll solution — just keep in mind that it only handles payroll taxes in some states and isn’t free.

FreshBooks and QuickBooks alternatives

Pricing

Highlights

  • $15 per month for the Early plan.

  • $42 per month for the Growing plan.

  • $78 per month for the Established plan.

  • Unlimited users in all plans.

  • Includes access to Hubdoc.

  • $0 for the Starter plan.

  • $16 per month for the Pro plan.

  • Free invoicing.

  • Free income and expense tracking.

  • $0 per month for the Free plan.

  • $20 per month for the Standard plan.

  • $50 per month for the Professional plan.

  • $70 per month for the Premium plan.

  • $150 per month for the Elite plan.

  • $275 per month for the Ultimate plan.

  • Built-in integrations with other Zoho suite products.

  • 24/5 phone and chat support for paying customers.

$10 per month and up.

  • Monthly subscription costs top out at $25.

  • Robust inventory tracking.

Methodology

NerdWallet independently reviews accounting software products before determining our top picks. We collect the data for our software ratings from products’ public-facing websites and from company representatives. Information is gathered on a regular basis and reviewed by our editorial team for consistency and accuracy.

NerdWallet’s accounting software ratings favor products that are easy to use, reasonably priced, have a robust feature set and can grow with your business. The best accounting software received top marks when evaluated across 10 categories and more than 30 subcategories. Learn more about how we rate small-business accounting software.

These ratings are meant to provide clarity in the decision-making process, but what’s best for your business will depend on its size, growth trajectory and which features you need most. We encourage you to research and compare multiple accounting software products before choosing one.

NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses
ProductStarting atPromotionLearn more
QuickBooks

QuickBooks Online

NerdWallet Rating 
5.0
Learn more

on QuickBooks' website

$30/month 

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $60, $90, $200.

50% off 

for first three months or free 30-day trial.

Learn more

on QuickBooks' website

Xero

Xero

NerdWallet Rating 
5.0
Learn more

on Xero's website

$15/month 

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $42, $78.

30-day free trial 

or monthly discount (terms vary).

Learn more

on Xero's website

Zoho Books

Zoho Books

NerdWallet Rating 
4.5
Learn more

on Zoho Books' website

$0 

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $20, $50, $70, $150, $275.

14-day free trial 

of the Premium plan.

Learn more

on Zoho Books' website

FreshBooks

FreshBooks

NerdWallet Rating 
4.5
Learn more

on FreshBooks' website

$19/month 

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $33, $60, custom.

30-day free trial 

or monthly discount (terms vary).

Learn more

on FreshBooks' website