Best Accounting Software 2021

FreshBooks Competitors & Alternatives

Are you considering FreshBooks for your accounting purposes? Before choosing a software, it’s important to learn about other accounting software platforms for small businesses. The top alternatives are listed below, along with details about their features, pricing, and usability.

FreshBooks is an entry-level accounting software that supports freelancers and small service-based businesses. It exists in a competitive market, with a handful of other extremely popular platforms for small businesses.

There are five main accounting tools we believe are always worth consideration. They primarily differentiate based on the target customer. For example, some are best for freelancers, some are ideal for service-based businesses, and some are more advanced for larger businesses with more complex inventory needs. Here’s a breakdown of our review criteria and how FreshBooks competitors performed in each category.

Software CompanyAnalyst RatingFeaturesUsabilityPricingCustomer Support
QuickBooks Online94108910
Xero9199.599
Zoho Books8910798
Wave86810106
FreshBooks868999
Sage Business Cloud837.5998.5

In this article, we’ll describe FreshBooks, outline its features and pricing, and compare these factors against popular competitors. If you’d like a full description of FreshBooks, you can read our in-depth FreshBooks review.

The information in this article is based on our research, interviews with customers, professional bookkeepers, and certified public accountants, as well as dozens of hours hand-testing each platform. The details of our review process can be found in this description of our research methodology.

Table of Contents

FreshBooks Features

As an entry-level software, FreshBooks offers fewer features than its more advanced competitors. There are standard features like invoicing, expense tracking, and basic reporting. However, FreshBooks does not offer advanced reports, inventory management, or accounting and bookkeeping services. FreshBooks also doesn’t have in-house payroll and instead integrates with Gusto, a third-party tool.

FreshBooks FeatureDescription
InvoicingWith FreshBooks, you can create and send invoices with just a few clicks. FreshBooks is the easiest tool to use for invoicing. While there aren’t as many pre-configured invoice templates as alternatives offer, it’s one of the best in terms of efficiency.
Expense TrackingExpense tracking with FreshBooks is easy. There’s a built-in receipt capture feature that allows you to easily provide your proof of purchase. You’ll also be able to categorize expenses under different accounts, making it easy to categorize where your expenses came from and which accounts they should be associated with.
Project TrackingTo track the services you perform for clients, you can use the project tracking feature in FreshBooks to keep track of time and create easy invoices to send to clients.
Time TrackingWith FreshBooks, you can either track time spent on projects with a real-time timer or log hours after the fact. You can also assign your rates and then create an invoice directly from the time tracking section.
Accounting ReportsWith around 20 included reports, FreshBooks offers the basics that most freelancers will need to track their financials. While this is nowhere near the amount that other tools offer, it’s a great starting point and will decrease the amount of reports that will need to be run in other applications.
Payment ProcessingCustomers can integrate with Stripe or PayPal, accept direct bank transfers, and accept payments via Visa, American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Apple Pay.

FreshBooks Competitor Overview: Features

We’ve created a chart to compare each platform’s features. Pay close attention to the features that are nonnegotiable for your business, because no matter how well-designed a platform may be, it won’t serve you well unless it has your necessary features. For example, if you have a product-based business and require inventory management, you should not choose FreshBooks, but you could consider Zoho Books or QuickBooks Online.

FreshBooks feature comparison chart vs. competitors

FreshBooks Competitor Overview: Pricing

FreshBooks pricing begins at $15 per month for expense tracking, unlimited invoices for five clients, and a mobile application. You’ll receive a discount on the monthly pricing if you choose an annual subscription.

FreshBooks is on the cheaper end of accounting software, though it can be difficult to directly compare plans between providers as features differ. Here are the plan-by-plan prices of FreshBooks and its top competitors:

Accounting SoftwarePricing
FreshBooks
  • Lite: $15 per month
  • Plus: $25 per month
  • Premium: $50 per month
Wave
  • Accounting: Free
  • Payroll: Starts at $26 per month
Xero
  • Early: $11 per month
  • Growing: $32 per month
  • Established: $62 per month
QuickBooks Online
  • Simple Start: $25 per month
  • Essentials: $40 per month
  • Plus: $70 per month
  • Advanced: $150 per month
Zoho Books
  • Standard: $20 per month
  • Professional: $50 per month
  • Premium: $70 per month
Sage Business Cloud
  • Start: $10 per month
  • Accounting: $25 per month

Top FreshBooks Competitors

As mentioned above, FreshBooks is classified as a starter accounting software. Its competitive pricing and ultimate ease of use make it an ideal choice for freelancers, who will appreciate how quick and easy it is to onboard with the software. We’ve ranked the top FreshBooks competitors based on their similarities to FreshBooks, taking features, pricing, and usability into consideration.

1: Wave

Wave is a freemium accounting software that, like FreshBooks, is best for freelancers and small businesses. It’s the most similar to FreshBooks among the tools in this article. Wave is best suited for those who are interested in a modern, powerful platform whose core features are entirely free. It received the same rating as FreshBooks because, while it’s a better value, we found that it was extremely hard to get in touch with customer support.

For a direct comparison, check out our Wave vs. FreshBooks article.

You'll prefer FreshBooks if:

  • Your business is service-based
  • You want to be able to access customer support easily
  • You already use Gusto for payroll
You'll prefer Wave if:

  • You want to sign up for bookkeeping and tax services
  • You sell either products or services, or both
  • You’d like access to core accounting features for free
Wave
Rating: 86
Starting Price: Free

Wave is an accounting tool for invoicing, expense tracking, and payroll functionality. Wave is the best freemium tool on the market, and we recommend it for those who want accounting features for free.

Pros:
  • Wave offers features for free that most alternatives charge for
  • Extremely well-built and user-friendly interface
  • Wave offers bookkeeping services for those without a dedicated bookkeeper
Cons:
  • It's very difficult to get in touch with the Wave support team
  • Payroll comes at an additional monthly cost
  • Lacking inventory management features that many businesses require

2: Xero

Xero is a mid-tier platform that offers inventory management features and a more powerful platform overall than FreshBooks. They’re similar in price, so unless your ultimate goal is to have a tool that’s easy to use, it’ll be a better value to choose Xero. Xero’s standout features are the Xero Marketplace, which has more than 800 pre-built integrations with third-party software tools, and the inventory tracking feature.

To read a more in-depth comparison, check out our Xero vs. FreshBooks article.

You'll prefer FreshBooks if:

  • You’re a freelancer with a small handful of clients
  • You want a tool that’s modern and easy to use
  • You want to track your mileage for projects
You'll prefer Xero if:

  • You’d like to leverage your integrations with the Xero Marketplace
  • You need to track and manage stock
  • You’d like a tool that has moderately customizable reports and graphs
Xero
Rating: 91
Starting Price: $11 per month

Xero is an accounting software that's used by more than 2 million customers worldwide. It includes all essential accounting features like reporting, invoicing, inventory management, and tax form generation. It's a great option for most small and medium businesses in any industry.

Pros:
  • The software is as equally accessible to business owners as it is to accountants
  • Connections with over 800 third-party software applications available in the Xero Marketplace
  • The software has a great balance of being advanced yet user-friendly
  • One of the most advanced platforms, though still relatively inexpensive
Cons:
  • The reporting section is a bit thin compared with reporting in QuickBooks Online
  • Slightly difficult to get in touch with the customer support team
  • Reports did not always generate on demand
  • Xero doesn't offer accounting, bookkeeping, or tax services, which many alternatives have

3: QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is the best accounting software for small businesses, with millions of customers and a strong network of trained bookkeeping and accounting professionals. It’s much more expensive than FreshBooks, and also much less user-friendly. However, it offers significantly more functionality and is more powerful, so it would be better to choose QuickBooks Online if you want more of a one-stop software solution.

You'll prefer FreshBooks if:

  • You want a basic, straightforward tool that’s easy to use
  • You have a small group of clients
  • You don’t have inventory to track or manage
You'll prefer QuickBooks Online if:

  • You’re in the market for the most advanced accounting tool for small businesses
  • You want accounting and bookkeeping services
  • You want to add in-house payroll software
QuickBooks Online
Rating: 94
Starting Price: $25 per month

QuickBooks online is the most popular accounting tool for small businesses. It includes all features a small business needs to keep track of its financials, and most accountants are very familiar with using the tool. QuickBooks Online has over 70 financial reports, integrations with many third-party tools, and a powerful payroll add-on.

Pros:
  • Best overall accounting platform for most small businesses
  • Most accountants and bookkeepers are trained in using QuickBooks
  • More than 70 reports included - the most of any accounting software
  • Allows multiple users to access the system at the same time, and work simultaneously
Cons:
  • Customers report that the software is not as user-friendly as other accounting tools
  • More expensive than other accounting platforms
  • Learning how to best navigate the application takes time
  • History tracking (audit log) is difficult to use

4: Zoho Books

Zoho Books is an advanced accounting software that offers significantly more power than FreshBooks. The main drawback we found is that Zoho Books was the most difficult to use among the tools that we tested. However, there are more than 50 reports, advanced automation workflow rules, and multi-currency capabilities that will benefit more advanced small businesses.

You'll prefer FreshBooks if:

  • You want a 30-day trial for a tool to test its features
  • You want a software that comes at a very low monthly cost
  • You don’t need to track inventory or work with multiple currencies
You'll prefer Zoho Books if:

  • You want advanced workflow rules
  • You already use other Zoho products and want to seamlessly integrate them
  • You don’t mind a tool that’s a bit difficult to learn to use
Zoho Books
Rating: 89
Starting Price: $20 per month

Zoho Books is an accounting software designed for small and medium businesses. Its standout features are its invoicing templates and vast number of financial reports. We recommend Zoho Books for those who need inventory management features.

Pros:
  • Significantly more detailed and functional than alternatives
  • More than 50 financial reports and 16 invoicing templates included
  • Advanced automation and workflow rules that'll save time
Cons:
  • More difficult to learn to user than simpler accounting tools like FreshBooks
  • Less popular among accountants than QuickBooks and Xero
  • Free trial is 14 days, and most alternatives offer a 30-day trial

5: Sage Business Cloud

Sage Business Cloud is a basic accounting software that’s ideal for those who want an all-inclusive plan for just $25 per month. While it’s not quite as modern or easy to use as FreshBooks, it does offer a more advanced reporting section for those who want to expand past the basics.

You'll prefer FreshBooks if:

  • You want more payment gateway options
  • You’d like access to above average customer support
  • You require a built-in receipt capture feature
You'll prefer Sage Business Cloud if:

  • You want more advanced and varied reporting options with Sage Intelligence
  • You’ll need to facilitate foreign currency transactions
  • You’d like to track your products and stock
Sage Business Cloud
Rating: 83
Starting Price: $10 per month

Sage Business Cloud is a mid-tier accounting software designed for small businesses. Its main features include invoicing, expense tracking, and accounting reports. Overall, Sage Business Cloud is a very user-friendly tool, but is not as nuanced or cost-effective as other accounting software products.

Pros:
  • Pricing is capped at $25 per month, making the software very affordable
  • Sage allows customers to create advanced, customized reports
  • Cash flow forecast graph provides 30-day visibility into expected cash balance
Cons:
  • Features like payroll and time tracking must be purchased through third-party applications
  • Sage offers fewer payment gateway options than other accounting tools, which limits payment options for customer invoices
  • Application can sometimes take a long time to load

Bottom Line

FreshBooks is an entry-level software solution in terms of power and pricing. The platform is extremely intuitive, which will make it easy for customers to pick it up in just hours. Its most direct competitor is Wave, a software tool that offers standard features for free. Compared with other accounting tools, FreshBooks is basic, but is the best option for freelancers on the market.

If you’re still on the fence, here’s a quick recap of who we recommend each accounting software for:

  • Wave is best for freelancers and small businesses that want their accounting features for free
  • Xero is a more advanced platform that’s ideal for those who want lots of power for a very reasonable price
  • QuickBooks is ideal for any small business that wants the best accounting platform, and is not daunted by a difficult-to-use tool
  • Zoho Books is a fantastic option for those who want to automate tasks and need to conduct business with many different clients and vendors
Katelyn Anderson

Katelyn is a Junior Research Analyst at SoftwarePundit, where she conducts in-depth analyses of technology markets & products and writes software-related content. She graduated summa cum laude with degrees in English and Psychology. Her main areas of interest are content creation, user experience, and search engine optimization. You can connect with Katelyn on LinkedIn.

Katelyn is an expert in several software categories including:

  • Accounting software
  • Live chat software
  • Vacation rental software

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