Best Accounting Software 2021

FreshBooks vs. QuickBooks Online

Is FreshBooks or QuickBooks Online the better solution for you? This in-depth, feature-by-feature breakdown will help you select the best accounting software for your business.

Every business should use an accounting software to manage finances. You will use this software to invoice clients, track expenses, balance your books, and reconcile transactions. If you have an accountant, they will likely also have access to this software so they can run reports, prepare your business for tax season, and identify opportunities to improve the financial health of your business.

This article breaks down the differences between FreshBooks and QuickBooks Online. We’ll compare and contrast their features, pricing, usability, and customer service availability. From our hours of in-house research and testing, we’ll also make recommendations about who should choose each product.

FreshBooks & QuickBooks Online Comparison Summary

FreshBooks and QuickBooks Online were both tested firsthand by SoftwarePundit. We spent weeks researching accounting software solutions, interviewed current customers, and hand-tested key user journeys in both tools. FreshBooks was given a SoftwarePundit Analyst rating of 86, while QuickBooks Online received a 94, the highest rating in our category.

FreshBooks received its score because while it’s a fantastic tool for beginners and freelancers, it’s fairly elementary in terms of power and features. QuickBooks Online was given the highest rating because it has the most features, more than 70 reports, and the most power you can get from a small business accounting solution.


Below, we show our review criteria and the ratings that FreshBooks and QuickBooks Online received for each category.

CriteriaAnalyst RatingFeaturesUsabilityPricingCustomer Support
FreshBooks868999
QuickBooks Online94108910

FreshBooks is one of the best entry-level accounting platforms for small businesses due to its ease of use. Customers we interviewed mentioned that while it's more elementary than its competitors, it's one of the most intuitive tools to use.

QuickBooks Online is the leader in accounting software for small businesses, with the most customers. This solution is a top option for anyone who can afford to pay a premium for their software each month.

Here are a few quick points to summarize who we recommend each tool for:

You'll prefer FreshBooks if:

  • You’re a service-based business that wants to track time spent on projects
  • You’re interested in the accounting tool that’s easiest to use
  • You are a freelancer or have a small client base

Try FreshBooks Today

You'll prefer QuickBooks Online if:

  • You’re a larger business that needs to track and manage inventory
  • You need advanced reporting with more than 70 reports
  • You want a platform that provides the ultimate power and performance

Try QuickBooks Online Today


Table of Contents

Who Should Purchase FreshBooks?

If you’re a freelancer or run a small, service-based business, FreshBooks should be one of your top considerations. FreshBooks pricing runs from $15 per month to $50 per month, making it one of the most affordable tools on the market. Invoicing is incredibly easy and there are 20 of the most crucial financial reports for you to manage your business. There are not inventory management features or bookkeeping services, as there are with QuickBooks Online. You’ll also need to purchase payroll through Gusto if that’s something you need.

Who Should Purchase QuickBooks Online?

QuickBooks Online is the best accounting software for small businesses. It has all the features businesses would need, albeit at a high price. Customers can add payroll, track time for projects, accept payments, and identify upcoming, due, and past due bills and invoices.

While this platform is the undeniable leader in the space, it’s not for everyone. Every customer we spoke to about QuickBooks Online said that it is not user-friendly. Though each business’s accountant is likely going to be doing most of the heavy lifting in terms of the software, if you’re intimidated by a platform that’s unwieldy, you should opt for something else.

FreshBooks & QuickBooks Online Price Comparison

FreshBooks is much cheaper than QuickBooks Online, though as you might imagine, you’ll get what you pay for in terms of features and power.

FreshBooks Pricing Details

FreshBooks comes at a very reasonable monthly cost, with pricing ranging from $15 to $50 per month. Additional features like Gusto for payroll can be purchased starting at $39 per month.

PlanPricing
Lite Plan
  • $15 per month
  • Unlimited invoices for 5 clients
  • Track expenses
  • Send estimates
  • Track sales tax
  • Mobile application access
Plus Plan
  • $25 per month
  • Bill up to 50 clients
  • Recurring billing features
  • Run business health reports
  • Invite accountant to access
  • Double-entry accounting reports
Premium Plan
  • $50 per month
  • Unlimited clients
  • Customized email templates
  • Accounts payable capabilities
  • Late payment reminders
  • Track projects and profitability

QuickBooks Online Pricing Details

QuickBooks Online is one of the most expensive cloud-based accounting software systems for small businesses. QuickBooks Online pricing begins at $25 per month for basic functionality, and the most expensive plan costs $150 per month.

Simple Start Plan
  • $25 per month
  • One user
  • Track income and expenses
  • Manage cash flow
  • Run general reports
Essentials Plan
  • $40 per month
  • Three users
  • Manage and pay bills
  • Track time
Plus Plan
  • $70 per month
  • Five users
  • Track inventory
  • Track project profitability
Advanced Plan
  • $150 per month
  • 25 users
  • Most powerful reports
  • Exclusive premium applications
  • Customized access
  • Dedicated account team
  • Automated workflows

FreshBooks & QuickBooks Online Feature Comparison

FreshBooks has fewer features, and less nuanced features, than QuickBooks Online. The reporting section is notably weaker, and you won’t be able to purchase accounting and bookkeeping services to add onto your plan.

FeatureFreshBooksQuickBooks Online
InvoicingYesYes
Expense TrackingYesYes
Accounting Reports2070+
Vendor & Client CRMYesYes
PayrollNo - GustoYes
Project TrackingYesYes
Time TrackingYesYes
Receipt CaptureYesYes
Inventory ManagementNoYes
Accounting & Bookkeeping ServicesNoYes
Mobile ApplicationYesYes
Accountant AccessYesYes

Top Features: FreshBooks

The best aspects of FreshBooks are the invoices, receipt capture, and project management and time tracking features. As mentioned above, all of these features are incredibly easy to use, which will save your business significant time and effort. For a more in-depth overview of all of FreshBooks’s features, read our FreshBooks review.

Invoicing

When you create an invoice, you can set a recurring schedule, set up online payments via payment gateways or bank transfer, and set automatic payment reminders for your clients. You can apply template settings to multiple invoices or just one.

FreshBooks Invoice

Receipt Capture

To track and provide proof of your purchases, you can use the receipt capture function in FreshBooks. You can attach photos of receipts to invoices, making it easier to show your clients any products you bought for their projects. QuickBooks Online has this feature as well, though not every accounting software provides this free of charge, so it’s beneficial that both offer this.

Projects & Time Tracking

Because FreshBooks customers should all be service-based, the time tracking feature is of significant value. As you can see from the image below, you can track time in real time or add hours worked after the fact. You’ll generate invoices directly from this screen, add descriptions of your projects, and all of it will be done with ease.

FreshBooks Time Tracking

Top Features: QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is much more advanced, offering a streamlined dashboard and exceptional reports. There’s also a functional bar to track the status of your sales and estimates, where you can drill down into each category to see the exact invoices that have been completed and have yet to be paid. To read further into QuickBooks Online, check out our full-length QuickBooks Online review.

Accounting Reports

The reporting section within QuickBooks Online is much more advanced than within FreshBooks, and while the functionality in FreshBooks isn’t exactly lacking, it’s not as nuanced. Below is an image of the balance sheet that will be generated with QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks Online Reporting

You’ll be able to view the report on a cash or accrual basis depending on what model you choose. You can run reports in real time, compare to different periods, and export or email the reports.

Invoice Tracking

This image displays the QuickBooks Online system for tracking and managing your invoices. You can drill down into each section, where you’ll be taken to a list view of everything relevant. This is a much more mature system of tracking your invoices than FreshBooks allows for.

QuickBooks Customers

Bookkeeping Services

QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping is a feature you can add onto your basic plan, and pricing starts at $200 per month. These services are a huge help for businesses that may have fallen behind on their books and need a professional boost to get back on track. Because QuickBooks Online provides the bookkeepers, you can be assured that they’re experts in the software that they’ll be using.

Bottom Line

FreshBooks is a modern accounting solution that we found to be the easiest to use among the tools we tested. It does all the accounting basics, including invoicing, expense tracking, reconciliation, and double-entry accounting.

QuickBooks Online should be a go-to consideration for most small businesses. Though it’s not very user-friendly, most accountants are likely familiar with the tool and could help walk you through it. It’s the most advanced and established accounting platform available.

  • FreshBooks is a reliable choice for small businesses and freelancers.
  • While freelancers will likely prefer FreshBooks because it’s more user-friendly, most businesses should choose QuickBooks Online for a more reliable, feature-rich accounting software.

If you’re interested, visit FreshBooks or QuickBooks Online today to get started.

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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