June 21, 2022

QuickBooks vs FreshBooks

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Tags: HR

Quick summary:

  • Many people think Intuit QuickBooks and FreshBooks are built for the same purpose, but this is a common misconception.
  • QuickBooks works best for companies that sell products and require scalable, fully-fledged accounting software.
  • FreshBooks works best for service-based businesses and for freelancers and solopreneurs that need a way to track expenses and revenue for simple reports.

While the names suggest these products perform the same functions, you should compare the features of QuickBooks vs. FreshBooks before you switch to either. These two options contain a lot of the same features, but they don’t exactly work the same way.

For instance, FreshBooks tracks invoices for small businesses and freelancers, whereas QuickBooks Online provides actual accounting software used by businesses of all sizes.

Is QuickBooks not right for you? Get 5 QuickBooks Alternatives for SMB Accounting.

But that doesn’t mean these systems are mutually exclusive, either. QuickBooks offers features FreshBooks doesn’t and vice versa, but these solutions still overlap in significant areas. Comparing QuickBooks vs. FreshBooks will help you decide what’s best for your business needs.

If you’re ready to find the right accounting software for your small business, use our Product Selection Tool or contact us. Our Technology Advisors will listen to your needs and match you with a list of five vendors who meet your requirements. If you’re still doing research, read on for a comparison of QuickBooks vs. FreshBooks.

You can also check out this list of the best accounting software if you don’t want to limit your search to two platforms.

1 Acumatica Cloud ERP

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Acumatica Cloud ERP offers powerful finance and business intelligence tools to streamline company-wide accounting processes.

Learn more about Acumatica Cloud ERP

2 FreshBooks

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FreshBooks offers cloud-based accounting solutions for small businesses. The cloud accounting software is ideal for service-based businesses such as therapists, architects, lawyers, plumbers, and more. It’s intuitive and user-friendly and is available on all your devices. Your FreshBooks accounts go with you and is are accessible 24/7. It reduces the time you spend billing so you can get down to business. It tracks your time and accepts payment from 12 different gateways.

Learn more about FreshBooks

3 Xero

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By making accounting simple for small business owners, Xero is a fantastic timesaver. Xero Practice Manager allows accountants and bookkeepers to connect different data sources and gain better visibility over the entirety of their business. The need for manual data entry of bank transactions is eliminated, as they are now fed automatically into this online accounting software. Bills can be paid with just a few clicks, and your cash flow can be viewed any time, from anywhere.

Learn more about Xero

4 SAP Concur

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SAP Concur gives businesses the power to automate, connect, and simplify their expense, travel, and AP processes. Automate expense management and take control of spending, no matter where it happens. Automate invoice processing with SAP Concur to gain speed and efficiency – plus a new way to monitor and manage spending to maximize your profitability. SAP Concur has the tools and extensive network of travel suppliers needed to help organizations of all sizes reach their travel and expense goals.

Learn more about SAP Concur

5 Wave

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Wave is an accounting software with a free and paid version that helps you truly understand and manage your income and expenses. Track everything such as payroll, payments, and invoicing. It's all automated and in one package. Wave's invoice software enables you to easily create and send professional invoices, with advanced features like recurring billing and automatic payments. Run your payroll in minutes, with 100% accuracy, and say goodbye to the unnecessary stress of payroll taxes.

Learn more about Wave

6 Oracle NetSuite

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NetSuite cloud financials and accounting software helps finance leaders design, transform and streamline their processes and operations. NetSuite seamlessly couples core finance and accounting functions, which improves business performance while reducing back-office costs. With real-time access to live financial data, you can quickly drill into details to quickly resolve delays and generate statements and disclosures that comply multiple regulatory financial compliance requirements.

Learn more about Oracle NetSuite

7 BigTime

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BigTime is an online time and billing solution designed to serve professional service firms like accounting, engineering, government contracting, legal and IT services. The integrated solution offers features like time and expense tracking, WIP management, task & workflow management, invoicing, billing and more. Employees can submit expenses through the online portal or directly from their mobile devices and attach scanned receipts.

Learn more about BigTime

8 BQE Core

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BQE Core is a comprehensive project accounting solution for professional services firms. Its robust management, time and expense tracking, billing, and accounting capabilities allow for easy collaboration and streamlined workflows. These features enable smarter decision-making, increased efficiency, and improved profits. Core’s accounting module lets you write checks, reconcile accounts, create balance sheets, connect to bank and utility feeds for automatic reconciliation, and more.

Learn more about BQE Core

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Let’s take a closer look at QuickBooks Online and FreshBooks.


FreshBooks time tracking features.

FreshBooks offers built-in time tracking capabilities that are helpful for project- and case-based businesses where employees track billable hours alongside other project expenses. The dashboard and project views of these hours help you keep your entire project and individual employees on the right task at the right time. Depending on the size of your team, you’ll likely import this data into your accounting system once compiled.

QuickBooks Online offers QuickBooks Time for an extra cost that tracks time worked against payroll for full or part-time employees. Otherwise, you’ll have to enter payroll as an expense and bill it by categorizing the employee’s service as a product. It’s not the most efficient way to track employee time, so you’ll likely need to look into other payroll or time clock software to go along with this.

Just getting started? Check out the HR software that every startup needs.


FreshBooks invoices.

FreshBooks also includes customizable invoice designs and includes a click-to-pay button so customers can easily pay their online invoices. The invoices pull data directly from the timekeeping feature, as long as you mark your hours as “billable.” Automations include recurring invoices and automatic invoicing of billable hours, as well as follow-up emails for overdue payments. FreshBooks Payments allows the recipient to pay the invoice immediately via credit card, Apple Pay, and ACH.

QuickBooks connects to some outside time tracking apps like Google Calendar or TSheets to track billable hours and include these on your invoices. The invoice builder in QuickBooks Online contains numerous customization features, including adding your logo and changing colors, so you have control over the design of your invoices before you send them to clients. QuickBooks Payments includes a click-to-pay button on your invoice to let your clients pay directly from the invoice with a debit or credit card, Apple Pay, or ACH payment, and set reminders and recurring payments directly from the platform.

Need to streamline your accounting process? Learn about Invoice Factoring!

Inventory Management

QuickBooks Online’s inventory management features tie in with its accounting software, which means you can enter payments made to suppliers, track inventory on hand, and make future orders based on inventory output. These features support small-to-medium retail and manufacturing businesses with complicated accounting procedures. 

FreshBooks doesn’t include any inventory management features.

Learn How to Choose the Best Inventory Management Software.

Expense Tracking

FreshBooks expense tracking features.

QuickBooks supports both debits and credits, keeping you apprised of profit margins at every stage of your monthly accounting cycle. This may take some more manual entry on your part (or your accountant’s) because QuickBooks Online is designed to show line items only rather than some of the more nuanced breakdowns. 

To streamline monthly reimbursements, the mobile QuickBooks app also makes it easy to take pictures of and upload receipts.

FreshBooks mostly focuses on invoicing and payment collection, so you may have to purchase or connect to another accounting system anyway. That said, it does offer special expense features like receipt tracking, project time tracking, and sales tax management, which can be a big help for small business owners just getting started.


QuickBooks accounting features.

QuickBooks Online makes keeping track of your accounting easy. Features like double-entry accounting keep your sheets balanced and help organize cash flow, but user mastery of these features doesn’t come easy to all. A common criticism of QuickBooks is that its abundance of features makes the software difficult to learn, especially for small business users who typically don’t have a dedicated accountant on-site. A healthy amount of accounting or bookkeeping knowledge will help users navigate the software.

Once you figure the system out, balancing both sides of your sheet will take much less time than doing it by hand. Your accountant likely uses QuickBooks Online too, so you can share data directly with them.

FreshBooks doesn’t provide accounting features in the form of fully automated balance sheets and the like, but if you want to put in some work, you can enter your own data to fill out balance sheets. This can be time-consuming, depending on how many clients and projects you run at a given time, so this process may not be the best option for small businesses.

Want all your accounting needs at your fingertips? Check out these Mobile Accounting Apps.


QuickBooks Online boasts over 400 native integrations with payment software, business banking, CRMs, e-commerce, and many other software categories to ensure maximum visibility and control over your financial data and sales processes. Some other helpful tools like ReceiptBank and PayPal keep your transactions updated with necessary details.

FreshBooks includes over 100 integrations, but these target freelancers and small businesses. Freshbook’s integrations allow you to connect your app to human resources and tax filing tools for small businesses to round out the payroll-tax-invoicing circle. Track payments from your Squarespace website with an integration, or connect your FreshBooks to Zapier to process and organize actions in tons of other systems.


QuickBooks reporting features.

QuickBooks Online includes a variety of reports with their product, and the majority of these follow what you’d need for accounting purposes. Each group of reports includes sub-reports that drill down to the details you or your accountant needs for proper analysis:

  • accounts payable
  • accounts receivable
  • products and inventory
  • expenses and purchases
  • sales tax reporting
  • employee reports (basic time and product or service reports)

While this list is impressive, you’ll find that many of these reports only work after significant manual entry and tagging by the user. You’ll need to keep detailed records to fully access each of these, so small businesses may want a different reporting tool.

FreshBooks shows reporting centers on profit margin, and their central dashboard shows your periodic input versus output. Because FreshBooks works best as an invoicing and time tracking tool, the reports focus on payment collection, as well as a couple of tax-related reports. The software has filters to help you build more granular reports, and some of the reports are time-based to help you stay on top of your payments due.


QuickBooks pricing includes four tiers that businesses can choose from to get the features they need. 

  • The QuickBooks Essentials plan is perfect for small businesses because it includes three users and makes it easy to pay contractors. 
  • QuickBooks Online Plus includes 5 users and adds inventory tracking. 
  • QuickBooks Online Advanced is for bigger teams, so this version adds business analytics, a dedicated account team, and more. 
  • QuickBooks Payroll is an add-on for all plans.

FreshBooks pricing also has four tiers.

  • FreshBooks Lite seems to just be for freelancers as it only includes five billable clients.
  • The FreshBooks Plus plan includes 50 billable clients, making it a great option for small businesses, especially since you can send unlimited estimates and proposals to help you win jobs. 
  • FreshBooks Premium includes unlimited billable clients with the ability to customize email templates, send unlimited invoices, and track project profitability.
  • FreshBooks Select is a custom pricing option that provides a dedicated account manager and specialized onboarding and migration services. 

Customer Support

QuickBooks does offer online customer support, but you have to be logged in to access it. However, users can also research topics in the knowledge base or ask questions in community forums to help them find the answers they need.

FreshBooks customer service offers a live chat option on their website, along with phone customer support 12 hours a day, five days a week. The website also has a searchable help center that covers a variety of common customer service topics. 

See all of the Benefits of Live Chat for Customer Service Teams.

Still weighing your options? We can help!

If you’re still not sold on QuickBooks or FreshBooks, visit our accounting software page to explore more accounting solutions. Or if you’re short on time, fill out the form on the accounting software page to receive a free, no-hassle shortlist of the best accounting solutions for your business. Getting started is easy and takes less than five minutes.

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