In this day and age, if you are an entrepreneur, you need a digital toolkit to help with project management, organize interactions with clients, maintain accounting and taxes, and handle all the general bookkeeping associated with running a business.
But which cloud-based small business accounting software to choose for your accounting needs?
Many self-employed independent contractors, freelancers, and other small business owners have been using the FreshBooks accounting platform. Some are perfectly happy with its service and features; others only got limited utility out of it and are looking for an alternative to Freshbooks.
Let's quickly take a look at what FreshBooks offers small businesses and then move on to reviewing its top 9 accounting software competitors.
Note: If you want to test drive the best top-rated FreshBooks alternative to track your business expenses, try Bonsai Tax. Our app automatically scans your bank/credit card receipts to discover tax write-offs. Users typically save $5,600 from their tax bill. The tax software will also send you filing reminders and help you estimate your taxes. Claim your 7-day free trial today.
The Best FreshBooks Alternatives For Freelancers & Small Business Owners
For the purpose of finding the best accounting software (FreshBooks alternatives), we’re only considering the options in the category of cloud accounting.
Bonsai: The Overall Best Small Business Accounting Software
Coming in as the top overall accounting software for solopreneurs is Bonsai's freelancer tax software.
Founded in San Francisco in 2015, Bonsai is backed by the Y-Combinator startup accelerator and designed specifically for small business owners, independent contractors, freelancers, and other self-employed 1099 workers. The Bonsai workflow toolkit and its add-on accounting software, Bonsai Tax have been a big hit among solopreneurs.
Bonsai Accounting & Tax Features
Now, let's take a look at the tax and accounting software portion of the Bonsai digital platform: Bonsai Tax. The Bonsai Tax app organizes and automates the majority of bookkeeping tasks that suck up valuable time and give freelancers nightmares. Your responsibility remains to sign up and link your business bank/credit card accounts to make use of the following features.
- Sign Up, Sort, & Track: Enter all the necessary information and answer all the questions during the online account setup (and keep them updated), so that the software has enough data to do organizing, sorting, and tracking of your business expenses into appropriate deductible categories -- thus helping you save money on paying taxes
- Easy Expense Tracking: Linking up the relevant bank/credit account so that the app can keep track of business expenses in real time.
- Receipt Scan: You can scan expense receipts that aren't reflected in bank/credit card accounts, such as cash purchases, using the Bonsai's receipt scanner app.
- Enter Data Manually: If it's not automated, enter income as it comes in.
- Automate Workflow: Keeping an eye on the whole thing becomes a breeze when the cloud-based account is set up and most tasks become automated, which includes paying attention to quarterly tax estimates, deadline reminders, and "profit & loss" financial reports to maintain the financial health of your business.
- Supports Multiple Currencies: This lets you accept and make payments globally.
Note: If you want to try the best Freshbooks alternatives to track receipts for taxes, try Bonsai Tax. This app will capture all your tax-deductible expenses, organize them, and save you thousands of dollars during tax time. In fact, our users save $5,600 from their tax bill. Claim your 7-day free trial here.
You can rest easy entrusting your personal, business, and financial data to the Bonsai Tax app, with its 100% accuracy guarantee -- and its stellar customer support for troubleshooting. Between the Bonsai suite and the Bonsai Tax accounting app, all your solo entrepreneurial bases are covered! It's no reason why Bonsai is considered the best professional tax software.
As we mentioned, when quarterly tax time rolls around, Bonsai won't just send you a reminder to file—Schedule C and expense deductions will be ready for you to download. Your estimated tax payments and filing deadline are kept under the “taxes” section of the dashboard, so you can check any time to see what you owe to the IRS:
Bonsai All-In-One Suite
The Bonsai workflow product suite for freelancers comes with all the features self-employed workers require and use regularly:
- Customizable Templates: Need to compose a new business proposal? Put together a new contract? Shoot an invoice to a client? Bonsai has your back with tons of templates for those and other customizable administrative agreements.
- CRM Tools: Bonsai offers a host of customer relationship management (CRM) options that let you reach your clients / connect with your audience in multiple ways (e.g., email marketing campaigns, customer interaction tracking and analyses, etc.)
- Time Tracking & Project Management: Say goodbye to guessing at how many hours a project took you to complete -- by having smart software objectively track your workflow for you (and Bonsai software won't under-estimate your valuable time and efforts the way you might do out of modesty...)
- Integration Of Features: There is no need to keep filling in the same information into different invoices, emails, or tax forms: all the previously enrolled business, financial, and contact information can be pre-filled into anything you need with a click of a mouse/stroke of a key.
- Automatic invoicing: Create invoices, send payment reminders to clients, add late fees, and send read-receipts
- Global payment options: Our app supports credit cards, PayPal, and ACH for more than 180 currencies, so it's easier for your clients to pay
- Intuitive unified dashboard: From the Bonsai dashboard, you can track your profit and loss (which can also be downloaded as a PDF) and see how much revenue you have pending in outstanding invoices. If a client doesn't pay on time, Bonsai will automatically send them a reminder and—if it's in your contract—add a late fee, too.
- Bonus!: If you want to give regular clients the option to split invoices using partial payments or collect a deposit before a project kicks off, Bonsai can do that, too.
Who Is Bonsai Best For
Bonsai is best for people who work solo – freelancers like graphic designers, writers, marketers, and developers, as well as small business owners who run their businesses and want to spend less time thinking about their taxes and more time being creative.
Bonsai tackles all the (really) important tax elements of a freelancer's bookkeeping needs, including racking tax payments against the estimated totals, small business expenses, and deductions, and takes care of it automatically. In addition, freelancers can reduce their tech stack and take care of their admin tasks using one tool: Bonsai, which is stacked with accounting features like invoices, contracts, and proposals.
Free Trial Available For Bonsai
Bonsai's all-in-one product suite and the Bonsai Tax accounting system add-on offer a 7-day free trial of unlimited access to all of Bonsai’s features. The period is long enough to give you enough time to get a feel of its versatile features and to see for yourself how easy it is to set up and use.
And even though Bonsai doesn't have a completely free plan, it does offer a lot of completely free resources for freelancers to take advantage of! Templates for project proposals, business contracts, and client invoices -- as well as a self-employed tax estimate calculator -- are available for users as a courtesy on the Bonsai website.
The Bonsai all-in-one freelancer workflow toolkit comes in the following price packages:
- Starter: $25 /month
- Professional: $39 /month
- Business: $79 /month
- Invite teammates: $10 /month
Bonsai tax: $10 /month
QuickBooks Online: Best For Online Bookkeeping from Multiple Devices
Intuit's QuickBooks Online cloud-based accounting software has been around in some form or another since 1983 —no wonder it's the dominant product of its kind in the U.S. The software is scalable and is geared with invaluable features, making it one of the most popular accounting solutions for a variety of small businesses.
- Seamless third-party integration
- Reliable automatic reporting
- Expenses and bill tracking
- User-friendly interface
- Payroll processing and payment management
- Simplifies the tax filing process
- Bank reconciliation
- Customizable invoice templates
- Account settings are not the easiest to navigate
- Monthly plans can be expensive
- Limited file sizes and users
- Could be more customizable
- Limited integration options
- The plus plan costs $38 /month
Expensify: Best For Managing Receipts
Founded in San Francisco in 2008, Expensify is a web-based expense management system intended for personal and business use. Although it is reported to be quite good at what it does, however, compared to others, this is a limited-scope software. Expensify seems to be the most popular Freshbooks alternative for companies that want a centralized financial management system to channel all relevant employee expenses into one platform.
- Easy to upload receipts, enter expenses and hours worked
- SmartScan for accurate receipt scanning
- User-friendly interface and mobile app
- Smart categorization
- Expense management
- Flexible workflow setup
- Bank/ credit integration
- Reliable reporting
- Currency conversion
- The web-based interface (as opposed to the mobile screen) is too busy with ads
- Customer service could use improvement
- The interface could be more user-friendly
Expensify's pricing model is known to be on the complicated side and tends to change a lot.
Currently, the control plan for (Unbundled) businesses costs $36 /month.
Wave: Best Accounting Platform Exclusively for Small Businesses
Toronto-based Wave is a cloud-based accounting software designed for small businesses, ideally for micro-businesses with less than 10 employees, contractors, freelancers, and other service-based businesses on a budget. It is one of the few brands among top FreshBooks alternatives to offer most of its services for free equipped with all the basic features.
However, there is a catch: Being free Wave has its limitations, especially compared to more scalable small-business accounting software. The free features include:
- Wave Accounting (with unlimited expenses, income tracking, and financial statements)
- Wave Receipts (unlimited receipt capture, comes with a mobile app)
- Wave Invoices (customized invoicing, comes with a mobile app)
- Wave Money (business bank account/debit card bookkeeping)
- Offers a free plan that does not expire
- Comes with a useful set of accounting features
- Unlimited invoicing
- Customizable templates
- CRM Integration
- Supports multi-currency
- Automate the reconciliation process
- Does not support more than one user
- Has limited integrations
- Lack time tracking
- Generates basic reporting
You can add several paid services to enhance the free ones:
- Wave Advisors costs: $129 /month
Check out our complete list of the best wave alternatives.
Xero: Best Multiple User Access Accounting Software
Xero is another popular cloud-based small business accounting solution among FreshBooks alternatives with a loyal following. It is a good option for freelancers who need a customizable tool for account management.
You can integrate your bank account with Xero, so income and expenses will already be reconciled once tax time hits. With the sales tax feature, Xero automatically calculates sales tax on every transaction, so it's easier to prepare sales tax returns.
Watch out: there are a few features in every plan, like purchase orders and inventory, that many freelancers won't need.
- Clean design/attractive interface
- Supports unlimited users and several plug-ins
- Pull bills and receipts into the dashboard automatically with Hubdoc
- Track finances with accounting reports
- Clients can make payments using Stripe and GoCardless by clicking the “Pay Now” button on your invoice
- Automate recurring invoices
- Inventory tracking
- Time tracking
- There may be a steep learning curve for some users
- No real-time/live operator customer support
- Multiple currency options are available for the highest subscription tier
- Tad-bit expensive
- The ultimate 10 plan costs $115 /month
Check the company's website to see if Xero offers any current discounts.
6. Zoho Books: Best Accounting Solution for Growing Business
Headquartered in India since its founding in 2011, Zoho Books helps small businesses grow with its accounting, CRM, HR, and other administrative digital tools. The software is a simple and intuitive tool that tracks the money coming in and going out of your business, which keeps you up-to-date on your business finances.
- Helpful analytics
- Useful customer and vendor portal
- Expense tracking
- Generates invoices and bills
- Bank reconciliation
- Project tracking
- Monitor inventory
- Workflow automation
- Not a whole lot of add-ons
- Limited number of customer and vendor transactions
- Limited users per plan (extra charges for adding additional users)
- Might be too complex for some smaller businesses
- The ultimate plan costs $275 /month
7. ZipBooks: Best Accounting Tool for Small Businesses
ZipBooks is a Utah-based software company offering accounting solutions designed for small businesses and accountants. This cloud-based software has one of the easier-to-navigate user interfaces among small business accounting solutions, which is also integrated with time-tracking and invoicing tools for independent contractors and small businesses.
- A free starter plan for managing/accepting digital payments from unlimited clients/vendors
- Project management tools
- Bookkeeping and expense tracking
- Customizable invoices
- Bank reconciliation
- Generates real-time expense reports
- Workflow automation
- A well-made mobile interface
- Customer support is limited
- Features are not all well-integrated with each other
- Free and Smarter plans lack certain basic features
- Lack of inventory cost tracking
- The sophisticated plan costs $35 /month
8. Sage 50Cloud: Best for Advanced Accounting for Small Businesses
This UK-based company offers an all-in-one business suite for small-to-medium businesses. And in addition to desktop accounts software, it also gives the freedom of cloud-connected features. The software is ideal for helping businesses with their day-to-day accounting transactions and enhances user productivity with convenient, cloud-connected features.
- A wide array of helpful bookkeeping features (such as their great inventory management app)
- The interface is simple, easy, and fast to navigate
- CRM management
- Cash Flow forecasting
- Generates invoices
- Automated bank reconciliation
- Detailed profitability tracking
- Seamless integration with Office 365
- Custom reporting
- Lack of integrations with other programs
- The software has been known to glitch out on occasion
- Software requires steep learning curves for newbies
- The cost of the premium support services can tip over the small business budget
- The quantum accounting plan costs $160.00 / month for one user (can add multiple users for an extra cost per user (10 users cost $356.83; anything over that requires a telephone quote)
- 9. Invoicera: Best for Invoicing & Billing
India-based online invoicing and billing software, Invoicera provides a powerful billing and invoicing solution for freelancers and small businesses, free of cost. The software helps users automate and simplify business processes and communication via online payments and proper management.
- Great accounts payable/accounts receivable management
- Versatile invoicing features
- Multilingual and multi-currency support
- Third-party applications such as PayPal, Payoneer, First Data, Moneris, and more
- Time tracking
- Expense management
- Customer Portal
- Does not track bank account activity
- Lacking integration with other tools
- The infinite plan costs $149 per month allows unlimited clients and unlimited users
Annual subscriptions cost less than paying per month.
How To Choose Tax & Accounting Software
Although there are many choices for a FreshBooks alternative out there, as a self-employed/ entrepreneur you deserve accounting software designed for your needs. The software must ensure the following functionalities:
- List out and consider your business needs and your accounting skills.
- Take advantage of the modern business solution and look for cloud-based applications.
- It must be able to accurately calculate and automate tax-related processes.
- Can provide regular updates to ensure compliance with tax regulations.
- Should offer customizable and comprehensive tax reports.
- Can help with tax savings by identifying and categorizing deductible expenses.
- Should be compatible with your preferred tax filing software.
- Must be able to calculate, deduct, and file payroll taxes.
While the more sizable small businesses would do well with most of the above-listed 10 FreshBooks alternatives, the best choice for freelancers, independent contractors, and other self-employed individuals classified as "1099 workers" is decidedly Bonsai Tax.
Bonsai Tax serves the freelancer niche to a tee. It is designed specifically for self-employed individuals who are daunted, confused, and overwhelmed with administrative/ financial/ tax bookkeeping tasks and in dire need of simplifying and streamlining the whole process.
Bonsai knows and cares about the fact that you don't have the time or the energy for complex calculations and dusty paperwork. It ticks off all the above requirements and helps manage by automating everything that can be managed and automated on your behalf.
With Bonsai software in your corner, you can rest easy about your accounting and refocus your attention and skill on doing excellent work for your clients!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What accounting software is most similar to Freshbooks?
Bonsai is the best alternative to FreshBooks accounting software you’ll ever find in the market. It is a resourceful product suite that combines CRM, automated reminders, invoicing, accounting banking, and global payment options, tracks your workflow in general, and allows you to generate custom contracts by picking from 1000+ free templates.
Does Freshbooks have a free plan?
Yes, FreshBooks offers a free 30-day trial pack where you get unlimited access to FreshBooks accounting software. This includes unlimited invoicing features, expense features, project management tools, the FreshBooks mobile app, business finance reports, and basically, all the features a growing business needs to keep flourishing.
What is the cheapest way to buy Freshbooks?
Buying the cheapest subscription to FreshBooks is one of the best ways to get access to FreshBooks features inexpensively. Or you can sign up for one of the budget-friendly FreshBooks alternatives, such as Bonsai, to enjoy the resourcefully curated product suites to keep your business growing.