The Top 7 FreshBooks Alternatives for Freelancers and the Self-employed

If you’re reading this, you’re thinking about using a bookkeeping tool: FreshBooks. But you’re also still wondering, is there a FreshBooks alternative that would be a better fit for my business?

As a freelancer, your bookkeeping needs are totally different from a medium-sized business. 

The obvious one is that there are different tax rates and deductions to think about. But freelancers also don’t need lots of the extra features on accounting platforms that are aimed at SMBs, like payroll. 

Look, here's the bottom line. We think our tool Bonsai is a better fit for freelancers and self-employed business owners because: 

But the decision isn’t ours—it’s yours. So, let’s break down the 7 FreshBooks alternatives we think you should consider 👇

What should I look for in a FreshBooks alternative?

1. Fair pricing 💰

Choosing a tool that fits your budget is always important, but especially for freelancers who could end up paying for features they won't use. 

Some tools will have features like payroll included in the pricing of their plans—a total waste of money for freelancers. Besides standard features like expense tracking and report creation, the best accounting tools will allow you to add-on features if your business expands, so you only pay for what you need. 

Try to find a tool where you can toggle between monthly or annual pricing, too. Monthly pricing allows you to figure out if the tool is a good fit for you before committing to a yearly plan.

2. Ease of use 👩‍💻

Accountants exist for a reason—taxes get complex. Quickly.

Good accounting software keeps bookkeeping simple by automatically reconciling expenses and income, integrating payment methods, and highlighting any tax deductions you're eligible for. 

If, at the end of the year (or quarter), you're spending days getting your books ready for the tax man—start looking for another tool. 

3. Easy to set up 🔧

The last thing freelancers need is an accounting tool that's a pain to set up. 

You want a FreshBooks alternative that makes it easy to:

If an alternative doesn’t have these features or you have to add integrations or API connections to have them—it will make your life harder. 

4. Suitability 🤝

Some accounting tools are perfect for growing businesses—but they’re a horrible fit for freelancers. 

Freelancers need an accounting tool that gets the basics right: the option to take deposits before projects start, create simple (legally binding) contracts, and send invoices from a mobile phone if you are out and about. 

Some of the most popular accounting programs have perfect features for SMBs. But for freelancers, they're way too complicated for what's really needed. 

The Top 7 FreshBooks Alternatives for Freelancers and the Self-employed

1. Bonsai

Bonsai Dashboard

Bonsai was built for one type of worker: freelancers. 

We looked at every task that slows down a freelancer's day, like administration, expense tracking, collecting payments from clients, and estimating quarterly taxes—and we automated them. 

Once you sign up, Bonsai Tax allows freelancers to integrate their bank accounts and automatically pull expenses into the dashboard so it’s easy to identify which ones are tax-deductible. Bonsai also connects your invoices to payment platforms. Every time a client pays an invoice, Bonsai will automatically reconcile the income, and add any bank fees or other expenses to your profit/loss dashboard. 

As you've automated everything 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 quarterly tax

From your 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. 

Bonsai profit and loss tracking

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. 

Bonsai invoicing defaults

Best features

✔️ Automatic invoicing created invoices sends payment reminders to clients, adds late fees, and sends read-receipts

✔️ Global payment options support credit cards, PayPal and ACH for more than 180 currencies, so it's easier for your clients to pay

✔️ Connect your bank account and automatically import expenses from bank and credit cards

✔️ Bonsai Tax automatically recognizes expenses that you should mark as deductions so you can maximize write-offs

✔️ Integrated time tracker allows you to set hourly project rates, track time, and add your hours to an invoice with a couple of clicks

✔️ App for iOS, Android, Mac and Chrome devices so you can work from anywhere 

Who Bonsai Is Best for

Bonsai is best for people who work solo. Freelancers like graphic designers, writers, marketers, and developers who run their own business 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, like racking tax payments against the estimated totals, expenses, and deductions, and takes care of it automatically. And because Bonsai combines accounting features with invoices, contracts, and proposals, freelancers can reduce their tech stack and take care of their admin using one tool.  

Pricing

Bonsai’s pricing starts at $19/month for the Workflow plan.  

Plot twist!: Bonsai actually works really well in collaboration with FreshBooks. Many freelancers use FreshBooks alongside Bonsai because FreshBooks handles their bookkeeping while Bonsai deals with the day-to-day chaos, like invoices, proposals, and contracts. Try Bonsai for free and put an end to tax dread!


Logo Bonsai Logo Freshbooks
Unlimited Projects/Clients
Unlimited Proposals
Upsell your clients with different package options
Get notified when your proposal is viewed
Client can approve your proposal in one click
Unlimited Freelance specific contracts
E-sign & store your contracts online
Unlimited Invoicing
Track your time using our web, iOS, or OS X app
Centralize your time sheets
Automated invoicing based on time sheets
Import transactions directly from your bank account
Attach expenses to invoices or bill them directly
Track your spending
Create special logins for your accountant
Automated invoice reminders
Recurring auto-paiements available
Receive your payments online using Stripe and/or PayPal
Possibility to add more users to an account
Work with subcontractors (create contracts, pay them online)
Create your W-9 forms online & save them to your account
Inventory management integrated to the solution
Price
$ 19
/MONTH/USER
$ 50
/MONTH/USER

This FreshBooks vs Bonsai comparison was made based on the information available at the time of publishing. FreshBooks Premium and Bonsai Premium plans are the one being compared.

Bonsai is a great alternative to FreshBooks for self-employed and freelancers. By switching to Bonsai, run your freelance business in peace. Take a look at what Bonsai can do for you.

TRY BONSAI FOR FREE

2. Xero

Xero dashboard

It’s not the prettiest tool on our list, but there’s a reason Xero is another alternative to FreshBooks: it ticks all the boxes.

Xero is a good option for freelancers who need a customizable tool to manage their books. The software comes with a mega app marketplace with over 800 integrations you can use to build an accounting portal that fits your business.

You can integrate your bank account with Xero, so income and expenses will already be reconciled once tax time hits. And 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.

Best features

✔️ Automatically reconcile bank transactions

✔️ 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 invoices

Who Xero Is Best for

Freelancers with a growing business who see themselves hiring staff or expanding their company in the future.

Pricing

Xero pricing starts at $11/month, but if you need to accept payments in multiple currencies, this is only included in the Established Plan, starting at $62/month.

3. QuickBooks

QuickBook software

One of the most recognizable accounting tools in the game, QuickBooks is another choice among freelancers looking for a FreshBooks alternative. 

QuickBooks made our list because it gets the small stuff right. Freelancers can take photos of receipts to add to their expense filings and integrate their bank account to reconcile transactions automatically. 

The tool also has sales tax features and mileage tracking, which is perfect for freelancers who are always out and about meeting with clients.

Best features

✔️ Income tax estimates and self-assessment preparation

✔️ Sales tax and mileage tracking

✔️ Send ‘pay-enabled’ invoices so clients can use “pay now” buttons for transactions

✔️ Take photos of receipts and upload them using a QuickBooks app

Who QuickBooks Is Best for

Freelancers who are out of the office and need to track expenses like mileage, upload expenses using their phone, and manage bills without a computer. 

Pricing

QuickBooks starts at $7.50/month.

4. Wave

Wave dashboard

Wave is the first free tool on our FreshBooks alternative list. 

The tool has free features like custom invoicing, receipt scanning, cash flow reports, and journal transactions. You can also upload transactions and expenses in bulk and download reports that calculate expenses, income, payments, and invoices when it’s time to do your taxes.

However, there is a catch. Freelancers can do basic tasks like send invoices and track expenses for free. But you'll get charged if you use the Wave Payments feature—in other words if a client pays an invoice by clicking the "Pay Now" button. There’s also a lack of time tracking features and no app, so it may not be the best choice for freelancers working hourly or on the go. 

Best features

✔️ It’s free

✔️ Profit/loss, sales tax, cash flow, and comparative reporting

✔️ Double-entry bookkeeping

✔️ Customizable expense/income categories with Account IDs

Who Wave Is Best for

People who have a side hustle who aren't ready to pay for an annual accounting software plan or freelancers who invoice clients for small amounts. 

Pricing

Wave is free, but you’ll be on the hook for processing fees. 

5. Harvest

Harvest dashboard

Harvest was built for a specific type of freelancer: those who bill their clients using hourly rates. 

One of the most popular time trackers on the market, Harvest is a good FreshBooks alternative for freelancers who want to keep it simple by sending their clients a timesheet and getting paid. Harvest allows freelancers to generate invoices automatically from tracked time and expenses, and you can set up recurring invoices for clients you work with regularly. 

As payment platforms like Stripe and PayPal are integrated into Harvest's invoices, transactions are automatically reconciled. And when you need to deal with your tax, you can export your data to file your own taxes or to help your accountant. 

Best features

✔️ PayPal and Stripe integrations make it easier for clients to pay

✔️ Send timesheets to clients for approval, so your billing is accurate

✔️ 100+ integrations with other apps

✔️ Track time from desktop or mobile so you can work from anywhere

Who Harvest Is Best for

Freelancers who do simple, hourly tasks for clients and don’t need lots of features apart from timesheets and a payment platform. 

Pricing

Harvest has a forever free plan, with the Pro plan starting at $12/month. 

6. AND.CO

AND.CO dashboard

AND.CO has a lot of what FreshBooks offers, but it's entirely aimed at the freelancer market. 

Thanks to AND.CO's mobile app, freelancers can take pictures of receipts or forward email receipts, and the platform will add them as expenses. The tool also connects bank and credit accounts, so expenses, income, and transactions are automatically reconciled. 

For tax filing, AND.CO generates basic income statements, expense reports, and a tax report that you can download as a PDF or .CSV file. You can also filter through income and expenses on the dashboard if you need to search for a particular transaction for your accountant. 

Best features

✔️ Automated alerts when invoices are paid, and monthly subscriptions are charged

✔️ Easy to export statements at tax time

✔️ Visualize profit/loss from the main dashboard

✔️ Automate and reconcile regular expenses 

Who AND.CO Is Best for

Freelancers who want to automate subscription billing and reconcile bank deposits but who only need basic reports during tax season.

Pricing

Don’t be fooled by the free price tag. AND.CO is only free for freelancers with a single client. If you have more, you’ll be paying $18/month for the Pro Plan. 

7. Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed app

The final FreshBooks alternative on our list is Shoeboxed, which is aimed at freelancers who have a lot of expenses and receipts. 

The clue is in the name: Shoeboxed is basically a digital shoebox. Freelancers can use the app to snap pictures of receipts and easily add them as expenses. The tool also allows you to forward email receipts, and as it syncs up with Gmail, it can automatically pull expenses and receipts from there to save you time. 

Best features

✔️ Easy to generate expense reports

✔️ Digital images of receipts are kept on file in case you are audited

✔️ Magic Envelope allows freelancers who aren't super tech-savvy to send in receipts to get inputted manually

✔️ Receipts are fully searchable, so it's easy to find them when needed

Who Shoeboxed Is Best for

Freelancers who have a lot of expenses with paper receipts that they struggle to organize and file. 

Pricing

Shoeboxed’s Startup plan starts at $29/month.

What do the customers think about these FreshBooks alternatives? 

Bonsai 

Bonsai G2 review
G2 review

"I've been a Bonsai user for years. It has allowed me to grow my career as a full-time freelancer especially with the ease of making contracts and collecting payments. With a variety of clients that are all on different payment schedules, Bonsai provided options for each client without difficulty. Now I am enjoying Bonsai even more that they have added the additional accounting and tax assistance. This quarter I was able to save so much more time filing quarterly tax payments thanks to the tax assistance feature. Thanks, Bonsai for understanding what freelancers need at every stage of their freelance career."

Diane Serra

Xero

Xero G2 review
G2 review

QuickBooks

QuickBooks TrustPilot review
TrustPilot review

Wave

Wave G2 review
G2 review

Harvest

Harvest G2 review
G2 review

AND.CO

AND.CO G2 review
G2 review

Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed review
G2 review

What FreshBooks alternative are you going to choose? 

Are you ready to switch from FreshBooks to another tool? 

Take Bonsai for a test run and see how we automate the boring stuff like taxes and expenses, giving you more time to focus on your freelance business. Get started with a free trial here (no strings attached!)

Ready to try out a new freelance-focused solution?

Do you want to get started with Bonsai? You can sign up for a free trial - no strings attached - and explore the powers of Bonsai to transform how you run your freelance business.

Freelance Proposals

Because having beautifully designed proposals is important to win your next projects, Bonsai proposals offers you the possibility to create your next freelance proposals directly from the app. No need to send the same QuickBooks quote over and over, you can now personalized your proposals with your own branding.

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Freelance contract. A better quickbooks alternative
Freelance invoicing. A better quickbooks alternative

Freelance Contracts

Bonsai offers Freelance specific contracts. Whether you're a designer or a marketing consultant, Bonsai got your covered! Create & send your contracts directly from the app, and get them signed electronically by your client. By switching from FreshBooks to Bonsai, you will not only save time but also protect your business by using our Contracts!

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Time-Tracking

Whether you prefer using your iPhone, your Mac, or your browser. We got you covered our integrated time-tracker. Automatically bill your clients for the time worked and get paid on time!

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Freelance contract. A better quickbooks alternative

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