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 14-day free trial today.
Yes: unlimited access to FreshBooks for 30 days at no cost.
Note: here and with other cloud accounting software brands, we are providing regular pricing for plans posted for 2021 -- but the customer should always check the company website for current promotions/discounts!
Lite: $15 per month; 5 clients
Plus: $25 per month; 50 clients
Premium: $50/month; unlimited clients
Select/Custom plan with even more features (and a removal of the FreshBooks watermark/branding from client emails) is available upon request.
When considering alternatives to FreshBooks, it is important to make sure you're trading up: and that means, knowing what your top priorities are for business accounting tools.
For example, how much do you care about having the following features?
Some of these features may not matter at all in your business operations, and some may matter a LOT. No one accounting software plan will offer every single option in the world: what you should look for is an alternative to FreshBooks that has all the key features valuable to you.
In addition to knowing which features you are not willing to compromise on, here are a few more things to keep in mind when choosing an accounting software among the best FreshBooks alternatives:
User experience is a tricky thing: you don't always know why one platform is easier than another to use -- it just feels right.
The topic of finances, taxes, and accounting in general is already wrought with anxiety for many entrepreneurs. So, you want to make sure that whatever FreshBooks alternative you choose, it's user-friendly, because you don't need the added stress of a steep learning curve (in this sense, Bonsai Tax is an unbeatable solution, as its interface is very smooth to navigate...)
Platform format matters as well. Will you be using the software primarily off a desktop computer or from you mobile device? Whichever it is, make sure that the online accounting solution you get confirms to your user needs.
FreshBooks is known for its customizable options, so, if you are switching to one of its alternatives, make sure not to lose customizability in the features that matter most to you.
Most modern businesses need to adjust generic contracts, project proposals, invoices, and other CRM documents to their specific parameters, with personal touches. Make sure that the FreshBooks alternative you pick gives you the flexibility you require to achieve the desired end-result.
Among accounting software solutions out there, some are better-suited for larger businesses (like QuickBooks Online), some for smaller businesses (like Xero), and some (like Bonsai Tax) are explicitly designed for self-employed solopreneurs. Obviously, no matter how nice the features are, if the software is not scaled to your business operations, you won't get the most utility out of it -- so, choose a bookkeeping app that's made with you in mind.
As with all other tools you use for your business, accounting software is a business investment -- so, the price you pay for it must be worth the value -- and future returns -- it brings to your enterprise.
Some business owners aim for the lowest-priced services -- but this can leave them short on necessary features. Some business owners sign up for the most expensive plans, seduced by the myriad of extra features -- but they end up overpaying for things they never use.
Only you know your financial capabilities vis-a-vis your business needs -- all we suggest is that you match the bookkeeping plan you pick with to your specific entrepreneurial situation and goals (and leave a little room for scalability for foreseeable growth).
For the purposes of this list, we are reviewing only the best FreshBooks alternatives in the category of cloud accounting.
Coming in as the top overall accounting software for solopreneurs is Bonsai's freelancer tax software.
Founded in San Francisco in 2015, backed by the Y-Combinator startup accelerator, and designed specifically for 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.
Now, let's take a look at the tax & accounting software portion of the Bonsai digital platform: Bonsai Tax.
Basically, 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:
"Keeping an eye" on your business accounting becomes a breeze when the cloud-based account is set up and most tasks become automated:
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!
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:
The Bonsai workflow product suite for freelancers comes with all the features self-employed workers use regularly:
Templates: Loads Of Them. Need to compose a new business proposal? Put together a new contract? Shoot an invoice to client? Bonsai got 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 good-bye to guessing at how many hours a project took you to complete -- by having a 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 or 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, sends payment reminders to clients, adds late fees, and sends read-receipts
Global payment options. Our app support credit cards, PayPal and ACH for more than 180 currencies, so it's easier for your clients to pay
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.
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 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.
Absolutely. Try Bonsai all-in-one product suite and the Bonsai Tax accounting system add-on for free for 14 days: it should give you enough time to get a feel for its versatile features and to see for yourself how easy it is to use.
Additionally, 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:
Workflow: $19 per month. Comes with:
Workflow Plus: $29 per month. Comes with everything listed for the Workflow plan, plus:
For an additional $9 per month, Bonsai users can invite other users for full account access and company management.
The above-described accounting software, Bonsai Tax, can be added on to either plan for $10 per month.
Temporary collaborators can be brought in for specific projects free of charge (with limited access and functionality within one's Bonsai account).
Customers who opt for an annual subscription (instead of paying on a monthly basis) get two months free per year (i.e. their annual subscription covers 14 months instead of 12).
This list is only for cloud-based accounting software, so we will focus on QuickBooks Online -- as opposed to QuickBooks Desktop, which is a non-cloud-based product by QuickBooks meant to be downloaded to a device.
Intuit's QuickBooks Online 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., geared toward small-to-mid-size businesses. Like everything else, though, it comes with its own pros and cons.
Yes: you can try QuickBooks Online for free for 30 days.
Simple Start: $25 per month
Essentials: $50 per month; up to 3 users
Plus: $80 per month; includes 5 users
Advanced: $180 per month; includes 25 users
As with many other brands, paying for an annual subscription reduces the monthly costs; a "Live Bookkeeper" is also available for expert help with the account setup at $50 per session.
Founded in San Francisco in 2008, Expensify is a web-based expense management system intended for personal and business use. Compared to others, this is a limited-scope software, though it is reported to be quite good at what it does. This software seems to be the most popular Freshbooks alternative for companies that want a centralized financial management system to channel all relevant employee expenses into.
Expensify Best Features:
Expensify Main Downsides:
Yes: you are initially allowed 7 days to use Expensify at no cost; you can "unlock" several more free weeks by completing tasks sent to your account's inbox. Expensify can also be used for free by customers who only need 25 "SmartScans" or fewer for their receipts.
Expensify's pricing model is known to be on the complicated side and tends to change a lot.
Collect: $10 per month. Collect receipts, manage/reconcile company cards, invoicing & billing, employee expense reimbursement, sync with accounting, plus free Expensify cards for the whole team
Control: $18 per month. Everything from the Collect plan, plus multi-level approval, custom reporting, expense policy controls, and HR and ERP integrations.
Bundling a plan with the Expensify card brings a 50% discount, signing up for an annual subscription is also cheaper than paying per month.
Group/company customers can integrate their Expensify account with their other accounting software (including the two FreshBooks alternatives mentioned in this list: Xero and QuickBooks).
Track: $4.99. Unlimited "SmartScans", automated mileage tracking, expenses categorizing.
Submit: $4.99. All the features of the Submit plan, plus auto-submission of receipts and reimbursement reports.
Toronto-based Wave, is an accounting software designed for small businesses. It is one of the few brands among top FreshBooks alternatives to offer most of its services for free. 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.
Wave Best Features:
Wave Main Downsides:
Better! Wave is actually a free FreshBooks alternative, in the sense that a basic version of it is available to customers to use without charge -- not on a trial basis, but permanently. The free features include:
You can add several paid services to enhance the free ones:
Check out our complete list of the best wave alternatives.
Xero is another popular cloud-based small business accounting solution among FreshBooks alternatives with a loyal following. Xero is a good option for freelancers who need a customizable tool to manage their books. 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.
Xero Best Features:
Xero Main Downsides:
Yes: Xero offers a 30-day trial period for free.
Early: $11 per month
Growing: $32 per month
Established: $62 per month.
Check the company's website to see if Xero offers any current discounts.
Headquartered in India since its founding in 2011, Zoho Books helps small businesses grow with its accounting, CRM, HR, and other administrative digital tools.
Zoho Books Best Features:
Zoho Books Main Downsides:
Yes: you can try Zoho Books for 14 days at no charge. Zoho Books also offers a free plan available to small businesses with a financial turnover of less than $50K.
Standard: $15 per month
Professional: $40 per month
Premium: $60 per month
A Utah-based software company around since 2017, ZipBooks offers accounting, time-tracking, and invoicing tools for independent contractors and small businesses.
ZipBooks Best Features:
ZipBooks Main Downsides:
Yes: customers can sign up for a free trial of ZipBooks' "Smarter" or "Sophisticated" plan for 30 days. Additionally, Zipbooks offers a free "Starter" plan (with unlimited invoices).
Smarter: $15 per month
Sophisticated: $35 per month; unlimited users
Accountant: custom priced
This UK-based company offers an all-in-one business suite for small-to-medium businesses.
Sage 50Cloud Best Features:
Sage 50Cloud Main Downsides:
Yes: you can try Sage 50Cloud for 30 days with no charge.
Pro Accounting: $56.08 per month
Premium Accounting: $84.58 per month for one user; can add up to 5 users for extra cost per user (tops at $194.75 for 5 users)
Quantum Accounting: $139.58 per month for one user; can add multiple users for extra cost per user (10 users cost $356.83; anything over that requires a telephone quote)
Annual subscriptions cost less than per-month subscriptions.
India-based Invoicera provides a powerful billing/invoicing software for freelancers and small businesses.
Invoicera Best Features:
Invoicera Main Downsides:
Yes: you can try Invoicera for 15 days free of charge. It also offers a free plan for businesses with 3 or fewer clients.
Pro: $15 per month; 100 clients, single user
Business: $29 per month; 1000 clients, 10 users
Infinite: $149 per month; unlimited clients, unlimited users
Annual subscriptions cost less than paying per-month.
Though there are many choices for a FreshBooks alternative out there, the good news is that you can't really go wrong with any of the above-listed accounting software options, as they are all top, reputable brands in the industry (the best way to get to know the ones that seem appealing is to take advantage of their free trials).
While the more sizeable 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 was designed specifically for self-employed individuals who are daunted, confused, and (let's be real here) frustrated as hell with administrative/financial/tax bookkeeping tasks, 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 -- and it will manage and automate everything that can possibly 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!
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?