9 Best FreshBooks Alternatives To Consider For Your Small Business

17

Min Read

Maria Malyk

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.

FreshBooks In A Nutshell

  • Integrates with hundreds of add-ons and third-party apps, from Google Suite, to CRM systems, to other project management software.
  • Features lend themselves to customization

FreshBooks Main Downsides

  • Not as simple to scale as some would like
  • Allows for only one user per plan (charges $10 for each add-on user)

Free Trial Available For FreshBooks?

Yes: unlimited access to FreshBooks for 30 days at no cost.

Cost Options

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.

What To Look For In Alternatives To FreshBooks

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?

  • Expense tracking
  • Inventory Management
  • Time Tracking
  • Multiple Account Users
  • Accounts Payable/Receivable
  • Cash Flow Management
  • Multi-Currency Processing
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Online Invoicing (preferably with late payment reminders)
  • Online Payments
  • Payroll Management
  • Asset Management

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:

Is It Easy/Intuitive To Use?

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.

How Customizable Is It?

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.

Is It Designed For The Size Of Your Business?

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.

Is The Pricing Acceptable To You?

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).

The 9 Best FreshBooks Alternatives For Small Business Owners

For the purposes of this list, we are reviewing only the best FreshBooks alternatives in the category of cloud accounting.

The Best FreshBooks Alternative #1: Bonsai Tax

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.

A Breakdown Of Bonsai Tax

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:

  • Enroll all the necessary information/answer all the questions during the online account setup (and keep them updated), so that the software has enough data to do its organizing/sorting/tracking magic
  • Link up the relevant business bank/credit card accounts, to that the app can keep track of business expenses in real time
  • Scan in expense receipts that aren't reflected in bank/credit card accounts (such as cash purchases)
  • Enroll income as it comes in (if it's not automated)
  • Keep an eye on the whole thing from time to time -- and pay attention to quarterly tax estimates deadline reminders and "profit & loss" financial reports -- to maintain the financial health of your business

"Keeping an eye" on your business accounting becomes a breeze when the cloud-based account is set up and most tasks become automated:

  • Tracking and sorting business expenses into appropriate deductible categories -- thus helping you save money on paying taxes (supports multiple currencies)
  • Tracking income
  • Bank and credit card account data auto-imported on an ongoing basis
  • Easy manual scanning of expense receipts not accounted for in auto-imported financial data with Bonsai's receipt scanner app
  • Quarterly tax estimates generated, based on your history of income and tax-deductible business expenses
  • Financial "profit & loss" reports on demand
  • Help with filing the annual tax returns (with most of the "paperwork" pre-filled-out with the accounting data already in the system)

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:

Bonsai All-In-One Suite

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.

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.

Free Trial Available For Bonsai?

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.

Cost Options

The Bonsai all-in-one freelancer workflow toolkit comes in the following price packages:

Workflow: $19 per month. Comes with:

  • Unlimited Clients & Projects
  • Proposals
  • Contracts
  • Invoicing & Payments
  • Client Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Project Management
  • Task & Time Tracking

Workflow Plus: $29 per month. Comes with everything listed for the Workflow plan, plus:

  • White-Labelled Client Experience
  • Workflow Automations
  • Client Forms & Questionnaires
  • Subcontracting (switch to client mode)
  • Integration With Calendly (the free online appointment scheduling software)
  • Client Portal
  • Priority Support

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).

Logo Bonsai Logo Quickbooks
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

FreshBooks Alternative #2: QuickBooks Online

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.

QuickBooks Online Best Features:

  • Easy to link with bank and credit card accounts for income and expenses recording synced on the daily basis
  • New features are added every year

QuickBooks Online Main Downsides:

  • Account settings are not the easiest to navigate
  • Could be more customizable

Free Trial Available For QuickBooks Online?

Yes: you can try QuickBooks Online for free for 30 days.

Cost Options

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.

Alternative #3: Expensify  

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:

  • Makes it easy and fun to upload receipts and enter expenses and hours worked
  • User-friendly mobile app

Expensify Main Downsides:

  • The web-based interface (as opposed to the mobile screen) is too busy with ads
  • Customer service could use improvement

Free Trial Available For Expensify?

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.

Cost Options

Expensify's pricing model is known to be on the complicated side and tends to change a lot.

Plans For Businesses

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).

Plans For Individuals

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.

FreshBooks Alternative #4: Wave

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:

  • Offers a free plan that does not expire
  • Comes with a useful set of accounting features

Wave Main Downsides:

  • Does not support more than one user
  • Has limited integrations

Free Trial Available For Wave?

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:

  • 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)

Cost Options

You can add several paid services to enhance the free ones:

  • Payments By Wave: 2.9% + $0.30 per card transaction; 1% per bank transaction
  • Wave Payroll: $20 per month (available as full-service payroll in some U.S. states and as self-service payroll in others)
  • Wave Advisors: $129 per month

Check out our complete list of the best wave alternatives.

FreshBooks Alternative #5: Xero

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:

  • Clean design/attractive interface
  • Supports unlimited users and a lots of 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

Xero Main Downsides:

  • There may be a steep learning curve for some users
  • No real-time/live operator customer support

Free Trial Available For Xero?

Yes: Xero offers a 30-day trial period for free.

Cost Options

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.

FreshBooks Alternative #6: Zoho Books

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:

  • Helpful analytics
  • Useful customer support you can reach directly

Zoho Books Main Downsides:

  • Not a whole lot of add-ons
  • Limited number of customer and vendor transactions

Free Trial Available For Zoho Books?

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.

Cost Options

Standard: $15 per month

Professional: $40 per month

Premium: $60 per month

FreshBooks Alternative #7: ZipBooks

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:

  • A free starter plan for managing / accepting digital payments from unlimited clients/vendors
  • A well-made mobile interface

ZipBooks Main Downsides:

  • Customer support is limited
  • Features are not all well-integrated with each other

Free Trial Available For ZipBooks?

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).

Cost Options

Smarter: $15 per month

Sophisticated: $35 per month; unlimited users

Accountant: custom priced

FreshBooks Alternative #8: Sage 50Cloud

This UK-based company offers an all-in-one business suite for small-to-medium businesses.

Sage 50Cloud Best Features:

  • A wide array of helpful bookkeeping features (such as their great inventory management app)
  • Interface is simple, easy, and fast to navigate

Sage 50Cloud Main Downsides:

  • Lacking in integrations with other programs
  • Software has been known to glitch out on occasion

Free Trial Available For Sage 50Cloud?

Yes: you can try Sage 50Cloud for 30 days with no charge.

Cost Options

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.

FreshBooks Alternative #9: Invoicera

India-based Invoicera provides a powerful billing/invoicing software for freelancers and small businesses.

Invoicera Best Features:

  • Great accounts payable/accounts receivable management
  • Versatile invoicing features

Invoicera Main Downsides:

  • Does not track bank account activity
  • Lacking in integration with other tools

Free Trial Available for Invoicera?

Yes: you can try Invoicera for 15 days free of charge. It also offers a free plan for businesses with 3 or fewer clients.

Cost Options

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.

As A Self-Employed Entrepreneur You Deserve Accounting Software Designed For Your Needs

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!

Maria Malyk
Maria is a freelance copywriter and language translator, with a PhD in sociology of culture and cognition and a background in academic, legal and financial writing. A digital nomad, Maria also keeps a travel blog while working on a guidebook for solo travelers on a budget.

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