FreshBooks Review 2022

We assessed FreshBooks' features, pricing, customer service, and user reviews to write our in-depth review.
Best invoicing software for freelancers
Fresh Books
FreshBooks
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starts at
$15.00/mo.
  • pro
    Unlimited customizable invoices
  • pro
    Time and expense tracking with every plan
  • pro
    Automatic due date and late payment reminders
Plan name
Starting price
Get started
Lite$15.00/mo.
Plus$25.00/mo.

Data as of 7/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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The bottom line: FreshBooks is one of the best accounting solutions for freelancers and small-business owners who rely heavily on estimates, quotes, and invoicing. Its user-friendly interface, thorough mobile app, and excellent invoices make it a good fit for on-the-go freelancers, and its third-party integrations sell it for business owners with employees.

FreshBooks has a few key limitations. Most notably, each plan limits the number of clients you can bill per month (although you can send those limited clients and unlimited number of invoices). For that reason alone, it won't work for freelancers who bill dozens of different clients each month. But its unlimited user numbers makes for easy collaboration, and its low starting price beats out QuickBooks Online and rivals Xero

Pros
pro Unlimited customizable invoices
pro Unlimited users (addt'l fee)
pro Highly rated mobile accounting app
pro Expense and sales tax tracking with every plan
Cons
con Number of billable clients limited by plan
con No bank reconciliation with cheapest plan
con No accountant access with cheapest plan

FreshBooks review: Table of contents

Money
FreshBooks discounts and savings

FreshBooks has frequent sales throughout the year with excellent opportunities for long-term savings. For starters, depending on the time of the year (especially at the start and end of the new year and around tax season), FreshBooks usually offers new customers 60% to 70% off for the first three to six months. And if you pay annually instead of month to month, you'll save an additional 10% for the whole year. 

FreshBooks pricing and plans 2022

Plan name
Starting price
Number of billable clients
Standout features
Get started

$15.00/mo.

Up to 5 per month

Unlimited invoicing, expense payments, time tracking, and estimates

$25.00/mo.

Up to 50 per month

Lite features + unlimited proposals, recurring invoices, and late payment reminders

$50.00/mo.

Up to 500 per month

Plus features + 500-client limit

Data as of 7/20/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

FreshBooks’ key features

With three plans running from $15 to $50 a month, FreshBooks’ features can match a variety of business needs. But since additional users cost $10 extra per month, it’s a particularly good fit for solopreneurs who plan to keep the books largely on their own.

FreshBooks Lite

FreshBooks Lite can help you handle most of the important accounting tasks:

  • Unlimited invoices and estimates
  • Time tracking for correct customer billing
  • Credit card and ACH payment acceptance via FreshBooks Payments
  • Invoice customization
  • Automatic bank account syncing
  • Crucial financial reporting

That’s not bad for just $15 a month. But while the plan doesn’t limit the number of invoices you can send, it does limit the number of clients you can bill to just five a month.

Functionally, that’s about the same as Xero’s cheapest plan, which limits you to five bills and twenty invoices a month but starts at $12. (All of Xero's plans come with free unlimited users, too.)

Still, even though FreshBooks costs a little more, choose FreshBooks Lite over Xero if you work multiple projects for (and send multiple invoices to) the same five clients every month. And if expense tracking is one of your top requirements, FreshBooks' cheapest plan could suit you better than Xero's, which doesn't have built-in expense categorization.

Crucially, FreshBooks Lite does not include automatic bank reconciliation. That's odd, to say the least, since bank reconciliation is foundational to small-business accounting. Honestly, everyone can benefit from account reconciliation, no matter how much they make each month—it's a bizarre feature for FreshBooks to leave off. 

FreshBooks Plus

For $10 more a month, FreshBooks Plus delivers the same features as FreshBooks Lite with some key add-ons:

  • Double-entry accounting and automatic bank reconciliation
  • Automated recurring invoices and late payment reminders
  • Unlimited proposals

FreshBooks Plus also includes a client retainer option, which means you can let clients pay you in advance for long-term projects.

Most importantly, FreshBooks Plus lets you bill up to 50 clients a month, which makes it a better fit for most small businesses (and some freelancers) than FreshBooks Lite.

Pin
Price check: FreshBooks’ additional users

FreshBooks doesn't limit the number of users who can access your FreshBooks account, but it does charge you an extra $10 per month per extra user. And unlike most major accounting software providers, FreshBooks doesn't include free accountant access with its cheapest plan.

FreshBooks Premium

Apart from the price, the main difference between FreshBooks Plus and FreshBooks Premium is the number of billable clients. Plus limits you to 50 clients, and Premium bumps you up to unlimited clients. It also adds bookkeeping features that make life easier for midsize to large businesses, such as project profitability tracking. 

FreshBooks vs. top competitors

Brand name
Starting price
Automatic bank reconciliation (with cheapest plan)
User limit (with cheapest plan)
Get started
$15.00/mo.
Icon No  DarkNo
Unlimited users (addt'l fee)
$12.00/mo.
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Unlimited users
$30.00/mo.
Icon Yes  DarkYes
1 user + accountant access
$0.00/mo.*
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Unlimited users (addt'l fee)
Free for life
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Unlimited users

Data as of 1/3/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Available only for businesses with an annual revenue below $50K USD

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FreshBooks’ key drawbacks

We've already covered this, but it's hard to move past FreshBooks' lack of bank reconciliation with its cheapest plan. Almost every other accounting software option includes bank reconciliation by default, including Wave Accounting, which is entirely free. 

Speaking of typical accounting software features, FreshBooks' lack of double-entry accounting with every plan gives us cause for concern. FreshBooks argues that freelancers don't need to use the more meticulous double-entry bookkeeping system, since it's most useful for businesses with complex finances. But we don't agree—and neither do most providers, like Xero and QuickBooks Online, both of which offer double-entry accounting with every plan.

Honestly, the double-entry system is more accurate regardless of your annual income. Using it can save you loads of stress come tax time and help you avoid costly mistakes. We're glad FreshBooks includes it with its Plus plan, but if you end up using FreshBooks Lite, you'll want to check (and double check) your bookkeeping entries by hand.

And while we like that FreshBooks doesn't limit the number of users you can add, we don't love that each user costs $10 extra. If you only work with a few other people, your pricing won't spiral too far out of hand—but add more than three or four and FreshBooks' cost increases exponentially. In contrast, Zoho Books charges $2.50 per additional user (much more reasonable), while providers like Wave and Xero don't impose user limits at all.

Additional FreshBooks features

Unlimited invoicing

We’ve talked about the drawback of FreshBooks’ client limit, but we also want to hit on the perk of FreshBooks’ unlimited features. Unlike some other cloud-based accounting software (most notably Xero), FreshBooks doesn’t limit the number of invoices and estimates you can send each month. That’s one perk of the company's’ humble beginnings as an invoicing-centric software: you don’t have to wait until next month to bill a client for a second project.

Customer service

FreshBooks customer service is available over the phone from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT, which gives you a little leeway if you work on the West Coast—you can still get help on a problem that occurs after 2 p.m. your time. FreshBooks also has a robust online support section and helpful chat feature.

Generally, users also like FreshBooks' customer service and support. That's quite a big deal in a world where QuickBooks Online—part of Intuit, a company with a mediocre customer service reputation—remains one of the most popular accounting software worldwide. For instance, on the consumer review site Trustradius, FreshBooks users give it an average of 8.4 out of 10.1

And while FreshBooks isn't accredited with the Better Business Bureau, the BBB still gives it an A+ rating, and it's only had to resolve four FreshBooks complaints in the last three years.2 Admittedly, fewer people use FreshBooks than QuickBooks—but FreshBooks has thousands of users across the globe, and the company's still brooked just four complaints via the BBB to QuickBooks' nearly 3,000.3

Find Your Money—and Keep More of It

With plans starting at $15 a month, FreshBooks is well-suited for freelancers, solopreneurs, and small-business owners alike.

  • Track time and expenses
  • Create custom invoices
  • Accept online payments

The takeaway

FreshBooks isn’t the least expensive cloud-based software in the business, especially if you want to add more than one user, but it’s more affordable than QuickBooks with about the same degree of functionality. If you’re looking for a good QuickBooks alternative, we say take FreshBooks out for a spin—but if you can, stick with the Plus plan over the Lite plan. Double-entry accounting and bank reconciliation are worth it.

Looking for accounting options other than FreshBooks? Check out our article on the best accounting software of the year to explore alternatives.

FreshBooks FAQ

Is FreshBooks better than QuickBooks?

It depends on what you’re looking for. Price-wise, FreshBooks accounting software is much less expensive than QuickBooks: QuickBooks’ cheapest plan starts at $30 a month and offers about the same features as FreshBooks Lite, which starts at $15 a month. Worse, you can’t manage bills or track time unless you upgrade to QuickBooks Essentials, which costs $55 a month to FreshBooks Plus’s $25 a month.

On the other hand, all of QuickBooks’ plans come with mileage tracking, which is ideal if, say, the contracted plumbers for your plumbing business spend a lot of time on the road. Meanwhile, FreshBooks integrates with more than 200 apps, including Everlance for mileage tracking, but you’ll pay a little extra each month for the integration. And for app functionality, it’s hard to beat the QuickBooks app’s solid interface, low learning curve, and comprehensive features.

How does FreshBooks work?

Like other cloud-based accounting software, FreshBooks stores all your information in the cloud, meaning you don’t have to download anything to start working. Instead, you log into your FreshBooks account online to securely access your FreshBooks dashboard.

How much does FreshBooks cost?

FreshBooks’ cheapest plan, FreshBooks Lite, starts at $15 a month with five billable clients. FreshBooks Plus starts at $25 a month and FreshBooks Premium costs $50 a month. FreshBooks also offers a more comprehensive plan with custom pricing, called FreshBooks Select. It includes a dedicated account manager and allows for over 500 billable clients.

Does FreshBooks track mileage?

To track mileage with FreshBooks, you’ll need to integrate with Everlance, a mileage tracking app that syncs seamlessly with your FreshBooks account but costs an extra few dollars a month.

What is FreshBooks Classic?

FreshBooks Classic refers to pre-2017 FreshBooks. FreshBooks still offers customer support to customers who stuck with FreshBooks Classic rather than upgrading to the full-featured accounting program, but if you’re a new user, you can’t sign up for the old version of the software.

Methodology

To review FreshBooks accounting software and calculate a star rating, we evaluated it in the following key areas: 

  • Accounting features
  • Ease of use, including mobile app access
  • Plans and pricing, including number of plans and additional costs
  • Customer service hours and reputation
  • Overall functionality

We also took our accounting expert's opinion under consideration when calculating our star rating. Star ratings are reevaluated frequently and subject to change.

Sources
1. Trustradius, "FreshBooks Reviews." Accessed July 20, 2022.
2. Better Business Bureau, "FreshBooks." Accessed July 20, 2022.
3. Better Business Bureau, "Intuit, Inc." Accessed July 20, 2022.

Kylie McQuarrie
Written by
Kylie McQuarrie
Kylie McQuarrie has been writing for and about small businesses since 2014. Prior to writing full-time, she worked with a variety of small-business owners (from freelance writers to real-estate solopreneurs), which gave her a front-row look at small-business owners' struggles, frustrations, and successes. Currently, she’s Business.org’s accounting and payroll staff writer. Her work has been featured on SCORE.org, G2, and Fairygodboss, among others.
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