FreshBooks is one of our top five favorite accounting software solutions for small businesses, and for good reason. With solid customizable invoicing, time and expense tracking, and plans for businesses with over 500 billable clients, FreshBooks’ accounting software works nicely for startups and corporations alike. Want to find out if FreshBooks could work for you? Keep reading our FreshBooks review to learn more.
FreshBooks Review 2021
FreshBooks plans and pricing 2021
Number of billable clients
Up to 5 per month
Unlimited invoicing, expense payments, time tracking, and estimates
Up to 50 per month
Lite features + unlimited proposals, recurring invoices, and late payment reminders
Up to 500 per month
Plus features + 500-client limit
Data effective 11/24/20. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.
FreshBooks plans and pricing
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 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
- 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, five invoices, and five quotes a month . . . but costs just $9.
Even though FreshBooks costs a little more, though, choose FreshBooks Lite over Xero if you work multiple projects for (and send multiple invoices to) the same five clients every month.
Additionally, FreshBooks Lite doesn’t use double-entry accounting. That’s a shame, because the double-entry accounting system is so much more accurate than the single-entry system that it’s hardly worth comparing the two. If you’re a freelancer working a few projects a month, you’ll probably be fine without double-entry accounting, but we can’t in good conscience recommend single-entry bookkeeping to anyone else.
For ten bucks more a month, FreshBooks Plus delivers the same features as FreshBooks Lite with some key add-ons:
- Double-entry accounting
- 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 much better fit for small businesses than FreshBooks Lite.
Apart from the price, the only difference between FreshBooks Plus and FreshBooks Premium is the number of billable clients—otherwise, the two plans are exactly the same. We wish FreshBooks offered a happy medium, like a plan with 150 or 200 billable clients at a slightly lower price. For now, you’ll have to pay twice as much for the same features if you have 52 clients instead of 49.
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
Additional FreshBooks features
We’ve talked about the drawback of FreshBooks’ client limit, but we also want to hit on the perk of FreshBooks’ unlimited features. Unlike other cloud-based accounting software, FreshBooks doesn’t limit the number of invoices and estimates you can send each month. That’s one perk of FreshBooks’ humble beginnings as a invoicing-centric software: you don’t have to wait until next month to bill a client for a second project.
Competitors like QuickBooks limit the number of users you can add by plan, but FreshBooks lets you add as many users as you want for $10 extra per user per month. That’s a little steep, so it works best for businesses that just want to loop in an extra team member and an accountant to help with finances. If you heavily value collaboration, you might want to go with a competitor like Xero, which allows for unlimited users no matter the plan.
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.
If you want to save a little extra on FreshBooks’ plans, FreshBooks gives you the option to pay yearly rather than monthly. Paying yearly saves you 10%, so you’ll pay $135/year for FreshBooks Lite, $225/year for FreshBooks Plus, or $450/year for FreshBooks Premium.
Is FreshBooks better than QuickBooks?
It depends on what you’re looking for. Price-wise, FreshBooks is much less expensive than QuickBooks: QuickBooks’ cheapest plan starts at $25 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 $40 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.
FreshBooks isn’t the least expensive cloud-based software in the business (that’d be Wave), but it’s more affordable than QuickBooks with just 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 is worth it.
Looking for accounting options other than FreshBooks? Check out our article on the best accounting software of 2021 to explore some alternatives.
At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.