Freshbooks vs. Quickbooks Self Employed: Which Is Better For Freelancers?

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As a freelancer, it’s challenging enough to organize your expenses and get caught up with your invoices, especially as tax season arrives. This is why choosing between Quickbooks and Freshbooks is paramount to getting back into focusing on your work rather than worrying about handling the logistics of your self-employed business.

Creating an account with either Quickbooks or Freshbooks is the first step in making your life easier. These two cloud-based software programs dominate the accounting industry because of the features they offer freelancers to give them ease of mind. Both of these programs organize your expenses to prepare you for when April 18 comes rolling around. No more time and money wasted trying to calculate your mileage or find that restaurant receipt you got from eating out with your clients. You’re able to track your mileage and other expenses and get paid instantly through digital invoices.

All finances are documented in a one location so there’s no scrambling to find your receipts or sort your finances when tax season arrives, making it easier for you or your accountant. This means you’re saving time and money when you file your taxes.

On top of the many benefits from storing your work, both programs create and send professional invoices to your clients, on your behalf. These custom-made, digital invoices build your credibility, allowing you to gain new clients and create a rapport with them. Because they’re cloud-based, freelancers can also send multiple custom-made invoices to clients, without the hassle of losing any templates. Both Quickbooks and Freshbooks safely store these professional invoices so you don’t have to go looking for them on your computer.

Freshbooks VS Quickbooks Comparison

Which program is better suited for the freelancer? Despite these two programs providing freelancers nearly identical services, deciding between Freshbooks and Quickbooks truly depends on which website’s interface is simple for you to understand and navigate through, which features matter to you most and at what cost you’re willing to sign up with one accounting program over the other. Here are some of their features, pros and cons and what to expect when you get started with one.

Freshbooks

Features

  • Creates and sends custom-made invoices to clients.
  • Captures and organizes your expenses.
  • Records and organizes your receipts.
  • Time tracking: tracks and logs every hour you’ve worked.
  • Project management: Offers a centralized location where you can invite your clients and set project deadlines, share files and images and easily share information with them through messages.
  • Offers apps and integration to connect to your project.
  • Offers customer support through phone, email, contact form, and FAQ.

Freshbooks provides all your estimates, alphabetizes your clients, provides custom-made invoices for clients and tracks your hours for work. Freshbooks collects the data of previous orders you’ve had from clients and creates your personalized invoice.

Unlike Quickbooks, Freshbooks automatically includes sales tax on its invoices. The accounting software also provides the user with the project feature, which allows the user to share files, images and messages with clients. This project feature is essential for the upcoming freelancer because it improves communication and collaboration with clients. Here are Freshbooks following pros and cons:

Pros

  • Allows the freelancer to stick to a professional invoice template.
  • Connects your credit card and bank account to update your expenses and get paid automatically.
  • Organizes self-employment income for tax season.
  • Allows you and your accountant to access your records anywhere and anytime for taxes.
  • Time tracking and project feature makes it easier for the freelancer to collaborate and communicate with their contractors.
  • The freelancer can do business anywhere using the mobile app, tablet or computer.

Cons

  • Forces the user to upgrade plan eventually if they have more than three clients.
  • Will not manually import your bank statements or export your contacts to other platforms.
  • Does not provide as many rich features on digital invoices as Quickbooks Online does.
  • Locks your records when you switch from one package to another.
  • Takes a few more steps for the user to track and input their mileage as an expense in comparison to Quickbooks, which tracks mileage as a feature.
  • Cloud-based so if there are no automatic backups if there is a glitch with the program.
  • Costs more than Quickbooks.
  • Customer service is not provided on the weekends.

Get Started

Freshbooks’ free 30-day trial gives the user a preview in what they’ll eventually buy into. After creating an account, you’ll be asked for your information — first and last name, title of the company, company’s physical address and industry such as marketing, legal services and consulting, trades and home services, development and IT. You’ll be asked what type of services you’ll provide to your clients in order to easily invoice for your work. The user can initially view their expenses on their dashboard such as outstanding balances and total prices. On the sidebar, you have access to invoices, expenses, estimates, and your portfolio of clients, projects and time tracking.

A special feature that Freshbooks does offer is its project management capabilities for the independent contractor who needs to document and store files with their client. This special feature allows the independent contractor or freelancer to work with clients and collaborate with “staff or contractors” on teams. You’re able to store documents and communications with clients. Because Freshbooks offers a centralized location for projects, you will be asked how many staff or contractors (clients) are on your project team, whether it’s just you or three to 20 peers or employers.

Quickbooks

Features

  • Tracks your self-employment income, expenses and mileage.
  • Organizes your expenses and helps estimate quarterly expenses.
  • Creates custom, professional invoices.
  • Offers a pay-now button on digital invoices so clients can pay you instantly using their debit card, credit card or bank transfer.
  • Provides visual reports and balance sheets of your profits and losses. Quickbooks uses graphics on their mobile app to explain your expenses such as profits and loss.
  • Offers customer support through phone, online chat and community forums.

Pros

  • Get paid instantly without fees by sending professional, online invoices to clients. There is no need to drive to the bank to cash a check or share your PayPal account to receive payments. Your bank account and payment apps can also connect to the site so you can get paid quickly through various means.
  • SmartInvoice informs you of your clients’ payments through each step of the process.
  • Organizes your self-employment income for tax season and allows your accountant to access your records anytime and anywhere online for free.
  • Records inventory and the cost of each product for the small business owner.
  • Ability to view all your reports online through computer, tablet and mobile app so you can take care of business anywhere you go.

Cons

  • Although your work is kept safely on the cloud-based software, it does not provide automatic backup if there are glitches with the program.
  • Does not transfer the user’s work if they choose to change to a higher priced package plan. The user has to create an entirely new account to change their plan.
  • No sales tax and state calculations automatically placed on invoices.
  • Cannot receive customer support through E-mail.

Get Started

Immediately after creating an account, you’re asked to fill out first and last name and basic company information. There are a variety of features on the dashboard that includes setting up your tax profile and your bank account, connecting yourself to their mobile app and adding your vehicle for their mileage tracking. You have the ability to invite an accountant, an essential feature if you’re up to doing your taxes. The user is also able to seek tax deductions and import or export any bank statements, which is not a feature Freshbooks provides. That’s not to say that Quickbooks does not have its fallbacks. Time tracking and project management are not features that Quickbooks offers. Its interface is slightly charring to explore at first, however it’s graphic and visual representation of the freelancer’s expenses on the mobile app allows any user to feel comfortable reading their tax reports. Like Freshbooks, Quickbooks is light bookkeeping for the independent contractor or freelancer.

Pricing for QuickBooks and Freshbooks — The Best Bang for Your Buck

Both Freshbooks and Quickbooks offer a free 30-day trial. What’s so interesting about Quickbooks’ pricing, and potentially their marketing ploy, is that you initially have the choice of diving into a free 30-day trial and paying more in the long run or going straight into signing up with a plan without the free trial, but at a lower cost.

The Quickbooks subscriber can try the Self-Employed package for free for 30 days before they have to choose between the month-by-month subscription and the annual subscription. Some features include being able to track mileage and income, organize expenses, maximize tax deductions and send invoices, obviously at a cost. After the 30-day trial ends, the freelancer starts paying $10 per month for 12 months.

There is a silver lining. Quickbooks offers a number of exclusive promotions throughout the year. There is a discount for those who choose Quickbooks very quickly. The program offers a 50 percent discount for independent contractors or freelancers who decide on purchasing the Self-Employed package instead of trying the 30-day trial to start. You start off with and pay for the Self-employed package for $5 per month for six months, which is 50 percent off the original pricing.

The annual subscription is the better deal for the freelancer if his or her heart is set on Quickbooks plan. For a year subscription, you’re able to pay $4 per month, or 60 percent off for the year.

Sign up immediately with Quickbooks Self-Employed package and you have access to all the same features: ability to track miles and income, organize expenses, maximize tax deductions and send invoices. They are the same features, but at a lower cost.

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All the packages include the ability to access your account on the mobile app, connect your expenses to your bank account and receive customer support. Customer support is provided through their phone and online sales chat, community and forum support as well their blog.

There is a downside, however. If you want to upgrade to a different plan, the user is forced to create an entirely new account on Quickbooks, which seems likely for the entrepreneur. While the mileage-tracking feature is available for the freelancer in the Self-Employed package, that feature is also not available for small businesses in the upgraded plans.

Accounting SoftwareQuickbooks ($5-$10/mo.)Freshbooks ($15-$50/mo.)
Features
  • Track mileage.
  • Track income.
  • View, manage and organize expenses.
  • Maximizes tax deductions.
  • Sends invoices.
  • Tracks time.
  • Track income.
  • View, manage and organize expenses.
  • Projects to collaborate with clients.
  • Sends invoices.

 

With Freshbooks, each plan starts off with a free 30-day trial. Freshbooks does not offer a Self-Employed plan or more features as you up the costs on each plan. Each plan and its cost is based on how many clients you have. After the free trial ends, you are required to choose to one of their three plans: the Lite Plan, which is $15 per month and allows the user to bill up to five clients; the Plus plan is $25 per month and allows 50 clients; and the Premium plan for $50 per month, which offers billing up to 500 clients. You can save up to 10 percent by paying for an annual subscription. All the plans come with customer support, which is provided through phone, E-mail and contact forms.

The Best Choice for Freelancers

As a freelancer, you want to be prepared for Tax Day, saving you time and money in the long run. Disorganized expenses can be a headache. You’re sitting in front of a computer screen surrounded by piles of receipts, wondering how you can get overcome this whole ‘filing taxes’ obstacle. It saves you time and money to have your finances organized and well taken care of. Quickbooks and Freshbooks offer much more tax deductions and tax support. They offer invoices, storage of files, tracking of hours or mileage (which is quite essential for the freelancer) as well as backed support throughout the entire workweek. These are all essential features for independent contractors such as freelance photographers or writers.

But it is also important to consider costs. Although Freshbooks is keen on marketing itself to freelancers, Quickbooks is the right choice to start on for the freelancer on a budget.

For $5 or $10 per month, the user receives nearly identical features that Freshbooks offers: mileage and income tracking, ability to send professional invoices, document expenses and receipts and receive customer service, which are all the same features Freshbooks offers, but at a lower price.

Quickbooks estimates your quarterly estimates before taxes are due and has the ability to connect to other tax software such as TurboTax. There are bundles offered for the TurboTax. You can export or download your reports and transactions via PDF or Excel spreadsheet to share with an accountant.

Freshbooks’ not cost effective, but its simple interface does pay off for the freelancer who needs an easy time starting up. Freshbooks clean and straightforward website is easy to navigate through, if you have a limited knowledge of accounting. The program provides conversational and simple language to have the freelancer understand their finances.

The only downside of using Quickbooks is that you cannot track your hours and your projects, which are features that Freshbooks has geared to the freelancer. These two features are not necessary for those in specific industries, but it can benefit the freelancer who is required to track their paid period for clients or need organization when balancing multiple projects. Another downside is that you’ll have to create a new account if you want to upgrade, which is the same for Freshbooks who locks your records when you upgrade.

Freshbooks does not offer customer support through online chat or on the weekends. In comparison, Quickbooks offers customer support through various means, except E-mail, and relies mostly on their online community forum. With mileage tracking, you also have an easier time recording your miles from driving to meetings or assignments. You also have the ability to invite an accountant to your reports, which is a great feature that Freshbooks does not automatically provide, although your records on Freshbooks are accessible for any accountant to view.

Quickbooks has come a long way in catering to the freelancer. Quickbooks’ chunky text and inventory-based website was designed for small businesses until they created a package plan for the freelancer in order to beat their competitor. From the looks of it, it will continue adding and helping the entrepreneur grow with their work, if they choose to increase their income or add an employee to their small business.

Let us know what was your experience with Freshbooks and Quickbooks Self-Employed in the comments below.

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