This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
Both cloud-based accounting programs, the United Kingdom-based FreeAgent and Canada-based FreshBooks, offer basic accounting features and are ideal for freelancers. While FreeAgent has the benefit of unlimited users and is less expensive, FreshBooks is the better choice for freelancers who track their time or have service businesses. While both programs have their strengths and weaknesses, your business’ accounting needs will determine the best accounting software for you.
When to Use FreeAgent
FreeAgent is a cloud-based money management and accounting tool intended for freelancers and small businesses. The software is good for service-based businesses because it can track time and expenses by project and then automatically add them to invoices, but so is FreshBooks. FreeAgent is better than FreshBooks for companies needing multiple users as a flat monthly fee gives you access to unlimited users with no limits on features. It works exclusively with accrual-based businesses, and what it lacks in complexity, it makes up for with its robust mobile app that will assist freelancers and contractors who are often on the road.
However, for all of its benefits, FreeAgent also has a few limitations. FreeAgent isn’t a good choice for companies using the cash-basis method of accounting on their tax returns because financial statements can only be printed on an accrual basis. FreeAgent isn’t for companies that issue paper checks because there is no bank reconciliation feature to verify the available bank balance when checks are outstanding. Also, wholesalers and retailers should look for another small business accounting software as neither FreeAgent nor FreshBooks tracks inventory costs adequately.
When to Use FreshBooks
As we discussed in our review of FreshBooks, it is a user-friendly cloud-based accounting software program that offers many great features suitable for small businesses. We selected FreshBooks as the best overall invoicing software and also the best for ecommerce companies with limited inventory. Additionally, FreshBooks is also better for companies with employees because of the Gusto payroll integration. Because FreeAgent doesn’t print cash-basis financial statements, FreshBooks is the best choice for businesses that operate with this accounting method.
However, while there are several positive aspects to FreshBooks, there are also a few drawbacks. Each plan comes with only one user, so FreeAgent is a much better choice for businesses that are looking for a program that can support unlimited users, clients, and projects.
FreeAgent vs FreshBooks at a Glance
Who It’s Best For
Freelancers and small businesses on an accrual basis
Freelancers and small businesses with invoicing needs
Monthly Pricing Plans
$24 per month
$15 to $50 for one user
From 5 to 500+ (available at a custom rate)
1 (additional users available at $10 per month)
Send Invoices & Track Collections
Cash Basis Accounting
Connect Bank & Credit Card Accounts
Can Accept Payment Directly From Invoice
Track Sales Tax Collections & Payments
Manage Unpaid Bills
Capture & Organize Receipts
Budgeting & Forecasting
FreeAgent vs FreshBooks: Pricing
FreeAgent is offered at a flat fee that is very affordable, with no limit on the number of users, clients, or projects. Meanwhile, FreshBooks has four subscription plans that are priced based on the range of features and number of clients. If you’d like to try out the software first, both FreeAgent and FreshBooks offer a free 30-day trial.
FreeAgent has a single subscription plan of $12 per month for the first six months and $24 per month thereafter. Payments are made on a monthly basis, but you can receive a discount for paying annually instead. There is a free 30-day trial, which doesn’t require credit card information, and you can cancel your account at any time.
While FreeAgent has one subscription plan, FreshBooks offers four subscription plans that range from $15 to $50-plus per month, depending on the number of billable clients and the advanced features that are required. The price is for one user, except Select, which comes with two users. Additional users can be added for $10 per month.
- Lite: $15 per month for up to five billable clients
- Plus: $25 per month for up to 50 billable clients
- Premium: $50 per month for up to 500 billable clients
- Select: Custom pricing for more than 500 clients
FreshBooks offers a free trial, which gives you unlimited access to the software for 30 days, with no contracts and no credit card required. It also includes free phone and email support during the free trial.
FreshBooks Pricing and Tiered Features
Connect & Reconcile Bank Accounts
Expense Tracking With Tax Categories
Customize, Create & Send Invoices
Send Customizable Estimates
Integrated Third-party Payroll (Fee)
Time Tracking by Client or Project
Automated Late Payment Reminders
Track Project Profitability
Automated Recurring Invoices
Track Unpaid Bills
Customize Email Templates & Signatures
Dedicated Account Manager
Takeaway: FreeAgent offers all of its available features for a single price while FreshBooks has four subscription levels, including Lite, which is significantly cheaper than FreeAgent. While FreeAgent allows for unlimited users, FreshBooks charges an additional $10 for each user, which can add up quickly.
FreeAgent vs FreshBooks: Features
Both FreeAgent and FreshBooks have important features like accounts payable (A/P), invoicing, expense tracking, and time tracking. Both also have contact management and reporting capabilities. However, in terms of depth, it is FreshBooks that excels. FreshBooks’ invoicing features are much more robust than that of FreeAgent, which has limited invoice customization. FreeAgent also doesn’t support cash-basis accounting and doesn’t allow for bank reconciliation.
- A/P: You can create and manage bills and add bills to projects as well. You can set recurring bills and add attachments to each bill.
- Estimates and invoices: FreeAgent allows you to customize invoices with your company logo, and you can send invoices directly to clients. It excels on this core task through a series of dialogue boxes that allow you to attach the invoice to a project, provide payment terms, and customize reference numbers. You can also change an estimate to an invoice for efficient workflow.
- Expense tracking: Receipts for business expenses can be added by snapping a photo with your smartphone and uploading it to FreeAgent. They can then be organized into custom categories. You can also track employee expenses to monitor their running balance for reimbursement.
- Contact management: You can manage both customers and vendors using FreeAgent. You can save basic contact information, default tax settings, sales tax registration, and custom notes. When you click on a contact, you’ll be able to view their full history, including how much they currently owe and any invoices, estimates, or bills associated with them.
- Time tracking: You can track and record your time by either entering it manually or using the built-in stopwatch. You can then generate an invoice for unbilled time. Timesheet reports allow you to see where your time is being spent across your active projects.
- Banking: Connect FreeAgent to your bank accounts to import your transactions automatically, which allows you to monitor your accounts efficiently.
- Project management: FreeAgent supports project management and basic job costing. When creating a project, you can add tasks, billing rates, a default currency, a budget, start and end dates, and notes. You can attach expenses and time to projects and invoice these costs to customers easily. FreeAgent will also show your overall project profitability.
- Reports: FreeAgent only offers nine reports, which can be a bit limiting. However, that does include standard reports like a profit and loss, balance sheet, aged A/P and aged accounts receivable (A/R). You can also opt to be sent a weekly email with items that need attention, such as overdue invoices.
- Unlimited plan: Unlike many accounting software plans, there is no limit to the number of users, clients, or projects with FreeAgent.
- Invoicing: With the invoice generator, it’s simple to create and customize your invoice, add your logo, and personalize your thank you email. You can also accept payment via automated clearing house (ACH) and credit card and send late reminders automatically.
- Expense tracking: You can auto-categorize your expenses, assign recurring expenses, and automatically import bank and credit card transactions.
- Time tracking: The time tracking feature allows you to track your time on the go with the mobile app or enter time manually in the software. You can assign that time to a specific client, add detailed notes, and bill for tracked hours automatically.
- Estimates and proposals: Create estimates and proposals that present the scope of your project, the timeline, and deliverables. You can also view and respond to client feedback.
- Reports: The available reports include profit and loss statements, balance sheets, time entry details, unpaid bills detail, and payments collected.
- Banking: Connect bank and credit card accounts to auto-import transactions and avoid manual entry mistakes. As transactions are downloaded, you can organize your expenses by categorizing them so that when it’s time to reconcile your statement, you’ll have less work to do.
- A/P: Use this feature to keep bills organized so that you know where you stand with vendors. You can run an A/P aging report to view outstanding bills.
- Project management: With the ability to assign a rate or hours to each client, you can manage your projects more efficiently. This feature allows you to assign due dates and see a project status quickly.
- Easy expense uploads: FreshBooks allows you to digitize receipts by uploading a photo of them and entering the expense manually. Billable expenses are then tracked until added to a client invoice.
Takeaway: While FreeAgent and FreshBooks have many of the same key features, FreshBooks excels with its ability to support both cash and accrual accounting and invoicing capabilities. FreeAgent excels with its affordable unlimited plan.
FreeAgent vs FreshBooks: Ease of Use
Both FreeAgent and FreshBooks have dashboards that are intuitive and not difficult to learn. Once you connect your bank and credit card accounts, your statements will be uploaded automatically to the software, and you will be able to view reports that summarize your financial activity.
FreeAgent Ease of Use
FreeAgent is incredibly easy to use, with an intuitive user interface that is well-organized and doesn’t take long to learn. Setting up your account is also seamless, with questions that allow you to customize the service to the needs of your business. By providing your bank account information, you can link it to FreeAgent, which will import transactions automatically on a daily basis through its Bank Feeds feature.
The Dashboard gives a comprehensive overview of your financial picture and features charts and graphs that show relevant business activity. You can view your cash flow, invoices, banking, expenses, and profit and loss easily.
- Cash flow: FreeAgent’s cash flow gives you a financial snapshot of the money coming in and going out of your business, so you’ll always know where you stand with your finances.
- Invoice Timeline: See which invoices have been paid, are due, or overdue so that you’ll know what you’re owed and who you need to follow up with.
- Expenses: View a running list of expenses and bills that lists the amount due and vendor.
- Banking: When you connect your bank account to FreeAgent you can view a graph of your accounts that summarizes your balances by month.
- Profit and Loss: Find out exactly how much profit you’re making this year in an easy-to-read format.
FreshBooks Ease of Use
All of FreshBooks’ features can be accessed from the left menu bar, which navigates to other functions, including time tracking and invoicing. The Dashboard gives a summary of outstanding revenue, total profit, revenue streams, spending, and unbilled time. The user interface is accessible and not too cluttered.
- Left Menu Bar: The left menu bar provides access to tabs that will take you to various sections, including Clients, Invoices, Payments, Expenses, Estimates, Time Tracking, Project, and My Team.
- Outstanding Revenue: This report summarizes invoices that are past due, which you can view by the number of days that they are delinquent.
- Total Profit: This report reflects the total profit that has been generated during a 12-month period.
- Revenue Streams: This report shows the sales or income earned by customer.
- Spending: This report summarizes the business expenses, with category detail. This provides an easy way to understand how your money is being spent.
- Unbilled Time: If you track your time, this report breaks it down for each client and can serve as a reminder to create invoices for those clients.
Takeaway: Both FreeAgent and FreshBooks offer simple and uncluttered user interfaces that provide a quick glimpse at the financial aspects of your business. It is easy to navigate the Dashboards and view reports that summarize your total profit. However, the reports that are provided by FreshBooks give more of a comprehensive overview of spending and also feature an unbilled time report, which can be useful when billing clients.
FreeAgent vs FreshBooks: Assisted Bookkeeping
Both FreeAgent and FreshBooks have assisted bookkeeping options. However, while FreeAgent works with Gorilla Accounting to provide basic services, FreshBooks integrates with Bench, which offers other useful services, such as catch-up bookkeeping and account reconciliation.
FreeAgent Assisted Bookkeeping
Gorilla Accounting, a UK-based accounting firm, has partnered with FreeAgent to provide its clients with a full range of services that include your own dedicated accountant, a quarterly review of your books, preparation of financial statements, tax planning advice, and reminder services for all deadlines and payments.
FreshBooks Assisted Bookkeeping
FreshBooks partners with Bench, which is an online bookkeeping service that provides unlimited bookkeeping support. Upon enrollment, you will be paired with a dedicated bookkeeping expert who will handle everything from reconciling accounts to categorizing expenses to generating financial statements. With add-on services like Bench Tax and catch-up bookkeeping, you can ensure that your business is 100% compliant and that your books are up-to-date.
Takeaway: Because FreeAgent is UK-based, its assisted bookkeeping options for United States-based customers are limited. Gorilla Accounting, which is also UK-based, supports FreeAgent clients. FreshBooks works with Bench, an online bookkeeping service, which also provides catch-up bookkeeping and tax services.
FreeAgent vs FreshBooks: Integrations
Both FreeAgent and FreshBooks offer integrations, but FreeAgent is limited with its own in-app integrations. FreshBooks has several more integrations, including popular apps like Basecamp and Gusto.
FreeAgent offers 30 integrations, including a Zapier integration, which connects the software to over 1,000 other add-ons. Here’s a sample of the available integrations:
- Cash flow forecasting: Fractal and Float
- Customer relationship management (CRM): Capsule CRM and Contactzilla
- Ecommerce: Stripe, PayPal, Sellwire, and Woo Commerce
- Expenses: Dext
- Payroll: BrightPay and Staffology
- Payment gateways: Authorize.net, PayPal, Stripe, and BigCommerce
FreshBooks offers more than 100 integrations to cover almost any need that your business may have. While it offers many popular integration options, such as Gusto, Asana, and Basecamp, there are only three payment gateways available. Other integrations available include:
- CRM: Agile CRM, HubSpot, Capsule, and Natero
- Ecommerce: Woo Commerce, Podia, Squarespace, Shopify, Square, Selz, and Magento
- Expenses: Roger, Revolut Business, Everlance, Expensify, and MMC Receipt
- Inventory management: 2Ship and BarCloud
- Payroll: Gusto, PaymentEvolution, and KeyPay
- Time tracking: Boomr, Asana, Basecamp, and Everhour
- Payment gateways: WePay, Stripe, and PayPal
Takeaway: FreshBooks has more than three times as many integrations available as FreeAgent, including many that are available within the app.
FreeAgent vs FreshBooks: Mobile App
FreeAgent and FreshBooks both have robust mobile apps, which allow you to record expenses and track your mileage on the go. While FreeAgent lets you keep track of upcoming tax deadlines on the app, FreshBooks offers more robust time tracking features.
FreeAgent Mobile App
The FreeAgent mobile app allows you to take control of your bookkeeping with real-time visibility of how your business is performing. You’ll be able to handle all of your day-to-day accounts, expenses, and invoicing tasks from wherever you are. Here’s a summary of the app’s features:
- Expenses: Record expenses on the go easily by taking a photo of your receipt, which stores it in the receipt tracker automatically.
- Invoicing: Create and send invoices that send automatic reminders to help you get paid faster.
- Estimates: Create estimates that will help you win more work with less effort.
- Taxes: Keep tabs on upcoming tax deadlines and receive notifications when your tax bill is nearly due.
- Time tracking: Make every second count by tracking all of your billable and nonbillable time.
- Mileage: Track your business automobile costs
- Bills: Track bills from your suppliers and manage the costs you incur as you run your business.
FreshBooks Mobile App
The FreshBooks mobile app allows you to track your time, create and send estimates and invoices, accept online payments, follow up on unpaid invoices, and track all payments received. Mobile notifications keep you informed of all updates, so it’s easy to track everything client-related. All of your account info is synced automatically across all of your devices. The Dashboard summarizes profits, expenses, and other reports. Here’s a summary of the app’s available features:
- Mileage: Track your mileage as you drive automatically, categorize business trips easily, and view your potential tax deduction
- Invoicing: Create professional invoices for your clients with the ability to send automatic payment reminders
- Expenses: Snap photos on the go or import them from your bank account, and then organize and assign the expenses to clients.
- Time tracking: If you and your team are working on multiple projects at once, billable time might be missed. Time tracking in FreshBooks makes it easy for your whole team to log billable minutes and add them to invoices automatically.
Takeaway: You can’t go wrong with either software’s mobile app, which offer many of the features that a contractor or freelancer can do on the road. Both can record mileage and expenses, invoice customers, and track time.
FreeAgent vs FreshBooks: Customer Support
The stellar customer support provided by FreshBooks has been considered as one of its best features, which makes sense when you consider that it encourages phone calls and aims to answer them quickly. Its phone support is available weekly during regular business hours as compared to FreeAgent, which only has phone support available during UK business hours. However, both have other support resources, such as a knowledge base, community forum, guides, and webinars.
FreeAgent Customer Support
FreeAgent has support accountants that are available to answer your calls from 4 a.m. to noon Eastern time Monday through Friday. These hours reflect FreeAgent’s location in the UK. You can also email them with your inquiry, and it generally takes about 24 hours to receive a response.
You can grant support access to FreeAgent customer service representatives at any time so that they can see exactly what the issue is and how to fix it. FreeAgent also has a help center and several other support resources, which include the following:
- Knowledge base: FreeAgent has an extensive knowledge base with hundreds of how-to articles which are both thorough and easy to understand. You’ll also find getting started guides, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and webinars.
- Small business guides: There are a variety of small business guides in more than 14 different categories, including bookkeeping, invoicing, expenses, and payroll. These guides are insightful and cover various concepts, such as “How to Get Your Invoices Paid in Five Days.”
- Community forum: There is a community forum where you can connect with other FreeAgent users to ask questions.
- YouTube: FreeAgent has a YouTube channel with more than 130 videos, offering demonstrations for almost every feature in the software.
FreshBooks Customer Support
FreshBooks highly values its customer service and encourages its customers to contact them as often as necessary, extending the service even to those who are taking advantage of the free trial. Here’s a summary of the support options that are available:
- Phone: FreshBooks phone support operates Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Customer support representatives answer calls quickly, making this a great go-to support option.
- Email: You can also contact the FreshBooks support team via email, and you will generally receive a response within a few hours.
- Support form: If you prefer, you can use the online support form to contact customer support.
- Help center: The help center features a large number of how-to articles and a list of FAQs, which are well-written with step-by-step instructions.
- Webinars: FreshBooks offers free introductory webinars to help you become acquainted with the software.
- Blog: Much like the help center, the blog provides several articles with helpful business advice and information on product updates.
Takeaway: While both FreeAgent and FreshBooks offer several forms of customer support, FreshBooks excels with its service, promising access to a real person without wait times. Meanwhile, FreeAgent only offers customer support during UK business hours, which restricts access for US customers.
Both FreeAgent and FreshBooks offer a variety of cloud-based accounting features that are ideal for freelancers and small business owners with a limited number of employees. FreeAgent is less expensive and doesn’t limit the number of clients or projects, but FreshBooks offers a more in-depth array of tools that include sophisticated invoicing and time tracking. While FreshBooks allows you to select from four subscription plans with an additional charge per user, FreeAgent offers one affordable monthly fee with an unlimited number of users.