FreshBooks vs. QuickBooks Online vs. Xero: The Ultimate Comparison Review

When it comes to choosing small-business accounting software, you might find yourself comparing FreshBooks, QuickBooks Online and Xero, three of the most well-known options.

FreshBooks is typically best-suited for freelancers, contractors and service-based businesses, due to its focus on invoicing, time tracking, client-specific tools and overall user-friendliness. QuickBooks Online and Xero, on the other hand, are usually a better fit for product- or sales-based businesses, especially those with more complex accounting needs. Between QuickBooks Online and Xero, QuickBooks Online is a great option for scalability and popularity in the industry, especially with its inventory and reporting tools.


Lite, Plus and Premium plans; Select custom-priced plan

Simple Start, Essentials, Plus and Advanced plans

Early, Growing and Established plans

  • Unlimited invoices, expenses, estimates and time tracking.

  • User-friendly interface and excellent mobile app.

  • Integrated, in-house payment processing with option for FreshBooks Advanced payments solution.

  • Four, scalable plan options with advanced features for invoicing, reporting, inventory and taxes.

  • Wide variety of integration options, as well as QuickBooks/Intuit tools.

  • Integrated, in-house payment processing with options for in-person payments.

  • Unlimited users with all plans.

  • Customizable and robust advanced features for inventory, reporting, invoicing, etc.

  • Largest app store for third-party integrations.

  • 24/7 online customer support.

$10 per team member; up to 10 accountants included with Plus and Premium

One to 25 included users based on plan level

Free unlimited users with all plans

Mobile accounting app available for iOS and Android

Mobile accounting app available for iOS and Android

Mobile accounting app available for iOS and Android

100 integrations across multiple categories

Over 600 apps across various categories, including additional Intuit tools

Over 800 apps across various categories, including tools owned and created by Xero

Phone and email-based support, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET

Phone and live chat support, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT; Saturday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Advanced plan support is 24/7

24/7 online support from Xero accounting team

Freelancers, contractors and service-based businesses

Product- and sales-based businesses with more complex accounting needs; businesses looking for a highly scalable solution

Product- and sales-based businesses with more complex accounting needs, especially those looking for a lower-priced QuickBooks Online alternative

How QuickBooks Online compares

Read more about how QuickBooks Online stacks up against the competition.

As FreshBooks, QuickBooks Online and Xero are all web-based software solutions, they all have multiple plan options and operate on subscription-based pricing.

Xero has the lowest price option overall, with its Early plan priced at $12 per month. FreshBooks starts at $15 per month. You’ll find the highest pricing with QuickBooks Online, starting at $25 per month.

Diving deeper, however, you’ll find that the way each solution is priced is slightly different.

  • FreshBooks: With three subscription plans, FreshBooks pricing is largely based on the number of billable clients included with your account. FreshBooks also offers a custom pricing plan.

FreshBooks Accounting

  • QuickBooks Online: With four subscription plans, the pricing for QuickBooks Online is based on the specific features included with each level.

QuickBooks Online

  • Xero: With three subscription plans, Xero differentiates its pricing tiers based on the number of included invoices and quotes, bills and bank transactions.

Let’s break down the pricing differences between FreshBooks, QuickBooks Online and Xero in greater detail.

Like we mentioned earlier, FreshBooks, QuickBooks Online and Xero all have the same basic features.

Each of these solutions is web-based, meaning you can sign on and use your account anywhere you have internet access. Additionally, they each provide essential accounting tools — allowing you to connect your bank account, reconcile transactions, track income and expenses, send invoices, accept online payments and more.

With these similarities in mind, let’s take a look at what differentiates the capabilities of these top accounting software options.

Overall, all three software solutions are highly rated across the internet — you’ll find that FreshBooks, QuickBooks Online and Xero each has a rating of four stars or higher on most review sites.

FreshBooks reviews

In terms of the benefits of FreshBooks, user reviews tend to focus on:

  • Ease of use, approachable for beginners.

  • Excellent invoicing features, especially for self-employed professionals and smaller businesses.

  • Time tracking and ability to work easily with clients.

  • Great functionality of the mobile app.

On the other hand, critiques of the FreshBooks software often include:

  • Limited reporting features.

  • Occasional syncing issues and bugs.

  • Could continue to add more features.

QuickBooks Online reviews

With QuickBooks Online, you’ll find that positive reviews typically mention:

  • Generally excellent functionality.

  • Ability to access it regardless of location (often mentioned in comparison to QuickBooks Desktop).

  • User-friendly, widely well-known.

  • Great integration options, easy to connect to QuickBooks.

When it comes to criticism of QuickBooks Online, reviewers often discuss:

  • Limited capabilities and advanced features in comparison to Desktop versions.

  • Some bugs and connection issues.

  • Expensive cost, especially if you add services.

Xero reviews

For Xero’s customer reviews, users often talk about the following as top advantages of the platform:

  • Great overall functionality, particularly reconciliation and general customization capabilities.

  • Access to variety of third-party apps that are easy to integrate.

  • Excellent support, plus Xero training and educational resources.

On the other hand, these are a few points where Xero often sees criticism in user reviews:

  • Interface not always the most user-friendly, can take some time to learn.

  • Could have better tax tools.

  • Issues with certain features, particularly reporting.

Pros and cons of FreshBooks, QuickBooks Online and Xero

As you can see, there are a variety of different aspects to consider when it comes to comparing FreshBooks vs. QuickBooks Online vs. Xero. To make the process easier, let’s boil down the pros and cons of each of these business accounting software solutions:

  • User-friendly, great mobile app.

  • Unlimited invoices, expenses and estimates with all plans.

  • Excellent time tracking tools with all plans.

  • Great tools for freelancers, contractors and service-based businesses.

  • No bill pay/accounts payable features.

  • No inventory management tools.

  • Have to pay for additional users.

  • Plans limit number of billable clients.

  • Robust overall functionality, especially tax tools, inventory, invoicing and time tracking.

  • Integrated payment processing with slightly lower rates and options for in-person processing.

  • Option to use proprietary payroll software.

  • Most plan options, very scalable.

  • Most expensive plan pricing.

  • Need higher-level plans to access more than one user account.

  • Some of the best tools (bill pay, inventory and advanced reporting) require expensive, higher-level plans.

  • Lowest priced plan ($12 per month).

  • Unlimited users with all plans.

  • Highly customizable advanced features, especially inventory and reporting tools.

  • Largest app store for third-party integrations.

  • 24/7 online-based customer support.

  • First plan option limits invoices, quotes, bills and transactions.

  • Time tracking and multi-currency tools require highest-level plan.

 A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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