Running any sort of small business can take a lot of time and effort, and if you’re attempting to do the best you can, you want to make sure that the software that you’re using is the best for what you’re doing. QuickBooks has always been “the standard” when it comes to accounting software, but does it have to be what your business uses?
Absolutely not – the fact of the matter is, as more software companies step into the world of accounting software, you will find that QuickBooks isn’t necessarily the best for invoicing and other accounting functions. Some people say that it’s too complicated, or too confusing, or that it’s always changing so that it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on. Some simply require a cheaper alternative. There is certainly no shortage of competitors in the small business accounting software market (wave accounting, Sage One, Xero, intacct, FinancialForce, Kashoo, Oneup).
We’re going to take a closer look at two of the best contenders that you can consider as alternatives to QuickBooks in 2018 – FreshBooks and Billy. These two products have both been gaining some recognition lately. People are finding that they provide the needed accounting functionality in a simpler and more straightforward fashion. We’ll dive into what each product offers and why they may be a better choice than QuickBooks for your company needs.
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Comprehensive Integration with Small Business and Freelancing Tools
Whenever you start looking at alternative accounting software, you will find that FreshBooks vs Quickbooks is, more often than not, the first thing that is going to come up during your searches. The software looks and works very similarly to QuickBooks, but there are some distinct differences that you should be aware of. Here is a quick look at both the pros and the cons that are associated with FreshBooks as opposed to using QuickBooks.
Integration with Small Business and Freelancing Tools
One of the hardest things to deal with in regards to QuickBooks is the fact that they have a limited number of options when it comes to integration. While this has improved over the years, it’s definitely true that FreshBooks has an advantage here. They have integrated with many of the most common small business and freelancing tools, including PayPal, Google Cloud, Bench, G Suite, Zapier, Stripe, Fundbox, and more.
Built-in Time Tracking for Payroll
Payroll tracking is something that QuickBooks hasn’t caught up with yet. As a small business owner, you need to be able to keep track of payroll in a way that is effective and that will allow you to easily track employee expenses.
Why should you have to pay more for an expensive payroll option to use alongside of QuickBooks, when FreshBooks has it built into the software to start with? The option is easy to use and you can just pull up the payroll information when you need to file taxes or if you need payroll information for anything else that you may be trying to do.
Ability to Set Up Recurring Invoices
When you’re doing regular work for a client or customer, it’s easier to set up recurring invoices rather than having to manually invoice every single time. While QuickBooks does not have this feature in their software, FreshBooks has made it a primary part of the software’s functionality. This makes it easier for you, as a small business owner, to get paid and to keep up with what your clients or customers are paying you. This is one of the main reasons that many freelancers have decided to go with FreshBooks rather than QuickBooks.
Better, Easier to Use Mobile Applications
The QuickBooks Mobile App is known for crashing and not having a lot of features that customers can use – FreshBooks has made their app a priority! It works incredibly well, is easy to navigate, and has almost all of the features that you would get if you were using the PC/Mac version of the software. That allows you to keep up with things, even if you’re traveling or taking a sick day. It also means that, if something happens with your PC or Mac, you will be able to use your mobile device temporarily until you get back on the web.
Lower System Requirements than QuickBooks
Since FreshBooks is cloud-based rather than local computer based, you aren’t going to need quite as powerful as a device to run it. QuickBooks, more often than not, has some base requirements that can be problematic for freelancers and small business owners that can’t afford to get a machine with a faster processor or more memory. That’s also why the app version of FreshBooks is known for being that much better than QuickBooks app, as mentioned in the previous point.
Great Customer Service.
If you have ever talked to anyone who has dealt with QuickBooks Customer Service, you know that their ratings are pretty low. FreshBooks has much higher standards for their customer service. The staff is friendly and will work with you to find a solution to whatever problems that you may be having. They are knowledgeable and will ensure that you get everything back up and running within a reasonable amount of time.
Lack of Inventory Tracking Capabilities
This is one area that QuickBooks has a leg up, but many small business owners see this as a minor drawback. If you aren’t dealing with inventory at all, it won’t matter. If you are dealing with inventory, you will likely want something that is outside of your accounting software to take care of it for you anyway, so getting separate inventory software is your best option.
Limited Expense Tracking Services
A general look at what the cash flow in and out of your business is clearly important, and that’s what FreshBooks offers – a general look. It offers a limited number of detailed reports, and a common complaint is that expense tracking could be a lot better. The product is not intended to be a full-blown, business accounting system, but the superior invoicing features along with the adequate bookkeeping functions it does provide make it a valuable tool for individuals and small businesses.
The Bottom Line
FreshBooks is an easy to use, great option for freelancers and small business owners that are looking for a more affordable way to keep track of their accounting. It’s quick and easy to set up and you will be able to use it for almost all of the accounting needs that you may have. You may need to use a couple of other types of software to make up for the very few features that they don’t have available in the software, such as a separate program to track inventory.
Billy – Alternative to QuickBooks
Billy is accounting software that was developed by a pair of individuals who were frustrated with the issues that often came up with the software that they had used for their business. They worked to put together a simple, but complete, type of accounting software that has all of the basics that people require in order to take care of small business accounting.
Billy Accounting has been gaining a lot of traction recently, with over 50,000 people utilizing the product as their primary accounting software. Some users in certain fields have found Billy to be a good Freshbooks alternative also. Let’s take a look at why Billy is a good option for many people who are seeking a solution like this for their accounting needs.
Very Simple for Anyone to Use
Even if you’re someone that doesn’t have a lot of experience in regards to technology, Billy has been developed for people like you to be able to use it without any problems. QuickBooks has a much more complicated user interface that can be problematic, especially for those people who aren’t as familiar with navigating through various software interfaces. The simplicity of the app is something that anyone can appreciate and, as a freelancer or small business owner, you will find that you feel more confident using Billy than other, more complicated accounting apps.
As with FreshBooks, Billy has been developed so that your computer doesn’t necessarily need the newest processor or memory. It’s a cloud-based program that allows you to work anytime, anywhere. That alone is a big advantage over QuickBooks. The cloud is also using various levels of security technology, allowing you to feel confident that your information is going to be safe, no matter where you access it.
Importing Receipts Is Simple
Keeping track of expense receipts is crucial for any freelancer or small-sized entrepreneur. When it comes to tax-time, being able to deduct business expenses makes a big difference. But who wants to keep paper receipts for every cup of coffee you have with a potential client?
With Billy, you just need to take a quick picture with your phone, do a couple of clicks and approvals, and you’ll be ready to import the receipts. The receipt import feature is what many reviewers of the software say is their favorite feature, due to its ease of use and how quickly everything is accomplished within the software. This advantage when comparing Billy vs QuickBooks is a winner for many.
One of the most difficult things to deal with regarding QuickBooks is their pricing system – it’s not always easy to understand and you may have to spend a lot of cash in order to get all of the features that you need. Billy has 3 levels of subscription plans, and the $11 one (the lowest level) has more than what you get at QuickBooks’ lowest level. The $15 and $19 ones open up even more benefits that some (but not all) small business owners and freelancers may need.
Easily Setup Recurring Invoices
As with FreshBooks, one of the best benefits of Billy is that you can set up recurring invoices. That means that you won’t have to worry about forgetting one of your regular clients because the invoices will just happen when you need them to do so. Schedule it and let it go so that you can continue working and not have to worry about forgetting any sort of payment issue that may come up with a client or customer over time.
Very Little Integration of Other Apps
It may be the case that if are using plenty of other money/banking apps that Billy isn’t going to be super helpful for you. They currently only do integration with Stripe, but the developers have said that they plan on integrating with more apps as time goes on. Keep this in mind if you’re considering Billy as an option for your accounting software, because you’ll have to do some manual input to keep up with certain things. As mentioned above, importing receipts does make this easier as well.
Best for Small Businesses and Freelancers rather than Bigger Companies
While QuickBooks and FreshBooks definitely have implementations for those who are in mid-size businesses and larger businesses, Billy does not. It is a smaller, less complex option that doesn’t give you all of the information that you may need if you run a larger business. It doesn’t have the complex financial reports that you may need to present to financial backers, which is why it’s usually not used by larger businesses. If you operate a small company or are a freelancer, it’s totally built for you – otherwise, you may want to consider other options.
The Bottom Line
Billy is a great app that has truly been developed with the freelancer and small business owner in mind and, while they are still expanding, they are a great way to keep track of the basic accounting needs that you may be trying to work through on a regular basis. This app is easy to use and it takes less time than QuickBooks or other alternatives on the market to use and understand. Billy is definitely a solid option for anyone that is trying to find an affordable way to keep up with their accounting needs.
As you can see, Billy and FreshBooks definitely give QuickBooks a run for their money. If you’re looking for affordable options that work well for small business or independent contractor accounting, both will work well. You want to compare and contrast them to see what works the best and how you can get what you need in order to keep up with business accounting needs of all types. Consider looking at both of them in detail to see what may be the best one for your business and its needs.
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