Harvest vs. FreshBooks—Which Is Best for Your Business?

Harvest vs. FreshBooks—Which Is Best for Your Business?

Searching for a business accounting software that fits all of your business’s needs can be a tiring process. There are several options to consider, all with varying features and price points.

In your search, you may have come across either Harvest or FreshBooks, if not both. If you’re wondering how these two platforms compare, this Harvest vs. FreshBooks comparison is here to help. We’ll break down everything you need to know about Harvest and FreshBooks, including their different plans, pricing, and features. Additionally, we’ll provide some alternative accounting software options if you find that neither FreshBooks nor Harvest is right for you.

Harvest vs. FreshBooks Overview

There’s plenty of information to break down when you’re comparing two different accounting software platforms. 

Before we get into the details of the various plans each one offers and their price points, here is an overview of some of the basic information you’ll likely want to know when deciding between the two.

Harvest FreshBooks
Plans
Free, Pro
Lite, Plus, Premium, Select
Price
$0, $12/month
$15, $25, $50, custom pricing/month
Users
One user, unlimited users
One user, additional users cost $10
Features
– Team management
– Projects
– User-friendly
– Mobile
Integrations
More than 100 apps
More than 200 apps
Support
9 hours a day, Monday – Friday via email or phone
12 hours a day, Monday – Friday via email or phone
Highlights
Free option, great for freelancers and people who work by project
App integrations, several plan options
Free Trial
30-day free trial
30-day free trial

With this overview in mind, let’s dive into the details of each of these accounting software solutions.

Harvest Plans and Pricing

When looking at Harvest, one of the main aspects that helps it stand out is that they offer a completely free option for users. For businesses that are just starting out or on a very tight budget, this can be a considerable pro, as there aren’t many truly free accounting software options out there. 

However, if your needs stretch beyond the capabilities of Harvest’s free plan, they also offer a paid version that may serve your needs better.

Harvest Free

Harvest’s free option allows for one user and two projects a month. The plan comes with time and expense tracking, reporting, unlimited invoices and estimates, timesheet approval, integrations with more than 100 apps, an app for your mobile device (iOS and Android), and phone and email support. 

This plan is completely free, so you won’t pay anything per month and you still get all of the features listed above. It’s great for businesses that are project- or service-based and charge by the hour. However, it’s best for smaller businesses, as you’ll be limited to just two projects and one user.

Harvest Pro

The Harvest Pro plan offers all of the same features as their free plan, but you’ll have an unlimited number of users and an unlimited number of projects as well. It will cost you $12 per user per month unless you pay annually, in which case you’ll save 10%.

That said, if you want several users to access your account, this cost could quickly add up. Additionally, Harvest mainly covers the basic bookkeeping tasks a business needs to manage, making even their paid plan best for smaller businesses with fewer accounting needs.

Keep in mind, though, Harvest also offers a 30-day free trial so you can explore their fully functional platform before deciding if it’s right for your business.

FreshBooks Plans and Pricing

Next up, we’ll explore the different plans and pricing of FreshBooks. While they don’t have a free version, there are some similarities between FreshBooks and Harvest—as well as key differences. Notably, you will have significantly more features; however, you will still face user and client limitations, depending on your plan. Let’s learn more.

FreshBooks Lite

The most basic plan from FreshBooks is their Lite plan. This plan allows you to attach five billable clients to your account at one time. Thus, FreshBooks Lite is likely best for freelancers or very small businesses that don’t have many clients. 

You will also have the most limited number of features with this plan. That said, you will still have unlimited and customized invoices, unlimited expense entries, the ability to accept online credit card payments and ACH bank transfers, automatic expense tracking from your bank accounts, unlimited time tracking, unlimited estimates, reports, and more than 200 integrations.  

The Lite plan costs $15 per month if paid monthly, with the option to pay annually and save 10%. It’s also worth noting that no matter which FreshBooks plan you choose, you’ll only ever have one user included. To add additional users, you will need to pay an additional $10 per person per month—which, depending on how many users you need, can quickly add up. That said, it is cheaper than the $12 per user per month you’ll pay with Harvest.

FreshBooks Plus

All of the plans from FreshBooks build on one another, so if you opt for FreshBooks Plus, you’ll get all of the features included in the Lite plan—and then some. For $25 per month you’ll get 50 billable clients and still have unlimited and customized invoices. With the FreshBooks Plus plan, you’ll also get unlimited proposals, automated recurring invoices, double-entry accounting reports, scheduled late fees, automated late payment reminders, and client retainers. 

Keep in mind, though, you still only have the primary user with this account and any additional users will still cost $10 per person per month.

FreshBooks Premium

If you have more than 50 clients, you’ll want to opt for the Premium plan. For $50 per month, you can accommodate up to 500 clients. However, virtually all of the other features are the same as the Plus plan, so you are only paying for the ability to invoice more clients. And again, you’ll still have to pay for those additional users, though there’s no limit to how many users you can add.

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Choosing Between Harvest and FreshBooks

When choosing between FreshBooks vs. Harvest, it will help to come up with a list of the features you absolutely need in your accounting software. That list should include everything from your budget to whether you need time tracking capabilities and the number of clients or users you plan to have on your account. 

Due to the fact that these two account software are very similar, choosing between the two might come down to the type of business owner you are. We’ll cover how to choose below.

Where Harvest Wins

Right off the bat, it’s clear Harvest has most of the features you would need from your accounting software. It has a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on Capterra and on G2 Crowd as well, indicating that customers love it too. 

Harvest is really popular among freelancers who use it to invoice their clients and who don’t have other support staff. If you’re a one-person operation, a software like Harvest might be the best option for you because it can help you do some of the more administrative tasks that a larger business might have dedicated staff or employees to handle. 

For instance, Harvest can take care of time tracking and business expenses and is great for people who work on a project basis. Plus, if your needs are small enough, you may be able to get away with using their free version, which is truly hard to beat.

Where FreshBooks Wins

FreshBooks is also a popular solution among users and also received 4.5 stars on both Capterra and G2 Crowd.

Small business owners and people who are self-employed will likely benefit the most from using FreshBooks. Compared to Harvest, FreshBooks offers greater functionality, so you can tackle more accounting tasks for your business. Plus, it’s great for reporting and you can access a host of reports regarding your business like expense reports, profit and loss statements, accounts aging reports, and more.

You can also have your FreshBooks app sync across your computer and the mobile app as well, making it easier for you to work from anywhere and at any time to keep your small business going.

Harvest vs. FreshBooks Alternatives

If these two options are too similar or are missing some features that are absolutely necessary to running your business, like unlimited users on the account, you have other options available to you. Let’s take a look at two more scalable alternatives that may work better for your business now and as it grows.

Xero

If you’re looking for more users than Harvest or FreshBooks can offer you (without an additional cost), look no further than Xero. With Xero you get unlimited users on your account, which can be a huge selling point if there are several people in your business who will need to use this platform. Additionally, you’ll have a host of other features, including invoices, quotes, bank connections and reconciliation, inventory management, purchase orders, bills, reporting, a mobile app, integrations, and more.

There are three plans available with Xero: Early for $9 per month, Growing for $30 per month, and Established for $60 per month. One drawback is that the Early plan only comes with five invoices a month, so you might need to opt for the Growing plan if you want those unlimited invoices. With the most expensive plan, you’ll also get their multi-currency feature, which can be incredibly helpful if you do business with any clients internationally.

QuickBooks Online

If you want one of the most trusted names in business accounting, QuickBooks Online might be the perfect alternative for you. Like all of the other accounting software we’ve detailed in this article, it’s a cloud-based software that can help you manage your books wherever you are.

There are actually three QuickBooks Online plans for you to choose from: Simple Start for $25 per month, Essentials for $40 per month, and Plus for $70 per month. All of the plans come with accounting basics, like income and expense tracking, invoicing, payment acceptance, receipt capture, bank account connection, check printing, reporting, data backup, access for two accountants, integrations, and more. The Essentials plan also offers bill management and time tracking along with three users included on the account; the Plus plan allows for five users and project profitability tracking.

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The Bottom Line

Now that you have all of the details of this FreshBooks vs. Harvest comparison, you should be a step closer to making a decision about your business’s accounting software. 

Take the time to consider your business’s needs, as well as what you can spend, and how you plan to grow your business in the future. Both Harvest and FreshBooks are best-suited for smaller businesses—Harvest is most ideal for freelancers. And neither is a super scalable option. If you plan to grow your business significantly in the future, you may consider an alternative such as Xero or QuickBooks Online. 

To help you choose, take advantage of any free trials to really familiarize yourself with the software before you commit. By working directly in the platform, you’ll easily be able to identify any pain points or deal breakers—or features that work particularly well for your workflow.

Nina Godlewski

Nina Godlewski is a former staff writer at Fundera.

Nina worked to help make complicated business topics more accessible for small business owners. At Fundera, she focused on complex topics ranging from payroll management to launching a business. She was previously a staff writer at Newsweek covering technology, science, breaking news, and culture. She has also worked as a reporter for Business Insider and The Boston Globe.

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