Comparative Review: FreshBooks vs Square

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In the digital era, businesses of all sizes require robust systems for invoice management, time tracking, and payment processing. Understanding this need, FreshBooks and Square provide comprehensive solutions that cater to different aspects of business operations. FreshBooks, a software primarily used for invoicing and time tracking, and Square, a popular payment processing platform, both have their unique strengths, features, and target markets. This article aims to provide a clear comparison of both platforms, covering their ease of use, pricing structures, customer service support, and distinctive pros and cons.

Overview of FreshBooks and Square

Overview of FreshBooks

FreshBooks is a cloud-based invoicing and time-tracking platform specifically designed for small and medium-sized businesses. It was introduced to the market in 2003 by 2ndSite Inc., a company headquartered in Toronto, Canada. FreshBooks has since gained a reputation for its ease of use, robust features, and friendly interface. Its core features revolve around invoicing, expense tracking, time tracking, project management, and online payments. The platform utilizes a subscription-based model, offering several plan tiers that cater to different business sizes and needs.

Key Features of FreshBooks

FreshBooks allows users to create and send professional invoices in a matter of seconds, set up subscriptions for recurring revenue, and accept online payments directly on the invoices. It also offers expense tracking features that streamline the recording of business expenses. With its time tracking and project management tools, businesses can better manage projects and track billable hours. Additionally, it provides comprehensive financial reports, giving businesses valuable financial insights.

FreshBooks’ Target Market

While FreshBooks is designed for a range of businesses, it’s particularly popular amongst small businesses and freelancers due to its easy setup and use. Industries that commonly use FreshBooks range from marketing and IT to construction and non-profit.

Overview of Square

Square, a financial services and mobile payment company, was launched in 2009 by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. Based in San Francisco, California, Square offers a wide range of software, hardware, and financial services to businesses of all sizes. Its products are primarily utilized for point-of-sale payments, eCommerce, and business management.

Key Features of Square

Square offers a comprehensive POS system that accepts a variety of payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, and mobile payments. Furthermore, Square provides hardware products like card readers and stands to facilitate in-person payments. For online businesses, it offers an eCommerce platform that works seamlessly with the rest of Square’s suite, creating a cohesive sales environment. Square also boasts an impressive array of business management tools, including inventory management, customer directories, and sales analytics.

Square’s Target Market

Square caters to a variety of business sizes and industries. It’s often used by physical storefronts and restaurants due to its POS systems, but also caters to online stores. The simplicity and affordability of its pricing structures make it a favorite among small businesses, while its comprehensive toolsets also serve larger businesses.

FreshBooks vs Square: A Comparison

Comparing FreshBooks and Square, it’s clear that they serve different primary functions. FreshBooks is an invoicing and time-tracking platform, ideal for service-based businesses and freelancers who bill clients for their time. On the other hand, Square is primarily a payment processing platform, suitable for businesses that need to process multiple payment types, whether in a physical storefront or online.Most of the overlap between the two platforms lies in their ability to process online payments and provide financial reports. While both are powerful tools, the decision between the two would ultimately depend on your business’s specific needs.

Renowned for their customer support, both FreshBooks and Square are known to prioritise their users.

FreshBooks extends its support by offering phone and email assistance, complemented by an array of resourceful guides and frequently asked questions on their official website. Likewise, Square provides similar avenues for support but accentuates the availability of self-service resources. They have constructed a full-bodied library abundant with guides, comprehensive articles, and a community platform where users can exchange ideas and solutions.

Ease of Use and Interface

Moving on to user experience: Comparing FreshBooks and Square

Both FreshBooks and Square stand out due to their user-friendly interfaces, though the contrast in their functionalities might influence a user’s choice.

FreshBooks, specifically crafted to suit the requirements of small to medium-scale businesses, offers an intuitive user interface that simplifies navigation through its various features. The platform eases its users into the system by providing detailed step-by-step instructions, allowing even novice users to acclimate quickly. With FreshBooks’ mobile app, users can also conveniently manage their finances on-the-go.

Contrarily, Square is a mobile payment platform known for its simplicity and minimalist design. It serves businesses of various sizes, facilitating acceptance of payments and direct sales to customers through mobile devices. Creating an account with Square is a swift process, and users can initiate transaction processing with just a few instructions. In addition, Square’s free mobile app enables users to manage payments at any time, wherever they are.

Feature Enhancement: FreshBooks

FreshBooks offers numerous attributes that enhance the user experience. It provides tools for expense tracking, time tracking, online invoicing, and report generation. To minimize manual bookkeeping, FreshBooks includes an automatic expense import feature from your bank or other financial accounts. It also supports multiple currencies and various payment methods for international businesses.

The software includes customizable invoicing and estimate templates which can be personalized to match the branding of your business. Additionally, it also offers project management features where users can collaborate with their team or clients, share files, and comment on projects directly in the platform.

Feature Enhancement: Square

Square, while primarily a payment processing system, offers a range of features that can help companies manage their businesses on multiple fronts. Some of these features include inventory management, customer relationship management, and employee management. It allows for integration with other software, making it a flexible tool adjusting to various business needs.

Users can also customize the types of payments they accept, from cash to credit and debit cards, to mobile payments like Apple Pay. Receipts can be sent electronically immediately after a transaction, saving both paper and time.

Furthermore, Square offers a virtual terminal where users can manually input credit card details, making it useful for over-the-phone transactions. It also provides analytic reports to aid business owners in making informed decisions.

In summary, both FreshBooks and Square offer easy-to-navigate interfaces that streamline the process of managing business transactions. However, the decision to use one over the other should be primarily based on the unique needs and requirements of your business. The offerings and fee structures of both platforms differ, and one might serve your business needs better than the other.

Pricing and Fees

Cost and fee structure of FreshBooks

FreshBooks presents a variety of pricing plans to cater to businesses of different sizes. Their Lite package, for example, which costs $15 a month, is ideal for self-employed professionals and small businesses with basic feature requirements and not more than five clients to bill.

For businesses with a larger clientele of up to 50, the Plus package at $25 per month is recommended. Businesses with an even larger client base of up to 500 would find the Premium package worth the $50 per month cost.

If your business has unique needs or a client base that exceeds 500, FreshBooks has a Select package with custom pricing. A 30-day free trial is available for all these plans to give potential users a chance to experience the service.

It’s important to note that there is an additional cost incurred per transaction. For card transactions, FreshBooks charges a transaction fee of 2.9% plus $0.30, and for ACH transfers, the fee is 1%.

Square Pricing and Fees

Square, on the other hand, follows a different pricing model. Square does not have any monthly fees for its basic Point of Sale app; instead, it works on a transactional basis. For each swiped card transaction, Square charges 2.6% + $0.10. For manual entries or virtual terminal transactions, the fee increases to 3.5% + $0.15.

In addition to the free version, Square offers other versions with additional features at a variety of price points. The Square for Restaurants, Square for Retail, and Square Appointments cost $60 per month per location. Additional registers are $40 each, making Square’s pricing model scalable and flexible depending on business size and needs.

For large businesses, Square offers custom pricing which includes volume discounts, market-specific software, and a dedicated support team.

Considering the Costs

When comparing FreshBooks and Square, it’s crucial to keep hidden costs in mind. Both platforms offer several basic features, but premium features like team collaboration and dedicated customer service might necessitate pricier plans. Additionally, penalties for chargebacks or refunds could translate to unforeseen expenses.

Before settling on either platform, prospective users should carefully scrutinize each plan’s features and pricing. Although cost plays a substantial role in the decision-making process, compromising essential features for a discounted price should be avoided. Factors such as the size of your business, the volume of your transactions, your industry, and your specific requirements will all contribute in determining whether FreshBooks or Square suits you the best.

Customer Service and Support

The Scope of FreshBooks Customer Assistance

FreshBooks is recognized for the efficiency of its customer service. Users can reach out to the support team using various methods including telephone, email, and instant chat within the application – response times are notably quick, usually just a few hours, even for email inquiries.

In addition to this, FreshBooks offers an extensive online resource center, encompassing a blog, webinars, e-books, and a detailed FAQ section to help users effectively navigate through general queries or issues they might encounter.

Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that their telephone support is only accessible from Monday to Friday, between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM Eastern Time. Users requiring assistance outside of these hours might experience slight delays.

Square Customer Service and Support

By contrast, Square’s customer service approach is slightly different. Square provides support via phone, email, social media, and a community forum where users can help each other. However, their phone support isn’t available as a service to all customers. To access phone support, customers must first obtain a code through their Square account.

Square’s online help center is a strong resource, offering several articles and guides that cover a wide range of common issues. However, some Square users have reported difficulties in reaching out to customer service representatives, complaining of long wait times and seemingly automated or unhelpful responses.

User Experiences

FreshBooks and Square perform remarkably well in delivering quality services to their users, as reflected in their high user satisfaction ratings. Nevertheless, there are noticeable distinctions in their customer experiences.

Many users appreciate FreshBooks for its accessible features and the platform’s overall ease of use. The software’s meticulous customer service is often highlighted in laudatory reviews for the staff’s politeness, patience, and commitment to providing assistance.

Square, on the other hand, receives applause from its users for its intuitive layout and wide-ranging features. The company’s customer service may occasionally come under scrutiny, but users find the wide array of self-help resources, which include an extensive knowledge base and community forums, beneficial.

In sum, FreshBooks highlights a reactive customer service team while Square capitalizes on the provision of self-help resources. Prospective users should weigh their preference for the kind of support each platform provides when deciding between the two.

Pros and Cons

The Strengths and Weaknesses of FreshBooks

FreshBooks is a web-based system primarily designed for small businesses, offering a straightforward platform for invoicing, time-tracking, and expense management.

High among its merits is FreshBooks’ comprehensive feature set, which greatly supports business accounting. The software enables companies to automate various tasks such as organizing expenses, tracking time, and client follow-ups. Its effortless integration with popular business tools like Shopify, WordPress, and PayPal expands its functionality even further.

FreshBooks also produces detailed reports that provide invaluable insights into a business’s financial standing, inclusive of profit and loss statements, expense reports, and sales tax summary reports. Its strong focus on invoices, featuring customizable templates and automatic reminders, makes it especially suitable for businesses that primarily rely on invoicing.

Notwithstanding, FreshBooks does have a few shortcomings. The most noteworthy is its cost model, which is largely based on the number of clients, making it less ideal for businesses managing a sizable clientele. Also, FreshBooks’ inventory tracking capabilities are fairly limited as the software’s primary strength lies in invoicing and expense management.

Square: Pros and Cons

Square, on the other hand, is an all-in-one payment processor known for helping businesses manage sales, inventory, and team members.

Square’s primary benefit is its simple pricing structure, making it a cost-effective choice for small businesses. It charges a flat rate for each transaction, regardless of the card issuer or the type of card being used. Plus, there’s no monthly fee, and it includes a free magstripe reader upon sign-up.

Additionally, Square’s comprehensive point of sale system allows you to handle payments, digital receipts, inventory, reports, and more from a single service. The system is user-friendly and easy to set up, which gains it a lot of points with small businesses that may not have a dedicated IT team.

One key downside of Square is that it’s essentially a third-party payment processor, so it doesn’t issue merchant accounts to its users. As a result, businesses using Square frequently report having their funds held without warning, which can cause significant disruptions. Also, while Square does a great job at accepting and processing payments, its broader business management features might not be as comprehensive or robust as some businesses require.

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of both FreshBooks and Square can help you make the right choice for your business needs. Each has its strengths and might be more appropriate depending on the focus of your business — whether that’s invoicing and expense tracking, or payment processing and sales management.

FreshBooks and Square specially cater to different needs of the modern business landscape. While FreshBooks impresses with its invoicing and time-tracking solutions, Square shines with its seamless payment processing system. However, no perfect solution exists, and both platforms have their distinct strengths and shortcomings. Considerations such as ease of use, pricing, and customer support can significantly impact the efficiency of business operations. Thus, understanding the network intricacies of both platforms is vital to ensure the chosen platform aligns tightly with one’s business needs, allowing for efficient and smooth business transactions.

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