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FreshBooks vs Xero: A Comprehensive Comparison

In the landscape of accounting software, two standouts, FreshBooks and Xero, continue to vie for market supremacy. With roots dug deep within the financial industry, these innovative platforms are highly utilized to streamline and automate tasks—ranging from expense tracking to invoice creation. As two genuine titans of the sector, understanding the pros and cons of each, as well as their unique selling propositions can guide businesses and individuals in making an informed decision when choosing which platform is the best fit for their specific needs. This review will not only delve into the roots of FreshBooks and Xero by exploring their history, uses, and service offerings, but also compare their usability, features and functionalities, customer support, as well as their robust security measures.

Overview of FreshBooks and Xero

Overview of FreshBooks and Xero

FreshBooks and Xero are two software platforms commonly used for small business bookkeeping, accounting, invoicing, and more. They were both started in 2006 and have grown significantly since then, becoming two of the most popular online accounting solutions worldwide.

FreshBooks, a cloud-based software, was developed in Toronto, Canada. It was intended to provide small business owners with a simple yet robust tool for managing their finances. Today, FreshBooks reports having over 24 million users and serves businesses in various industries, including creative agencies, consultants, tech companies, and the like.

On the other hand, Xero, a New Zealand-based company, focuses on creating intuitive accounting systems for small businesses. Today, Xero boasts more than 2 million subscribers spanning 180 countries, and it serves a diverse variety of industries such as retail, e-commerce, non-profits, and hospitality.

Core offerings: FreshBooks vs Xero

As accounting software, FreshBooks and Xero offer similar core services but in different ways.

FreshBooks stands out for its extensive invoicing features, expense tracking capabilities, and time tracking tools. This platform can customize invoices, accepting credit cards online, and automate billing tasks. It offers three different pricing options, ranging from $15 to $50 per month, depending on the number of billable clients a business has.

Xero, on the other hand, is reputed for its expansive integrations, advanced reconciliation features, and unlimited user capabilities. It provides real-time financial data, enabling users to have immediate access to cash flow insights. It has various pricing models starting at $15 per month, with more advanced plans offering payroll and multi-currency accommodates.

FreshBooks and Xero: User Experience

User experience is a critical factor in determining the right software, and there’s a significant difference between FreshBooks and Xero. FreshBooks is widely praised for its user-friendly interface, straightforward navigation, and customer service.

On the other hand, Xero is known for its comprehensive features but may have a steeper learning curve, making it slightly less user-friendly for people without an accounting background. However, Xero offers a wealth of resources and tutorials to help users become comfortable with the system.

Final Thoughts

When juxtaposing FreshBooks and Xero, it’s evident that both bring robust solutions to the table for small and midsize enterprises. The choice between FreshBooks vs Xero ultimately hinges on your specific business requirements, preferences, and the scale of your operations.

Ease of Use

Usability: FreshBooks compared to Xero

Selecting an accounting software often boils down to how easy it is to operate. In this context, both FreshBooks and Xero shine with their incredibly intuitive interfaces, meticulously crafted to alleviate the burden of bookkeeping and streamline your accounting procedures.


FreshBooks boasts a highly intuitive interface, known for its simplicity and user-friendly design. The platform’s dashboard is clear and well-organized, making it easy for users to find what they need. All important features such as invoicing, expenses, time tracking, and reports are conveniently located on the main toolbar, ensuring that users can easily navigate through the system. Adding new clients, creating invoices, tracking expenses, and accessing reports, are all simple processes that can be done in just a few clicks. This design is particularly helpful for small business owners who may not have extensive accounting knowledge.


On the other hand, Xero is known for its comprehensive, feature-rich software. The menu bar that runs down the left side of the screen provides easy access to all of the program’s main features. The interface is a little more complex than FreshBooks, due to its wider array of options and features, but it’s still relatively easy to navigate after an initial learning curve. The dashboard provides a real-time view of your financial situation and enables you to manage transactions, invoices, expenses, projects, and payrolls all from a centralized location.

User Feedback

Based on user feedback, there’s a consensus that while both platforms are fairly easy to use, FreshBooks may have a minor edge for users who value a more simplistic, streamlined software. On the other hand, users who need more comprehensive features and don’t mind spending additional time learning the software may prefer Xero.

Help Resources

Generally, both platforms offer a variety of help resources to aid user navigation. FreshBooks maintains a help center on its website and in-app, with articles and tutorials on how to use the various features. Similarly, Xero offers a support center with guides, videos, and an active community forum where users can seek help and share tips.


When it comes to user-friendly accounting solutions, both FreshBooks and Xero have proven themselves dependable. However, which tool serves you best will depend on your specific needs and how comfortable you feel navigating each platform. Therefore, it’s always smart to take advantage of free trials and familiarize yourself with each interface before making a decision.

Features and Functionality

FreshBooks: Features and Functionality

FreshBooks, favored mainly by freelancers and small businesses, offers users a slew of versatile, easy-to-use features. Topping this list is its invoicing system, capable of generating customizable professional invoices. This feature extends to setting automated payment reminders, processing recurring invoices, and receiving payments straight through the invoices.

Expense tracking with FreshBooks is a breeze as well. It’s easy to organize expenses, associate them with clients, and indicate them as billable. Additionally, submitting receipts is as simple as snapping a photo and uploading it – Instant expense logging anywhere, anytime.

Although its reporting feature may not be as comprehensive as that of Xero, FreshBooks offers all the standard reports a small business might need. Profit & loss reports, tax summaries, expense reports, invoice details, time entry details, and more are available at your disposal.

Apart from these, FreshBooks comes with a time tracker that allows you to keep tabs on the time spent with a client or on a project. It’s tiered project management tools also allow you to assign tasks, set deadlines, and share files and images, further enhancing productivity.

Xero Features and Functionality

Xero, on the other hand, caters to a wider range of businesses, from small to larger enterprises. Like FreshBooks, Xero provides an impressive invoice generation feature, promising users the ability to create and send custom, professional invoices. It also offers automatic invoice reminders, however, unlike FreshBooks, it lacks the feature for scheduling recurring invoices.

When it comes to expense tracking, Xero provides a simple, efficient platform which offers similar features to FreshBooks. However, one key difference is that while each Xero plan offers a limited number of free transactions per month, FreshBooks includes unlimited expense entries on all of their plans.

Xero shines in its reporting capabilities. It offers a wider range of reports and its advanced reports are detailed, catering to businesses with more complex reporting needs. The reports can be fully customized, allowing users to view the specific financial information they need.

Additional functionalities that Xero offers include inventory tracking, which allows businesses to keep track of their stock levels. Furthermore, Xero offers over 800 integrations, significantly more than FreshBooks, making it adaptable to a wide array of business needs. Despite this, Xero does not have a dedicated time tracking feature, which might be important for freelancers and service-based businesses.

Overview of FreshBooks and Xero

When comparing FreshBooks and Xero, one can see they both excel in offering comprehensive invoicing and expense tracking capabilities, yet their target users vary. FreshBooks primarily serves small businesses and independent professionals, emphasizing features such as time logging and project management. Meanwhile, Xero targets a wider range of businesses with adaptable reporting, inventory management, and more integration potential. The choice between the two ultimately depends on the specific needs and operations of your business.

Customer Support and Resources

Comparing Customer Support: FreshBooks versus Xero

Customer support is a cornerstone for both FreshBooks and Xero. Their approach to customer service, however, is distinct.

FreshBooks delivers a range of options for support. Users can reach out via phone Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, or access fast email support. A devoted customer service section on their website showcases user success stories, reflecting their commitment to customer satisfaction.

Besides direct contact, FreshBooks supplies beneficial self-service resources. These include a detailed FAQ page, user tutorials, and a set of complimentary webinars. There’s even a blog and YouTube channel filled with instructional content, empowering users to solve issues independently and thus saving time.

Xero, in contrast, does not offer phone support but supplies round-the-clock online assistance. This includes immediate help via live chat, and quick email responses, usually within a 24-hour period.

Similarly, Xero extends a variety of self-help resources. Users can tap into a rich online help center packed with informative guides, FAQs, and video tutorials. Xero Central, another part of the help center, hosts a community forum for users to interact, share insights, and seek answers.

Education and Training in FreshBooks and Xero

Both FreshBooks and Xero provide a strong basis for user education and training as part of their ongoing customer support commitments.

FreshBooks offers an array of educational resources including routine webinars and instructional video content. Further, they have a certification program tailored for accountants and bookkeepers to enhance their skill sets in utilizing the software and assisting their clientele.

In contrast, Xero presents an array of learning opportunities through Xero U, a dedicated online educational platform. This provides resources not only to businesses, accountants, and bookkeepers, but also offers on-demand modules such as webinars and courses that are eligible for continuing professional education (CPE) credits. They even provide teaching materials and guidebooks for educators who aspire to instruct their students about the usage of Xero.

Both FreshBooks and Xero users can avail themselves of these comprehensive resources for better navigation, support, and training, making these platforms highly user-friendly.

Security and Trustworthiness

Data Security Measures in FreshBooks and Xero

Concerning data security measures, both FreshBooks and Xero exhibit a resolute stance in safeguarding user data. FreshBooks ensures security with SSL encryption built into its cloud application, securing all data transfers. The company’s data is housed on Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers, renowned for their robust security structures. Furthermore, FreshBooks has a range of security precautions, including around-the-clock physical security, continued vulnerability testing, and comprehensive data backups.

Like FreshBooks, Xero uses SSL technology to encrypt all data transfers, providing strong security measures. Xero also employs Amazon Web Services for hosting, offering top-tier data protection. Added to this, Xero incorporates a 2-step authentication system for access, to provide an additional layer of security against any possible account takeovers.

Trustworthiness of FreshBooks and Xero

In terms of trustworthiness, both Xero and FreshBooks have received high ratings and positive reviews from their users. FreshBooks in particular, is appreciated for its ease of use, customer service, and value for money. On TrustPilot, an online review platform, FreshBooks has an excellent rating with most users highlighting its user-friendly interface and reliable customer support.

Xero, on the other hand, has a good rating on TrustPilot and other review platforms. Users have praised its extensive features, seamless integrations, and solid customer support. However, some users have pointed out that Xero’s pricing plans can be on the higher side for small businesses.

Reliability of FreshBooks and Xero

Both Xero and FreshBooks have shown commendable reliability over the years. FreshBooks offers a 99.9% uptime, ensuring that its platform is accessible to users almost all the time. Its data backup protocol, on the other hand, helps in preventing any loss of user data.

Xero also promises a 99.9% uptime and conducts regular daily data backups. It also has a real-time dashboard that allows users to track financial transactions effortlessly and accurately.

In conclusion, both FreshBooks and Xero employ robust security measures to protect users’ data and have proven their reliability and trustworthiness over the years. Their high ratings and positive user reviews further attest to their commitment to providing secure and dependable accounting solutions.

For the discerning customer, the choice between FreshBooks and Xero could boil down to personal preference, the nature of their business, or even the kind of service interface they find most comforting to work with. Both platforms boast their charms – crafted to simplify your business life and largely succeeding in doing so. They secure your data, are ready to assist you with effective customer support, and most importantly, carry powerful tools under their hood designed to take the weight out of your financial management processes. In essence, FreshBooks and Xero don’t just digitize the ledger — they reimagine what your accounting can be, empowering you to engage with your finances on your own terms.