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Quickbooks vs Freshbooks vs Quickbooks Online - Why Cloud Accounting?

QuickBooks vs FreshBooksWe use Quickbooks. Just plain old QuickBooks. I feel like there must be something I'm missing here about transitioning to the cloud. Why would a business move it's accounting to the cloud and between quickbooks vs Freshobooks, which would be better?


Faraz Shafaghi
Title: Social Media Marketer
Company: FreshBooks
(Social Media Marketer, FreshBooks) |

Hi There!

Faraz from FreshBooks here. Moving to the cloud has several advantages over an off-the-shelf product. For instance:

-Your data is backed up to the "cloud" and available everywhere. Taking a vacay in Fiji and want to see if an invoice was paid? No problem - all you need to do is find a browser. Heck, we even have iPhone and iPad apps that let you manage your FreshBooks account on-the-go, no matter where you are.

-Data is backed up over several different continents and servers, so even if there's a large-scale flood, earthquake, or other natural disaster, your data remains intact. Now compare that to installing software on a single computer that may get a virus and need reformatting, catch on fire or thrown out a window ('s happened before...).

-Updates and features are added behind the scenes (you won't even realize them happening!) and we here at FreshBooks ship code weekly, meaning any issues you encounter are resolved quicker, plus you instantly have access to the latest features without having to re-purchase software.

Now, with all of this being said, I hesitate to recommend any one service over another without understanding the nature of your business and your specific needs. For example, do you need to send invoices, track time and enter expenses? Do you want a system that automatically sends late payment reminders to your clients, or automatically adds late payment fees to your invoices? Do you need payroll? What about an inventory tracking system? I suggest gathering all of your requirements and researching the heck out of a bunch of different solutions. There's a lot of choice out there and I'm sure you can find one way up in the clouds that you'll be happy with.

Hope this helps!


Denise Loter-Koch
Title: President/CEO
Company: empoweredNW
(President/CEO , empoweredNW ) |


Moving to the cloud has different benefits for different businesses. I agree with Faraz, in that picking a cloud service depends on the nature of your business. As a financial consulting and services firm, we have many of our clients working in the cloud with QuickBooks. That way the business owner can use it at work or home, and we can use it at our office. The benefit being that with QuickBooks and the data files in the cloud, it can be accessed from anywhere and be worked on buy multiple people at the same time.

Faraz also mentioned the security benefits, but here is a question I pose to people asking if they should move to the cloud. "If the laptop you have QuickBooks installed on gets lost or stolen, what do you do?" If your accounting software and data are in the cloud, all you need to do is get another computer and start working. No need to worry about installing software or recovering data.

Although working in the cloud is generally easier, the hard part is finding a platform that works best for you. What I recommend is doing an assessment to see what your current costs are, and what your needs are/will be in the future. Analyze your daily transaction needs, employee use of software, and other financial features you may need. Be sure to consider things like time and expense associated with keeping your info secure, or physically transferring from one location to another. Working in the cloud should save time, money, improve security and be easier. Once you've assessed your needs, you will be able to look at options from QuickBooks or Freshbooks and tell if they are right for you.

Best of luck,


Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

I think there is some confusion over cloud based systems (there are many more than the original question asks about) and server based systems.

Here is a short list (and I'm not endorsing any particular aspect) of some "advantages" to the cloud

1. Accounting system is available anywhere on almost any product
2. "Backed up" on the vendors multiple systems
3. System always using latest greatest version
4. Ability to use the system on multiple platforms
5. Security may be better
6. Productivity may improve

Once you divorce yourself from a particular system and look at the advantages/disadvantages you can then (after properly doing a GAP analysis of your needs, etc. look at which system (either stand-alone or cloud) meets your requirements.

Cloud or Server based is just one of many issues surrounding the selection of the correct accounting system.

Denise Loter-Koch
Title: President/CEO
Company: empoweredNW
(President/CEO , empoweredNW ) |

Correct Wayne, there often is confusion over the cloud-based options available and what services come with them. There is, for example, a huge difference between using QuickBooks Online (a SaaS solution) vs. a hosted version of QuickBooks (an ASP + IaaS solution). The types of software, capabilities and integration can change drastically when accounting online evolves from simply using an app online to accessing an entire network with virtualized work stations, applications and databases.

The important thing for people to remember, as you mentioned, is that they need to find a system that meets requirements in there entirety. Keeping in mind that one little additional requirement may mean the difference of between a simple, easy to implement option and a larger, more encompassing solution.

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Director of Global Accounting
Company: Agrinos, Inc.
(Director of Global Accounting, Agrinos, Inc.) |


Goodness of the cloud addressed's my $0.02 on the cloud for GLs...

QB offers a consistent look and feel. It is light, integrated with itself, and is generally highly easy to use. It has grown nicely over the years. I'm not a big fan, but I've no strong that it doesn't play nicely with others, and is a bit of a trap (try migrating off of it...). If you want a more robust inventory system than they offer, for example, you might be completely out of luck. They seem to be opening up a little, but this isn't their business model. For this reason, I don't see this as a Cloud app.

Freshbooks; I've tried it and it really doesn't feel robust enough to replace QB on its own. It seems targeted at sole-proprietors or as a plug-in to other systems because people love its time & invoicing functions. Very popular for that.

Xero: My current favorite. It is *just* a GL with a few bells and whistles that let you see the data, file taxes, etc. The benefit is that it is JUST a GL, and is intended to be very open to plugging into other applications. This gives you a good starting point, and lets you add robustness where appropriate.

As the promise of the Cloud* grows, my instinct tells me that Xero-type apps will be the future, and will continue to climb the value chain (think Toyota's entry into the market, selling a minimum-viable-car, turning into a market leader at the top today).

*My perspective, the Cloud is consistency across web services and applications allowing interdependent functionality in a relatively plug-n-play manner. This differs from the old ASP "hosted application" or SaaS app that was up on the web (ref Denise above), but was trapped in it's own box (think generation 1 Netsuite). True Cloud offerings are open allowing you to scale quickly with best in class offerings from new vendors without having to re-engineer everything.

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