I'm Brianna, the Art Director and Designer behind The Dropcloth.

Welcome to my digital corner of the world where I document the projects and products sourced for myself and for my clients. Here I provide the exact steps for how to make - and what and where to buy the right tools and materials for DIY (Designing It Yourself).


Quickbooks Self Employed vs. Freshbooks For Designers

Quickbooks Self Employed vs. Freshbooks For Designers

Freshbooks vs. Quickbooks

The time has come for me to upgrade from Excel freelance expense tracking spreadsheets and hand-done (in illustrator) client invoicing [insert tears streaming down face emoji]. While this means good things in reality = that I have enough business going on that I need to get professional about it, it also means I have to start actually being a logistically functioning accountant for myself… Immediate panic… I am NOT a math person, never have been, barely even understand the concept of budgeting. HELP.

Fortunately there are several awesome and cheap online and mobile options for small business accounting and invoicing. Before choosing one, I wanted to make sure I really knew all of the features of each in order to make the right decision for my own sanity. Freshbooks had been recommended by my business BFF and freelance superstar Liz, so I wanted to check that out first (and help use her get a referral bonus of course!).

However, I have been a Mint.com user since THE WORLD BEGAN (2010) and am obsessed with it because of how it has educated me about my money with gorgeous infographics and helpful saving prompts. When I found out that Quickbooks Small Business is also run by Intuit, the same parent company of Mint.com, it only made sense to check them out as well.

As I do before making any decision, I turned to the internet to read comparisons of the two programs. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any that were from the perspective of another designer/creative freelancer. It was hard to read the comparisons that are out there already from my perspective who values good, simple design and was also already familiar with the Intuit user experience. Honestly, I was really looking for someone to convince my why NOT to just stick with the familiar experience and tell me that Freshbooks was better. Not finding it on my own, I decided to sign up for the 30 day free trial for both Quickbooks Self-Employed and Freshbooks and decided at the end of the trials which program I preferred for my freelance needs. This included using both mobile apps as well.

Here are my thoughts so far and I’ll continue to update this list as I go and declare my final decision after 30 days. Take a look at the list of Pros and Cons below, and keep in mind what you most need and value (personal branding on everything vs. help at tax time, or time tracking and client management, vs. a more sexy interface) from an accounting program before deciding. I hope it helps!

Quickbooks Self-Employed


Quickbooks Self Employed Review

-already use/familiar with Mint, works the same way, can log in with same account

-cleaner interface/user experience

-awesome bank interface, so easy to use and edit

-helps you understand your money and expenses with great infographics

-builds and allows you to send invoices directly from the program.

-easy to separate out personal and business bank accounts

-Estimates and displays up to date tax due info at first glance

-Can import to TurboTax at year’s end

-Works seamlessly with Mint and TurboTax

-View/manage taxes for annual or quarterly

-Has educational prompts to help find tax deductions on your expenses

-Integrates with PayPal

-Clients submit payments direct deposit into your accounts from invoice



-not built with creative freelancers as priority

-doesn’t have time tracking feature

-have to manually enter hours x rate for each invoice

-doesn’t have client interface feature



Quickbooks Self Employed Review

-push alerts for important tax reminders

-automatically tracks auto mileage or choose to enter manually

-shows all account balance info like mint

-snap and upload receipts instantly

-create invoices and manage tax info all on the go

-beautiful infographic summaries of YTD business profit/losses and milage



-You get $30 when a friend signs up and they get 50% off their first 6 months (click here to get your 50% OFF!)



-30 day free trial
-Plans start at $12/month

Freshbooks Review

-Really built with creative freelancers in mind

-Lets you brand everything with your own logo/color scheme

-has time tracking and timesheet feature

-Has client management feature

-Shows you status of each job/project at first glance, showing unbilled items

-Allows clients to view timesheets and other info if you choose to allow them access.

-Allows you to assign expenses to specific clients/projects for easy invoicing

-SO many options for how to generate your invoices (by individual time entries, by date groups, etc)

-Add your Terms to invoices

-Add a custom discount to invoices

-builds and allows you to send invoices directly from the program WITH your branding on them.

-Integrates with PayPal, MailChimp



-clunky bank interface

-Hard to separate out more than one bank account

-very little in terms of help understanding your money and expenses; few infographics

-Not really easily compatible with Mint and TurboTax

-App is better than the website so far




-Awesome mobile app, easy User Experience

-snap and upload receipts instantly

-track time where ever you are

-balance checkbook and assign clients to expenses

-create invoices and new projects, etc on the go



-Both you and a friend get 1 FREE month when your friend signs up with your referral link (Click here to get your 1 MONTH FREE!)



-30 day free trial
-Plans start at 5 clients with unlimited invoicing, etc for $12.95/month


For one perfect creative freelancer accounting and billing user experience I would take the time tracking, client management and invoicing features from Freshbooks and add them to the already awesome bank account integration, expense management, tax help and infographics that I know and love from Intuit/Quickbooks. Now THAT would be the perfect software (@Quickbooks, are you listening???).

Have you found a program that combines these two worlds? 

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