Harvest vs. FreshBooks Comparison

Unfortunately, many small business owners know the feeling of waiting to be paid. There are a number of reasons that customers delay payment. Sometimes the due date slips through the cracks, or maybe the customer has cash flow issues.

For small business owners, it’s unacceptable to have delayed payment because you didn’t have an organized, transparent process for invoicing. Building that process might simply start with investing in the right technology. More specifically, make sure you have the best invoicing software in place for your business needs. Two of the more popular invoicing software options for small businesses and freelancers are Harvest and FreshBooks. Both are excellent invoicing software but you have to decide which is right for you. Take a look at Harvest vs. FreshBooks below to help you decide.


Simple Time Tracking

Harvest invoicing software lets you manage and estimate your projects effectively. It features simplified timesheets, an easy timesheet approval process, and a user-friendly interface. This can be especially effective if your business delivers services or bills by time spent on projects.

This helps you plan effectively and then adjust as needed. You can create tasks on a given project, and then estimate hours on tasks. When you log hours against that task it will automatically subtract the hours you have worked from the hours you estimated. If you go over the estimate it highlights how many hours you are over in red. This feature has kept our projects increasingly within budget and on-time. Customers can also see the progress on a project in real time.

Harvest allows you to start and stop timers throughout the day, track and monitor time disbursement and even approve the timesheets of your employees online from anywhere in the world. Furthermore, and maybe most important for the topic at hand, you can easily create invoices that automatically sift through your project hours and expenses to determine a final bill.

Easy, Fast and Customizable Invoices

This invoicing software allows you to automatically create invoices to send electronically to your clients.

PDF and Web Invoice options

When sending an invoice, Harvest allows you to send both a PDF version as well as a link to the Web Invoice, so that your customers can pay online.

Online payment options

This invoicing software has the ability to link your account to payment gateways such as PayPal, TrustCommerce, and LinkPoint. Your clients will be able to pay their invoices with a few simple clicks, saving time, money and speeding up the entire payment process.

Create a retainer for specific clients or projects

Reporting capabilities

Harvest will give you a real time detailed report of your uninvoiced hours, earned income, billable and non billable time and overall budget for your business. If you currently don’t use reports, it might be a good thing to consider. While not necessarily helping you with the particular invoice in hand, good reports will definitely provide you with a much better set of information when making those crucial decisions for your business.

Estimate Capabilities

The options on this invoicing software are only to “Accept” or to “Decline” a proposal.


Allows easy integration with Harvest Co-op, Basecamp, HighRise, GoogleDocs, Excel and Outright.


Harvest’s pricing is based on users, rather than the number of clients and ranges from $0 (one seat, two projects) to $12 per seat and unlimited projects.


Automatic invoicing, by email or by snail mail

Just as with Harvest, the FreshBooks invoicing software allows you to easily auto-generate invoices with a click of a button. The difference is that FreshBooks also provides the option to send them via snail mail, which some customers prefer. For a small convenience fee, FreshBooks will print the invoice for you and send the hardcopy right to your customer’s door. Furthermore, when you receive the payment offline, you will be able to manually report it in the system for your records.

Online Payment Options

With over 13 payment gateways available, including PayPal, iTransact and Google Checkout, your customers will be able to pay you quickly and easily.

PayPal Flexibility

Unlike with Harvest, this invoicing software is able to adjust PayPal settings from invoice to invoice, depending on the preferences of your individual clients.

Track Invoices

Because FreshBooks sends an electronic link to the invoice rather than the invoice itself, you will be able to track and see exactly when your customer views or approves his or her invoices. This could come in handy in case, let’s say, any disputes arise or if a customer happens to claim to have never received the bill before.

Excellent Client Page

With this invoicing software, not only can you customize the look of the login area for you and your clients, but you will also have access to a Client Page that shows “who you send invoices to, how much the client owes, and how long it typically takes for them to pay you.

Very Detailed Reporting Capabilities

FreshBooks allows you to instantly see what accounts are past due, compile all your sales taxes from city to city, determine your key item/project performers, dive deep into your profits and losses and filter through all your expenses.

Track Time

Time tracking is not as detailed as Harvest, but FreshBooks does provide built-in tools to time team members’ work and create different rates for various project hours. It also offers ad-ons for more granular time tracking capabilities.

Track Expenses

FreshBooks allows you to input automatic recurring expenses, assign and bill expenses, save and attach pictures of receipts to invoices and even view and filter all of your own expenditures throughout the year. This is a really neat feature for invoicing software.

Late Payment Reminders and Late Payment Fees

When a customer seems to simply not be paying an invoice, FreshBooks will send them a reminder notification and even (if you deem it so) update the invoice to include relevant late payment fees.


FreshBooks integrates with a number of applications out of the box. Check out their integrations page to cross-reference with your current toolset.


FreshBooks pricing is broken into tiers based on the number of clients you bill, starting at $6 per month for 5 clients, and increasing from there.

Harvest and FreshBooks have a lot of similarities, but the slight differences are where you should turn to make a decision. Harvest is great for project management, whereas FreshBooks produces incredible reports. Truthfully, when looking for invoicing software, either Harvest or FreshBooks could be a great decision for your business needs. It’s about learning the facts, giving them both a try and discovering which fits better with your business.

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