Freshbooks vs. Harvest: A Comparison (2015 Update!)

This is a fully updated version of our Freshbooks vs. Harvest comparison from January 2014.

At the time we were shopping around for a cloud service suitable for our small business which would handle invoicing and the tracking of time and expenses. Eventually it came down to two: Freshbooks and Harvest. Since our requirements were pretty specific we put together a detailed comparison table so that we could examine the two services side-by-side.

TL;DR

Both are great, but neither fill every need. It really depends on what you are looking for. Freshbooks won us over with its more robust accounting features and reports. Harvest appears to be more focused on time tracking functionality, and it does this extremely well.  If your priority is managing billing and expenses, Freshbooks will likely tip the scales for you. If you want more project management features, Harvest may be your best choice.

There have been a few changes in the last year; most notably:

Unsurprisingly, the section on third-party integrations looks a fair bit different today. 

I have added a line item for corporate responsibility, for which both companies get top marks in my book. Although Freshbooks doesn't provide the information on their website, the company responded quickly to my email with an impressive outline of their contributions and activities (too many to list here). Harvest provides this information on their website.

Happy shopping! If this comparison has been helpful to you, please say thanks! by using these referral links: 

 

FreshBooks
Harvest time tracking

 

Comparison table: Freshbooks vs. Harvest

Please note: Project management features were not assessed. Where there is a dash (-) we were unable to find sufficient information or it is non-applicable.  

Description Freshbooks
Freshbooks
Harvest
Harvest
Company location (country) Canada USA
Built on (platform) - Ruby on Rails
UI look-and-feel (10 = excellent) 6/10 9/10
Professional-looking invoices, estimates (10 = excellent) 6/10 9/10
Community involvement / corporate responsibility Excellent Excellent
     
INVOICING    
import invoices No Freshbooks, Blinksale
export invoices CSV PDF (download .zip)
configurable tax types unlimited 2
LEDES 98B support No Yes
customize invoice number increment by #/letter increment by #, decimal recognition, include year, client id
set default values (e.g. terms, summary) Yes Yes
track invoice views Yes Yes
recurring invoices Yes Yes
automated reminders Yes Yes
recurring automated reminders Yes Yes
turn off reminders for a client Yes No
multiple reminder messages up to 3 No
late payment fees Yes No
retainers No** Yes
credit receipts Yes No
invoice activity/history Yes Yes
(recipient) view invoice on web Yes No
attach PDF invoice to email No Yes
multi-currency support Yes Yes
dispute mechanism Yes No
customizable email messages Yes Yes
paper invoice (sent by mail) Yes (for a fee) No
     
** Freshbooks offers credit receipts, which can be used quite effectively when dealing with retainers.
     
CLIENT MANAGEMENT    
import clients CSV, vCard, Simply Accounting, Highrise, Google Apps Excel, CSV, Freshbooks, Blinksale
export clients CSV Excel, CSV
manage client contacts on-the-go (mobile) Yes No
track sent emails Yes No
disable late fees for a client Yes n/a
set language  Yes No
email multiple clients Yes No
archive clients Yes Yes
     
ESTIMATES    
one-click approval Yes Yes
convert estimate to invoice Yes Yes
brandable Yes Yes
attach file to email No Yes
print-friendly Yes Yes
     
EXPENSES    
import expenses CSV, QBO, bank account, credit card CSV
export expenses Excel, CSV Excel, CSV, PDF
upload image of receipt from mobile app Yes Yes
attach image to invoice Yes No
editable categories Yes Yes
billable / nonbillable status Yes Yes
assign to client Yes No
assign to project No Yes
     
TIME TRACKING    
import time No CSV
export time Excel, CSV Excel, CSV
timer Yes Yes
timesheets Yes Yes
track unbilled time Yes Yes
multiple views Yes Yes
round tracked time No Yes
     
REPORTS    
dashboard Yes Yes
export formats for reports Excel, CSV Excel, CSV
print-friendly Yes Yes
expose as read-only (e.g., for your accountant) Yes No
Accounting    
balance sheet Yes No
expenses Yes Yes
payments collected Yes No
profit & loss Yes No
tax Yes No
compile receipts (images) No Yes
Client    
accounts aging (accounts with past due amounts) Yes No
revenue by client/staff Yes No
time to pay  (how long, on average, it takes a client to pay) Yes No
track time per client Yes Yes
Invoicing    
invoice details Yes Yes
item sales Yes No
revenue by client/staff Yes No
tasks invoiced Yes No
projected revenue Yes No
Project     
project budget No Yes
tracked time per project Yes Yes
Time tracking    
per client No Yes
per project Yes Yes
per user Yes Yes
per team Yes No
per task Yes Yes
     
MOBILITY    
mobile app iOS, Android* iOS, Android*, Windows (third party app)
mobile-friendly invoices Yes Yes
responsive/mobile-friendly website No No
     
* Note: Only Freshbooks' Android mobile app allows you to specify a tax type/amount with a submitted expense. 
     
ONLINE PAYMENTS    
For payment gateways, see INTEGRATION.    
credit card payment options Freshbooks, PayPal, Stripe PayPal, Stripe
customizable thank you note Yes Yes
request feedback on payment Yes No
     
PRICES & PLANS    
Plan structure per # clients per # users
Free plan available? Yes Yes
Paid plans price range $19.95 - $39.95 $12 - $99
Transparency (clear and readily available info on services and pricing) disappointing great
     
PRIVACY & SECURITY    
firewalls Cisco Yes
vulnerability scanning & intrusion detection AlertLogic -
encryption SSL (SHA-1) SSL (SHA-2)
certified TRUSTe TRUSTe
     
RELIABILITY    
hosting service provider Rackspace -
redundant storage & servers Yes Yes
replication across multiple geographic locations Yes Yes
backups nightly, offsite storage 1-2 times daily
uptime - Avg 99.9%
server status page No Yes
     
API    
documentation Yes Yes
libraries/wrappers Ruby, PHP, Python, Perl, C#, .NET, AS3, Java, Javascript, Tcl Ruby, PHP, Python, Java
authentication HTTP Basic, OAuth 1.0 HTTP Basic, OAuth 2.0
data formats XML JSON, XML
request limit No limit 100 per 15 seconds
     
BRANDING    
custom logo Yes Paid accounts
remove product branding Paid accounts Paid accounts
     
INTEGRATION    
ActiveCampaign Yes -
AgileCRM - Yes
Alfred - Yes
Apollo Yes Yes
Asana - Yes
Autotask Yes -
Base - Yes
Basecamp - Yes
Basecamp Classic Yes Yes
Batchbook Yes -
Beanstock - Yes
Benchmark Email Yes -
Bidsketch Yes Yes
Big Board Yes Yes
BlackTimer (formerly timerSync) Yes -
BlueFolder Yes -
Breeze Yes Yes
Capsule Yes -
Chrometa Yes -
ChronoMate Yes -
ClickDesk Yes -
ClientSpot Yes -
Cling - Yes
Co-op - Yes
DoneDone - Yes
Drupal Yes Yes
Easy Insight Yes -
eazyBI - Yes
Envato Yes -
Flow - Yes
Formstack Yes -
Freshdesk Yes Yes
Fundbox Yes Yes
Funding Gates - Yes
Fuseboard - Yes
Geckoboard Yes Yes
GeoOp Yes -
GitGo - Yes
Glip - Yes
Gmail Yes Yes
Google Apps for Work Yes Yes
Happyfox Yes -
Highrise - Yes
Imera - Yes
Inkdit - Yes
Invoices - Yes
InvoiceSherpa - Yes
IssuePop - Yes
itDuzzit Yes Yes
JIRA - Yes
Leftronic - Yes
LiveChat Yes -
Lucid Meetings - Yes
Magento Yes -
MailChimp Yes -
MileIQ Yes -
MinuteDock Yes -
mydock - Yes
MYOB - Yes
Nicereply - Yes
NiftyQuoter - Yes
OneSaas Yes Yes
Oprius Yes -
osCommerce Yes -
Osmosis Yes Yes
PandaDoc - Yes
Payment Evolution Yes -
Planscope Yes Yes
Podio Yes No
ProjectLocker - Yes
Proposify Yes Yes
Punch - Yes
Pushpin Planner - Yes
Quickbooks Online No U.S. and Canada
Quickbooks Desktop Yes No
Quote Roller Yes Yes
Reaper.io - Yes
Receipt Bank Yes -
Redmine Yes Yes
Relenta Yes -
RightSignature Yes Yes
Salesforce Yes Yes
ScrumDo - Yes
Scythe - Yes
ShareFile Yes -
Shopify Yes -
SimpleTax Yes -
SimpleTax (UK) Yes -
Slife Yes -
Smartsheet - Yes
Solve360 Yes -
Teambook - Yes
Teamwork.com (formerly Teamwork PM) Yes Yes
ThetaBoard - Yes
Tick Yes -
Toggl Yes -
Trackerr - Yes
Trello - Yes
Tuts+ Yes -
UFile Yes -
Viewabill - Yes
WooCommerce Yes -
Wufoo Yes -
Xero Yes Yes
Xpenditure Yes -
Yasoon - Yes
Zapier Yes Yes
Zen Cart Yes -
ZenCash Yes Yes
Zendesk Yes Yes
ZenPayroll Yes -
ZipRecruiter Yes -
     
Payment Processing    
PayPal Standard Yes Yes
PayPal Payflo Pro Yes No
PayPal Payments Pro Yes No
PayPal Business Payments No Yes
Payments by Freshbooks Yes No
Stripe Yes Yes
     
Payment gateways    
2Checkout Yes No
Authorize.Net Yes No
Beanstream Yes No
Braintree Yes No
eWay Yes No
iTransact Yes No
PayPal Yes Yes
PSiGate Yes No
Stripe Yes Yes

 

Try them yourself!

FreshBooks
Harvest time tracking