How do I keep track of everything? How much money am I making? How do I easily track my expenses? What counts as an expense?!
People will often start off with a payment processor that has some accounting capabilities and then eventually wonder — do I need something more?
Today, we’re going to answer that by comparing one of the most popular accounting software platforms, QuickBooks, against a very common CRM for small businesses, HoneyBook.
We’ll go through what each of them do well, what’s lacking, what’s their pricing, and which might be a better fit for you depending on what needs you have.
Let’s get into it.
What is QuickBooks?
QuickBooks Online by Intuit, is accounting software designed to help businesses manage their finances. It serves a wide range of customers, from your independent lawyer all the way up to large corporate companies.
Primarily, the features are focused around billing and getting paid, tracking expenses, bookkeeping, managing vendors, running payroll, and tracking inventory.
What is HoneyBook?
HoneyBook is a project-based CRM that was originally designed for wedding photographers to manage their business. Now it offers invoicing, expense management, profit and loss reports, client management, automated workflows, templates, scheduling, and more. And caters to small business owners and freelancers.
Honeybook: Pros and cons
HoneyBook has basic finance tools (invoice templates, payment reminders, basic expense tracking, profit and loss reports, etc) but ultimately, its value is its ability to handle the other parts of your business as well.
- See the pipeline of your whole business
This allows you to see how many proposals you have in each stage, and where you should be focusing your attention.
Are you waiting for a contract signature from a new client? Is a project in review currently? Is your client waiting on you for a deliverable?
You can answer those questions easily with their pipeline view.
- Customizable templates
Whether for invoices, questionnaires or proposals, HoneyBook has a library of 70+ customizable templates that you can leverage.
You can create workflows that connect different parts of your business together.
- Supports Zapier
- Unlimited team members
If you have multiple collaborators on a project, you can invite them all and treat HoneyBook like a light project management tool.
- Personalized branding
You can make your client facing items (invoices, proposals, etc) branded with your logo and colors.
- Doesn’t natively integrate with payment processors, you need to use (and pay for) HoneyBook’s processor for any payment processing.
- Expense tracking is really basic and manual (not as easy as taking a photo of a receipt).
Quickbooks: Pros and cons
QuickBooks is an incredibly scalable accounting platform, so if your business grows from one to fifty employees, you’ll still be able to support it from the financial tools that QuickBooks offers. The downside is its sole focus on financial tools and that it doesn’t address any other part of the business.
- Sophisticated financial reporting
Get reports on profit & loss, expenses and balance sheets.
- Multi-currency support
Accept payment in multiple currencies and have clear reporting that adjusts based on those currencies.
- Easy expense management
Snap photos of receipts, and track mileage automatically. This is particularly useful if you are self-employed and you don’t have a dedicated accountant and bookkeeper.
- Mobile apps — both iOS and Android
Incredibly well rated iOS app at 4.7 stars, with over 100k user reviews.
- Integrates with many applications
QuickBooks Online integrates with Square, PayPal, Shopify, Etsy, Gusto, and more.
- Supports Zapier
- Only covers the financial part of your business
- No pipeline feature to see where you should be focusing your attention
- Lack of invoice templates and design that you can choose from
- More about function than form (i.e. custom branding options)
4 Main differences: Honeybook vs Quickbooks
1. Depth of financial reporting
With QuickBooks’ you can go incredibly deep into financial reports. In their Advanced subscription ($140/month), you can create custom charts that track and monitor things like net/gross revenue, and expenses and segment them.
You can also create dashboards that show performance within a certain time period of budget.
Do you need to be able to do all this for a small business? Well that’s entirely up to you. For some it can feel like overkill, for others, they find the finance tools helpful in helping guide their business.
HoneyBook has more basic financial reporting, but they also give you the ability to tie your spend with where your leads and customers are coming from. Essentially, they give you the basic ability to attribute financial dollars to marketing spend.
2. Multi-currency support
HoneyBook only offers currency support in USD and CAD, so if your clients use a different currency, they will have to take a conversion fee if you take payment through HoneyBook. HoneyBook’s payment feature can’t be turned off, so it can be confusing to clients if you don’t want to accept certain payments through their processor.
On the other hand, QuickBooks supports almost every currency in the world.
If you have global clients, QuickBooks would likely be friendlier to use.
3. Client management
HoneyBook is a CRM first, and a financial tool second. Which means it has more features that a traditional customer relationship management platforms offers. Think, important client details, due dates for non-billing related items, scheduling, etc.
QuickBooks will keep record of your clients and all of their billing history, but don’t expect to be able to see an intake form here.
HoneyBook has very simple pricing. After a 7 day free trial (no credit card required), its $39/month or $390/year.
QuickBooks has many different plan options. After a free trial, you can get started for as little as $22/month and as much as $140/month, depending on what features you need.
The bottom line
If your biggest pain point in your business is trying to organize your finances, get bookkeeping, expenses and taxes in order... with the intention of scaling the business well into the future, then QuickBooks might be a better fit for your needs.
If you’re more concerned about the time you’re spending across multiple tools, you want to streamline operations, and you want something that looks great for clients? Then HoneyBook might be a better fit.
If neither of these feel quite right, and you want great design and more flexibility on how to bill your clients — think payment plans, packages, coupon codes, etc. Then Practice, the client management software for businesses of one, might be the best fit for you.
You can try Practice out for free for 7 days.