It's not so much why, but for your business, it's the which invoicing service is right for you. Having a hard time deciding just where to start looking? Here are a few pointers on what to look for in a solid invoicing software and how to figure out which is the best solution for your business.
How Much Does it Cost?
Obviously, like all software types out there, invoicing software is available in every price range. Since most businesses have a specific budget to spend on technologies such as these, it’s important to start by looking at services that fit within your budget (after all, it would suck to find a fabulous invoicing service that fits all your needs, only to realize you can’t afford it!).
First, find out how much this invoicing service charges. Most services charge a flat monthly fee. You can sign up for monthly, yearly, or multi-year plans. The longer you sign up for, the cheaper the per month fee will be. Always look for services that offer free trials or money-back guarantees. These allow you to test out the service without any financial obligations or repercussions.
Some invoicing services will charge per unit of transaction (usually per invoice or group of invoices you send out). If you don’t have a lot of clients or don’t send out invoices very often, this may be a more cost-effective option for you. Just make sure that there’s room for scaling up so that when your business starts booming, you can seamlessly shift upwards.
One thing you should bear in mind when comparing pricing plans is what’s being offered. A lower price tag that comes with severely limited functionality may not be worth the few pennies of savings being offered. Look for a company that offers good features within your budget.
Recording and Sharing Data in Real-Time
A significant feature to look for is the recording and sharing of data in real-time. Most businesses don't have a single item on their invoice. Frequently, they're billing for an ongoing project or multiple items and/or services. For this reason, you want your invoices to be more dynamic than a traditional paper invoice.
You want to be able to update the invoice with new materials you bought for the project, include billable hours, or update the invoice with some other important information easily. You want this to be in real-time also. So, if more than one employer is updating the invoice, information isn't left out or lost in translation.
One of the most important as well as convenient features for invoicing is automation. This gives you the ability to set up rules or triggers for invoicing habits. So, things will happen automatically without you having to do the action repeatedly. For example, you can set up a rule that a reminder email is sent out when an invoice hasn't been paid for two weeks. So, you get paid more efficiently and faster. And you didn't have to do the work of following up.
Invoice Layout and Content
Most businesses don't want to deal with invoice design. Many don't even know what to include (while others have a very clear idea of what they want to be included.). Either way, you want to have an invoice software that has good invoice layout and content options. The layout should be clean and clear. It should contain the right type of cells and or information setup that you need in order to ask your clients for the items that need billing for.
Additionally, it’s a good idea for these templates to have some customization. You don’t need a ton of customization because invoices aren’t about style or design. Rather, you want two things from the customization:
The ability to add your logo or business colors to the template. This gives you the option to personalize the invoice so that it is consistent with your business persona.
The ability to add or delete elements to the template. This ensures that the invoice has the exact elements you need to bill your clients properly for the type of services you’ve rendered.
Getting the Right Invoice Software
Looking for invoicing software for your business but not sure where to start? Here are a few reviews of popular invoice apps where you can see the good, the bad, and everything in between.
- Incredibly user-friendly
- Loads of features (time tracking, expenses, etc.)
- Great mobile app
- No 24/7 live chat
- Needs more customization options
If you’re looking for an easy invoicing software that includes other features within the bundle, then look no further than FreshBooks. It’s about as easy to use as it gets, and it really has a ton of functionality, including additional features like expense tracking, project management, and reporting. FreshBooks also integrates with almost 100 apps for even more functionality.
In terms of invoicing, FreshBooks makes sending, following up on, and tracking invoices a cinch. You can quickly create an invoice with a template or customize it for a more personal effect. FreshBooks also lets you set up automation to save time. So, you can automatically convert proposals into invoices, send out emails, get updates to keep tabs on invoice status, or set up recurring payment invoices to be sent out without you doing a thing.
- Loads of payment options
- 24/7 customer support
- Accept payments over the phone
- Not specifically for invoicing
- No free trial
Sage is well-known accounting software that is used by businesses all over. It's a desktop application that can be accessed remotely via its smart dashboard. You can quickly record invoices and expenses and keep track of payments made on the invoice directly. Sage lets you send out and accept multi-currency payments, as well.
Sage also has advanced security features, like screen-level user access and bank-level online security. And what’s more, Sage offers 24/7 customer support, so you can always get the answers you need when you need them.
- Automated invoicing
- Good solution for SMBs and self-employed
- Payment reminders
- Not available for several currencies
- Pricing structure is confusing
Square is a popular payment processor for mobile merchants and other SMBs. And it's also a good choice if you're looking for straightforward invoicing. As the website says, you can send out a Square invoice in three simple steps: enter the customer's email, enter the amount, and hit send. It's really that simple.
Square also has the ability to customize your invoices and the software, including adding a business logo, line items, and attachments. It’s easy for customers to pay using alternative payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay, too. Square even sends out payment reminders if customers have been sitting on an unpaid invoice for too long.
- Advanced features not seen elsewhere
- Automatic matching
- Multiple plans to choose from
- Limited customizations
- Basic plan is limited
Quickbooks is professional accounting software that offers expert invoicing, as well. You can send invoices online, accept multiple payment methods, and easily accept the payment straight from the invoice. You can personalize the invoices and set up recurring bills to go out automatically. Quickbooks even lets you set up things like billable hours and notifications for your invoices.
Quickbooks has some incredibly useful features that really blow the competition out of the water. Things like progress invoicing let you get paid along the way, so you don't have to wait till the end of a large project to get the money. There's even an advanced tool available called accelerated invoicing that will send out large quantities of invoices simultaneously to ensure that you get paid faster.