What to Look For in a Small Business Invoice Software
When sizing up what small business invoice software to select for your business, look to the following criteria to help make the best choice.
Cloud-based vs. desktop only
Where do you prefer to issue your invoices and take care of your business’s books? If the answer is “from anywhere” then you’d be best advised to look for an invoicing platform that has cloud functionality. This means that it can be accessed from anywhere that you can log on to the internet. Some invoicing platforms, however, remain for desktop use only—or keep the vast majority of their functionalities away from their cloud offering. This is fine if you do all your invoice-issuing in the office (or have to for compliance reasons). But most users are going to be happiest with a cloud-based tool.
Good security and encryption
Your invoicing software will contain a treasure trove of information about your business: who your customers are, what you’re working on for them, and other details that might both be sensitive and subject to data governance laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). For that reason, it’s important to make sure that any invoicing platform you’re thinking about using has strong cybersecurity. At a minimum, make sure that the platform is hosted on a domain with SSL security and that any documentation stored on the server will be encrypted with AES-256 bit encryption.
How many documents do you need issued?
Many invoicing platforms set limits around how many documents—such as invoices and receipts—can be issued through them per calendar month. How many invoices does your business typically issue per month? Make sure you find a provider that will be able to handle your average monthly business activity from the outset—ideally with room for expansion.
What payment gateways does the tool integrate with?
If you like to get paid quickly, then integrating your business invoicing software with a payments gateway, such as Paypal, is a great way to speed up your average payment time. Does the tool support Paypal? Stripe? Do you need another card processor? These are all questions that should be part of your evaluation criteria.
What systems do they integrate with?
Besides payment processors and gateways, you’ll also want to check out what other business systems the invoice tool you are considering integrates with. Do you use Freshbooks for your bookkeeping, for instance? If so, it will save a lot of manual work to find a tool that supports that integration.
3 Tools You Can Count on to Get the Job Done
Here are 3 of the best tools on the market that we recommend for anyone that needs to generate invoices for small business—and to do so using a top of the line tool!
Freshbooks offers cloud accounting and invoicing software in one online platform. For small business customers, it offers the following great features:
- Customize invoices with your company color scheme and logo
- Accept both credit cards and domestic US bank transfers (by ACH). Research has shown that this can result in getting paid up to 11 days faster!
- Extensive automation capabilities. The system can do everything from sending reminders to annotating invoices to your CRM or bookkeeping system completely automatically.
- Time tracking integration. If you charge your clients by the hour, Freshbook’s time tracking tool can automatically integrate with invoices. This again saves time in manually having to upload timesheets to the system and itemizing invoices by billing hour.
- Freshbooks has the native ability to take deposits at the start of a project. This is a great option for freelancers and small businesses that can’t afford the risk of offering 100% credit to customers.
Square is another great invoice management tool for small business owners. Its features include:
- Advanced Point of Sale (PoS) hardware including credit card sale terminals.
- A real-time dashboard view of all transactions. This is perfect for expanding small businesses with multiple employees and retail locations.
- A powerful reporting module for generating and pulling down granular reports—such as those only concerning one transaction type. This is great for any small business with extensive auditing and compliance requirements.
- Fully automated payment reminders. Ping customers automatically several days before their invoices are due.
- Streamlined invoice sending
- process: simply enter the customer’s email, enter an amount, and hit send.
- Integrations with Google Pay and Apple Pay. Great for small businesses requiring mobile POS and that want to make it as easy as possible for customers to pay their bills.
Those that have used desktop accounting programs are almost certain to be familiar with Sage. The product has evolved considerably over the years and now Sage offers a cloud-hosted accounting software for small business called Sage Business Cloud.
With Sage Business Cloud small businesses can:
- Automatically prepare and generate various compliance reports required from small businesses. In the UK, this includes the Making Tax Digital (MTD) report.
- Access their accounting platform from anywhere. In addition to an excellent web-based interface, Sage features apps for Mac, PC, iOS, and Android.
- It’s also available at 2 price points: £3.60 per month (ex VAT) for Accounting Start, which features entry level accounting software that is designed for sole traders and micro businesses. And £7.20 + VAT per month for Sage Business Cloud Accounting which features more powerful invoicing and cash flow management functionalities.
Get Invoicing Today
Sending invoices through a cloud-hosted platform is a must for any small business that wants to streamline operations and minimize the time staff-members spend on bookkeeping and other administrative tasks. Choose from one of our recommended options above and you’ll be sure that you’re making a great decision.