What you really need to look for when you choose the best invoicing software for your business.
Freelancers and small business owners alike generally need some help keeping on top of invoicing. There are always too many tasks to do and not enough time in the business world, so anything that makes invoicing and recording payments faster is a good thing. There are plenty of good invoicing software solutions for freelancers, independent contractors, and businesses of all sizes, but knowing how to choose between them can be a real challenge. Here are 8 things to consider when choosing the best invoicing software.
Making it easy to create and send invoices is the most basic and fundamental task of invoicing software. Most invoicing software platforms offer the option of customizing the layout, color scheme, and sometimes also font of your invoices. Wave, Zoho, FreshBooks, QuickBooks, and Xero all invite you to change the look of your invoices as often as you’d like and to add your business’s custom logo. Zoho makes it easy to save invoice templates for future use and is one of the few programs that lets you send invoices by snail mail as well as by email, including a return envelope for your client’s use. Invoice2Go makes customizing invoices super-easy by walking you through the process step by step the first time you use the software. It offers templates and built-in icons to make it easier, too.
Multiple Currency Support
Many small businesses need to handle multiple currencies for overseas customers, and sometimes the ability to generate invoices in other languages is necessary, as well. Invoicera makes it easy to convert invoices into different currencies and languages. Due is another invoicing program that accepts payment in a selection of currencies and via various international payment options. FreshBooks and Harvest also support invoicing and payment in multiple currencies.
Accept Payments Online
You can get paid so much faster when you can accept payments online. Many invoicing software platforms make it easy for your customers to pay your invoice as soon as it arrives by enabling you to accept credit card payments online, either through the web or through a mobile app. Harvest, Wave, Xero, and Due are among the invoicing software platforms that permit you to accept credit card payments over the web or via a mobile app. QuickBooks stands out as offering the biggest range of payment options. QuickBooks users won’t be charged to accept an ACH bank transfer, which is unusual for invoicing software. It also accepts payments by debit and credit card and syncs all of your payments with your bank accounts so that it’s always up to date.
Generating invoices and accepting payments are vital tasks, but you also need to be able to see whether you’ve been paid, follow up on overdue invoices, and review your revenue over varying periods of time. While an invoicing software platform doesn’t need to include full accounting features, it is useful to be able to generate basic reports about your cash flow and revenue. Harvest lets you see your invoice history and check up on unpaid invoices. Xero and Zoho both help you to create simple PDF reports and statements that show your income and expenses and Freshbooks likewise generates reports that show outstanding bills and profit and loss statements.
The best invoicing software doesn’t just help you create customized invoices but also speeds up the entire process. Hiveage, Zoho, QuickBooks, Wave, and Xero all include the option of converting a quote to an invoice in 1 click. The ability to assign expenses to a client and automatically include them in an invoice is offered by Hiveage, Freshbooks, and Harvest too. Harvest and Hiveage both present a time tracker function which makes it easy to track time and expenses within multiple projects and automatically add them to the correct client’s invoice.
Invoice2Go and QuickBooks both save your pricing, customer information, and similar data and use it to auto-populate fields in your next invoice so that you don’t have to start from scratch. You can make billing even faster with Freshbooks, QuickBooks, and Harvest by setting up recurring invoicing for customers who have the same charges every month.
Integration with Accounting Software
Your invoicing software can’t just stand on its own. You also need to record your invoices and receive payments as part of your overall accounting. Wave is one of the best invoicing software platforms for integration with accounting tools, since it effectively is an entirely free accounting suite that helps you calculate sales tax, keep on top of expenses for tax purposes, and syncs with all of your business accounts so that your payroll and cash flow tracking are up to date all the time.
If you use QuickBooks for invoicing you’ll also be utilizing part of a greater accounting software platform that can scale all the way up to enterprise-level accounting, containing full income and expense tracking, tax calculation, integrating with inventory support, and continuously syncing with your bank accounts so that all of your records are up to date. Other tools like Zoho don’t include accounting software but do integrate easily with its own brand of accounting apps, or are simple to connect to third-party accounting software.
The amount you’ll have to pay for your invoicing software is always a consideration. Most invoicing software platforms charge by the month or the year for a subscription. Many platforms, including those like QuickBooks which scale all the way up to enterprise level, offer a range of paid plans. Usually the price is determined by the number of clients you invoice per month, with some advanced features reserved only for the higher paid plans. Some platforms have a basic plan which is free – Zoho is free for up to 5 customers, Invoicera for up to 3 customers, and Due allows up to 3 invoices per month on its free program.
Most invoicing software which doesn’t have a free plan still offers a free trial. FreshBooks, Harvest, and Hiveage all allow you to try the fully functional platform for free for 30 days. The lowest priced platforms begin at under $10 per month for the bottom paid plan, rising to over $50 per month for most top-tier plans.
It’s worth noting that there’s one exception, which is Wave. Wave is a totally free platform and there aren’t any upfront costs. What you will pay for instead is a transaction charge when you accept payments through the platform.
One more element to note when choosing invoicing software is how mobile friendly it is. It’s difficult – probably even impossible – to find invoicing software that isn’t mobile enabled, but not every invoicing app is equal. Some only give you limited access to your account like only letting you view payment history. Others, such as Zoho, Wave, and Xero permit you to accept payments and to create and email invoices from your iOS or Android app just like you would from the web-based site. One option which stands out is Harvest. Harvest is unusual because the app has just about the same powerful capability and functionality as the regular web-based site, including the time tracker and project time and expense tracking collaboration tools.
Choose the Best Invoicing Software for Your Business
Whether you need invoicing software for your small business, occasional freelancing jobs, or a large enterprise, there are invoicing software solutions that fit your needs. Able to cope with direct payments, multiple currencies, reporting and accounting integration, you can create and manage customized invoices wherever you go.