When you’re operating a small business with an even smaller team, chances are, writing invoices and billing clients is not where you want to spend your valuable time and energy. But you need to get paid and billing customers in a professional, timely manner ensures a better customer experience for your clients. It also keeps your cash flow even allowing operations to run smoothly.
If you’re a newer company just starting out, you don’t need to purchase the Cadillac of bookkeeping software. There are many cheaper, easier-to-manage programs and apps that can help you streamline your billing process. Here are our top five (in no particular order) invoicing tools for small businesses.
Why we like it:
Small businesses and freelancers love Due for many reasons, including its user-friendly platform and organizational capacities. The platform quickly shows which invoices have been sent, and which have already been paid. Due can help businesses manage multiple projects at once and provides time tracking, invoicing, and billing services. Invoice generation is timely and simple, and you even have options to address taxes, discounts, and different languages.
Due offers multiple levels of service, with most basic invoicing (three or less a month) for free. Prices increase as you add services; custom rates are offered for businesses doing over $250,000 a year.
Some users report that clients don’t always receive invoices due to email filters blocking the site’s communications. Also, integration with other invoicing services is not included in the free version, and even when you pay, Due doesn’t integrate with many other services. The paid version syncs with QuickBooks and PayPal, but leaves out many others.
Why we like it:
The intuitive platform makes it easy to create and send professional invoices. And the customization option lets you create invoices with your logo and design, as well as change currency and language. You can also automate payment reminders and accept credit cards online through the service. Zoho Invoice integrates with other popular payment sites, such as PayPal or Stripe and Authorize.net, for quick online payment. Setting up an account is simple, and the site includes video tutorials to walk you through using the different services that are available.
Zoho Invoice is free for users with five or less customers, and paid plans range from $7-$30 a month.
Integrations are somewhat limited, as are the number of tools available, compared to other invoicing services. The platform is not ideal for registering expenses. There are occasional issues with their customer service.
Why we like it:
Businesses of any size can use this versatile platform. Invoicera offers free invoice templates for all businesses, and the company also provides many other finance tools that other invoicing services do not. For a cost, they go beyond invoicing by providing inventory management services, purchase orders tracking, time tracking, project management, and a host of financial reports to help streamline your accounting tasks. The company also has a referral plan and gives a month of free service for every person you refer who uses a paid service for 3 months.
They offer a limited service free plan to clients with fewer than three customers, after that, prices start at $19.95 a month and go all the way up to $99.95 (for large businesses).
Customer service has a poor reputation, but it has improved in the last couple years. Cost is a factor, as they are pricier than other invoicing services, but with the added cost comes added benefits, so it really just depends on your particular needs.
Why we like it:
People rave about Freshbooks’ amazing customer service team, for good reason. In 2014, their support team won six gold Stevie Awards proving that this team goes above and beyond to keep customers satisfied. And chances are you won’t need much help anyway, because the site is so simple to use. With Freshbooks, you can personalize invoices with your logo, create repeat billing, send invoices through regular mail, and get paid in multiple currencies. They also integrate easily with a wide range of other platforms, payment systems, and third-party users. For simple invoicing and billing services, Freshbooks is a great choice.
Freshbooks isn’t much of an accounting tool outside of those specific services. It doesn’t provide substantial expense tools, and though pricing is reasonable, many of the services are offered for free by other invoicing platforms. Creating batch invoices is an unwieldy task, so businesses who do one-time invoicing for multiple clients each month may take longer to create and send these invoices.
Why we like it:
Hiveage provides a wide range of services at a low cost to the customer. Using the service just for invoicing is free, but for a low cost, you can add many other features. With their platform, customers can send client reminders and estimates, and Hiveage can even convert estimates into invoices. You can track work time, expenses, and create detailed financial reports. We like the intuitive, fast interface and the personalized, professional-looking invoices.
Hiveage for simple invoicing is free, after that, plans start at only $6.95/month and include additional features.
Some tasks require more clicks to complete than with other software, but the Hive team is working on it. The default payment button that is offered on the invoice can be confusing to your customers if you don’t have the feature set up—and you might not, because payment gateways are not free unless you use PayPal or Google Wallet. If you are using some of the additional features, the inventory function does not adjust when you sell a product, so inventory must be entered manually.
A quality program for billing and invoicing can help you cross one more “to-do” off your list and let you get on with more important demands of owning and operating a small business. With all of the options available, finding the right invoicing tool can be tricky. The programs listed above have proven track records of success. They are also easy to set up, offer online payments for your clients, and may include reporting features that help you gain clearer financial insights into your business. When your billing is up and running, check out our webinar with small business accounting expert, Drew Lyon and learn a few tips to manage your accounting.