In the dynamics of modern business, efficiency and time are the priced resources. Acknowledging this, I have to add that the role of technology in optimizing operations has become irrefutable.
Now, getting paid after successfully finishing your job must be one of the most satisfying feelings in the world, but I can imagine that sending invoices isn’t. Having to itemize charges, track expenses, add taxes, and other activities can be very time-consuming – definitely not the activities you thought you’d be doing when you decided to get into business.
So, how can you ease the process of handling invoices? Well, using an invoicing software is one way to go about it. With an invoicing tool, you can easily make invoice templates, send unlimited invoices, create recurring invoices, set automatic payment reminders, do expense tracking, and many more finance-related activities that otherwise would take so much of your time.
In most cases, invoicing software goes hand in hand with accounting software, which makes a powerful combination to automate billing, collect payments, and keep professional and clean bookkeeping.
The benefits of today’s technology to handle the invoicing process are huge, and that’s exactly what I will be covering in this article. I’ll give you a thorough explanation of the best invoicing software and how you can integrate it into your billing process and improve your workflow. So, let’s make a start!
What is automatic invoicing software?
Automatic invoicing software is a tool designed to simplify and streamline the process of creating invoices and sending them while at the same time keeping track of your (online) payments.
An invoicing tool is a technology that can automate billing and invoicing tasks while reducing manual efforts and potential human error.
It offers a variety of features that enable freelancers and businesses to create invoices, calculate totals, add taxes, schedule automatic payment reminders, and more.
Doing all this with online invoice software will require minimal human intervention, leaving you more time to focus on other tasks that can’t be automated.
The way that invoicing software works is by using predefined templates and other settings that can be customized to match your individual or business’s branding and invoicing requirements.
Moreover, it can integrate with other third-party applications you’re using in your workflows, such as accounting software and payment gateways.
All of these, put together, make a powerful combination that will seamlessly run your financial management.
But to get a better idea of what invoicing software does, let me walk you through some of the key features that are the following:
- Custom templates – You are able to create invoices and design invoice templates with your logo, color palette, and other branding elements you wish to implement.
- Recurring invoices – You can generate and send recurring invoices for subscription billing with regular billing cycles. This way, you will make sure to keep all your services intact and running without any inconvenience of falling behind payments.
- Automated calculations – With online invoicing software, you can do calculations for taxes, line items, discounts, and total amounts. All of these are done automatically, so you don’t have to worry about any miscalculations.
- Online payments – Most invoicing software supports online payment options, which allow you to make payments directly from the invoice.
- Time tracking – For more accurate billable hours input in your invoices, you can integrate time tracking tools. By doing this, you will make sure to do the correct client billing to the hour.
- Cloud-based data – Most of the invoicing tools are cloud-based, which means you can access your invoices and financial data from anywhere where there is an internet connection.
- Expense tracking – You can use this feature to track expenses by keeping tabs on costs related to the invoiced projects.
- Invoice tracking – You can track the status of all your invoices, and that way, you’ll know which invoices are paid, you’ll have a clear view of unpaid invoices, etc.
- Multiple currencies – This feature will be very helpful if you have international clients because it will allow you to create and send invoices in different currencies easily.
Now, let’s move to the types of invoicing software available and which one is closest to satisfying your needs as the ideal invoicing solution for you or your business.
Types of invoicing software
You get the idea that invoicing software can have a great impact on your professional life. And there are many options available, from free invoicing software and paid subscriptions to apps for smaller screens and software for Macs and PCs.
Having this many options can be overwhelming to choose what fits your needs best.
So, let’s take a look at some types and see their characteristics.
Online invoice software
To use this type of software, you don’t need to install a program because you can use it directly online on your browser.
This means you can access your financial data from any device with an internet connection rather than being limited to the one device on which you have the software installed.
By using online software, you’ll have everything backed up on the cloud rather than on a hard drive.
This way, your data will be safe without worrying in case your computer suffers some damage that could be permanent to your hard drive.
So, if you travel a lot on business and need to make professional invoices on the go while making sure you never use important data, then online invoice software can come in handy.
Offline invoicing software
Offline invoicing tools refer to programs that you need to install on your computer or any other device you might be using (if the program is compatible).
You need to be aware that with offline software, as I said above, your data is only saved on your hard drive, which can be risky.
The most common offline tools used for invoicing are:
- Word and Excel from Microsoft
- Writer and Calc from LibreOffice
- Pages and Numbers from iWork (macOS)
All of these tools are similar, easy to use, and customizable. But, to send the invoice, you’ll either have to print it, which will leave you with paper invoices, or you’ll need to save it on your computer and then send it via email.
However, you can still be able to manually back up your invoices on platforms like Google Drive or Dropbox.
Multi-device invoicing system
This type of software is compatible with all devices, and you can access your data from multiple operating systems and devices that come with an internet connection.
The beauty of this is that you’ll always be in sync with everyone, whether they’re out of the office or on business travels. Everyone who’s supposed to have access will have it on any device, and they can do unlimited invoicing, schedule recurring invoices, etc.
Aside from this flexibility, you get accounting features that will allow you to conduct business even better if you’re not always near a computer.
Open-source invoicing software
Open-source software is software that can be programmed and modified to your preferred business needs. This is possible by the availability of the source code to which you can contribute.
Many of the online invoicing tools will have this option along with API documentation on the website.
Invoicing solution for VAT invoices
If you have a business that is VAT registered, then you’ll need to issue VAT invoices and submit the returns to the Public Revenue Office regularly.
If this is the case, then you will need an invoicing tool that is capable of issuing VAT invoices.
Some tools can be connected directly to your Public Revenue account, meaning that you can submit your return directly from the tool you’re using.
Free invoicing software
Usually, when it comes to making a decision about services and applications, pricing plays is one of the most important considerations. If you’re interested in trying out or using free invoicing software, there are some available.
They come with certain limitations in functionality, but it’s enough for you to understand how things work. It’s a great opportunity to experience automated invoicing, especially for individuals and small businesses that are short on budget.
What are the benefits of invoicing software?
As I stated in the opening, efficiency, and accuracy are very important in the business world, and another way in which technology contributes to this is with software for invoicing and accounting.
Having unlimited invoices, recurring billing, invoice processing, and payment processing without much human intervention is a great deal, and it will free up a lot of time. And you can allocate this time to focus on tasks that require your attention and strategic thinking.
Now, since I covered the basics of invoicing software and you’re overall more familiar with the topic, it’s time to take a look at the most significant benefits.
The key to success often lies in efficient time management, and an invoicing tool fits right in.
By automating the invoicing process, this software frees you from the time-consuming manual invoicing. Moreover, with just the click of a button, you can execute invoice payments in a matter of seconds.
So, needless to say, you will no longer need to waste many hours creating a customized invoice tracking monthly fees and recurring payments. So you will have more time on your hands to allocate to tasks that can be automated.
Not only do invoicing tools help you with the generation of invoice templates, but they also help you keep track of your financial records. You will have all your invoices and online payments organized and easily accessible on one platform.
So you can forget about going through piles of paperwork or email inboxes to find the needed information regarding your finances.
This harmonizing organization will ensure that every transaction you make is accounted for, every payment is received promptly, and no potential revenue goes unnoticed. Also, you can set payment reminders so you never miss a payment.
Accept online payments
The convenience of online payments has become an expectation in today’s world. From individuals and small business owners to medium companies and enterprises, online payments have become a strategic imperative.
If you’re wondering why – well, it’s because the method is very fast, efficient, and has a global reach.
So you don’t have to worry about delays in payment processing and geographical barriers. Furthermore, the transactions are fully encrypted because they’re in the hands of reputable payment gateways.
Since we can all agree that first impressions matter, it’s safe to assume that it applies to financial interactions as well.
It really makes a difference when, after a project well done, you send a final invoice that is professionally designed with proper company branding and details.
Invoicing tools allow you to create professional invoices that will reflect your brand and show commitment to professionalism.
Being seen in this light is important because it leaves a lasting impression on clients, and the better the impression – the bigger the chances that the relationships last longer.
Precision through automation
When it comes to calculations, we as humans can make mistakes, but software with implemented formulas can’t. Using automated calculations of taxes, totals, and discounts, you don’t have to worry about these inaccuracies.
Having accurate calculations shows financial integrity, and your clients will be satisfied with it. Whether you’re a freelancer, a small business, or a larger company, using an invoicing tool will significantly help you create accurate accounting systems and perception of cash flow.
Important business decisions should be made with financial insights, and when it comes to insights, invoicing tools play a vital role in providing them.
With its reporting capabilities, these tools can do detailed reports that outline your profits, income, and expenses.
Having this data, you can make informed decisions that will lead your business to significant growth.
Manual payment tracking can be a challenge, but this task is incredibly easy with software. You will be notified about paid invoices, and alongside that, you can set overdue payment reminders to do timely follow-ups with your clients on unpaid invoices.
By being proactive, you will have payment tracking that ensures a healthy and uninterrupted cash flow.
As you grow and thrive as a business, so will your invoicing needs as well. All of the invoicing tools are made with scalability in mind, so with a good subscription plan, you can send unlimited invoices to your clients and accept payments without compromising your efficiency.
What makes a good invoicing software?
There is no perfect solution when it comes to the generally best software in a niche, which is why there are always many options for similar software that target different audiences with specific needs.
There are many things to consider when choosing the best invoicing software option for you, so let me elaborate on the ones that I think matter the most:
- Free plan value – In my experience, not all free invoicing software plans are worth it, many are treated basically like a free trial that will show you limited capabilities, for instance, sending only a few invoices. But if you want to explore the tool further, you will have to subscribe. However, this is not always the case since there is actually decent free billing software for small businesses and freelancers that have no budget to invest.
- Customization – Your brand is what sets your business apart. So, it’s important that the tool you choose allows you to implement your company’s branding into your custom invoices.
- Recurring invoices – Using billing software that charges automatically will save you a lot of time. This is especially important for companies that are subscription-based because it can automatically send invoices, and you don’t have to worry about missing an invoice.
- Reports – Knowing where your money is flowing is one of the most important ingredients to a successful business. When you know how you spend your resources, you get a better perspective on your financial situation, and you can see where you stand and whether you need to allocate in order to achieve growth.
Best invoicing software
If you run a larger business that has a lot of ongoing transactions, you’d want to get unlimited invoices and other features without limited capabilities. And I’m saying this because the free plans will probably not be capable enough to get the job done.
For that purpose, let’s go through some of the paid options that will help you create outstanding invoices and manage your finances better.
QuickBooks Online is one of the best invoicing tools in the world of accounting software, thanks to its versatility and features. It’s designed to suit the needs of a wide variety of users, from small businesses and freelancers to larger companies and enterprises.
This accounting software has earned its reputation because of its usefulness in streamlining financial management as well as accounting and invoicing processes. It’s really easy to navigate, ensuring users who have more limited knowledge can find their way around the platform. In addition, the dashboard has your company’s financial health, which makes it easier for you to access crucial data.
QuickBooks Online offers a lot of accounting tools, like invoicing, expense tracking, bill management, finance reports, and payroll processing. Having access to all these tools can drastically change the way you handle your finances.
Using QuickBooks Online as a billing software will allow you to do extensive customization from invoice templates to charts of accounts. This way, you will make sure that your billing software is customized to your business-specific branding.
Moreover, what we talked about the most in this article is invoicing and payment – well, QuickBooks Online handles them really well. You can do recurring invoices and accept online payments without a single worry and improve your cash flow.
Not to let it go unmentioned, QuickBooks Online will allow you to effortlessly track your expenses and categorize them, which will ease your tax preparation thanks to accurate financial records. You can get financial reports that will give you valuable insights into your business performance, cash flow, and profits.
In addition, you can easily integrate this accounting software with multiple third-party applications you’re already using that improve your business’s performance or apps you plan to use in the foreseeable future.
But let’s take a look at the challenges that come with QuickBooks Online. If you’re totally new to accounting tools, you might face difficulties until you learn to use this one. The good thing is that it has a lot of online resources and tutorials that can help you achieve this more easily.
Another thing I want to discuss is the pricing – it surely isn’t suitable for everyone. Because of all the features that come in different subscription plans, the price might be a bit higher than other accounting software options.
The last thing I want to mention is its complexity. Even though this accounting software can be used by freelancers and small businesses, with all the features it offers, it could be an overkill for users who only need an online invoice generator. If that’s the case, you’ll be better with any free invoicing software for small businesses and freelancers that is more limited but will suffice your particular needs.
So evaluate your needs before you go with the paid plan, and definitely take advantage of the free trial to see if you find the accounting features useful.
Invoicera is another online billing software trusted by businesses from all around the world. It consists of many features that will simplify invoicing, enhance financial transparency, and smoothen operations for businesses of all sizes.
This billing software has an intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface that allows beginners and professionals to adapt fast to the platform. Using Invoicera, you can effortlessly create professional invoices, quotes, and estimates. This way, your business will maintain a consistent image in the eyes of your clients.
Another great thing about Invoicera is the automated invoicing. If you’re a business with a subscription-based payment method or regularly scheduled services, then this feature will help you handle your recurring invoices effortlessly.
If you’re operating on a global scale, you can easily generate invoice templates for multiple currencies, which will simplify your international transactions. And speaking of transactions, this billing software integrates with multiple payment gateways that will make online invoicing convenient.
In addition, Invoicera has a built-in time-tracking feature that is really helpful for businesses that bill clients based on hourly work. This feature converts the tracked hours into billable items on your to-be-send invoices.
If you want detailed reports on your financial health, then this billing software can help you out. Fortunately, Invoicera generates detailed reports on income, expenses, and profits, which will allow you to make informed decisions.
Even though this billing software has many pricing plans that are meant for different business sizes, the cost might be considered relatively higher for very small business owners or freelancers who have minimal invoicing needs.
Xero is a world-known cloud-based accounting software with an impeccable reputation. This tool is excellent when it comes to automation, simplicity, and financial transparency.
Xero offers an intuitive and user-friendly interface that makes it easy for users to access their data. Moreover, it has comprehensive accounting features that will help you manage all of your business’s finances in one platform.
When it comes to automation of financial tasks, with Xero, you can automate bank reconciliations, categorize expenses, and set up invoice reminders. These features will reduce manual data entry and save you lots of time you could allocate elsewhere.
Another thing that makes Xero stand out is its invoicing capabilities, including invoice templates, online payment options, and recurring invoices. In addition, you can track your expenses and make sure your records are always accurate so you don’t have to worry about your tax preparation. You can even capture receipts digitally using the mobile app.
If you operate on global markets, you can use the multi-currency support, which will ease the handling of your international transactions.
Moreover, you can customize your financial reports and get insights into your business’s performance and cash flow, which will help you make informed decisions.
If you decide to go with Xero, you don’t need to worry about third-party integrations into your workflows because you can extend its functionality with CRM, project management, and e-commerce tools.
Furthermore, if you’re constantly out of the office and on the go, you can stay updated with your financial data using the Xero mobile app.
Xero’s pricing can be seen as high for small business owners and freelancers who have minimal accounting needs, but it offers various plans that can accommodate any business size.
Best free invoicing software
If you’re on a budget and have small accounting needs, then it would be wise to look at the best free invoicing software available. To get you covered, I chose to review the two most popular options, so let’s dig in!
Zoho Invoice is a powerful invoicing and financial management platform that’s best suited for freelancers and businesses who seek efficiency and financial transparency. It’s a compelling choice because of its user-friendly interface, invoicing features, and integration with online payment gateways.
Using Zoho Invoice, you’ll reduce the manual invoicing tasks and have real-time insights into your financial health. It even offers multi-currency support and expense management.
If you use other software or tools, you can easily integrate it with Zoho Invoice and elevate your productivity, although the integration ecosystem is not as extensive as for the paid invoicing and accounting solutions.
So whether you’re a freelancer, a small business owner, or part of an enterprise, Zoho Invoice is still a worthy consideration if you prefer a simple financial management and invoicing tool. Therefore, it’s safe to say that Zoho Invoice is one of the best free invoicing software options available.
ZipBooks is another best free invoicing software I’ll review in this article. It’s user-friendly, and it allows you to effortlessly create professional invoices and set up recurring invoices, which will save you time and make sure you have a consistent brand image.
This billing software offers a time-tracking feature that allows you to track billable hours for projects, which later converts them into billable items on your invoice. Moreover, ZipBooks offers basic accounting features like income and expense tracking that can generate reports and insights into financial health.
This billing software is integrated with multiple payment options on different payment gateways, ensuring safe payment processing and enhanced cash flow. It also offers mobile invoicing, which is super useful if you’re traveling a lot and need access to your financial data but don’t have your computer with you.
So overall, ZipBooks’ free plan is a great option if you look for simplicity and cost-effectiveness.
What is automated invoicing software?
Automated invoicing software is a tool designed to help you simplify the process of creating, sending, and managing your invoices. The automation consists of generating invoices by using predefined templates, scheduling invoices, and tracking payments.
Can you automate invoices?
Yes, you can automate your invoices by using automated invoicing software. Using an invoicing tool will help you set up customized templates and send them via email or other digital methods.
How do you automate a billing system?
The billing system automation is done in a few steps, including billing software selection, invoice template creation, recurring invoices setting, payment gateway integration, payment reminders, payment tracking, and reports generation.
What does invoicing software do?
Invoicing software has many functions, of which the key ones include invoice creation, automation, expense tracking, reporting, online payments, and time tracking.