The Top Billing and Invoice Software for Small Businesses
Incorporating billing and invoicing software into your business’s operations can allow you to tailor your time towards the most important managerial decisions of your company by automating a process that can be quite tedious.
Finding the best billing and invoice software service comes down to the following factors:
- Ease of Use
In making this billing and invoice software guide, we have spent many hours comparing the features of the most affordable, easy-to-use, and secure software options. In doing so, we have identified the current top industry players that stand out from the rest and ranked them by considering how valuable they are to small businesses specifically.
Our Top-Rated Billing and Invoice Software
As we discuss below, several of these providers also offer additional accounting services, which include:
- Bills and stock management
- Tax handling
- Bank conciliation
- Profitability analysis
We chose Quickbooks as the best billing and invoice software for small and large businesses.
The company’s prolific features, efficient invoicing structure, and competitive pricing make it the best option out there at the moment, and its varying packages mean that it can be a desirable option for businesses of all sizes, sectors, and industries.
If you want help with any accounting services for your small business, check out our Best Accounting Software for Small Business review and get accounting set up for your company.
If you are interested in exploring our detailed breakdown and analysis of all five software providers, continue reading below.
Best Billing and Invoice Software: Breakdown
Quickbooks is our number one choice for billing and invoice software options. Besides offering everything you will need when it comes to invoicing your clients, its diverse packaging options offer:
- High scalability
- Great affordability
- Exclusive features
All three of Quickbooks’ packages include a 30-day free trial option and the ability to send one-click-payable invoices. At the moment, the company is also offering new clients a flat 75% discount on each package (Discounted prices not included below.).
These packages are:
- Simple Start: $12.50/month
- Essentials: $25/month
- Plus: $40/month
- Advanced: $90/month
- Invoices that can be paid with one click
- Management of expenses
- Tax estimations
- Bank conciliations
For an extra $10 a month, Essentials package users can additionally enjoy:
- Billing in over 145 different currencies — a feature that was seldom seen by any competitors
- Comprehensive bill management lists that show what your business is owed and what it owes.
Business owners choosing to opt with the provider’s Plus package will have access to several exclusive accounting features:
- Employee time tracking
- Stock management
- In-depth analysis of the profitability of every project
- The ability to set and check “smart budgets”
Pros and Cons
- All business data is stored on the cloud, so business owners can store and see it from anywhere.
- Can give account access to multiple individuals, including your accountant, which is very convenient.
- Automated reminders so you do not have to chase up clients
- Automatic cash flow tracking through bank matching
- High mobility via mobile app which lets you send invoices anywhere
- Over 3 million satisfied customers spanning over three decades
- Very forgiving — allows customers to adjust entries for consequent invoices
- Unrivaled scalability meaning you won’t need to change in the future
- May be overwhelming for small business owners
- Not the best or the most consistent customer service
Its exceptional benefits make Quickbooks a solid investment in our eyes. Its diverse package options mean that after you get accustomed to the platform, you will unlikely ever need to change to another provider again.
To some extent, this may offset the “overwhelming” aspect mentioned above.
2. Square Invoices
Square Invoices comes in at a close second place when it comes to billing and invoice software. Its easy-to-use UI, all-encompassing “free” option, and high-customization options make it one of the best invoicing software options.
Square Invoices only has two pricing packages:
- Free plan: $0
- 2.5% processing fee for online card payment
- 1.75% processing fee for in-person card payment
- Plus: $20/month
- 2.5% processing fee for online card payments
- 1.75% processing fee for in-person card payments
- Unlimited invoices, estimates, and contracts
- High mobility — can send invoices through text, email, or by manually sharing a link
- Receive payments 24/7
- Unlimited number of billable customers
- Unlimited number of users
Customers purchasing the Plus package enjoy increased customization, as well as the ability to auto-convert accepted estimates into invoices.
Pros and Cons
- Extremely accommodating when it comes to invoices
- Perfect for small businesses not interested in extra features
- Can include zero sign up costs
- Very easy to send invoices “on the go”
- Relatively low scalability — may not be optimal for business owners looking to expand in the future.
- No multi-currency support unless you open up new accounts in the countries in question
Freshbooks’ billing and invoice software is extremely customizable, and their diverse packaging options make them extremely scalable. Having said that, they fall short in areas such as cost, number of invoicing features, and number of users in comparison to their aforementioned competitors.
Excluding Freshbooks’ 30-day trial option (which does not require any credit card details when signing up), the provider offers four distinct packages:
- Lite: $15/month
- Plus: $25/month
- Premium: $40/month
- Custom Option:
- Up to five clients
- Unlimited expenses tracking
- Sending unlimited estimates
- Sales tax tracking
At the Plus package, customers can enjoy sending an unlimited amount of invoices for up to 50 clients with automated tracking and mobile integration.
To reach an unlimited amount of invoices for an unlimited amount of clients, customers need to purchase the Premium package. This package also provides a plethora of general accounting features that will undoubtedly be super useful in your business, including:
- Tracking bills and bill payments
- Vendors with Accounts Payable
- Profitability tracking of individual projects
- Customizable email templates
- Email signatures on invoices
Even though these are all great features, Freshbooks’ options fall short compared to our top choices. There is no free option, with users having to pay $40 per month to attain an unlimited amount of invoices — a feature that many others have on their lower-tier or free packages.
For smaller businesses that may not be interested in extra features or scalability, Freshbooks is unlikely to be a favorable choice for them.
Pros and Cons
- High amount of accounting features
- High customization
- Custom package means potentially limitless expansion
- Very secure — all data and personal info is protected using industry-standard SSL and encryption
- Can allow you to get paid faster
- Includes an invoice dashboard which makes it very easy to use
- Limited invoicing options unless you pay for higher-cost packages
- Not suited towards individuals who are only interested in invoicing features
- Cannot add entries on behalf of employees
4. Zoho Invoicing
Zoho’s invoicing software leaves little to be desired when it comes to invoicing. Scalability, customization, price, and ease-of-use all rank extremely well, with the software providing one of the most efficient and diverse options on the market at the moment.
Even though Zoho has other analytics packages (advanced BI, Canvas, Mobile SD & MDM, Inventory Management, etc.), the company has only one invoicing package option, which is completely free.
- Customizable templates
- Multiple mobile apps
- Different paying options (credit card, cash, checks)
- Ability to add social media account
- Can personalize invoices by adding a company logo
- Can bill clients in several different languages and currencies
- Recurring invoices can be automated and tracked
- Invoices can be sent via a client portal, an SMS, and an email
Pros and Cons
- Extremely affordable
- Provides everything you need when it comes to invoicing
- Highly customizable
- High amount of security measures and initiatives to safeguard customer data
- Customer support is limited, with no service on the weekend
- Limited number of integrations
- Relatively low scalability, individuals will likely need to use Zoho invoicing in addition to another service provider when their business begins to expand
5. Wave Invoicing
Wave Invoicing is one of the most solid choices out there when it comes to simple billing and invoice software. While the provider has only one invoicing package, they provide an additional five that relate to payroll, financial consultancy, transactions, and income and expense tracking.
Since Wave Invoicing is free of charge, the company gives its aspiring users a free way of deciding whether they would like to work with the provider or not, knowing that — if they do — they will have a seemingly limitless number of features and choices to utilize.
- Unlimited invoicing
- Automatic payment reminders sent to clients
- Invoices sync automatically with Wave Accounting (also free)
- Mobile app for high mobility
- Ability to manage customer communications
While they do not relate to invoicing, the company does offer additional tools that businesses may find useful. Some are free, while others require an additional cost:
- Wave Accounting
- Wave Payments
- Wave Advisors
- Wave Payroll
Pros and Cons
- Invoicing is extremely simple to use and allows customers to easily and quickly link their bank details
- Automatic payments and recurring billing is included for free
- Provides everything you “need” when it comes to invoicing
- Very limited customer service: only paying customers can access live customer support with Wave Accounting and Wave Invoicing users needing to rely on emails and chatbots, which can be ineffective
- Generally inflexible: customers needing to run payrolls more than once in a specified pay period may struggle while using Wave Invoicing
Tips to Make Billing and Invoicing Easier
We have provided three tips that you can keep in mind to ensure that your invoicing stays accurate, fast, and auditable when billing clients independently.
Fit Invoicing Into Your Day-to-Day Work
Instead of allocating a specific time period where you handle all of your invoicing, you may want to incorporate this into your work more naturally. For example, you may choose to finish a project and handle that project’s invoicing requirements immediately.
This can allow you to develop your own little standardized procedure when it comes to invoicing clients, which can go a long way in ensuring that it becomes a natural, fast, and non-disruptive part of your work life.
Of course, your ability to do this will depend on your business’s size and industry.
Store Automated Data
Though this may seem obvious, it is definitely worth mentioning.
Even if you are in a very dynamic industry and are constantly billing different clients, you will likely be selling at least somewhat similar (if not identical) products and/or services.
Ultimately, this means that you will be able to store and “automate” a sizable portion of your invoices; no need to regularly re-write the same exact text manually if you can practically make your own template.
This can include storing payment terms, introductory details, and hourly rates.
Track Your Time and Materials Better
This can come in handy if you regularly spend a different amount of hours on materials between projects and need a significant amount of time to determine the exact costs of each product or service that you sell.
Tracking your materials and time as you go will inevitably help you save a prolific amount of time when invoicing and should make the process more straightforward holistically. This is because you won’t need to go back and try to identify every single expense that you incurred along the way.
Each billing and invoice software provider on our list comes with its own pros and cons, and in a way, it can be quite difficult to accurately differentiate between them.
Your best choice will likely be dependent on your specificities and may change as time goes on and as your business expands.
Having said that, our number one choice Quickbooks seems to be one step above the rest, and generally leaves little to be desired regardless of whether you are interested in working with complex accounting and business management software features or are simply looking for a straightforward, affordable, and automated invoicing product to save time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of invoicing software?
Working with invoicing software can ensure that the way that you bill your clients is as efficient, consistent, and transparent as possible. This can allow you to save time — which would have been spent on drafting invoices and chasing up clients — and prioritize more important areas of your business.
Other benefits for starting and small entrepreneurs include:
- Increased security
- Improved brand image
- Fewer missed payments
Should I use invoicing software?
Whether you should use invoicing software or not will ultimately depend on you, as (at the end of the day), it is a preference that mostly relates to your quality of life.
Having said that, choosing to incorporate invoicing software into your business can allow you to:
- Create invoices anywhere, anytime, and in most currencies
- Receive regular updates without having to chase up clients
- Automate recurring invoices, making you increasingly time-efficient.
Why is invoicing important?
Most business owners and freelancers send invoices to request payment, but the value of invoices is much greater than that.
An accurate and highly detailed invoice can provide legal protection for you and your business, as it can serve as adequate proof of the income which you have reported to the IRS.
This means that if you get audited in the future, your past invoices can serve as the “financial history” of your business’s transactions.
What are the disadvantages of invoicing?
Any disadvantages of invoicing are generally a result of the ways in which they are planned, managed, and sent out — rather than as a result of an “inherent” opportunity cost.
This means that, if you choose to use invoices and do so poorly, your business will likely suffer from:
- Delayed payments as a result of vague and wrongly interpreted terms
- Delayed payments as a result of insufficient information (this is particularly the case if you are billing a client on an hourly rate which you have failed to provide proof for)
Every single invoice you send out needs to be clear, concise, and professional. If this is not the case, sending one out will only hurt your business’s finances and public image.
Is invoicing always the right choice for me?
Even though invoicing correctly can bring in numerous structural benefits for business owners, it is not for everybody. In some industries — such as the hospitality sector or retail, business owners seldom (if ever) issue invoices due to the nature of their work (i.e., high utilization of cash and digital receipts).