Best-in-class invoicing software for small business
June 24, 2020
If you run a small business, you’ll already know that maintaining a positive cash flow can make or break you. Ensuring bills are paid on time is of the utmost importance, but no-one really likes the invoicing process. Creating invoices, sending them and following up on unpaid bills is a hassle and can take up lots of time – which is why invoicing software and apps have boomed in recent years. But with so many new tools on the market, which are the best-in-class invoicing software for small business?
What to look for in invoicing software
Invoicing software should offer you simplicity and transparency, not add another fiddly administrative task into your workflow. To find the right solution, keep these four priority features in mind when choosing a tool.
User-friendliness – There’s no point using invoicing software if it doesn’t actually make things easier for you. The right tool should streamline your accounting, with intuitive controls, and a clean, easy-to-navigate interface. Ultimately, if invoicing software isn’t actively helping you get paid more easily and quickly, it’s not worth the investment.
Relevant features – Before you dive into a purchase, consider what parts of a tool you actually need and are happy paying for. Many apps offer lots of features, but often these aren’t available in cheaper plans – and getting access to the full range of features can end up quite expensive. List of all the “must have” features for your business: do you need lots of customization, currency support, or strong reporting features? It’s also a good idea to group low-priority features, so you don’t get sucked into a bundle you don’t actually use.
Specialism – At Memory, we’re big fans of tools that do one thing very well, rather than tools that try to solve entire complex operational problems. Many invoicing tools bite off far more than they chew, meaning you either pay for things you don’t need, or the one feature you do need gets far less development attention. When it comes to software, smaller is often better – and minimizing digital noise can help you stay focused on the things that really matter.
Easy data import – Many specialist invoicing tools don’t dip into the world of time tracking. Instead, they let you import data from purpose-built time tracking apps and attach time sheets. Make sure your invoicing app makes that entire process quick and effortless. Similarly, be wise to apps that just tack on time tracking; it tends to be extremely basic and manual. To bill accurately for all your work, it’s better to use anautomatic time tracker that’s designed specifically for the job.
Whittling down a short list of tools can still take a lot of energy. To aid your search, here’s our cherry-picked list of invoicing software, with options for both small teams and individuals. The list increases according to operational complexity, with tools towards the bottom being more suited to businesses with large client portfolios and multiple concurrent projects, who require specialist features. While some of these tools require a subscription, we’ve included plenty of free options too.
Zoho covers all the invoicing basics: creating and sending invoices, tracking expenses, syncing bank accounts and creating reports. Its customizable invoice templates are especially useful, and on the whole it provides a versatile, intuitive invoicing solution, along with a complete set of tools that can grow with your business.
InvoiceBerry is all about keeping things swift and simple. You can create your first invoice in less than 60 seconds, keep track of who’s paid (and who hasn’t), and send recurring invoices to regular clients. It’s especially popular with freelancers and sole traders, as well as small businesses.
Simple to use and understand, Invoice2go has a sleek interface and feel, and comes with eight different invoice templates, invoice tracking, multi-currency support, customization features, and recurrent billing. However, the feature set in the cheapest plan are very limited and getting access to the full range will cost you.
If you don’t want to pay for invoicing software, check out Akaunting, which is completely free with no hidden charges or fees. You can access it from any device, which makes it easy to run your business on the go and ensure you’re always on top of things. As well as the standard invoicing features, you can easily share transactions and invoices with your clients, accept bulk payments, and create powerful reports.
Wave is a free, cloud-based software that works well for small businesses of up to eight people. You can create and send customized invoices and estimates in seconds, track the status of your invoices so you know when money will be hitting your account, schedule recurring invoices, and track income and expenses (with receipt scanning tools and bank integrations for the latter).
If your business is UK-based, Bokio is a great free option for keeping everything in one place – and as long as you do your accounting yourself, or with your own accountant, you’ll never have to pay a penny. You can record transactions, create smart bookkeeping templates, keep track of invoicing and expenses, and submit your tax return to HMRC in just a few clicks (another annoying task no-one likes to do).
Due provides payment solutions for businesses of all sizes, and it’s popular with freelancers as well as small businesses. You can easily keep track of payments on the attractive payments dashboard, and there are multiple payment options available, which can help you attract a diverse client base: from credit and debit card payments, international payment processing, cheque and ACH payments and digital wallets, you’ll be able to get paid anytime, anywhere.
Mostly known for their accounting software, Quickbooks invoicing software is a smart choice if you want to manage your books and invoices in one place. A big plus is that QuickBooks has some of the lowest transaction fees around, but it’s also pretty feature-saturated, and even the cheapest subscription might offer more than you need.
FreshBook is versatile enough to work for almost anyone. You can create unlimited customizable invoices, automatically add late fees to bills, list time worked and expenses on each invoice, use invoices to request deposits, and accept payments in multiple currencies (another perk you might want to take advantage of is the 60% discount FreshBooks is currently offering customers during COVID-19).
Xero is a fully-fledged accounting software, the same deal as Quickbooks, although you don’t get quite the same feature set – but this is reflected in the much cheaper price. You can still send invoices and make payments, so for small businesses, that might be enough. At only $9 a month, you can't really complain!