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Best invoicing software of 2020: Paid, online and free billing solutions

Best invoicing software
(Image credit: Pexels)

The best invoicing software and billing solutions will allow you to simply and easily - and accurately - manage your outgoings and income.

When it comes to billing and invoicing, it’s possible to do everything manually. However, going that route risks introducing errors, not least in terms of invoice numbers and dates, but you might even be late on your billing. Automated invoicing software make the whole process of billing far simpler.

Even better, many invoicing and billing software solutions cost little to use, or are even free for light use, and many have free trials to allow you to test them. This makes for a welcome option for startups or small businesses to see which option works best for them – and even enterprise versions are available.

Most invoicing solutions run from the cloud, so there are usually no downloads, just a web portal from which your invoices and billing can be set up, accessed, sent, or edited using mobile apps, no matter where you are.

Additionally, it’s not just plain invoices that are usually provided, but workflows which allow for estimates, time taken, and a breakdown of costs, even for team collaborations.

Some invoicing software works as a standalone package, but others work as a part of a wider accounting software platform which means you can upgrade to something more complex as you need to. Additionally, invoicing software can also work with some expense tracking apps and software.

To help with the decision process when it comes to picking out the right solution for your business, we’ve listed five of the best invoicing software for billing here.

  • Want your company or services to be considered for this buyer’s guide? Please email your request to desire.athow@futurenet.com with the URL of the buying guide in the subject line.

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(Image credit: FreshBooks)

1. FreshBooks

Simple and easy invoicing software

Templates provided
Automated payments
Get paid in any currency
Fewer features than QuickBooks

FreshBooks makes invoicing and billing easy, with simple to make and edit templates, and a raft of features to ensure the overall process is streamlined and effective for a range of business models.

This includes being able to charge a deposit, and automate reminders. Additionally, everything is stored online in the cloud so you can access your saved data using mobile apps from any device. You can also keep track of your business billing and expenses, and there’s an especially handy feature which allows you to connect to your bank account to import the data for easier expenses management.

If you charge for your time rather than products, there’s also a timer feature that allows you to keep track of how much billable time you spend on a project. This also applies if you run a team and need to keep tabs on how much work each person has spent on a project for setting up an overall charge against a specific client.

Furthermore, this can also be presented in a broken-down format for the client so they know what they’re paying for. If the client is concerned about costs on a project, you can also allow them to access any estimates in the cloud as required.

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(Image credit: Zoho )

2. Zoho Invoice

All-in invoicing software for billing

Simple templates
Automated reminders
Advanced features
Heavy users might prefer Zoho Books

Well organized and easy to use, Zoho Invoice is a comprehensive invoicing software solution for small to medium-sized businesses. It comes with many features that are simple to navigate, and a number of these can be automated to save you time with billing.

Zoho Invoice also offers its own report generator and as it’s run through the cloud you can access and update it through the available apps. This product is also integrated with 11 payment gateways and can bill internationally, so there shouldn’t be any problems with taking payments.

If you’re looking for a solution for managing invoicing, billing, quotes, contacts, and expenses, Zoho Invoice covers all these and can be further integrated into other Zoho products, such as Zoho Mail, Zoho CRM, and Zoho Books.

For up to five users the software is free to use, and that could be very useful for a startup looking to test the waters and see whether Zoho Invoice is worth continuing with.

While there is a more expensive plan for unlimited customers, it might be worth upgrading to Zoho Books instead of taking that option, as the latter offers both the invoicing software as well as comprehensive accounting software. So for heavy users, unless you have an alternative in place, it might be better to upgrade the product rather than the plan.

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(Image credit: Simplybill)

3. Simplybill

Billing software that makes invoicing simple

Large number of invoicing templates
Automated tax rates
Backups provide redundancy against accidental deletions
No support for payment gateways

As the name suggests, Simplybill is a simplified billing software which includes all of the basic features you would expect for setting up and sending invoices, including the ability to set up automatic tax rates (even for different countries).

The product runs in the cloud, allowing you to access your account on the go through mobile apps, and you can elect to receive push notifications in the event that an invoice becomes overdue.

One drawback is that there is no support for any payment gateways currently, although Simplybill allows for PayPal subscription links.

Pricing for Simplybill is based, unusually, not on the number of clients but simply on the number of invoices sent out each month, beginning at $5 per month for up to 25 invoices sent, going up to $15 per month for up to 100, then $25 per month for unlimited billing.

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(Image credit: Invoicera)

4. Invoicera

Invoicing software with lots of billing options

Integrates with 25+ global payment gateways
Manage multiple companies
Automatic subscriptions
Limited reporting

Invoicera is another billing and invoicing software platform for managing payments, time tracking, and project costs. Like most others, it’s cloud-based so can be accessed using apps when you’re out and about. Setup is simple but the software has a number of features that will allow you to cover almost any aspect of billing outside of direct accounting.

Although Invoicera doesn’t have as many templates as other providers, the ones offered are fully customizable. There are also a number of options for automation, including recurring invoices and subscriptions, all of which can be paid for through a comprehensive range of payment gateways.

Additionally, Invoicera has a nifty feature for automatically adding late payment fees where applicable. Another interesting option is the ability to operate multiple trading names or companies through the same account.

There’s a free starter package for up to three clients, then you pay $15 per month for up to 100 active clients. Costs go up according to the number of staff members you want to be able to use the app, with the most expensive option being $149 per month for an enterprise solution with unlimited clients and unlimited users.

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(Image credit: NCH)

5. Express Invoice

Invoicing software that lets you take control of billing

Simple program
Control your own data
No cost for additional users
No payment gateway integration

For those business owners who want more direct control over their data, Express Invoice from NCH Software is a downloadable billing and invoicing software that runs on your own business computer or network, rather than in the cloud.

This offers the benefit of being able to directly print or fax invoices rather than simply sending them as an email as with other solutions. It also means you have control of your own business data, rather than a third-party having responsibility for it. Although there are no mobile apps, Express Invoice does allow you to sync other devices such as laptops, Android phones, and even Amazon’s Fire tablets.

Furthermore, it’s a simpler app than others featured here, focused on the quick and easy generation of invoices from quotes, rather than handling direct billing and payment.

Pricing starts with a free Basic version, although a Plus version is also available for handling multiple businesses for $59.95. Also bear in mind that because it’s a downloadable program, you can add users without it costing extra.

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(Image credit: Paypal)

6. Paypal invoicing

The easy online invoicing software solution

Simple to use
Payment processing
Flexible
Web or email

Last on our list, but in no means least, Paypal offers one of the simplest and easiest to use ways to invoice clients - and get paid. Invoices can be sent or transferred from multiple currencies, and Paypal can automatically convert payments into the currency of choice when you need to bank it. 

Individual invoices can be sent by email, and there are subscription options. However, that's about as automated as it goes, which is why Paypal is better suited to small volumes, and while might be a good solution for freelancers who only need to make a few payments per month, it's not so suitable for retail unless built into existing ecommerce software, which is perfectly possible with most common platforms.

Where Paypal really shines is in the simplicity of use. You don't need to download software or keep it updated, you simply login to the website and select the options you need, then copy out the code for a payment button.

Paypal also keeps a record of all payments and transactions available on its website so you have a clear record when it comes to accounting as required. Additionally, transferring payments from Paypal to your bank account is usually a fast and worry-free process.

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(Image credit: Invoice Expert)

7. Invoice Expert

Simplify your invoice and billing needs with this free software

Free software
Easy to upgrade
Windows only
Advanced version offers more features

Invoice Expert is free software dedicated to helping small business folk streamline their invoicing tasks without the need for any expenditure. As a result it comes with a surprisingly well-developed array of tools, which can speed up workflow and improve office business efficiency. 

Alongside allowing you to send out invoices, the program can turn its hand to a wider range of billing duties and also help you manage your inventory. 

While the software is aimed primarily at the small business end of the spectrum, Invoice Expert can be used by larger concerns and workflow can be managed all from within a Windows-style dashboard area, making it of universal appeal.

The Invoice Expert Lite edition is just that, it’s a slightly pared down version of the Advanced version. While Lite is completely free to use, the Advanced option costs $69.95, which is a one-time price with no ongoing monthly or annual fees.

Also consider these billing and invoicing software options

There are a large number of billing and invoicing software options available, and while we've featured the leading five, there are plenty of others worth also considering. This is either because of their simplicity and ease of use, automation, or available features that might give your business an edge:

Xero is a nice solution to invoicing that provides a decent amount of automation and a reporting dashboard to ensure you're fully up to date with payments in real-time. Reminders can be sent automatically, and it's easy to keep track of outstanding invoices and payments made to date. Xero runs as a cloud-based app, which makes it accessible on any device. It also allows for expense management, as well as make purchase orders, and effectively works as a mini-accounting package. 

Wave invoicing is another neat invoicing app that can work as a standalone, or as part of a wider suite of Wave accounting software. It's easy to create customized invoices that look professional, and recurring billing is simple to set up. You can opt to receive alerts to your smartphone or mobile device when an invoice is paid, which makes it easy to keep track of payments. What perhaps stands out most with Wave is that it's free to use, the company instead taking a percentage of fees generated. The one negative to this is that fees are much more Europe-centric, and higher for North America.

Invoicely is another billing and invoicing platform that comes with a free tier that allows for unlimited invoices, billing in any currency, and can be run for multiple businesses. Paid plans begin from $9.99 which opens up features such as recurring payments, timetracking along with mileage and expenses, as well as online payments. More expensive plans are available where more than two team members are expected to use it. Overall, it's a simple and easy to use system.

Invoice2Go allows for invoices and estimates to be sent on the go via mobile device, and offers a range of invoice templates for use. Features include credit and debit card payments, the tracking of when invoices are sent, opened, or overdue, as well as receipts and expenses. There are also analytics built in so you can generate reports to help show how your business is performing. Payment reminders can also be automated to help improve payments times.