The best invoicing software and billing solutions will allow you to simply and easily - and accurately - manage your business outgoings and income. This makes it easier to keep on track of costs, profits, and tax liabilities.
When it comes to billing and invoicing, it’s possible to do everything manually in a spreadsheet or even in a physical book. 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 the best invoicing software for billing here.
- We’ve also highlighted the best payment gateways.
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.
- Read our full FreshBooks review.
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.
- Read our full Zoho Invoice review.
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.
- Read our full Simplybill review.
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, after which there are a variety of paid plans are available.
- Read our full Invoicera review.
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 paid-for version is also available for handling multiple businesses. Also bear in mind that because it’s a downloadable program, you can add users without it costing extra.
- Read our full NCH Express Invoice review.
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.
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 has a lot more features for a one-time fee.
- Read our full Invoice Expert review.
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.
- You might also be interested in the best credit card processing services.
- We've also featured the best tax software.