Choosing the best invoicing software for a small business is an extremely important task. The right tool will make it easy to get paid quickly, give your clients peace of mind, and help you avoid messy paperwork and accounting mistakes. Software that doesn’t meet your business’ needs will waste your company’s resources and either overly complicate the invoicing process or limit your capabilities.
While some software solutions are great all-around options, others will be better or worse depending on your specific needs, resources, and abilities. We’ve broken down the leading small business invoicing systems to make it easier for you to find the one that is right for your business.
Best Invoice System for Small Business Overall
When talking about the best invoicing software for a small business, the conversation often starts and ends with FreshBooks. As the most scalable solution, FreshBooks works for freelancers and businesses with a dozen employees. Flexibility and clean design are the names of the game with the revamped FreshBooks, and the software contains most of the features that you will find in any competing solution.
In addition to quick and easy invoicing, FreshBooks provides accounting and project management solutions, while avoiding the trap of becoming overly complicated. One of these features is perhaps the most comprehensive expense tracking around, with a greater ability to add detail to each expense report, attach receipt images, and assign expenses to individual clients or projects. FreshBooks’ project management tools are just as impressive, allowing you to assign projects to different internal team members, set an hourly rate on a project or team member level, and track time with manual entry or integrated timer. Finally, FreshBooks helps you to manage most aspects of the client relationship, from proposals to estimates and invoices.
FreshBooks isn’t a specialized software solution, so you may find that another entry on this list may be a better choice for your specific business. But the features are comprehensive and powerful enough to serve most businesses most of the time.
For more information, be sure to check out the comprehensive FreshBooks review on PC Mag.
Free Invoicing Software for Small Businesses
No Zoho Invoice review would be complete without mentioning the price. Zoho offers free invoicing software for small businesses with up to 5 clients, which makes it ideal for small businesses that are just starting out. It remains one of the most affordable options as you scale up, too. Zoho costs just $7 per month with up to 50 clients and $15 per month for 500 customers.
Cost isn’t the only thing going for Zoho Invoice either. Not only is it one of the few free invoice programs for small businesses, but it is also one of the best invoice systems for small businesses. It allows you to create estimates, invoices, recurring invoices, and even retainer invoices. Like other invoicing services, Zoho offers expense and time tracking, complete with pop-up timers. But every feature is streamlined to make sure that you don’t get lost in the weeds. This makes it a better option for less finance-minded folks who might get overwhelmed by a more robust system.
The biggest selling point of Zoho might be the potential for integration. Zoho offers a host of other services such as Zoho CRM, Projects and Cliq (a team messaging system akin to Slack), as well as Zoho’s online payment system. Zoho also integrates with Google G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, and Slack. If you want to take full advantage of the range of integrations, Zoho offers a subscription to its entire business operating system, Zoho One, for $1 per day per employee.
Another free billing software for small businesses, Square has made a name for itself as a POS system for vendors and brick-and-mortar businesses. But the app’s capabilities now extend past payment processing, while still only charging 2.9-3.5% to process the payments. That means that the invoicing services are free.
Square’s offerings are still limited to the basics of invoice creation, invoice tracking, payment reminders, and payment processing. Still, Square presents an appealing option for small businesses that send invoices infrequently or who are looking for a simple digital addition to their analog finance and billing system. If you still deal largely in mail invoices, Square can help you streamline the customer experience without drastically changing your billing workflow.
Robust Small Business Invoicing
BQE Core is one of the most comprehensive and best small business invoice software solutions and works especially well for project-based businesses. The program is a robust project-based accounting system that only charges for the components that you use. For many small businesses, this can be limited to the time-tracking, reporting, and invoicing features.
Using BQE Core, you can track project time and expenses and quickly turn them into easy to understand invoices. It also provides a reporting feature that makes it easy to see project profitability, allowing you to strategically grow your business.
Xero is one of the best accounting and invoicing software for small businesses. It is primarily a small business double-entry accounting site and is built primarily for the web. In addition to invoicing, it supports sales, purchases, inventory, and even payroll. You can generate invoices, purchase orders, and quotes and now even link invoices to common payment processors.
The time-tracking options are more limited than other software solutions in this list, so you might want to steer clear if your business operates on an hourly basis. And it is an accounting site first, so it may not be the best option if you are looking for a specialized invoicing solution. But, if you are looking for a comprehensive accounting system that offers effective invoicing, Xero may be right for you.
Easy Invoicing Software for Small Business
Billy makes invoicing simple by taking a no-frills, streamlined approach to online invoicing for small businesses. It was designed for use by non-accountants and the financially dyslexic and offers an intuitive interface that keeps you focused on the most important features. That isn’t to say that the software is basic; it offers deeper features such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, and a financial dashboard.
Billy streamlines the user experience instead of limiting it. But it is a new entry into the market and lacks some of the integrations and capabilities of its competitors. Importantly, if you’re looking for a pop-up timer, then you will have to look elsewhere. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use invoicing system, however, this may well fit the bill.
Best Invoicing Software for Small Business Solopreneurs or Freelancers
Invoice2Go offers an affordable and powerful invoice software solution that is easy to operate. The main limitation is that it can only handle 100 invoices per year to 25 clients at the base price of $10 per user per month. After that, the software starts getting expensive enough that you may be better off opting for one of the more advanced solutions in the list. Also, its reports aren’t as comprehensive as Xero or BQE Core and it doesn’t provide time-tracking capabilities.
For a freelancer or solo business operator though, Invoice2Go provides a modern and streamlined invoicing experience. As the name implies, the software was designed as mobile-first – with all of the ease of use that comes with the territory. If you want to manage expenses, invoices, and payments easily from your phone, Invoice2Go is the way to go.
Intuit QuickBooks Self-Employed
QuickBooks is an incredibly useful tool for freelancers, solopreneurs, and other small business owners whose income can be considered as self-employed. It makes it easy to track income and expenses, create and send invoices, and connect financial accounts to import transactions. Perhaps most importantly, it also uses this data to estimate quarterly taxes and even file taxes when integrated with Intuit TurboTax. And if you do use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your taxes, you can add QuickBooks to your subscription at a significantly reduced cost.
QuickBooks Self-Employed, as would be expected from its title, is not an effective accounting solution for a small business with multiple employees. It lacks the project management and time tracking capabilities of other software solutions and offers only limited invoice customization options. But it is an excellent choice for a business of one, especially if you want to make things easy for yourself come tax time.
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