If you’re selling things on a regular basis, you’re going to want to get some invoicing software. Invoicing software helps you manage the cash flow problem. You can stay on top of who owes you money, how much you’ve got coming in, and when everything is scheduled to hit.
With the information and power that you get from invoicing software, you can stop worrying about the details and focus on the big stuff. Like making more money. We’ll talk about some specific vendors and break down the costs associated with invoicing, but first a note.
Invoicing software options come in, broadly speaking, two different packages – standalone and bundled with larger accounting software systems. We’ll break this price guide into two sections to make it easier. First, the standalone options.
Standalone invoicing software
Standalone software is a bit of a misnomer. If all you had was invoicing software, you’d still need some accounting software. The real value of a standalone solution is the ability to make the invoicing system work exactly the way you want it to.
All of the solid options in the space are going to play well with your accounting package of choice, so you can have your cake and eat it too. In this example, cake is software, I guess.
It’s not the best metaphor.
Standalone options can also help you manage costs, as they tend to have offerings on the cheaper side of the spectrum. Keep in mind, though, accounting software has really dropped in price over the last decade, and the current obsession with subscription pricing means most options are available on a pay-as-you-go plan. Back to the matter at hand.
Standalone billing and invoicing software often comes with a tiered pricing structure, giving you more users, options, or customers as you increase the cost. Small businesses will probably be fine with one user, and won’t require most of the big features, such asmulticurrency support, tons of custom fields, inventory management integration.
Here are a few price points to give you a general idea of the cost. Presented in reverse alphabetical order, just to shake things up.
Zoho Invoice – Free for small businesses with 25 or fewer customers and no need for recurring invoicing. Price goes up to $7, $15, or $30 per month depending on the number of users and customers. There’s a discount for paying the whole year in one chunk.
InvoiceOcean – Free for super small businesses – just three invoices per month. Price rises to $7.20, $14.40, or $25.60 after that with most small businesses fine to use the $7.20 plan. That comes with unlimited invoices, but lacks the recurring and reporting features of the more expensive tiers.
BillQuick – BillQuick is a billing system designed for companies that charge hourly rates – lawyers, architects, etc. As such, it comes with timers, lots of options, and over 500 reports. Starts at $14.95 per user, per month. That gets you desktop and self-hosted – note that this is not a cloud system at this level – versions, four users, and tons of options for time tracking. Custom pricing for the larger Pro and Enterprise offerings. There are also web-based and lite offerings, with different pricing plans – BillQuick Lite is free, by the way.
Accounting software with invoicing capabilities
The big players in the small business accounting software world all have invoicing capabilities. Even the smaller options are offering some sort of invoicing these days. The beauty of buying an all-in-one package is that everything just works.
Nothing has to plug into another thing, nothing updates and breaks things, and you’re only paying one bill to use these things. Yes, you’re stuck with the accounting system and the invoicing system, and sometimes that means using a 7/10 accounting system and an 8/10 invoicing system instead of finding and slamming together two 10/10s.
There are really solid options out there, though. Depending on what works for you and your accountant, you can find highly rated, non-bank-breaking systems pretty easily.
Pricing for accounting software is generally based on either users/clients or features. There’s an odd split in the market right now. Actually, there’s also a third option cropping up – free software. Two of the options list below are free, using either an ad-based model or a payment processing fee to generate income.
Again, the monthly payment plan is the current standout. With data flowing easily between accounting software and banks and the fact that data stored locally is subject to loss and theft, the move to the cloud has been almost universal.
By the way, if you’re looking for an installed accounting system, there are still a few to be found.
Here are some full-featured accounting systems that offer invoicing as a standard feature. Listed in alphabetical order.
FreshBooks – FreshBooks starts at $12.95 per month for businesses that have up to five clients. Larger business can opt for the $24.95 or $39.95 plans for up to 50 clients or an unlimited number, respectively. FreshBooks is the least accounting software-ish option on this list. It’s really just a basic bookkeeping system tacked on to an invoicing program.
Wave – Wave is free. It’s a cloud-based accounting system that generates all its revenue by advertising to you. In the same way that your email and Facebook accounts can present targeted ads, so can Wave. As a result, free software.
ZipBooks – ZipBooks is also free – look at all the value! Unlike Wave, ZipBooks generates it cash through partnerships with payment processors. So, for instance, if you sign-up with Stripe and use ZipBooks, ZipBooks gets some cut from the processing fees. It’s free to use even if you don’t accept payments, though.
There you have it. Invoicing software will run you anywhere between zero and hundreds of American dollars every year. The nature of a very specialized market is that you find wild swings in cost, feature set, and target audience. Start where you feel comfortable, scale up if you need to, and work with an accountant if you’re in over your head.
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