The Best Billing Software for Small Business

By Helen Bradley | Posted June 06, 2016

Choosing the right billing and invoicing software plays a big role in how fast you get paid. Eliminate writing checks and stamping envelopes and instead let your clients pay your invoice by just clicking a few links. When you simplify the payment process, you'll reap better cash flow.

Today's billing software for small business makes it easy for you to create invoices too, which helps reduce procrastination. Wait…small business owners avoiding billing work? Say it ain't so!

In this article, we introduce you to five great billing and invoicing software options. All of them offer some type of free version, and all of them can help you to streamline your invoicing, track who owes what, and help you get paid sooner. Read the entire article or use the links below to go directly to an individual product.

1. Billing and Invoicing Software: PayPal

If you use PayPal in your business, then you already have the capability to send invoices—it's part of your PayPal account. It won't cost you anything to send an invoice, but you will incur fees if your customer pays that invoice via PayPal.

PayPal billing and invoicing software

PayPal makes it easy to send invoices and to customize them with your business logo.

The invoicing feature offers fairly rudimentary capability, but that's all many businesses really need. You can customize your invoices, add your logo and save them as templates for reuse. If you have clients who you bill regularly, you can copy the last invoice you sent as a quick-start way to create a new invoice.

PayPal provides a list of your invoices, which lets you quickly see the outstanding invoices and send payment reminders with a single click. Invoices go out via email, and each one includes a clickable link that your clients can use to pay—even if they don't have a PayPal account. If clients settle outside of PayPal—by check or direct bank transfer, for example—you can easily mark their invoices as paid. Regardless of whether your clients are individuals, small businesses, or located in another country, PayPal provides an easy way for you to get paid without a lot of fuss.

2. Billing and Invoicing Software: Zoho Invoice

Zoho Invoice, a cloud-based billing and invoicing service, offers a free version that lets one person send unlimited invoices to up to 25 customers. The premium (subscription-based) versions support multiple users sending unlimited invoices to even higher numbers of customers, as well as additional features.

Zoho Invoice billing and invoicing software

Zoho Invoice integrates with a number of payment gateways, which lets you easily collect payments online.

All versions include customizable invoice templates and multi-currency support. You can purchase "snail-mail" credits if you need to send invoices by mail via USPS, otherwise they go out via email. You can configure Zoho Invoice to integrate with various payment gateways including Stripe, Authorize.net, and PayPal Express Checkout so that, if desired, your customers can use these services to pay invoices automatically.

Zoho Invoice's mobile apps, available for Android, iOS, and Windows, let you create and track invoices from almost any device at any time. And even though Zoho Invoice is part of the greater Zoho application suite, a wide range of small business financial tools (such as accounting software, subscription management, and expense reporting), you can use it as standalone billing software if that's all you need.

3. Billing and Invoicing Software: Invoicely

Invoicely's online billing and invoicing software also includes accounting tools, which makes it an all-in-one application for many small businesses. The free version carries several limitations:

  • One person can send an unlimited number of invoices in any currency for multiple businesses
  • Online payments accepted only via PayPal
  • Customize your invoices with your business details and logo, but invoices generated with the free version carry "Powered by Invoicely" branding. You can remove it only if you upgrade the service.

Invoicely billing and invoicing software

Invoicely includes a range of reports and invoicing tools.

The premium plans (starting at $9.99 per month) offer additional features including more extensive business branding, the ability to accept online payments through other payment gateways, such as Stripe and WePay, and access by multiple users. The premium versions also let you create and send estimates, which you can later convert into invoices easily when you've completed the work. If you need simple-to-use and free billing software, then Invoicely offers a flexible solution with a wide range of features.

4. Billing and Invoicing Software: Hiveage

Hiveage billing software offers an extensive free model that lets you send unlimited invoices to an unlimited number of customers, add your own branding to your invoices, and accept payments via PayPal. Premium plans start at $19 a month and they add extra features such as multiple users, recurring profiles, auto billing, and online storage. You can also build your own custom plan incorporating the features you need.

Hiveage billing and invoicing software

At Hiveage, creating regular and recurring invoices is a simple process, and you can send an unlimited number of invoices for free.

Hiveage integrates with both Freshbooks and Harvest so you can import your data from those applications, and you can export your data in Hiveage at any time as a CSV format file. Well-designed and simple to use, Hiveage will have you creating your first invoice in minutes. The program displays dummy data when you first use it so that you can see what things will look like over time.

Nice touches include prompts that indicate the ideal size and format for your logo, thus saving you a lot of guesswork. You can email invoices directly from the program, and you can download them as PDF files to email yourself or to print and send. Hiveage integrates with a range of payment gateways: PayPal and Razorpay are free; others incur small monthly fees.

5. Billing and Invoicing Software: The DIY Option

If you have only a small number of invoices to send and you don't need to integrate a payment solution, you can go the DIY route and create your own invoices. Programs like Word, Excel, or even Google Drive offer invoice templates (access them through the individual program's menu) that you can download and customize.

Excel templates for billing and invoicing

If you send only the occasional invoice, try downloading an invoice template from Excel or Word.

You can also find templates that act like a register for tracking invoices. Easily record which invoices you sent and when you sent them, so you can follow up when they fall due. You can save your invoices as PDF files and email them to your client.

DIY solutions lack the bells and whistles of the online applications, but they can make sense in given situations. If you send only an occasional invoice, or if your invoice requires a strict format creating it yourself may be the easiest and least complicated way to get the job done and get back to work.

[More ways to get paid: How to Choose a Small Business Payment Processor]

Helen Bradley is a respected international journalist writing regularly for small business and computer publications in the USA, Canada, South Africa, UK and Australia. You can learn more about her at her website, HelenBradley.com

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