As a freelancer, contractor or consultant, you need an efficient billing and invoicing software that attends to your due payments even as you find yourself always on the go. Not only do you need to look professional, but your billable hours need to be as detailed and precise to establish continuous trust and confidence with your work. You certainly don’t want the risk of bad practice with noncompliant entries, so you have to balance this must-have feature with flexible payment processing right inside your choice invoicing application. These applications are considerably budget-friendly, so you have to turn your attention to the most essential invoicing software features that you need from this software when looking up the market for one.
In this article, we shortlisted the best invoicing software candidates so you don’t have to expend more time and resources than necessary to accomplish this important task. Sorting through tens of invoicing software vendors can be especially tricky, as this functionality is well hidden among a number of other features of accounting software. As pricing for this software category is mostly competitive, what’s left for you to do is note the factors to consider when choosing invoicing software, including compliance, workflow and reminder automation, payment processing and the ability to include billable hours easily come to mind. You will find that the list contains applications with a good mix of essential and advanced features, so you might also consider capabilities that you will need down the road.
Invoicing is getting the email GDPR treatment.
That means that freelancers, contractors, consultants as well as businesses that operate in Europe are mandated to meet electronic invoicing compliance. Spurred by the need to address the growing complexity of working with paper invoices, the new standard is also seen as a solution to reduce the legal difficulties around those traditional forms.
While this new directive means more work for the professions that interact with invoicing on a daily basis, this is really nothing but part of a growing trend of global adoption of e-invoicing. Governments may be late in the game, but it confirms what many private businesses already know: that the benefits of software-driven invoicing are simply plain hard to ignore, from more streamlined and faster business processes, enormous cost savings, compliance and better transparency.
In more specific terms, Germany alone stands to reduce invoicing cost by up to one euro per transaction from the transition. Considering the massive number of invoicing involved, it’s easy how much total savings electronic invoicing will give the country.
And what’s seen in Europe could very well be just the tip of the global iceberg. The rising tide of invoicing regulations will affect any profession, trade or business, and places compliance at the top of the features that users must demand from invoicing software.
Heading our list of the 12 best invoicing software for freelancers, contractors and consultants is FreshBooks, which has been leading the finance and accounting software market for years now with its hard-to-beat mix of superb features and affordable pricing. Expert and non-expert users love how the application helps them turn complex financial management operations into satisfying tasks with all the accuracy and speed that it is known for.
If you are barely familiar with any accounting or billing software, FreshBooks will let you create professional-looking invoices in no time at all, complete with the name and logo of your brand. Your invoice comes with a credit card payment facility, which allows you to collect payments faster while sparing your clients the time and trouble of attending to all that’s needed to do to pay you. To close the transaction in a cheerful mode, you simply let the application send automatic thank-you notes at the end of each payment collection.
If these features seem interesting to you, the vendor has an appealing free trial where you can actually tinker with the features at no cost. You can sign up for FreshBooks free trial here.
As a freelancer, contractor or consultant, you spend most of your time shifting from one client to another. Here you will find that you can run FreshBooks just about anywhere and any time using your iOS or Android mobile device. This means you don’t have to deal with clients who are continually frustrated at being unable to reach you any moment.
With a number of clients to mind, you will appreciate how FreshBooks puts your work on autopilot with reminders and automation rules that you can easily set up from the start. If you have a challenging client, for example, you let FreshBooks focus on following up with them while you go about doing what you do best.
You can have all these sterling capabilities at the budget-friendly USD 15/month price. If you have more than 5 clients, you may consider negotiating with the vendor or simply look up its other pricing plans.
From another finance and accounting software veteran, Sage 50cloud lets you take care of invoicing and billing of clients online without worrying about compliance with the latest laws that affect your work. All you have to do is access your online account from anywhere and anytime, create or update your invoices and send them to your clients. From there, you can easily track how much any one client owes you and request and receive instant payments right with your invoices.
Invoice tracking means that Sage 50cloud will present you with the number of invoices that you have sent thus far, which ones still need to be paid, and which ones are already past their due dates. All of these follow your rules on due dates, personalized terms, and credit limits. Since your figures are regularly matched with your bank, you don’t have to worry about entry errors.
The vendor has an appealing free trial where you can tinker with the features at no cost. You can sign up for Sage 50cloud free trial here.
As with many of the solutions on this list, Sage 50cloud lets you customize your invoice forms for a more professional look. That works with your logo and company name. You also get to have templates that you can easily edit if you are not too worried about what you can come up in this area.
Sage 50cloud’s international clout is evident in how it lets you create and submit invoices using any global currency of your choice. You don’t have to manually calculate exchange rates, charges or any other adjustments as the application has it all figured out for you. If you are feeling generous, you may also use the application to introduce discounts by a fixed amount or percentage, whichever suits your situation.
Sage 50cloud offers all these essential invoicing features and much more at an introductory price of USD 10 per month for its Accounting Start plan. Another plan, simply called Accounting for USD 25 per month, enables you to generate quotes and estimates, create powerful reports and view cash flow statements.
You will want to look at FreeAgent, an online finance and invoicing tool that offers attractive templates, for its USD 10 per month Universal Plan. Once you have your invoice done and looking good, you can then choose to send it to your clients via PDF email or by printing it first and then sending it by post.
To collect your payments, FreeAgent lets you choose from PayPal or Stripe payment gateway software, or have your clients pay you through their credit cards instead. An Invoice Timeline tool lets you see your settled invoices, unpaid ones and red-flagged overdue ones. For collaboration, you can request your client to share their relevant data with you so you work with them in real time and deliver works at speed.
You can use all these features for free for a period of time to see if the software matches your needs. Simply sign up for FreeAgent free trial here.
For your peace of mind, FreeAgent gives you HMRC-compliant invoices, automatically entering the essential information that the law requires. If you have recurring invoices, you simply set up the application to send reminders on a predetermined time, saving you substantial time and cost from unsent reminders.
Available on iOS, Android and Windows, online accounting and invoicing software Zoho Books lets you send clear, accurate and customized statements to your clients and get paid quickly from its selection of multiple currencies. To create or change your invoice, you simply add your company logo to the default template. If the fonts do not fancy the font, clicking a single button will fetch you the one you like instead.
To process payments, Zoho Books lets you get paid via cheques, credit cards, or through online payment gateways like Stripe, Authorize.Net, Worldpay, Braintree and PayPal among others. To ensure your clients pay you on time or settle overdue invoices, you can set up Zoho Books to send regular reminders at predetermined times. Support for multiple currencies means that you can offer your services to any part of the world, freeing you from a possible limited locality that you currently find yourself in.
If you want to investigate these features closely, you can easily do so when you sign up for Zoho Books free trial here.
If you have clients that pay you regularly, you can simply make their invoices recurrent from the pop-up menu. If your work involves refunds and returns, Zoho Books lets you manage these tasks efficiently.
With its USD 9 per month Basic Plan, Zoho Books offers a sweet deal for freelancers, contractors and consultants out there.
If a more dedicated invoicing platform from the same Zoho vendor works better for you, then Zoho Invoice covers the part splendidly, with the added benefits of more payment gateway options and support for the preferred language of your own clients. Aside from these, you also gain from this application’s capability to automate an expanded number of workflows, giving you more control on your collectibles and more time to focus on your productive work.
If you are worried of elevated pricing, you will be happy to know that not only do you have to pay the same rate as you would with Zoho Books, but you also get a free plan that lets you invoice up to 5 customers along with an allowance for 5 automated workflows.
You can see for yourself how this application could affect your workflow once you sign up for Zoho Invoice free trial here.
If you are used to providing estimates for your clients, then Zoho Invoice lets you accomplish this task with its Estimates tool. You can give your customers a draft of your prices, what discounts you could give them under certain arrangements, and the essential terms and conditions that apply to your working partnership. For recurring clients, you get an estimates history to help you negotiate with them better each time.
Next up on our 12 best invoicing software for freelancers, contractors and consultants is Jobber, whose online field service management and invoicing solution works perfectly for people on the go. With its client hub, you get a clearing place for your clients to approve quotes, check work details or pay due invoices at agreed schedules.
If invoicing double entries are a constant source of headache for you and your clients, having Jobber on your side means putting this trouble to rest by setting up Jobber to dispatch completed job line items into a matching invoice format that you can then send according to schedule. If you are prone to forgetting to send invoices too, then Jobber could prompt you with timely reminders to get the task done right on target.
Should you want to investigate the platform firsthand, you can easily do so when you sign up for Jobber free trial here.
Jobber’s invoicing tool and other powerful modules are all yours for USD 19 per month with its Lite plan, just right for all freelancers, contractors and consultants out there.
If most of your works as a freelancer, contractor or consultant involve recurring payments, you will have to revisit Zoho for its Zoho Subscriptions, which especially covers this kind of invoicing format. Also cloud-based, the application is well suited to serve your needs managing a subscription billing life cycle.
Subscription billing has its own share of troubles, and Zoho Subscriptions gives you its antidote tool, the dunning module that helps you go after overdue payments from any number of clients. It’s automated too, so all you have to do is set up once and keep your mind on more pressing work concerns.
If you want to investigate the features closely, you can easily do so when you sign up for Zoho Subscriptions free trial here.
Like its Zoho software siblings, Zoho Subscriptions handles multiple currency invoicing, extensive payment processors for cheques, credit cards and online payment with the leading payment gateways. Subscription-based services typically offer discounts and add-ons and here Zoho Subscriptions shows its prowess by dispensing of these details without difficulty.
Pricing for Zoho Subscriptions starts at USD 39 for the Basic plan. Considering the heavier workload and special capabilities, the slightly higher rates are well justified.
Online Invoices would be your invoicing software on steroids. The reason for that is that not only is the software capable of handling any finance and accounting tasks you throw at it, but also just any business process that you could probably muster from your own work as a freelancer, contractor or consultant.
More specifically, Online Invoices comes with its own CRM tools, inventory management tools, accounting tools, time tracking and more. The CRM alone helps you keep track of customer and transaction history, critical for determining whether a client is a regular repeat customer or an entirely new one.
Online Invoices offers a free plan that you can use right away. If you just want to see how it work for a time without fully committing, you can sign up for Online Invoices free trial here instead.
If your work with your clients involves more processes than just invoicing, Online Invoices could be just the solution you are looking for. After its fully practical free plan, the Silver plan at just USD 9.95 should hardly make a dent on your budget.
Another name that made its mark in the accounting software sector, Xero not only ensures that your ledgers are in order, but also that your invoicing works do not earn the unwanted attention of the tax man. With that taken care of, you can then push the application to give you the polished look of a professional, with invoice forms that reflect your company name, logo, and other design elements to go with them.
While sending reminders for due and overdue invoices, you might need to pay more attention to clients who need a more convincing approach to send in their payments. For that to happen, Xero lets you know when a client has opened or seen your invoices but stopped right there. If there are more of this type of client, you can resort to sending another batch of invoices in one session, saving you further hassle on attending to this much-needed task.
Another time saver feature from this application is evident once you are creating your invoice: while adding an item, Xero simply retrieves the matching price from your pricing schedule and fills in the necessary field.
If you have up to five active clients, the Early plan valued at USD 9 per month should be adequate for your needs. For more than that, there’s the USD 30 Growing plan and the USD 60 Established plan, with more advanced features for your expanding needs.
BigTime is your ticket to a fully integrated time and billing solution to process and collect payments from your clients effectively. A WIP management module helps you meet your own end of the job contract and prevent risky work positions. If you need to review your professional obligations and your own performance, the application’s smart tool, BigTime IQ, should let you probe your data for crucial insights.
As with Online Invoices, BigTime packs a handful of other tools to let you earn more from your freelancing, contracting or consulting profession. Its project management tool, for example, lets you dive into individual tasks and budgets, ensuring that you are allocating resources at optimal levels.
An expense management solution, on the other hand, lets you keep a tight watch on expenditures that could hurt your bottom line, from mileage, proper submission of receipts and more.
Pricing for BigTime range from the Express plan at USD 10 per user per month, to the Pro plan at USD 30 per user per month, and the Premier plan at USD 40 per month. Unlike other billing software solutions, BigTime does not limit the number of clients that you can work with.
From another trusted name in the finance and accounting space, Intuit’s QuickBooks Online makes it easy to create and send invoices, as well as to process payments right inside the cloud-based application. Real-time tracking and automated notifications and reminders keep you on top of due and overdue payments without losing sleep over them.
Payment in QuickBooks Online is via PayPal, Apple Pay, a free bank transfer, credit card and many more. Once the payment transaction is concluded, the application will save the details in your books and transfer the money to your bank account without the need for you to do anything else. Payments are faithfully matched in your books automatically.
QuickBooks Online lets you include billable hours in your invoice, great if your arrangement with your client requires those. If you communicate with your clients via text or messaging app, the application lets you create an encrypted link that you can send to your clients via those methods.
For the subscription plans, the USD 6 per month Simple Start plan is already equipped with all the essential invoicing tools that you need like invoices, estimates and payment processing. The USD 12 Essentials plan adds bill management and time tracking to your tools.
For essentially zero USD, you can accomplish all your accounting and invoicing needs online with Mr.Biller for a period of 60 days. For a scant USD 3 more, you get the premium version with its backup cover for your crucial invoice transaction records. Free for Mr.Biller also means the absence of annoying advertisements, which for many are a real deal breaker.
Mr.Biller provides unlimited and brand-free invoices, making this application totally yours from the start. The easy-to-use dashboard makes setting up your online account a straightforward, hassle-free affair. To facilitate and receive payment, you simply choose from a number of payment gateways. Expect regular upgrades as the product is under constant development to expand its capabilities.
Mr.Biller is capable of handling recurring invoices, and you can send the invoices directly without the need of email clients. Your client can access the same invoices right from their Mr.Biller accounts and retrieve a PDF copy or simply print them at the push of a button.
While Online Invoices easily takes the cake for bringing in an unprecedented number of business solutions around billing, which places it well within the ERP software ranks, it’s less than likely that users in the freelancing, contracting and consultancy professions would have much urgent need for the added capabilities.
Mr. Biller with its lowest price USD 3 monthly for the premium plan is unique, but it still needs more polish in the payment processing department.
The rest will be great for your varying needs, but whatever you finally decide to purchase, go the extra mile and see how the software could actually work for you by availing yourself of the free trial offer, which most, if not all, of these vendors give to potential customers. In the case of our top candidate, you can sign up for FreshBooks free trial here.
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