If your small business has taken off and you are at the point of needing effective online invoicing solutions, firstly, congratulations! Building up your small business is no easy feat, and the search for a more comprehensive invoicing tool is undoubtedly a sign that business growth is on the horizon. Billing software is vital for small businesses, freelancers, and solopreneurs. It allows professionals to generate invoices quickly, ensure faster payment, and effectively manage the financial aspects of their business.
As your business evolves, your needs naturally begin to change. It then becomes imperative to utilize trusty accounting and invoicing software that enables you to track billable hours and streamline your payment gateways. When juggling multiple clients and invoices, reliable invoice and client management systems become essential.
If you are searching for the best billing software for your business, we've compiled a comparison of the best invoicing and accounting tools for small businesses. Invoice generator tools are a must to take your business to the next level and secure payments in real-time.
6 Best Invoice Software for Small Businesses of 2023
Choosing the best invoicing software for small business owners is a hugely personal decision and will depend on your business needs. Nonetheless, there are certain invoicing features to look for when searching for the best invoicing tools.
The following features are handy when it comes to finding the best invoicing software solutions for your business needs:
- Customizable invoice designs: You can add logos and brand-specific designs, adding a personal and professional edge to any invoice or document.
- Recurring invoices and payments for repeat clients: In coaching especially, clients often sign up for a set number of sessions over a set period of time. Recurring billing streamlines invoicing processes allowing you to automate the billing cycle for repeat clients.
- Easy integration: Ensure the platform you choose easily integrates with other online tools, permitting quick and easy workflow automation. Choose software that easily merges with calendars and payment tools efficiently.
- Hassle-free payment collection: Opt for platforms that enable payment from multiple payment gateways (including credit card, PayPal, and online payments).
- Budget alignment: Choose software that works for your unique budget and offers tiered payment options that allow you to scale up or down as needed.
- Automatic payment reminders: Opt for a platform that reminds clients of outstanding payments to avoid payment delays.
Here we explore 6 invoice solutions, breaking them down into the following categories:
- Those that are entirely free
- Those that have free and paid plans
- Those that offer accounting solutions as well as client relationship management (CRM) and project management support.
1. Wave Invoicing (web, iOS, and Android compatible)
Wave accounting and invoicing software platforms are completely free (with optional paid upgrade features such as payroll support if needed at a later stage.) The free nature of Wave makes it a great choice for small businesses that are just starting out. Wave is a comprehensive option if you want to send unlimited invoices to unlimited clients and track spending. With free customizable invoicing templates, it's a great initial tool to invoice clients and adds professionalism to the mix with a personalized, branded design. Wave also aligns with accounting standards and allows users to reconcile accounts with ease.
Wave is ultimately a great entry-level tool when it comes to the best free invoicing software, and you can't really beat a free solution when you're starting out. While it is limited to invoicing and doesn't integrate easily with non-Wave-related apps, it's perfect for coaches and consultants who are starting their businesses and need to generate clear, professional invoices.
- User-friendly interface
- Send unlimited invoices to multiple clients
- Customizable invoice templates to reflect your brand
- Automated payment notifications and reminders for late payment
- Unlimited bank/bank account connections
- Users can add payroll options and get expert advice for a monthly fee.
- Only integrates with in-house Wave apps (Wave Payments and Wave Payroll)
- Only chatbot support for the free plan, making it a little tricky to navigate if you need more comprehensive human support
- No audit trails
- Multiple plans which enhance the functionality of bigger businesses are not available. As such, it's a great tool when you're starting out, but you might need something more comprehensive down the line
- No fully featured mobile app (rather one for invoicing and one for accounting).
Wave's accounting and invoicing tools are completely free and unlimited, making them excellent for startups needing to manage initial invoices. Wave also offers a few paid add-on extensions, including monthly payroll and bookkeeping support if you need expert advice.
2. Zoho Invoice (web, iOS, and Android compatible)
Zoho Invoice is a popular invoicing tool for small and mid-size businesses. It is easily scalable, offering users several options, from a totally free plan to more comprehensive invoicing solutions and tools. This means that you can start out using the free tool and upgrade accordingly as your business grows.
Zoho Invoice is a great online invoicing tool for professionals who need reliable accounting software without breaking the bank. The cloud-based solution facilitates sending invoices, tracking expenditures, and accepting payments online.
- Enables one-time and recurring invoices
- Easy expense management
- Supports multiple currencies, so great for those working with international clients
- Billing process management and time-tracking options available
- Customizable templates for invoicing
- Automated payment reminders.
- Not all functionalities are readily available for your mobile device, making it tricky for those wanting to create and send invoices on the go
- Limited built-in reports
- User interface is not the easiest to navigate
- Invoice customization processes can be time-consuming.
Zoho Invoice is a completely free plan. Users can pay for additional services such as expense reporting, payroll, and inventory management.
Free with Paid Options
3. QuickBooks (web, iOS, and Android compatible)
QuickBooks Online is a popular and scalable accounting software solution. Whether you're running a business for one or quickly growing into a firm of 30, QuickBooks can be scaled accordingly. QuickBooks allows businesses to track their spending, send and customize invoices, and run reports for better business insights. If you are looking for a purely financial tool and you are happy to manage clients on another platform, it has some great perks. It’s also handy if you need help managing cash flow and monitoring accounts payable and accounts receivable.
- A wide range of accounting features
- Income and expense tracking
- Basic reporting
- Mile tracking (on the mobile app)
- Customizable invoicing solutions
- QuickBooks is only finance-orientated, meaning that you won't be able to manage other aspects of your business from the platform.
- Susceptible to crashes on occasion
- Only more expensive plans allow for recurring invoices.
QuickBooks offers users a free 30-day trial and then has various plans depending on your needs. Plans start from $17 a month for solo users (and their accountant) and go up to $200/month for up to 25 users on the Advanced Plan. This is handy if your business grows exponentially, and you end up employing staff.
4. Square (web, iOS, and Android compatible)
Square is perhaps best known as a payment processing tool for in-person sales. However, they also have a quick and easy-to-use invoicing division (Square Invoices) that allows business owners to send, track, manage, and record invoices and payments. This is a great option for smaller businesses looking for a free invoicing app to manage payments.
- Square Invoices has a tip feature (which makes it ideal for in-person sales and industries where tipping is the norm)
- Instalment option for specialized client payment plans
- Users can send unlimited invoices and estimates
- Automated payment reminders for clients who haven't settled invoices
- Allows users to schedule recurring payments for repeat clients, which is great for coaching.
- No customizable invoicing options when using the free version
- While free, payment processing costs for credit cards can add up
- Free payment options such as bank transfers are trickier to manage
- Limited customer support when you encounter a problem.
Square Invoices is completely free, allowing professionals to send unlimited invoices and estimates to clients. An upgraded plan at $20 per month includes additional features such as milestone-based payment schedules, customizable invoices, file sharing with clients, and project tracking.
More than Just Invoices
5. HoneyBook (web, iOS, and Android compatible)
HoneyBook is a CRM that can also handle the basics of invoicing (including invoice templates, payment notifications, profit and loss reports, and basic expense tracking). Its strength lies in its ability to do several business-related tasks rather than focusing on finances alone.
- User-ease and quick onboarding for new clients
- Manages invoicing, payments, integration, and project workflow
- Streamlined pipeline system, which helps to turn leads into clients
- Supports Zapier, meaning it integrates with various online management tools.
- No multi-currency support. (Only supports USD and CAD) This means that if clients pay in other currencies, they will take a conversion fee
- Pricier than some other small business client relationship management platforms
- Manual and pretty basic expense tracking, which may become arduous.
HoneyBook offers customers a 7-day free trial and then has several plans available thereafter. Plans start at $16 per month for the starter plan and go right up to $66 for the premium plan. The latter allows for unlimited users, making it a better option for businesses with multiple employees needing to access invoicing tools.
Why Choose Practice?
If none of the tools above feel quite right for your business for one, it might be worth exploring Practice, with its payment flexibility, workflow optimization tools, and great design.
Entrepreneurs often need more than simple invoicing tools or generic CRMs have to offer. They require effective client relationship management platforms that optimize all elements of their enterprise and allow them to perform many tasks. Practice has been specifically created for self-employed coaches and consultants so that they can manage the important parts of their business from one unified platform.
Practice consolidates all business aspects of your coaching business, simplifies the admin, and allows you to focus on your clients.
- When it comes to invoicing, Practice allows you to give clients what they want – flexible payment solutions and ease of use. Practice allows users to do the following:
- Create professional, clean invoices using invoice templates (without the need for intricate design processes)
- Create and sell coaching packages
- Create customized payment plans for individual clients, including discounts and specials
- Comprehensive onboarding support
- Choose credit card payments or those that support wire transfers
- Auto pay options for recurring payments
- Easily integrates with Stripe
- Track invoices and payments with ease.
Moreover, view each step of the invoicing process, including whether clients have viewed or paid the invoice.
The app is also web, Android, and iOS compatible, meaning you can use it in the office or on the go as an invoicing app.
In terms of CRM, Practice offers users the following benefits:
- Clear, organized records of all interactions for easy record keeping
- Smart, easily actionable automation tools allowing you to streamline workflow and consolidate all the apps you need for your business.
Moreover, we are always at the ready with expert advice on an array of topics, including invoicing:
- Automated, easily integrated scheduling that syncs across multiple platforms
- A specialized client portal where clients can access coaching resources, schedule appointments, and send direct messages and voice memos
- Simple form templates for contract agreements, post-session feedback, discovery call forms, and flexible questionnaires.
Practice offers two payment plans so that every business owner can simplify their business. These include:
- Basic - $1 for the first month, and $35/month thereafter
This plan includes unlimited contacts, unlimited storage, automated workflows, and online support.
- Pro - $1 for the first month and $50/month thereafter
This plan includes everything that the Basic Plan has to offer and then several additional features, such as:
- Zapier for integrations with 5000+ online tools
- Digital signatures
- Custom design and branding
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right invoicing software will depend on your business and unique payment management criteria. What works for a medium-sized law firm or an advertising agency with 50 employees won't work for a one-person coaching consultancy. Consider what you need from your invoicing software and choose a plan and service provider that tick all the boxes. If you're looking for an invoicing tool that can handle all client and communication elements of the business, too, explore Practice.