Small businesses and freelancers rejoice! Invoicing sucks (let’s be honest) and is often a bigger time sink than we’d all like (much like proposals and pitching new work), but it’s also paramount to our businesses because without invoicing you don’t get paid. And that REALLY sucks.
So I’ve taken it upon myself to do a lot of investigation and come up with the five best and easiest invoicing software options for small businesses and freelancers.
Why only five? There are so many blog posts online around this topic already, but in my (not so humble) opinion most them are not super helpful because they give you too many options. Sure, it’s great and all to know that the different options exist, but they do nothing to help you pick the right one for your business.
At Credo I only want to give you the best of everything and not just all the options available. So here are the five best (and simplest) options for your small business invoicing needs.
Pricing: $9.95 to start, $19.95/mo for up to 50 clients
I love FreshBooks for my small business invoicing. I’ve been a happy paying customer since 2013 and use FreshBooks for everything invoice-related to my business.
The reasons I love FreshBooks are multiple and include:
- They easily integrate with Stripe and PayPal, meaning you have choices about which way to collect payment.
- You can use them to ask your customer for feedback on you and your services or products, which makes getting reviews really easy.
- They make time tracking and expense reporting easy, if you bill on an hourly basis.
- Automatic followups when invoices are 30/60/90 days past payment due.
At the end of the day, FreshBooks is simple to use and helps you get your money fast. You can even set up recurring payments (great for ongoing monthly retained work) and create Drafts so that you don’t forget to invoice later.
Pricing: starting at $5/mo for self employed people, then starting at around $10 a month and up.
QuickBooks is FreshBooks’s main competitor, and for good reason. I have even investigated switching over myself a few times. QuickBooks’s main features that small business owners seem to love are:
- It has payroll capabilities. If you run a small business and have to pay people, the options out there generally suck. QuickBooks makes payroll easy (for an additional fee).
- Connect up with PayPal, Stripe, Square, and other payment services to get your revenue information directly into QuickBooks.
- You can expedite payment if it’s needed (for a fee).
- Manage your bills through QuickBooks.
QuickBooks is a great option for businesses with slightly more complicated structures than mine. One thing I do not like about QuickBooks is that while their base monthly fee is low, they nickel and dime you for some other very important services that you might switch to them for. So be sure to do your research.
Pricing: free, but they take a cut of the payment
PayPal is often not given the credit it is due for changing the world of small business finance. While they’ve had their challenges (and I don’t like keeping large sums of money in their system), they’ve recently made some changes that make invoicing through PayPal really easy.
Some of the features that people love about PayPal include:
- Very easy to set up and start receiving money.
- Everyone integrates with it, so you can see that data in other software systems as well.
- Connects easily to your bank so you can transfer money out of their system easily.
- Invoicing is super simple.
While it’s not a full-powered accounting system like QuickBooks or as easy to manage clients and contacts like FreshBooks, PayPal can be a great way to get started with your business before you graduate to another provider like Stripe.
Pricing: starting at $9/mo and goes up to $70/mo on the highest tier. Their pricing page.
Xero is a small business accounting software company that bills themselves as “The online accounting software alternative to QuickBooks”. You have to respect the gumption to go directly after their competitors!
Some of the features that Xero highlights are:
- Track your cashflow with online accounting, budgeting, and bank reconciliation.
- Easy invoicing, creating quotes, and invoice reminders when an invoice has not been paid.
- Easy to claim expenses and enter bills/purchase orders.
- Help you out with your taxes with preparing W2s and calculating sales taxes
Xero seems like a great solution for businesses that are bigger than just a couple of employees. With the various reports and ability to manage everything on the go while mobile, it’s an affordable option.
Like the other options, Viewpost offers:
- Easy invoicing with a template you can customize with your own logo and send.
- Receive and make payments.
- Sync with your accounting software
- Manage cashflow
- Enable discounting for customers
Viewpost is not a full accounting solution like QuickBooks or Xero, so it’s more akin to FreshBooks or PayPal. Direct deposit payments are free (which is awesome!) You can integrate with QuickBooks if you use that for your accounting.
The above five are the options we chose to highlight as meeting the needs of small businesses of different types, whether they need payroll, a full accounting solution, or just invoicing.
What other solutions do you use that we should have taken into account?