Cheap and Effective Invoicing Softwares
This article delves into the world of invoicing softwares, the metamorphoses of those softwares into invoicing softwares as we know them today, the advantages of invoicing softwares over traditional invoicing methods, as well as the effective and affordable invoicing softwares currently available in the market.
Just like anyone would benefit from shifting from pen and paper to Microsoft word or any other writing softwares, invoicing softwares are designed to make your work easier. If you are considering a transition from traditional methods of invoicing, your first major decision will be to research on invoicing and accounting softwares (which we have done for you here).
Most accounting softwares come fitted with at least a basic invoicing feature. If one can find an accounting software that falls within their price range, it will not be necessary to go out in search of an invoicing software.
However, you might need advanced or specialized invoicing features that most accounting softwares may be lacking, for example, auto-billing. Additionally, you might be on a tight budget and invoicing softwares will generally come cheaper in comparison to accounting softwares.
Currently, there are several cheap invoicing softwares out there for businesses that are running on a tight budget such as sole proprietors, and micro-businesses. These softwares will be discussed in detail in subsequent sections of this article.
BRIEF HISTORY OF INVOICING SOFTWARES
In the course of researching this subject, we found that the technology of invoicing softwares goes as far the mid 20th century; amazing right? While there was a wide spread hippie revolution all over the world, the business world was undergoing its own revolution that involved the reality of a less paper-cluttered office, with everything being processed electronically.
The most interesting thing about this discovery is that the business world was already dreaming of electronically processed documents and transactions even before computers had taken root. Because of the business people of the 1960’s, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems became as a means of conveying transactional data back and forth between clients and businesses, for example, invoices and purchase orders. These Electronic Data Interchange Systems remained in use up until the 1990’s when emails and QuickBooks came to be.
In 1992, QuickBooks was introduced to the business world and quickly overthrew Peachtree as the leading accounting and invoicing tool. Therefore, e-accounting and invoicing have been solutions that have been at our disposal for decades now.
Despite this fact, most small and medium businesses have avoided the use of these softwares because they do not think they need them. Most small and medium businesses will use emails, and might also use MS Word and Excel, but they will normally keep things at that simple level.
SOFTWARE AND TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTION IN INVOICING SOFTWARES
Today, another kind of electronic revolution is in progress. This is Cloud-computing. Cloud-based softwares encompass invoicing, web design, and almost all other important softwares commonly used in business. Cloud computing is offering numerous advantages over the traditional invoicing and has made invoicing systems easier than ever.
Why Cloud Computing is More Effective than Locally Installed Softwares
There are two main types of invoicing softwares available in the market today; invoicing softwares installed on the computer’s hard drive or locally installed softwares, and invoicing softwares that are available ‘in the cloud’.
Cloud softwares imply that data is stored in remote servers and is accessible from any computer or devise that has access to the internet, for example, a smartphone or a tablet. As opposed to going into intricate detail about how cloud computing works, all that you need to grasp for the purposes of this article is that all the data, such as your client information, is stored online, meaning you can access it on the internet. This data is protected by encryption and, therefore, it is not easy for any hackers to access it. Cloud computing also implies that you will not lose any data that you had saved in case your business’s computer network suddenly crashes.
As opposed to locally installed softwares, where your business pays a onetime fee, Cloud-based softwares works like a service and businesses that use the softwares are charged on a daily, monthly, annually, or pay-as-you-go for the use of the service. Most modern invoicing softwares are cloud-based and they are fast gaining popularity in the business world for the flexibility they offer; you can literally access you invoicing records anywhere in the world in addition to providing you with a secure data storage and backup location.
In terms of locally installed invoicing softwares, there are softwares that you can download and install in your computer, for example ExpressInvoice. Locally installed invoicing softwares can be cheaper in the long run since they are a one-time cost as opposed to a regular service payment. However, they are lacking in mobility and flexibility as well as other useful features available in cloud-based invoicing softwares.
ADVANTAGE OF INVOICING SOFTWARES OVER TRADITIONAL METHODS
We have mentioned that cloud-based invoicing softwares have made invoicing systems much easier for businesses. In this section we explore in depth what it implies to be using cloud-based invoicing softwares as opposed to manually handling invoicing activities or using spreadsheet programs such as Ms Excel.
The very first advantage is that, invoicing softwares guarantee Faster Payments in comparison to traditional invoice methods. Of course the faster you send out your invoices the faster you will receive your payments form your clients. With modern smart invoicing softwares, one can simply schedule invoices to be sent out to the respective parties at specific times; this will in turn avail a faster and more reliable income system for you. In addition to this, most invoicing softwares allow the user to collect their payments online through services such as PayPal or Skrill, which is much faster than waiting for a cheque and is more convenient for clients to deliver payments too.
Invoicing softwares also portray a more Professional Impression of the business that traditional means may be unable to bring out. Using invoicing softwares results in more professional looking templates, which are customizable with the business’s name and logo bringing the serious and professional outlook of your business that you want.
Invoicing softwares also allow for the collection of Sales Information. Invoicing softwares will mostly come fitted with reporting features that allow you to track payments, allow you to view projected income, client history, and so forth. Some softwares will also have an expense tracking feature. As the owner of a business, you can use this information to make important business decisions.
Also, invoicing softwares avail better Organized Books. Since invoicing softwares leave very little room for error, there are fewer occurrences of missed and late payments. When one uses invoicing softwares they do not have to recall every aspect of the business’s financial transactions since this is executed automatically by the software.
Additionally, invoicing softwares ensure that there are Accurate Billing Statements. As mentioned, there is little room for error when one is using invoicing softwares; there are more accurate billing statements, therefore, reducing the occurrence of misunderstandings between the business and the clients by overcharging, or losing revenue for the business by undercharging. This is a level of functionality and accuracy that traditional invoicing methods cannot guarantee. Additionally, some invoicing softwares will come with features that help you detect late payments.
Invoicing softwares facilitate Automatic Payments as opposed to traditional means of invoicing. Where your business offers a membership or subscription based service, you can apply invoicing softwares in collecting automatic payments weekly, monthly, annually, or at whatever intervals you decide.
Invoicing softwares also Save on Business Resources; handling all your invoicing activities manually consumes a lot of time, and in business, time equals money. The manpower necessary to handle invoicing activities is also significantly cut down and hence the costs of operating your business will reduce in proportion. Additionally, all the stationery that would have been applied in manually handling invoicing activities is saved.
Further, Mobility and Flexibility is assured when one uses modern invoicing softwares. For example, when using Cloud-based invoicing softwares, the business owner can access their books of accounts from any location in the world with internet connection, therefore, enabling them to invoice their clients in the most flexible manner and through the simplest of means, for example, their phone.
Invoicing softwares provide Security for sensitive business information. Information that is recorded on paper or stored in MS Excel spreadsheets is vulnerable to unwarranted access, manipulation, theft, and even loss or destruction. Cloud-based invoicing softwares store all of your sensitive information in encrypted formats on remote servers, which reduces liability on your part and ensures that you do not lose any data in the occurrence of an accident or sabotage.
INVOICING SOFTWARE FEATURES AND HOW THEY COMPARE TO TRADITIONAL METHODS
Invoicing softwares will come fitted with numerous useful features, such as; automatic payment reminders, tax calculation functions, invoice templates, and so forth.
Not all invoicing softwares will have every possible feature but the most common features are:
- Online payment options
- Customizable Invoice templates
- Payment reminders
- Automatic receipts
- Business’s inventory features
- Inventory tracking
- Financial reports
- Customer statements
- Multi-lingual capabilities
- Snail mail services
- Multi-currency capacity
- Time and expense tracking
- Sales Tax and VAT calculation
- Software Upgrade features
- Mobile applications
- Basic bookkeeping features.
The features of invoicing softwares are exactly what seem to give them an edge over the features of traditional invoicing methods. However, the comparison of these two generations of invoicing tools reveals a few noteworthy points.
The first is that that with traditional invoicing methods, you have to store files and documents manually, either in writing or in Excel spreadsheets and as such, there is always the risk of losing all of your information in case of a natural catastrophe or accident that damages your computer or office. This is unlike modern invoicing softwares which backup your information in remote servers, eliminating the risk of loss or damage of information. However, note that the backup tools varies in every invoicing software, therefore, it is important to carefully look at the backup features of a software prior to considering using it in the storage of important or sensitive files.
Also, invoicing softwares, and more specifically Cloud-based softwares, undoubtedly increase flexibility and mobility in bookkeeping. However, as much as traditional invoicing methods do not offer the same flexibility or immunity to loss and damage as the softwares do, their functionality is not determined or hampered by internet connection unlike modern invoicing softwares. This is one downside to invoicing softwares that is seldom mentioned in discussions. Although online softwares can retrieve files and work on them offline, they are primarily designed to work online, on the web interface. In situations or locations where internet connection is slow, these invoicing softwares may also be annoyingly slow and may even create unnecessary inconveniences and delays. With invoicing softwares unlike traditional invoicing methods, you are dependent on an online vendor for the normal functionality of your invoicing activities. Therefore, when using invoicing softwares, it may be important to conduct your research on the most reliable internet vendors to minimize the occurrence of undue delays.
Another important point of comparison between the two invoicing tools is the capacity to upgrade. It is imperative in business to ensure that your staff is up to date with the latest skills and tools for the performance of their duties; anything that keeps improving the team’s functionality and efficiency. When it comes to upgrading and constantly improving functionality, the invoicing softwares blaze the trail over traditional methods. Software users automatically get feature upgrades to their softwares in real time. This is unlike traditional invoicing tools that would demand an extensive and time consuming exercise of training the staff in order to acquire new or additional skill sets that improve their functionality and efficiency. For invoicing softwares, upgrades are simply incremental, and do not demand much training for personnel.
For example, consider when Microsoft released the 2007 Office that had a new file format as well as a new interface. Most business’s had a choice to make, either move to the new version of Office and go through the rigorous process of retraining their staff members, or maintain the old version of Office and be limited to its functions, have trouble relating with other organizations, and generally lag behind in terms of functionality. It goes without saying that every business eventually chose the former. Such radical effort s are not necessary in upgrading invoicing softwares because upgrades in these softwares are simply incremental, making them much more convenient to work with.
Invoicing softwares may find their weakness in their dependency on the internet and internet service providers but a wholesome comparison of the features of these two generations of invoicing tools will always reveal that invoicing softwares are much more advantageous and convenient to use compared to the traditional means of invoicing. The following section presents a number of cheap and effective invoicing softwares to choose form and that may be suitable for you and your business.
If you want to dig really deep into e-invoicing, then read this research study.
CHEAP AND EFFECTIVE INVOICING SOFTWARES
Every business has needs that are completely unique, therefore, selecting an invoicing software means carefully considering the features of each software and selecting the most suitable one. If your business cannot afford invoice softwares that big companies apply in their book keeping, do not panic. There are several cheap and effective invoicing softwares available in the market. Let us take a look at the most recommendable invoicing softwares in that category.
CloudBooks is a Cloud-based accounting software that keeps you up to date on all your business needs. With CloudBooks one is able to keep track of their time and expenses, manage tax rates, and also create estimates that can be converted into invoices with the simple click of a button. CloudBooks also enables the user to prepare reports and account for recurring invoices in addition to allowing your clients to comment on the prepared estimates and invoices. In addition, this software allows for recurring expenses to be automatically added to invoices ensuring that your business does not miss any payments due to it. With CloudBooks, Authorize.Net and PayPal are the online payment systems at your disposal.
This unique invoicing software allows you to customize and add exclusive expenses to each client’s invoice. This software is especially suited for small business owners and freelancers. It has numerous amazing features that make your invoicing activities feel like a piece of cake. The user is able to keep tabs on payments and delays in payments and the client’s page allows him/her to collaborate and participate in their individual projects and view their invoices in real time. Note, however, that this software is not limited to small businesses; it is also capable of supporting large business teams as well as multiple projects. You can add as many tasks as you want and you can also assign a task, manage different projects, and keep track of time with ease. Role–based access in all your projects guarantees the user’s business security and safety of sensitive and important.
CloudBooks time tracking is simplified by the automated timer feature, which allows billing to occur in real time and for adjustments to invoices to automatically be made. CloudBooks is a software filled with helpful features designed to make all your business’s financial information available to you anywhere and on any devise that can access the internet. CloudBooks offers a 30 day trial period where you are allowed to send a maximum of five invoices to clients; however, this trial period is limited and does not include mobile support and payment option features. There is a free version of the software where you will be limited to one client, no staff, and only five invoices in a month. For the basic version, a monthly cost of $2 only is payable while for the premium version a monthly charge of $20 only is payable.
This is another Cloud-based accounting and invoicing software designed for small and middle-sized businesses. FreeAgent is especially suitable if you charge by the hour and have a number of contractors working on your business’s projects. The software allows you to set separate timers for different clients and different projects and automatically keeps a roster of the total number of hours worked for each client. This feature allows you to accurately bill your clients efficiently and have in your possession updated timesheets all the time.
FreeAgent allows you to draw up estimates quite easily and convert them into invoices as soon as approval is received by the client. This awesome software also does not place a limit on the number of attachments or documents you present along with your invoices. In addition to this, the user is able to create their own default mail to go along with invoices. FreeAgent also helps you enable automatic accounting for recurring invoices, makes regular payment reminders to clients, and also sends automatic thank you notes to the clients when payments are delivered.
With FreeAgent, expenses are tracked and included in costs. The clients also have an avenue to view the progress of their projects, invoices, and payments from a client interface feature. With its job-costing feature, FreeAgent assists the user in tracking an unlimited number of projects; keep track of expenses and time. The software also generates the estimated profitability of your ongoing projects as well as all related financial documentation and invoices in a comprehensive manner. The only downside to this software is that developers have not released a mobile application, which would make the software even more user-friendly. FreeAgent has a 30 day trial period offer after which a fixed monthly charge of 24$ only is payable for the full version of the software.
Invoiceable is an effective invoicing and billing software that has grown to become widely successful and widely accepted in the business world. Invoiceable is free and is most suitable for small businesses and freelancers. This software is easy to use and is capable of meeting all of your billing and invoicing demands. This software enables the user to create very detailed invoices and recurring invoice entries are automated. In addition to this, the software allows the user to receive partial payments that are also accounted for in the clients’ invoices in real time. With Invoiceable, you cannot customize invoices to a large extent but you can include your business’s logo and alter the template’s header to your liking.
The software does not avail complex tools such as an inventory management tool although it does allow the user to generate client statements. Additional drawbacks of this software may be that it only allows one user per account and that there is no mobile application that has been developed to ease the user’s access. The developers of Invoiceable have not introduced any feature updates recently, which implies that development of the software is much slower than would be preferable to the users. However, this invoicing software can be used for free, making it suitable for freelancers and businesses that do not have extensive business needs.
Billbooks is an effective invoicing software that sends estimates to your clients automatically. The software makes it quick and simple to process invoices. This software does all the work for you; all you have to do is make a few entries and have your invoice generated in an instant and ready for dispatch. The software is also multilingual and can translate your invoices for the convenience of any foreign clients you have. In addition to this, the user can set up automatic accounting for recurring invoices and also set up the software to send regular payment reminders to clients. Billbooks offers payment options inclusive of PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.Net. In addition to invoicing, the software also generates profit and loss reports for each project the user undertakes if need be.
Billbooks allows the user to convert the invoices to PDF format, after which the user can easily edit and print out. Since the software supports several projects it is fitted with a search function that helps the user search and locate old invoices, therefore, no transactions are ever lost in case a follow up or clarification needs to be made with a particular client. The charges in Billbooks are based on the number of invoices one wants to send out, where; twenty invoices go for $10, fifty invoices go for $20, a hundred invoices go for $35, and two hundred invoices go for $60. As mentioned, these invoices never get lost and never expire. The user has access to a full set of useful features that they can use to support an unlimited number of clients.
Invoicing softwares do not get more efficient than this. This Cloud-based invoicing software allows you an unlimited number of users, invoices, and clients. It also includes in its tools expense and time tracking. Nutcache is surprisingly easy to learn and use; it is easy to formulate invoices and mail them to the relevant clients. The only downside is that the software does not allow the user to add further information or attachments to invoices nor does it allow the clients to add their comments. In addition, the user cannot modify the default system-generated mail that is sent to the clients, which can be quite a bother to some users. Further, there is the issue of limited options in online payment.
Despite these faults, Nutcache is multi-lingual and supports as many as ten languages, which are all extremely user friendly. The software also has mobile application that is available in Google Play and App Store, making your access to all the financial aspects of your business that much easier. Nutcache is frequently updated and upgraded, regularly introducing new functions and additional benefits to the users.
Sage One is also a Cloud-based invoicing software that has an extremely user-friendly interface. The software’s instructions are very easy to follow and in just a few steps the user is ready to begin. Customized invoicing with this software is simplified; you are able to assign multiple tax rates to each client, have invoices updated in real time, and keep track of all payments and delays. Sage One also has online payment options, recurring billing, and a reporting tool.
With Sage One, freelancers and business owners find that collaboration on projects becomes quite easy. The software also has tools that enable the user to assign tasks, track costs and expenses, and keep track of time spent on each activity. In addition, e-mail notifications keep your business/project team on their toes in regards to the progress and demands of the project. With Sage One, invoices are consistently developed and dispatched as soon as they are due, ensuring that you receive all your payments in a timely fashion. This software has a free trial of 30 days of the full version, while the basic version requires a small monthly payment of $9 only.
TO SUM UP
When in search for an affordable invoicing software, the user should consider its time-saving features, for example; automated entries, financial report generation, and financial reconciliations. In addition to this, good invoicing softwares will have complimentary features that aid in the accounting activities of the business, such as profit and loss report generation, which will enable the user to assess the profitability or lack, thereof, of particular projects.
Invoicing is generally a time-extensive activity but life can be much easier for your business when you make use of invoicing softwares. Now more than ever, the development of Cloud-computing has made invoicing softwares very affordable; gone are the days when invoicing softwares were reserved for established organizations, now even start up businesses can enjoy the benefits of an array of cheap and affordable invoicing softwares such as those discussed above.
Businesses now have a wide range of softwares to choose form, from the simplest of invoicing softwares to more complex ones that offer bank integration options and countless project and time management options differing form software to software. Keep in mind, softwares change and evolve at a very fast rate, and this is more so for Cloud-based softwares, therefore, ensure that you visit your service providers website and read their e-mails constantly in order to keep yourself and your business up to date with the functions that your chosen invoicing software has to offer at any given moment.
Do not feel overwhelmed by the myriad of invoicing softwares at your disposal; simply create a budget, decide which invoicing features you need, and research on the invoicing softwares that fall in your bracket before deciding on one. Invoices are some of the most important links in the paper-trail, accordingly, always take your time in certifying that the data you input in the invoicing software you use is accurate in order to generate error-free invoices. Also, ensure that you keep a backup of all the invoices you generate both in soft and hard copy for reference purposes.
Equipped with the directive of this article, you are now set to bill the world in style.