A guide to mastering a business’ invoicing system. Welcome to the world of invoice software
From freelancers to large businesses, finding the best invoice software can be a crucial decision for any company.
Yet in general managing invoices and bookkeeping have the dubious reputation for being the tedious aspect of running a business.
While it is possible to do everything manually with help of basic programs such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs to generate invoice templates, the manual work only introduces more risks in this important process.
It is for this reason that today many businesses utilize invoice software.
In this article, we discuss the importance of invoice software when it comes to simplifying and optimizing the efficiency of your business operations. Then, we take a look at the different types of invoice software that are available, no matter what the type of business is.
Why use invoice software?
Despite the simplicity and inexpensiveness of managing invoices manually, there is a problem with this. Momentum.
Like all aspiring businesses that share the same goal of increasing profitability and aiming to satisfy a larger audience with their services/products, the business is naturally expected to grow.
This is fantastic for all the businesses that are achieving this goal and gaining momentum, but keep in mind that when a business expands so does the demand of management processes.
Especially when it comes to invoicing, where a business may find that they are dedicating more time creating and issuing invoices using manual methods rather than focusing on improving the company in general.
Although it is true that invoicing is an important part of any business, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Invoice software is here with the sole principle of simplifying the entire process of invoicing.
What can a business expect from using dedicated software to take care of their invoicing?
In addition to saving heaps of time, automatically generating invoices with custom templates, and much more, invoice software provides a powerful way of managing a business’ cash inflow.
With the functionality of generating reports, a business knows exactly how much is coming in and what’s going out.
Furthermore, as a business grows, so too does the accounts receivable. This puts additional strain on a business to retrieve what they are owed.
Did you know that in 2019, 39% of invoices were paid late in the United States? That’s right. That’s why it is recommended that a company utilizes invoice software that automates payment reminders to clients in order to save the management team the time.
Not only that, but it also provides a convenient way for clients to pay. Many invoice software allow businesses to configure their bank details to allow clients to pay directly.
Together these points make life much easier for the business and also the client.
Yet with all the information available out there, it can be overwhelming for a business to choose the right software for them. Let’s take a look at the different types of invoice software out there and what they have to offer.
Types of Invoice Software Out There
When it comes to deciding which invoice software is right for a business, it usually comes down to the size of the business and what their specific requirements are.
Here are four types of invoice software that vary from usage for freelancers/ independent contractors, small-medium business, and large businesses.
Invoice Software For Freelancers/ Independent Contractors
If you’re one of the many freelancers out there who wants to improve the smoothness of your operations, there’s software out there just for you.
Without falling into the trap of assuming invoice software is only for larger and more established businesses, AND.CO is a fantastic tool for helping freelancers and independent contractors run their businesses, particularly when it comes to invoicing.
From building proposals to tracking the amount of time worked on a project, AND.CO provides an excellent method of using this data and turning it into customizable invoices.
Freelancers can even create an invoice from an existing project, so that the work and fees initially inserted into the system are transposed onto the newly generated invoice.
One of the best things about this software is that it is completely free if you have only one client. Naturally, a freelancer will probably be expecting to work with more than this. However, the incentive provides the perfect opportunity to experiment with AND.CO and see how it can benefit the business.
Check out their guide on invoicing as a freelancer
Additional features of AND.CO:
- Users can charge a deposit prior to beginning a new project
- Shared time sheets so both the user and client know exactly where they are at in the project
- Create recurring tasks and be reminded of them
- Invoices can be created for clients in over 200 different currencies
If you want to delve deeper into the other various software available for freelancers, I recommend taking a look at this interesting article.
Invoice Software for Small-Medium Sized Businesses
Undoubtedly one of the most popular invoice software available today, FreshBooks is a powerful automation tool for teams and entrepreneurs.
As well as simplifying all invoicing tasks, FreshBooks’ modern user interface makes it easy for each member of the team to collaborate on any project. From the dashboard, team members can visualize all the profits and reports to have a clear business insight.
FreshBooks’ capabilities include tracking expenses according to the clients’ requirements. This means that if a business charges for their time rather than their end-product, FreshBooks provides a feature that records the amount of time a business has spent on a product and then calculates the cost according to the time spent.
Creating invoices becomes quick and easy, FreshBooks displays a preview of the future invoice where users can customize the information. All billing information is neatly broken-down so the client knows exactly what they’re paying for and it is even possible to connect the business’ bank details to automatically keep on top of expenses.
Another interesting feature about Freshbooks is that everything is stored online in the cloud, making the data accessible from anywhere. More specifically, businesses can utilize the FreshBooks Mobile App to stay connected with their clients whilst on the go.
Additional features of FreshBooks:
- Tracking and alerts of late payments
- Automated and customizable payment reminders
- Generation of invoices in multiple languages
- Offers a range of price plans depending on the business requirements
Invoice Software for Larger Businesses
Software such as FreshBooks offer an ideal solution to smaller businesses that aim simply to automate invoice management. However, larger scale companies may need a more extensive tool for optimizing their workflow.
When it comes to the heavy artillery of invoice software, you can count on finding Xero on the front-line. This cloud-based accounting software provides a plethora of features, making it suitable for the medium to large-sized businesses especially when it comes to invoicing.
In addition to setting recurring invoices, automatic payment reminders and bulk invoicing, Xero offers over 800 integrations making sure that whatever features it lacks are made up for by one of the integrations.
The customizable dashboard features an informative user interface that contains the relevant graphs to reflect the general accounting activities of the business.
When it comes to invoicing, Xero is excellent at providing contact management. It is possible for businesses to enter contact information into their database, along with any discounts and sales tax rates for their customers.
But it doesn’t stop there, Xero has even created smart lists that effectively act as a marketing tool to allow business to target particular groups of contacts.
On top of this, Xero has the unique feature, called Xero to Xero, that easily allows users to send invoices to and receive invoices from other Xero users.
Additional features of Xero:
- Extensive expense tracking and claims
- A unique inventory where products and services can be added and tracked
- Vast amount of accounting reports
- Supports over 160 currencies
Due to the sheer amount of features offered by Xero, one potential difficulty a business could have is learning how to use the software to its true potential.
At first this may seem rather obvious, but at the same time this is a fine example of what makes a business decide whether this software is right for them. For those who are new to invoice software or accounting software in general, this can be a tedious task.
In fact, it is for this reason many businesses choose QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks Online (QBO), like Xero, is an exhaustive accounting software that optimizes how businesses manage their invoices. Not only does QBO offer much more custom templates than Xero, QBO boasts a more simplistic interface to help users navigate their way around the extensive features on offer.
Source: QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online makes invoicing much more seamless and streamlined in general.
Even if both QBO and Xero offer inventory management, QBO takes this a step further by offering a comprehensive point-of-sale solution. Moreover, QBO offers a service called QuickBooks Capital that allows businesses to manage their finances in one location.
Source: QuickBooks Online
Additional features of QuickBooks Online:
- Customize, schedule and send reports automatically to clients
- Supports over 180 third-party integrations
- Bulk invoices in single emails to make client payments easier
- Offers industry specific accounting solutions
The Optimal Invoicing Solution For Transportation Services
Whether you’re a freelancer, or a small or large business, there are solutions out there that can simplify the invoicing process to an even greater extent.
While the software discussed so far provides a marvellous alternative to managing invoicing manually, it must be noted that these solutions only add another tool to the toolbox.
A heavy toolbox slows you down.
That’s why there are alternative solutions such as Sengerio that have all the functionalities that the previous software have, from invoice automation to pre-set payment reminders, but rendered them exclusively for the needs of transportation companies.
What is the significance of this?
Sengerio provides a centralized platform for managing all aspects of passenger transportation. This means that not just invoice management of transportation businesses is taken care of, but all management processes.
Transport companies do not need to settle for the generic invoice software out there, especially given that many of the features offered by these software are irrelevant in the sector of transportation. Sengerio supplies only the essential tools to enhance the invoicing system and, as a consequence, invoicing becomes faster, easier and much more manageable for transportation companies.
The power of Sengerio’s functionality comes from the fact that it uses the booking information inserted on the system to automatically generate new invoices with the click of a button. Hence, there is no need for rewriting all the necessary transport service information by hand to produce invoices, ultimately saving hours of hard work.
In addition, Sengerio has a dedicated page for every statement where a transport company can see from a glance which clients have paid and which haven’t in a specified time period. Moreover, late-paying customers are automatically notified of their outstanding balances, taking the stress out of the entire process.
Together, the features offered by Sengerio ensure a transportation company stays on top of the organization of their invoices and, more importantly, ensure they are paid on time for their services!
Additional features of Sengerio Invoices:
- Invoice one or more bookings for a customer in seconds
- Create advance invoices and credit notes
- Third-party integrations with QuickBooks Online and Stripe to manage the accountability and payments
- Insert additional attachments or notes to invoices
Even after reading all the information out there and finding it is still too hard to make up your mind about which software is right for you, most good software companies provide a free trial. In any case, trying different invoice software will give a business more of a hands on understanding of what is best for them.
Though if there is at least one takeaway message from this article, it is that there is invoice software out there engineered for the specific needs of a business in a particular sector. It is without doubt this type of software that offers a more comprehensive and personalized solution to optimizing an invoice system.
Lastly, keep in mind that the support and assistance offered by each of these software is just as important when it comes to making the final decision. As it is always a huge advantage knowing you have somebody there to help you make the most of your acquisition and, of course, listen to your feedback.