Invoicing can take up a huge chunk of a business owner's time. Invoicing apps make it easy to create, send and track invoices so you get paid faster. The best part is that they're accessible on mobile devices for on-the-go invoicing.
Whether you are looking for a paid invoicing app with plenty of features, all-in-one accounting and invoicing software, or a free invoice generator that makes you look like a professional, there is an invoice app for you.
What to look for in a billing and invoicing app
Finding the right invoice app for your business can feel overwhelming, especially as new invoicing tools are added to the market or old ones are updated with new bells and whistles. Before you begin comparing options, consider what you want in a billing and invoicing app.
Some apps can handle all your accounting needs, including invoicing and monitoring your cash flow. If you choose an app that is just for invoicing and billing, though, it should integrate with whatever accounting software you already use. Otherwise, you run the risk of making costly errors as you transfer information from one program to the other, and of losing time that could be spent on other parts of your business.
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More features do not automatically mean a better invoicing tool, especially if you end up paying for features you never use. However, you don't want to save money by sacrificing functions you genuinely need. If you pay for invoicing software, look for an app that includes these features:
- An invoice generator with customizable templates for professional branding
- An easy way to follow up on unpaid invoices
- Client profiles you can save, rather than manually entering info every time
- A way to store and send receipts for expenses that a client must reimburse
- Connectivity to multiple payment gateways
- Online invoicing
Ease of use
As a business owner, you want technology to streamline your tasks, not make them more complicated. You don't want to search for your client list every time you open the invoice generator or spend hours uploading receipts when you are sending a bill for reimbursement.
The invoicing software you have used in the past and your familiarity with new technology will influence how complex these apps feel. Play around with a few to find one that feels easy and intuitive to use.
You should also look for an app that is easy to use on your mobile device, as well as through a web browser, to make invoicing on the go simple. Make sure you have easy access to customer support in case you have questions down the road.
Budget is always a concern for business owners, especially when you are starting out. Luckily, there are invoice apps available in multiple price ranges, including several that are free to use. Many paid options offer a free trial to allow you to test the software before committing to a monthly or yearly plan.
For many invoicing apps, how your business is structured will affect the ultimate cost. Some apps charge a flat fee for use, while others are priced by the number of invoices you send per month or the number of client profiles you store. Use your billing history to determine which invoice app is the best fit for your business's budget.
Find the best invoice app for your business
1. Square Invoices
The Square Invoices app is an invoice generator that manages billing and payments through your mobile device. It allows you to create custom invoices as well as recurring invoices, track payments and generate payment reminders. It also includes analytics and accepts a variety of payment methods, making it easy for you to maintain your cash flow.
With Square Invoices, both the invoicing and credit card processing software are free to use. Every time a client pays you, Square charges a flat fee plus a small percentage of the transaction.
Invoice2go is a mobile and web invoicing app designed for micro and small businesses. It offers customizable templates so you don't have to start from scratch. It also saves pricing, customer information and other data to automatically populate required fields.
Invoice2go allows you to see when a client opens an invoice, set up automatic payment reminders and create financial reports for any unpaid invoices. The service offers multiple plan options at different annual price points based on your number of account users, how many clients you store and how many invoices you send per month. All three plans allow you to accept payments via credit card, debit card or PayPal.
3. QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online allows you to create invoices and receive payments quickly, while keeping your invoicing and accounting software completely connected. It uses what the company calls "smart invoices," which alert businesses when invoices have been viewed and paid. Payment options include credit cards, debit cards and free ACH bank transfers.
Timesaving features include autofill based on your past invoices, recurring invoices and payments, payment reminders, and conversion of estimates to payable invoices. QuickBooks does have a mobile app, though it does not include all the features of the web application. QuickBooks plans are priced per month based on the size of your business, the level of support available, and access to additional features such as inventory tracking and financial analysis.
FreshBooks is a simple, all-in-one invoicing solution for small businesses. It offers customizable templates, complete with custom logo, fonts and colors to fit your brand. FreshBooks makes it easier to get paid, with features like credit card payments, invoice tracking, flat-fee PayPal transactions and fast deposits to your bank account. It also has several automation features to save time, such as recurring invoices, payment reminders, late fees, discounts and tax calculations.
Other features include time tracking, project management, expenses, reports and customer relationship management. As part of the FreshBooks cloud accounting system, plans are billed monthly based on the number of active clients in your account.
With Billdu, you can create invoices and send them in seconds, and customers can instantly make payments by clicking on the "pay now" button straight from the invoice. Billdu also lets businesses create estimates and purchase orders, track inventory and expenses, manage expenses and receipts, and export files into PDF, XLS, CSV and other formats.
Billdu has a handy offline mode, which lets you access invoices and other data without an internet connection. It offers three different packages, which are billed monthly based on the number of invoices you send per year and how many users you want on your account.
What is the best free invoice app?
For businesses that are just starting out or need to keep expenses as low as possible, free invoice apps are available. Though these apps cover the basics of generating and sending professional invoices, they generally don't include as many features as paid apps.
InvoiceNinja is an open-source cloud and mobile app that allows you to create, send and manage invoices. It includes time tracking, custom invoice creation, expense tracking and proposal generation. You can accept mobile or online payments with InvoiceNinja. It supports more than 40 payment gateways, including Stripe, WePay and Checkout.com.
The Forever Free plan allows you to send an unlimited number of invoices and store up to 100 clients. It includes a limited number of invoice templates, all of which will be branded as "created by InvoiceNinja." Paid plans remove this branding and offer additional features.
Invoice by Wave
Invoice by Wave is a free invoicing app designed to create invoices of professional quality. You can choose from a wide range of templates and personalize them with your logo and company colors. Other layout options include custom columns and drag-and-drop line items. If you do not want to create a Wave account, you can use the online Wave invoice generator.
You can send invoices from the Wave app, Gmail, or Outlook, then track them to see if they have been viewed and paid. You can set up custom payment terms, create payment reminders, manage your accounting and upload receipts. The Payments by Wave add-on does allow you to accept online payments from either credit cards or bank transfers, but this feature comes with a transaction fee.
Sara Angeles contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.