by Karen McCandless
Published on 10 September 2015
Making a sale is generally considered the difficult part, but if you haven't got your bills and invoices in order then that sale can only get you so far. An oft-neglected operational area, you can quickly get into a tangled web of complexity and soon find that not only can you not get your invoices out promptly, but they are also full or errors.
Your lack of focus and attention to detail on billing and invoicing will give your customers the impression that it's not a priority, and soon payments will start falling through the cracks.
There are a number of things you can do to improve your processes to get your invoices paid faster, one of those being implementing the right billing and invoicing app. That's why we've picked our favorite cloud-based apps to bill your customers on time so you can make a more informed choice and get the money rolling in again.
We couldn't write this post without including an app that has previously topped the tables in our GetRank quarterly ranking system of the top billing and invoicing apps. Aside from the many interesting features this accounting app offers (multi-currency, expense tracking, and bank reconciliation), Xero is also great for managing your invoices on the go due to its iPhone, iPad, and Android mobile apps.
With a reduced price for freelancers, FreeAgent is perfect for sole traders who need to keep costs down while still creating professional looking invoices. One of the biggest headaches for freelancers is submitting tax returns, but FreeAgent simplifies this process by showing you how much tax you owe and, if you live in the UK, it fills up to 90% of the Sole Trader Self Employment form automatically, and allows you to submit it directly to the HMRC. A one-stop-shop for freelancers, it also provides expense management, payroll, and time tracking features.
One of the most important pieces of advice when it comes to getting your invoices paid quickly is to provide multiple payment methods. This is one area where Zoho Invoice - which is part of Zoho's stable of useful products which includes Zoho Books - excels, offering PayPal, Google Checkout, and Authorize.net options, among others, as well as the ability to make partial payments. It also comes with iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone mobile apps.
Who says your billing and invoicing software has to only create and send bills and invoices? WorkflowMax does much more, including generating leads and quotes, as well as enabling time tracking, job management, and invoicing. If you're looking for a solution that offers both project management and invoicing capabilities, this is a the app for you.
With the increasing popularity of subscription services such as Netflix, the idea of paying in weekly or monthly installments rather than making one outright purchase has really take off. If your business has already embraced the subscription business model, Fusebill can help you manage the variety of recurring payment options you will need to offer your customers.
Designed for businesses that have embraced the Apple ecosystem through Macs, iPhones, iPads, and the Apple Watch, Billings Pro for Mac is a well integrated invoicing app that works seamlessly across your iOS devices. With additional features for tracking time, mileage, and expenses, as well as an app for the Apple Watch, Billings Pro is a great option for the mobile workforce.
Another recurring billing tool, Chargeover is big on automation. From generating invoices to charging credit cards to sending email reminders when bills are overdue, all these processes are automated. Another useful feature of Chargeover is that it allows businesses to create their own branded email templates, and to customize the customer portals they embed on their website for making payments.
Wave's unique selling point is that it has actually been designed specifically for small businesses, instead of just paying lip service to it. Ideal for businesses with nine employees or less who may not have an accounting expert, this cloud-based app provides very simple tools to manage your accounts, as well as create and send invoices.
Invoicera offers options for freelancers, small businesses, and enterprises meaning that even if you start off as a one-man show and grow into a company of 1,000 employees, you won't need to switch billing and invoicing provider. Some of the great features Invoicera includes for enterprises include custom workflow management, bespoke permission management for users, automatic bank reconciliation, and shopping cart integration.
FieldEZ isn't strictly an invoicing solution, falling more naturally into the operations management category. But not every business wants a separate app for their billing and invoicing needs. This field service software helps you manage your operations, providing scheduling, tracking (eg of an engineer's location), real-time job status reports, and customer feedback reports. For your billing and invoicing needs, the app allows your field service agents to create invoices, print receipts, receive card payments, and connect to apps such as Square, Paypal, and Intuit from any device.
This article was originally published in August 2013 and has been updated.