The digital era has given small businesses superpowers. Thanks to innovations such as cloud computing, Software-as-a-Service arrangements, and eCommerce, enterprises of every size can access the technical advantages usually reserved for much larger companies.
In 2020, you don’t need a data analytics department. You just need to find a point of sale solution that provides an automated version of data science reporting. The same applies to complex hardware and software setups that would usually need the attention of an IT staff but can now be outsourced to the Cloud.
Now you can add convenient invoicing to the list of newly available capabilities for small businesses. What was once the domain of a dedicated accounting department or officer can be accomplished by small business invoice software, and at minimal investment. The best examples of this technology strike a balance between comprehensive features and easy-to-use interfaces. It doesn’t matter how powerful a tool is if it is too cumbersome to use.
We’ve gathered together 5 of the leading invoice software options to help you take control of your invoicing and seize the benefits of the digital era. But before we get into the differences between them, we’ll discuss the benefits they share.
What Does Small Business Invoice Software Do?
Invoice software is designed to help you maintain a healthy cash flow through your business. The right product will be powerful enough to customize, automate, and expand your invoice systems to cover every customer eventuality, while at the same time remaining manageable enough that you can operate it yourself.
Ideally, you want the effectiveness of a professional accountant at a much lower price. There will still be a price tag, but the subscription costs that can be less than $10 a month are a great value. It is also worth mentioning that some software options attach transaction fees as well.
To be competitive within the 2020 marketplace, small business invoice software has to be able to perform the following roles:
- Create customizable invoices at any quantity
- Automate recurring bills and penalty fees
- Collect and display customer details
- Accept many forms of payment
- Integrate with your broader business programs and point of sale system
The last point about integration is vital to making your small business setup work for you. While the invoice software functions as a stand-alone program, you don’t want to have to step outside your existing point of sale system every time you query an invoice. Instead, make sure the invoicing software can be integrated within your overall business platform so that billing information can be added as an automated addition to your close of business routine.
Top 5 Small Business Invoicing Software Options
The right small business invoice software will give you the power of an accounts department at the price of an on-demand movie subscription. Here’s a list of our favorite options to help you find the right match for your business:
Intuit QuickBooks: Plans from $12/month
One of the most popular accounting packages on the net, QuickBooks’ invoicing feature, QuickBooks Payment, sits within its overall subscription platform. The service comes with a fleet of invoicing features that include automated reminders, recurring bills, online payments methods, direct deposits, and creation-to-payment tracking.
You can fully customize your invoices with your own logo, color scheme, and branding to keep up professional standards, despite the DIY approach.
Xero: Plans from $9/month
Xero’s low sticker price comes from its limited starter plan that restricts you to sending just 5 invoices a month…but if you’re producing so few you may as well pocket the spare change and just create them manually. The more realistic price of $30 a month is a far more comprehensive service, if not quite to the feature-rich extent of QuickBooks. Still, it has all the basics, including online invoicing, tracking, and the integration of banking transactions.
Sage: Plans from $25/month
Sage pins its small business sales pitch to its intuitive user interface. From the central dashboard, you can access the full range of accounting features, including visual alerts for overdue invoices. As with the above options, invoicing is just a piece of the overall accounting package, which is reflected in the cost.
Wave is a collection of apps rather than an all-in-one accounting package. So, if all you need is invoicing software then the free price is tempting. The service isn’t as comprehensive as the options above, and you’ll have to pay online transaction fees, but you can customize your bills, automate recurring invoices, and use the app across any mobile device. If you’ve got a firm handle on your business and just need to cap it off with the invoicing basics, then consider Wave.
FreeAgent: Plans from $10/month
The cheapest of the packaged products we’ve rounded up, FreeAgent covers all the invoicing basics and links with a range of online payment options, including Paypal. You can automate bills, handle payments in multiple currencies, and keep track of outstanding accounts across your portfolio with a straightforward interface.
Each of the software options above has the potential to ease your invoicing needs. You’ll have to make the final call on which is right for you though because their effectiveness depends on the broader business system with which they need to be integrated.
Integrate Your Invoicing Software with Your POS Hub
Your small business invoice software works best when it can be integrated into your existing workflows. Your point of sale solution, for example, should already have advanced inventory, employee, and customer management features that will tell half of your invoicing story. Combining this wealth of information with your practical invoice actions will only serve to make the system more accurate, flexible, and responsive. Your inventory, for example, should account for unpaid bills, while data analysis should highlight any recurring delays in receiving funds from specific customers or even on particular items.
The digital advantages that will define 2020 and beyond can grant small business the power to compete with rivals of any size. When you find the right balance between your point of sale solution and invoice software, you stand on equal footing with any accounts department.
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