Small businesses have the advantage of being more flexible in responding to client issues and can quickly adapt their services when economic or customer demands change. But, for a business to be successful, it must operate effectively in both the front and back offices. That is, in providing a quality service or product that meets customer expectations, and having efficient administration to handle those tasks that are not client-facing.

Here is where billing software for small business can help owners automate their back office. Billing software provides a digital means to handle the tracking and payment of billable services or products. For consultants and other professionals, like accountants, architects, engineers, IT experts, marketing and graphics design creatives, and law firms, poor bookkeeping is a common cause of business failure or lost profits.

Even simple invoice software that tracks time and billing can free up hours to focus on your core business while also relieving you of that dreaded paperwork stack that seems to pile higher and higher with each passing week. As a matter of fact, bookkeeping is cited by small business owners as one of the top frustrations of running a company.

And it is here that larger companies excel. They have the operating capital to support a full staff of office workers. This means they can take on more customers, expand into different regions, or provide a greater number of services for their clients.

As an overhead expense, a small business owner typically can't afford to pay for staff to handle billing, accounts receivable, and maintain records for tax purposes. Other benefits of invoice billing software include:

  • It allows business owners to easily create and send invoices with customizable templates that allow you to create invoices according to your client's requests.
  • Streamlines business operations, saves paper and printing costs, and provides a unified approach to your bookkeeping operations.
  • Billing software can track other expenses associated with professional services provided, such as travel, lodging, or the filing of paperwork.
  • The best invoice app can generate billing reports and support financial record-keeping to provide a digital trail of your accounts receivable and accounts payable operations.
  • Billing software for small businesses should keep track of work-in-progress billing, so you can see current cash flow and forecast future income.

The best invoice app will relieve business owners from the time-consuming process of preparing invoices and other documentation such as the cost of materials and tracking the hours worked by subcontractors.

Simple Billing Software For Small Business

A simple billing software for small business is one that is easy to install, easy to learn, and easy to use. But, if the most bare-boned billing system software for small businesses doesn't have what you need to track and pay invoices, then it's really of no use. Also, every professional business doesn't operate or bill in the same fashion.

The billing methods for different professionals may be different. An architect or engineer may bill clients when different project milestones or deadlines are met. The invoice for an IT consultant may include hourly rates along with any expenses associated with computer equipment or hardware. And finally, an attorney will want to track all the time spent on a client's case right down to a quarter of an hour in billable time.

In today's fast-paced office environments, who has the time to create a company invoice from scratch? The traditional method was to use Excel or another table-type data program to create individual invoices that tracked billable hours for each of your projects. Not only does this method take an in-depth knowledge of spreadsheets, but it also takes a lot of time to make sure all data fields are created correctly in order to calculate costs.

The right invoicing software for small business needs to be flexible and customizable. Choose simple billing software with billing templates to speed up the process of creating invoices. This way, each professional can start with an invoice that closely matches their needs, then customize it to exactly fit either their billing structure or the invoicing requirements of the client.

Here is some of the basic information that a simple invoicing software for small business will require or automatically generate to keep track of your projects and calculate your client bills:

  • Client contact information
  • Project name (optional)
  • Unique client ID
  • Unique invoice number
  • Payment method (credit, debit, check, etc)
  • Payment status (new, late, collections)
  • Due date (one-time or recurring)
  • Date paid
  • Payment refund
  • Bill created by
  • Bill canceled
  • Bill cancel approved by
  • Purchase order numbers
  • Quote number
  • Expense charges
  • Surcharges
  • Taxes charged

With this basic data, the billing app or billing software will automatically do any bill calculations, create financial reports, and automatically send out customer reminders, late bill notifications, or other messages such as "unable to process payment". And, since the billing app can be accessed by mobile phone or tablet, you can update data in real-time, while in the field or sitting in the client's office. This type of automated billing will help your company look more professional and be viewed as more trustworthy by clients.

Billing System Software

There are 2 main types of billing system software. The previous discussion of simple billing software for small businesses would be considered a standalone software billing app. The other is bundled billing system software for larger companies and corporations. Bundled software contains more than one major application.

BigTime is a billing system example that offers both standalone or bundled packages. For instance, in addition to billing software, BigTime offers project management, project accounting, and employee time tracking apps that work seamlessly together for a one-stop solution to workflow and billing management.

As your company grows and expands in employees, customers, services, and territories, simple billing software may prove inadequate to meet all your administrative needs. One billing system example is a company that already has a CRM or customer relationship database.

Your CRM system already contains customer contact information, past quotes, recent orders, and deliveries or field services. Some billing system software will readily integrate with existing CRM to automatically share customer data. This saves time and money when you don't need to start with a new database and pay for extensive data entry services.

BigTime billing system software offers:

  • Flexible Billing Rates - a central place for all your bill rates and the flexibility to override a standard rate as needed.
  • Work-In-Progress Management - Stay aware of the progress you're making with all your clients, including work that is closed out and work in progress which allows you to forecast future income.
  • Seamless Reporting - This bundled app seamlessly integrates accounting and project management so you can make smarter decisions about budgets and new projects based on relevant data.
  • BigTime Wallet - Allows for faster client payments when you can send invoices online, anytime, anywhere, and accept your customers' preferred payment methods
  • Time & Materials Invoices- To automatically calculate the hours, billing rates, and expenses for each client.

The best billing system software for larger companies is one that can be bundled with other administrative programs. This way, all your back office data is in one place. With these types of billing software, nothing is left out, such as travel time and material expenses, which can be hefty and are crucial to your bottom line.

Free Invoicing Software For Small Business

While researching which companies offer the best invoicing software for contractors, you will come across websites that offer free invoicing software for small businesses. If you're serious about your financial and client data, open-source software may be free, but it can be wrought with challenges.

Here are important pros and cons of free billing software versus proprietary apps that have been developedd specifically for the markets they serve:

Free invoice template

  • They are typically difficult to roll out, hard to learn, and are not designed to be user-friendly or easy to navigate.
  • You will not have software support with small business accounting software free. It is up to the user to find and fix software bugs.
  • Closed-source billing programs are designed to work with major operating platforms, while a free invoice template may be designed only for iOS, Windows, or Linux.
  • Open-source programs do not come with a warranty of liability against software defects or weak security.

BigTime Billing Software

  • BigTime offers a graphical user interface (GUI) that is designed to be easy to navigate and populate. The software is quickly deployed and easy to learn because it has no unnecessary elements.
  • Expect excellent customer service and help desk assistance at all end-user stages. Our customers receive regular fixes and program updates to counter new attacks coming from cybercriminals.
  • It is one of the best invoicing software for contractors because it is made available on mobile devices, on office computers due to our cloud services.
  • BigTime is dedicated to serving our clients with billing, project management, employee time tracking, and financial data automation that is specifically designed for contractors, entrepreneurs, and small business owners.

Though BigTime is not free, when you choose proprietary software you are partnering with software developers and business experts that are discovering new ways for business owners to operate. Ways that use automation to reduce manual input, ways that streamline account processes so they are more efficient, and ways that provide safer options to protect your company's sensitive financial data.

Take advantage of our free trial period to discover how BigTime can relieve you of mundane accounting tasks and allow you to reduce or eliminate the hours you pay for admin help. Every invoice you create is directly related to your bottom line. Don't entrust these important tasks to a free invoice template. Instead, visit BigTime online today for more information.