Every small business needs to submit invoices to its clients. When you were just starting out, it might have been okay to keep track of what you were owed on Excel or even on paper. Then whenever you needed to collect, you could print up a bill and send it to your client.

Now that you’re growing, you need an automated online system. This is particularly true if you’re in consulting or if you provide any kind of service that’s billed by the hour. Good billing system software will save you time and money, ensure that your invoices are accurate, integrate with other accounting software you might be using, and provide you with information that will help you run your business better.

What should you look for in online billing software? For one thing, you need something that does a good job of managing your billing rates. You’d like to set up all your rates in one place and manage them for both straight time and overtime. The system should support rates by employees and by project tasks. You’ll want to modify these rates in many different ways depending on the individual and the project. If you have custom rates, your software should handle that to allow as many custom rates as you need for every project.

The best online billing software is designed to serve you internally as much as manage your interaction with the client. A big part of this is your work-in-progress management. You’ll do well to track all of your unbilled time and track it to expenses. This kind of information is critical to the successful management of your cash flow. You’ll not only see what costs you’re incurring but what revenue you can expect and when.

Billing system software needs to be seamless. Some offline billing software might require invoices and receipts to be entered and generated separately and manually reconciled. Any new billing system you choose should integrate with your current software to make a process that doesn’t require any redundant entry or other manual procedures. BigTime integrates not only with QuickBooks, but with other commonly used small business software such as Sage Intacct, Lacerte, Salesforce, Slack, Zapier, and Google Apps.

It’s easy to set up your people and projects in an online billing system such as BigTime. Once they’re in place, producing and delivering client invoices is a breeze. You’ll save time and headaches with every billing cycle.

Invoice Billing Software

Invoice billing is only part of an online billing system, but it’s an important part. It produces the output that your client sees. These invoices must be attractive, understandable, and accurate. Now, there are invoicing software free options — you can even do your invoicing out of PayPal or QuickBooks. However, greater robustness has its advantages. That’s why a more extensive invoicing software for small business is a worthwhile investment.

The best small business invoicing systems produce client invoices that look the way your clients want to see them. BigTime, for example, has customizable invoice templates that lets you plug in your logo, your company address, and any other company data any place you want them. You can put as much or as little information on the invoice as you care to. Pick and choose among line item names, supplementary line item notes, tax rates, remittance information, and other invoice items.

Does your client need to see billing by staff member, project role, department or project? A good system allows you to show or hide these details as needed. Do you need to bill for flat-rate projects? Does your contract with the client call for payments at milestones or when the project has reached designated percentages of completion? Your invoicing system needs to handle all of these and at the same time, you’ll want to track the hours you’ve spent to ensure that projects are proceeding in a timely and profitable manner.

The right automated invoicing system comes with a wealth of benefits. It saves time and reduces costs. It also helps cash flow in a couple of ways. First, by facilitating prompt billing and payment, and also by providing the information you need to identify and deal with potential cash flow issues. It shows you where you’re spending your effort and hours on a project. It also cuts down on the chances of billing and invoicing errors.

All in all, an ideal invoicing system is a tool for maintaining a professional relationship with your clients. It is a big part of the face you present to your customers, and when it looks and feels professional, it makes your client more confident in you and what you provide.

Free Billing Software in Excel

There are ways to find free invoicing software for small businesses and to make it work. One of the more popular options is Excel. If you work at it hard enough, you can make Excel do almost anything. You can find a free invoice template for Excel, and the internet has step-by-step written and audio instructions for setting up your very own Excel billing and invoicing system. You can find a free invoice software download based on Excel templates or on some other underlying software.

However, when you think of all the things a professional-level billing and invoicing system does, you’ll see that using Excel is neither low-maintenance or risk-free. It takes a bit of effort to set everything up. You’ll have to create your formulas and change them when your requirements change. It’s difficult to build robust security into an Excel system. It’s not only harder to keep the wrong people out, but there can be problems with the right people getting in, particularly if they have to use the system remotely or with a mobile device.

One of the biggest challenges with a free billing system such as an Excel-based one is creating your organizational procedures. Who enters hours and when? Who approves hours? What happens when hours are found to be inaccurate? What happens at the end of the billing cycle? A billing software system such as BigTime is workflow friendly. You can let it manage your workflow for you with features such as automated processes and reminders. It can keep track of who has to do what and when.

An Excel invoicing system might be free but setting it up, using it, and maintaining it costs money and time. You’ll probably have to dedicate an Excel expert or two to the care and feeding of the system. BigTime isn’t free, but it does offer a free trial. Why not take advantage of that to find out what a leading billing management system can do for you. Learn for yourself whether it’s a worthwhile investment for your small business.

Zoho Invoice

There are less expensive alternatives to full-function billing and invoice systems such as BigTime. An example is Zoho Invoice, which is free. It tracks work hours and sends invoices and payment reminders. However, the more advanced functions require developer skills, and Zoho Invoice doesn’t integrate well with the rest of the Zoho products.

Wave Invoicing is also free. However, the templates and customization could use an upgrade, and the time-tracking and payroll features aren’t as good as some other solutions. Invoice Ninja has a free version and a $10/month version. It is workable as a small business solution, but it doesn’t have accounting features, and you need programming skills to customize it.

As for FreshBooks vs QuickBooks, FreshBooks is more oriented to service-based businesses. However, the dashboard is less robust than some would like, and it has very limited customization.

If you’re a QuickBooks user and you don’t want to give it up, with BigTime you don’t have to. We integrate with QuickBooks. The many products we integrate with, along with our out-of-the-box functionality and ability to be highly customizable, makes us a great choice for consultants, but it doesn’t stop there. BigTime is also an excellent solution for accountants, architects, engineers, IT services, marketing/creatives, and law firms.

Simple Billing Software

If you’re looking for simple billing software for small businesses, there’s no shortage of choices. Many of the products are free or at a low cost. You can download them in a few minutes. A lot of times, when people use the word “simple” to describe invoice software, they’re talking about something that’s simple to buy or simple in the sense of not offering a lot of features.

We’d make the argument that BigTime is a much better kind of simple billing software. It’s simple to use in powerful ways. It makes your time-tracking, billing, and invoicing processing simple. No, it’s not simple in the number of capabilities it offers. Instead, our goal is to make your billing and invoicing procedures easier for all involved.

BigTime makes project set-up simple. It’s easy to put all your staff and all your tasks in the system and assign rates. Customizing client invoices is a straightforward process. With BigTime, it requires less effort to understand what hours you’ve worked, what hours you’ve invoiced, and where every project is in terms of covering its costs and making money for your business.

When you choose online billing software, you want a system that is going to go to work for you. You want straightforward workflows and simple customization. That’s why you should take a long look at a richly functional system designed for the convenience of a professional services business like BigTime.

Online Billing Software for Your Firm

What is it that you should expect from online billing software? If you've been using free billing software in Excel or struggling to deploy and learn the ins and outs of a free invoice software download, then you should stop wasting your time and putting your critical business financial data at risk. Free open-source invoice generators and even those Excel spreadsheets made by another employee can be difficult to navigate, crash frequently, and not deliver the invoice and reporting automation features you need for a professional service firm.

Invoice software for small businesses should be easy to download, easy to navigate, and easy to understand. The reason why so many people have a full Microsoft Suite app for business that goes unused is because the software is generic and meant to be used by any type of company. Also, these expensive software platforms are built for large corporations and mass deployment. They come burdened with a lot of excess functionality that takes a lot of time to decipher and customize.

But, these companies have expert, in-house IT staff whose main job is to take these large software applications, then customize and streamline them before the employees receive a set of business forms, such as employee time tracking, customer billing, HR payroll, etc.

A small professional business like engineers, architects, consultants, accountants, lawyers, and small-business owners don't have an IT expert to take the helm and sort out what's needed in specific software and what's not. This is the beauty of the BigTime invoice generator. The software was developed for these types of professionals who need to focus on their core business, and not spend more time than necessary using software to automate the company's administrative tasks.

Online Billing Software Free

First, let's look closer at why you should not waste your time on free billing software in Excel or other online billing software free like Zoho invoice free. Let's face it, your invoicing data is your company's bread and butter. Incorrect billing, not billing for all hours worked and expenses owed, and/or paying staff for estimated hours instead of true hours can and will eat at the profits of any business.

And, improper invoicing, which is easy to do with even the best free invoicing software, can cause your customers to quickly become suspicious of your billing practices. Here are some main invoicing challenges and reasons why a professional service will have sloppy or inadequate billing, according to Oracle, a data management and software developer:

  • Missing invoices that were never delivered to the client (or the client was never alerted)
  • Confusing invoices that don't clearly state what job was done or at what price
  • Invoices with missing data or incorrect customer information
  • Errors on the invoice, such as a decimal point in the wrong place
  • Invoice with inaccurate math or convoluted calculations

All these issues have been found with online billing software free. It's like the old saying - you get what you pay for. Free software is often the beginning of software that will later be distributed for 'software as a service' or SaaS charge. But, while it's free, the product is actually being used as a Beta test to see just what problems arise, so the developers can solve them.

BigTime doesn't believe you should leave your critical business financial data in the hands of invoicing software for a small business free software developers that is here today, and very possibly, gone tomorrow. While BigTime is not free, it does offer a free trial and BigTime is built to scale with your firm as it grows.

Online Billing Software For Small Business

BigTime online billing software for small business was developed for the way professional service firms like accountants, architects, engineers, IT services, marketing/creatives, and law firms actually work. The best invoice app is not the one with the most menus or even the most features. It's the one that you and your staff will actually use!

For example, the best invoicing software for contractors is one that is flexible so that instead of total job service bills, you are able to set up a project with actionable tasks and associated costs. Some helpful details for a contractor would be having deadlines in sight and an itemized list of the services provided within that project milestone. Also, as partial payments come in from stakeholders, BigTime lets you see the total balance owing.

Simple billing software for small business should remove the hassle of manual input of data, over and over again. And, since most professionals spend time in the field or in their client's office, BigTime allows you to create invoices from any location. One of the most common ways consultants lose money is by not charging clients for expenses such as travel, dining, hotels, and equipment rentals. With BigTime, you can track your expenses while on the go, so that you receive timely payments for overhead costs.

Finally, the best invoice app will organize your billing data and automate your entire billing process. This means the automatic sending of late payment notices, payment received notices, and payment due notices.

The last thing any business needs is more paperwork. The best invoice software for small business makes your client billing processes virtually paperless. And all that electronic data can be used to generate useful reports that can forecast future earnings or allow you to see where cash flow coming in may not meet the cash needed for operations.

Invoicing Software

As a small business owner, you should know what to expect from basic invoicing software. We're not talking about a stripped-down, vanilla version of invoicing software, but one that is specifically designed for the way professional service providers do business. The basic invoicing software should feature the following:

  • Predefined templates to make it fast and easy to get up and running
  • The ability to quickly create a new invoice, even while in the field
  • Create customer information files to eliminate redundant data input
  • Messaging between client and owner to send and receive information
  • Credit processing and online bill payment processes
  • The ability to set multiple currencies for foreign contracts
  • Generate reports to track both project and financial status

These features are in addition to the ability to extract tax reporting information and work summaries as a reminder of what the payments were specifically for. And, since much of the work done by professionals depends on winning bid contracts, good invoicing software for contractors will also have ways to hold all your contract bids and proposals, before any work is won or delivered. All this information can be used for future projects. After all, data is key to making smart business decisions.

Free Invoice Software For PC

Even free invoice software for PC will contain some of these features. But, what they don't feature is the level of customer support that BigTime offers. Many companies develop free billing software in Excel, then release it to the public as a unique product. The best invoice software free would not spend thousands of man-hours developing a billing platform only to release it for free.

There is typically some catch, like using the free version as a beta tester. This puts your sensitive customer and financial data at risk of being lost forever. If you want to experience successful financial operations sooner than later, then invest in a program that invoice simple and easy to use instead of using online invoices free.

The best invoice software for Windows 10 allows you to integrate your invoicing with other business apps like QuickBooks, Sage Intacct, Freshbooks, and Zoho. Financial and customer data integration is key to automating business processes. This allows you to maximize the return on your investment and can also prevent cost overruns and project delays.

Online Invoices

Professionals and consultants need the flexibility of working wherever they are and whenever they need to serve their clients. An online invoice generator fits the way consultants do business by allowing simple invoice generation while in the field. The fastest way to accomplish this is to start with an online invoices template that is generic enough to be used on the fly.

Other benefits of online invoices include:

  • Invoice data is saved in the cloud and secure from accidental deletion
  • Less paperwork by keeping invoice data stored in online folders instead of file cabinets
  • An online invoices template saves money on paper, printer ink, postal costs, and admin
  • Get instant access to reports that can be used while in meetings with clients
  • Cloud-based online invoices mean you don't have to wait until you get back to the office.

All these features are available with BigTime invoice generator, employee time tracking, and bundled project management applications. BigTime was built for the way professionals work and the way they bill clients. This may be by the hour, by the task, by project milestones, or by predetermined and reoccurring payments.

Small- to medium-sized businesses need to become more competitive, more streamlined, and more efficient by abandoning traditional billing procedures and using invoice automation.