Online Billing Software

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.