Billing isn’t the most exciting task a small business has, but it’s important. If you don’t bill promptly and accurately, you don’t get paid promptly and accurately. And there’s more to it than that. Without effective billing processes, planning is difficult because it’s hard to know when you can expect to bill and receive revenues in the upcoming months.

Many smaller companies get by with free invoice software or even offline billing software, at least for a while. However, invoicing software that’s not integrated with your accounting and other systems puts you at risk for redundant data entry and billing inaccuracies. With less robust billing and invoicing software, it’s hard to do your billing exactly the way you want it.

The best answer for billing and invoicing is a full-featured system that integrates billing and invoicing with project management functions such as time capture, time reporting and project planning. With this kind of system, you know that invoicing amounts are accurate because they come from your centralized data source. At any time, you can see how many billable hours have been entered along with how many hours you’ll be billing and when they’ll be invoiced.

The right system offers flexibility. You choose how you’re going to bill, be it a fixed rate, based on time and materials or a combination of the two. You can do work in progress billing on a periodic basis. There’s something that will improve your cash flow!

Moreover, good invoicing software has internal reporting that keeps you informed on amounts billed, amounts about to be billed and what payments have been received. It’s key information required for an effective budgeting system.

And let’s not forget the importance of how the invoice looks to the client. It shows your professionalism when you present a customized invoice with your logo, company colors and an easily comprehensible formatting of what’s been billed and why. Above all, your bills need to be accurate, and good billing software ensures that that’s the case.

Simple Billing Software For Small Business

What is simple invoice software? It doesn’t have to be simple in terms of what it does for you. Rather, software for billing should be simple to install, simple to understand, simple to use. It should provide a lot of functionality without excessive effort on your part.

The typical BigTime client is focused on meeting the customer’s needs and doesn’t have a lot of time to spend managing their billing system. We work with engineers, accountants, architects, legal teams, IT service companies and government contractors, indeed, just about every type of consultant. The best invoice software for small business makes their jobs easier and doesn’t require much of their time to do so.

The right simple billing software offloads administrative tasks. It simplifies data capture tasks such as time entry and time management. It keeps all hours, dollars and billing data in a centralized store so they can be flexibly reported. When it comes time to generate an invoice, it takes just a few clicks to kick off the process.

BigTime billing software doesn’t need to be a standalone or a replacement for what you already have. It integrates with accounting systems such as QuickBooks and Sage Intacct, as well as a host of other project management systems.

The complete billing system is not only an invoicing tool; it’s a project management tool. There’s workflow management for time tracking and approval. There are templates provided for up-to-date reports such as budgeting, project status and utilization rates. You can customize your own reports. Also, it’s easy to modify hourly billing rates and all the other factors that go into budgeting and invoicing. There’s everything you need to track project progress and to make changes when necessary to meet time and budget.

Best Invoice App

The best invoice app for small business does more than just generate invoices. It also captures expense entry and creates expense reports. It provides flexible reporting on clients, projects and staff. It supports all the time reporting needed to generate bills. It has useful project management features.

These are a lot of capabilities for a simple invoice app, and furthermore, BigTime also offers them in the form of a mobile app. You can look up project and billing information, answer questions and even enter data no matter where you happen to be.

The BigTime mobile app does everything you would expect from a best invoice app for Android or a best invoice app iOS. It does most of what the desktop version does plus a few functions that work better from a mobile device. For example, you can capture expenses and optionally add pictures to the receipt. It’s possible to connect project and staff lists to phones and emails. You can also associate them with maps and with all the normal mapping capabilities, such as clicking on a client address to get directions.

With a mobile app, there’s no need to wait until you’re at a desk to fill in time cards or submit expenses. You can upload receipts whenever and wherever you get them. If someone asks a question, it’s easy to pull up client project and billing information and give them an answer. You can work offline and synchronize your work whenever you hook back into the system.

With so much of today’s work being done away from the office, and even away from the office at home, it’s critical that your billing and invoice software has mobile capabilities. With BigTime, this is another example of how simple billing software isn’t simple in terms of what it can do.

Best Free Invoicing Software

If you’re looking for a free invoice generator, there are options available. Some businesses even use either homegrown or third-party software based on Excel. If you want to go a step further, there are solutions such as Zoho Invoice that offer their most basic product as a free invoice app. Free Zoho supports a limited number of clients and the cost goes up as you scale the product. Another low-cost choice is Invoice Ninja.

While it’s certainly possible to run an invoicing system with a minimal system or even free billing software, there are limitations. The price may go up as you add more clients. Some systems don’t come with solid backup capability, and you’ll need to add it. In some cases the products are not intuitive and there’s a learning curve. You may need programming knowledge to build out all the capabilities. Many of the well-known systems fall short when it comes to project management functionality. Not all solutions integrate well with your existing toolset.

BigTime is not a free invoicing and billing solution, but we do offer a free trial. BigTime is easy to bring on board, and we offer full customer support. A lot of business owners start out thinking that they only want a tool to create and present invoices but are pleasantly surprised when they discover what a tool such as BigTime can do. It makes a lot of sense to adopt a system that is an overall project management and time management solution as well as a billing system. Such software easily performs billing and invoicing based on the same data that you use to run all the other aspects of a project.

How To Make Billing Software In Excel

If you’re looking for free invoice software for PC, some business owners will opt for the Zoho Invoice free version or another low-cost package. Another choice is to construct your own invoicing app with Excel.

It’s not that hard to pull together a reasonable stand-alone invoicing system. You’re essentially using a Microsoft product to build Microsoft invoicing software. It’s as simple as picking an invoice template from the many you can choose by keying “invoice template” into the Excel search window. Once you see the list, you can select and import one that’s appropriate for your line of business. You then proceed to customize it by adding your logo, your company information, client name and address, billing and due dates, invoice number, services provided, hours delivered and amount due. You’re ready to email it to the client or print it out and seal it in an envelope.

You can save the invoice and just change a few key fields the next time you want to use it. With some programming effort, you can produce a fully automatic invoice in Excel download.

However, there are shortcomings to this method. You’re going to be spending more time than necessary generating invoices. If your business scales up or your processes change, you’ll have some development work to do. And there will be major and ongoing effort if you want to integrate Excel with your existing accounting and project management systems.

Even the best free invoice app isn’t going to compare with the richness of a full-function system such as BigTime. And, remember, the only thing free about free software is the acquisition cost. You’ll pay in time and effort with the extra work it takes to install, use and maintain it.

BigTime provides a solution that’s a better long-term value. It’s the simple billing system that’s rich in what it does for you. When invoices are generated from a complete project and time management system, they’re accurate and professional-looking, and the software provides a wealth of functionality to help you manage projects and increase profitability.