This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
The best invoicing or billing software allows you to create customized invoices quickly and get paid faster by allowing customers to pay online. Specialized invoicing software can customize your customers’ bills more than general bookkeeping software. But before investing in specialized invoicing software, consider whether comprehensive small business accounting software, which includes an invoicing function, might be better. Overall, you should determine which invoicing software can best provide you with solutions to your particular problems.
Best Invoicing Software for Small Business
- QuickBooks Online: Best overall invoicing software
- FreshBooks: Best invoicing for small project-based businesses
- Invoicera: Best standalone invoicing software
- Invoice Ninja: Best free full-featured invoicing software
- ZipBooks: Best free easy-to-use software for simple invoices
- Square Invoices: Best free invoicing software with inexpensive credit card processing
- QuickBooks Self-Employed: Best invoicing software for solopreneurs or freelancers
- TimeTracker: Best invoicing software for professional service firms
Best Invoicing Software Compared
Number of Users
Number of Clients
$25 to $180 per month
1 to 25
$15 to $50 month with custom pricing option
1 plus $10 per additional user, monthly
5 to Unlimited
Free to $149 per month
1 to Unlimited
3 to Unlimited
Free to $44 per month
1 to 20
50 to Unlimited
Free to $35 per month
1 to Unlimited
Free to $20 per month
Paid Plan Only
$15 to $35 per month
$6 to $24 per user monthly with base fee of $10
QuickBooks Online: Best Overall Invoicing Software
One reason QuickBooks Online is our pick for best overall small business accounting software is its exceptional invoicing capability. Unlike any other bookkeeping software we’ve reviewed, it’ll calculate the sales tax rate automatically to apply to your invoice based on the customer address. It then tracks your sales tax collected by jurisdiction and helps you file most required returns. You can try QuickBooks Online free for 30 days with no credit card required.
- Faster invoice creation: In QuickBooks Advanced, you can save time through invoice duplication. You can apply duplicate invoices to multiple customers and reduce your data entry time. This feature is helpful if you process more than 50 invoices per day.
- Invoice summaries: Do you want to stay on top of customer payments? With invoice summaries, you can track the payment of clients, status, and the percentage of amount paid over total balance. This feature can help in tracking the performance of your jobs.
- Customizable invoices: QuickBooks Online has different invoice templates that you can choose from, including invoice colors. You can also add your company logo and choose a specific font for your invoices.
- Easier invoice payments tracking: On QuickBooks Online, you can see unpaid and paid invoices side by side easily. This feature is helpful if you want to assess the speed of collections from customers and the status of outstanding invoices, especially those that are overdue or nearing the due date.
Our Expert Opinion
There are many advantages to producing invoicing from within a comprehensive bookkeeping system. For example, QuickBooks Online allows you to designate expenses as billable as you pay them so that you’re reminded to add them to invoices later. This ties expenses billed to expenses actually paid, which helps prevent missed billing opportunities. Similarly, by tracking employee time in QuickBooks Online, the hours information used to produce payroll is the same hours information used to bill clients.
QuickBooks Online can produce advanced invoices for nearly any industry. For instance, construction companies can convert estimates to invoices automatically, including creating in-progress invoices by entering the percentage of the projected completion. Companies that bill multiple customers the same amount can produce invoices in batches, and companies billing customers for subscriptions can create recurring invoices. However, QuickBooks Online’s features might be too much for a company that wants invoicing features alone. Instead, we recommend choosing free invoicing software in this list—like Invoicera, Invoice Ninja, Zipbooks, and Square—as a starter.
FreshBooks: Best Invoicing for Small Project-based Businesses
While FreshBooks now provides an entire bookkeeping system, it started as a way to produce great-looking, professional invoices. FreshBooks continues to stress invoicing while adding features like the ability to track hours and assign them to invoices. There’s no credit card required to start a 30-day free trial.
- Customizable invoices: On FreshBooks, you can change the invoice style, add your company logo, change the theme color, and much more. Once you’re done, you can send the invoice through the customer’s email, print it, or download it as a PDF.
- Sales tax tracking: You can set up sales tax rates on FreshBooks and apply different rates in making your invoices. You can then review your tax obligations and payments in the chart of accounts or by generating a general ledger report.
- Create estimates and convert them into invoices: FreshBooks lets you create an estimate for clients. Your clients can view and comment on your proposal. When clients are satisfied with your proposal, they can accept your offer easily by clicking the “accept” button at the top.
- Time and project tracking: Project-based businesses will like FreshBooks because they can compare actual to estimated project time and expenses.
Our Expert Opinion
Not only does FreshBooks have great-looking invoices, but it also has all the features of a full bookkeeping system. FreshBooks accepts online payments, calculates late fees automatically, creates recurring invoices, and prints a list of outstanding invoices. Beyond those typical invoicing features, FreshBooks will connect with your bank to import transactions, reconcile bank and credit card accounts, and print basic financial statements like a balance sheet and profit and loss (P&L) statement. Unlike QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks requires a live bank feed to classify transactions into the proper cash or checking account.
FreshBooks may have accounting features, but it’s best suited to service or project-based companies. If you’re looking for robust accounting features not found on FreshBooks, like inventory management, QuickBooks Online is the best software to get.
Invoicera: Best Standalone Invoicing Software
Invoicera combines accounts receivable (A/R) management (sending invoices) and accounts payable (A/P) management (receiving invoices) in a single dashboard. While not a complete bookkeeping system, Invoicera makes cash flow management simple by focusing on two of the most important aspects of your business: collecting cash from your customers and paying your vendors. You can try Invoicera for 15 days without providing a credit card.
- Customizable invoices: Invoicera lets you customize your invoices, using templates to modify the look and feel.
- Receivable and payables management: Invoicera manages your invoices for customers and from vendors. Most invoicing software typically focuses on invoices for customers, which is part of receivables management. With Invoicera, you can also manage vendor invoices (or bills) so that you can keep track of your obligations as well.
- Credit note management: Small business owners often find credit memos a hassle. Fortunately, Invoicera’s credit note management feature is helpful for keeping track of credit memos and adjusting affected accounts.
Our Expert Opinion
Invoicera is a powerful standalone invoicing software. Invoicera allows you to set up staff, track time and expenses by project, and then add them to invoices. You can upload your logo and choose the colors to apply to their seven invoice templates, or if you’re proficient with XHTML, you can create a unique template for your business.
Invoicera doesn’t include any accounting functions outside of A/R and A/P management, nor does it integrate with any accounting software. This means, for example, the actual hours used to generate your payroll won’t necessarily agree with the hours you track in Invoicera, which could result in lost billing opportunities. Likewise, expenses recorded in Invoicera won’t necessarily balance to the expenses recorded on your financial statements.
Generally, we recommend that your invoicing be integrated with your accounting system, but if you’re looking for a standalone system, Invoicera is a good choice. Otherwise, you may want to choose QuickBooks Online instead.
Invoice Ninja: Best Free Full-featured Invoicing Software
Invoice Ninja’s free plan is a great place to start for your invoicing needs. As your business grows, you might upgrade to a paid plan, which is still very affordable. The Forever Free plan has most features found in expensive plans, like customizable invoices, recurring invoices, product and item library, and customer portal. You can get started with the free plan with just a few clicks.
- Invoice management for multiple companies: Is your invoice processing centralized for several branches? Invoice Ninja can let you manage invoices for up to 10 business accounts under one account with the Enterprise plan.
- Time and project tracking: Billable hours can be hard to track manually. But with Invoice Ninja, you can track every second and log every task so that you can bill clients accurately. It also has kanban boards to organize projects, tasks, and jobs. What’s even better is that these features are included in the free plan.
- Client portal: Clients also want to keep tabs on their transactions. Instead of manually pulling their records from your system, Invoice Ninja has set up a client portal where it can see a history of its transactions with you, so you won’t have additional work creating a ledger report for clients—and you get this feature under the free plan.
Our Expert Opinion
Invoice Ninja’s Forever Free plan is large enough to handle many small businesses with unlimited invoices and quotes for up to 50 customers. You can generate quotes and proposals and convert them to invoices with a few clicks. Recurring invoices can be emailed automatically at whatever interval you choose. Invoice Ninja utilizes a product and item list, similar to expensive software. Once set up, items from this list can be added to invoices quickly to save time.
A major weakness of the Forever Free plan is the lack of reports, which requires the Pro plan. However, you can view the dashboard in Forever Free, which summarizes the current period activity and outstanding balances. For reporting needs, FreshBooks and QuickBooks take the spotlight. They both have robust reporting features, but it all boils down to your budget and invoicing needs. Freshbooks’ price is better, but for features other than invoice reporting, QuickBooks is a better choice.
ZipBooks: Best Free Software for Creating Simple Invoices
Creating invoices with ZipBooks couldn’t be easier. ZipBooks provides a template that you can customize with your logo before entering your sales information. While not as customizable as some other software, the invoices look nice and provide a good first impression to your customers. The ZipBooks free subscription is all you need to create, send, and track invoices for an unlimited number of customers.
- Customizable invoices: ZipBooks offers invoice templates based on your industry. However, it doesn’t offer different invoice layouts unlike others on this list. Regardless of that, ZipBooks’ templates are professional and clean.
- Convenient auto-billing: Collect payments faster with ZipBooks’ auto-billing feature. Though you might think that this feature is present in almost every software program on this list, wait until you discover ZipBooks’ flexible recurring payments feature. If you have recurring invoices that’ll increase in certain increments after several months, ZipBooks can accommodate this. You can set fixed charges and add price increments after several months without setting up a new recurring invoice.
- Invoice quality score: ZipBooks provides an invoice quality score that you can review prior to sending an invoice. Though the score doesn’t guarantee fast payment, ZipBooks’ score is a safeguard against poor invoice preparation. You’ll get a high score if you include all relevant invoice details like due dates, reminders, and credit card payments in your invoice.
Our Expert Opinion
ZipBooks doesn’t require any sophisticated setup to create and send invoices. You can type your services and products directly into the invoice template, upload a logo, and send your invoice. The downside is that by not setting up predefined products and services in the free plan, you’ll need to type the description every time you create an invoice. If you send many invoices, you’ll want to upgrade to the Smarter plan to save item descriptions.
As an alternative, QuickBooks Online is a more convenient choice. Prior to invoice preparation, you can add items, such as products and services, and access them easily through a drop-down menu in the invoice creation window.
Square Invoices: Best Free Invoicing Software From a Merchant Services Account
Square Invoices is a merchant services provider with no monthly fee, making it a great choice if your business processes less than $10,000 per month in credit card transactions. Included with your free Square account is free invoicing software.
- Milestone-based payments: Do you handle projects divided into phases? Square has a convenient feature for dividing client payments into milestones. In this way, you can comfortably bill clients after each phase of work is accomplished. And there’s no need to estimate the percentage of completion since payments are expected after every phase.
- Multipackage estimates: Some businesses can offer a combination of different products and services. If you belong to that kind of business, Square is very convenient, since you can send multi-package estimates to clients in just one go. There’s no need to send separate estimates for different plans. Send them all at once, and let the client choose which is the best for them.
- Send contracts with estimates: Estimates are just prices and included features. Some clients want to know more about the terms and conditions of each plan. Conveniently, Square lets you send contracts to clients along with estimates so that they review the legal aspects. It makes everything faster and clearer.
Our Expert Opinion
You can keep life simple by using the invoicing feature of your credit card processor, and Square offers one of the best invoicing features along with affordable rates for low-volume businesses. While not as feature-packed as accounting or standalone invoicing options, Square Payments does let you create, send, and track invoices online or through its mobile apps. You can also create automatic payment reminders and recurring billing. If you’re not sure about Square’s features, the safest alternative for standalone invoicing software is Invoicera. With Invoicera, you can do more than just create invoices. You can manage A/R and A/P, track time, and integrate with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.
QuickBooks Self-Employed: Best Invoicing Software for Solopreneurs or Freelancers
QuickBooks Self-Employed is simple accounting software for self-employed individuals. It makes it easy to track income and expenses, helps you calculate your quarterly estimated tax payments, and will even transfer your income and expense information to TurboTax to prepare your return. You can start a 30-day free trial without providing credit card information.
- Direct tax payments via QuickBooks: Late tax payments mean penalties and fees. With QuickBooks Self-Employed, you can directly pay your taxes with QuickBooks, and QuickBooks Self-Employed also has automatic reminders for quarterly tax dues.
- Talk to a certified public accountant (CPA): Not all self-employed individuals can handle doing their own taxes. A convenient feature of the Self-Employed Live Tax Bundle is that you can talk to a CPA who can help you in preparing tax returns.
- Basic features for self-employed individuals: QuickBooks Self-Employed isn’t a full accounting software program like other QuickBooks products. However, it has expense, mileage, and tax tracking that is more than enough for the needs of self-employed individuals.
Our Expert Opinion
We don’t recommend QuickBooks Self-Employed based purely on invoicing features because they’re pretty limited. However, the program is very user-friendly and provides an easy way for self-employed individuals to track their expenses and file their tax returns. Self-employed individuals—who generally have very basic invoicing needs—won’t have to learn additional software, as the invoices within QuickBooks Self-Employed will suffice.
If your self-employed business frequently sends invoices, then while QuickBooks Self-Employed might still be a great software to track your income and expenses, we recommend standalone invoicing software for your invoicing needs. Invoice Ninja makes a nice addition to QuickBooks Self-Employed because it’s free and has more customizable invoices and better invoice management features.
TimeTracker: Best Invoicing Software for Professional Service Firms
TimeTracker offers lawyers, accountants, engineers, and other professional service firms an invoicing option integrated with powerful features to track the time of your professionals. It makes sense to combine these functions for professional service firms since billable hours are the primary item on your invoices. TimeTracker offers a 14-day free trial without requiring a credit card.
- Auto reporting: Do you want reports coming to your email automatically? With TimeTracker, you can create auto-generated reports based on the rules you set. This feature is useful for keeping track of your performance without the need to manually look for reports.
- Set up rules for late payments: TimeTracker lets you set up late fees to invoices for customers who don’t pay on or before the due date. We like this feature because late fees are reflected automatically based on the rules you set.
- Integration with popular accounting software: TimeTracker can integrate with QuickBooks, Xero, Sage Intacct, and Sage 50 easily. If you’re a user of these accounting programs, TimeTracker is a great addition to your invoicing system.
Our Expert Opinion
TimeTracker is a unique invoicing option because it’s built around a time-tracking system, which makes it perfect for businesses where time tracking and invoicing go hand-in-hand. What sets TimeTracker apart from other invoicing options is that it tracks billable hours that are written off. A billable realization report shows the billable hours sent to clients versus written off, which is a crucial report to gauge the productivity of your professionals and the profitability of your firm. TimeTracker is expensive since it’s on a per-user basis. If TimeTracker is too expensive, we recommend that you go with QuickBooks Online since it offers unlimited time-tracking-only users for a fixed price. However, QuickBooks doesn’t track hours written off since they have better pricing computation for the number of users.
Features to Look for in an Invoicing Software
Choosing invoicing software requires careful consideration of the features that you need. Knowing the core features of an invoicing program can help you decide which software to choose. Here are a few crucial features to consider when you’re selecting your invoicing software:
- Customizable invoices: You should be able to make your invoices distinct with your company’s colors and logo.
- Email invoices: You should be able to email invoices without having to leave the program.
- Accept online payments: Software should allow your customers to pay electronically as soon as they receive their invoice.
- Add expenses: If your business passes through the cost of expenses to customers, your invoice program should track expenses and allow you to add them to an invoice with just a few clicks.
- Automate recurring invoices: If your business bills customers a set amount monthly, choose a program that can generate these recurring invoices automatically.
- Track unpaid invoices: You need to be able to review a list of unpaid invoices, or A/R, to identify customers that may need to be contacted. Some software has an advanced feature that will send reminder emails automatically to customers with overdue invoices.
If you’re unhappy with the invoicing function in your bookkeeping software or you choose not to use bookkeeping software, there are plenty of good invoicing options available. The effectiveness of whichever software you choose will largely depend on how you use it. Be sure to email invoices whenever possible and always provide a way for your customers to pay electronically.