Some people would prefer to swallow staples than perform accounting work, but getting invoices out the door is an integral part of running a business. After researching some of the most popular online invoicing software, I’ve compared and contrasted five of them. If you have yet to find the perfect invoicing solution for your business, one of these options could make your billing work somewhat bearable, if not actually enjoyable.
The Blinksale site is beautifully designed and easy to navigate. As with the other applications in this roundup, you can add your logo to your invoices. If you are familiar with CSS, you can even fully customize your invoices on Blinksale to align with your branding materials.
Blinksale has focused on the invoicing process and hasn’t started to expand to other areas such as estimates until recently. You won’t find time or expense tracking on this site. Their support documentation is difficult to navigate and without a search function. If fully customizing your invoices via CSS and a lovely interface is vital to you, however, Blinksale may be your software of choice.
Freshbooks satisfies every criteria in the chart above and offers more Payment Gateways than the other apps. Though the site design is not as snazzy as Blinksale or Harvest, it is clean and easy to get around.
The support section consists of a searchable FAQ and a community forum. I know from experience that the email support is very speedy and quite friendly. They offer a free plan with a max of three clients, which is a great way to get started. Freshbooks is a great invoicing option for no-fuss business people.
Harvest also aced the score chart above. The interface is immaculately designed, so navigating it is actually dare I say…fun. If you don’t fancy the orange/grey color scheme, don’t fret. You can modify it under Account Preferences. The support page is also well-organized and searchable.
If you only need the payment gateway Paypal or don’t forsee using a gateway, Harvest may be your ultimate invoicing solution.
Zoho’s site design is rather dull and lacks the modern feel of the previous apps. The company’s competitive edge lies in the full suite of productivity, collaboration, and business apps they offer. If you’re interested in online word processing, document management, or CRM, for example, you may want to choose Zoho for those needs, as well as online invoicing. To use time-tracking, you will have to jump over to the Zoho Projects app.
The support documentation is thorough. There is a search function available on the FAQ, but not on the actual documentation pages.
If you don’t mind the interface and could use a complete suite of apps, you may want to try Zoho.
Quickbooks comes from the makers of Quicken and Turbotax. Their interface could take a lesson from the latter product, which I love. Navigating Quickbooks is not always intuitive and may require a learning curve. On the other hand, support documentation is readily available and easy to search.
The Basic plan seems robust upon first glance. Need to email invoices and print checks right from your computer? The Basic plan has you covered. If you need to send estimates and set up automatic billing as well, you’ll need the Plus plan. This plan will fulfill a wider array of small business needs, including creating and sending purchase orders, tracking inventory, and automated online banking.
After All Is Said and Done
Still waffling between more than one app? Each of these companies offer a trial or free account with the most basic features. I encourage you to sign for a couple (or all) of these, create some invoices, and see which software works best in your routine. Migrating from one to another can be a hassle, so it’s worth the extra time investment to do some trial invoicing.
Until next time,
Happy (or more bearable) billing!