Collecting payments from clients can be surprisingly challenging. Every small business owner has experienced the frustration that comes from providing a valuable product or service and waiting days, weeks, or even months for payment. The best invoicing software does more than reduce the work that goes into creating invoices and collecting payments. It also helps you get paid significantly faster, improving the timing of your small business’s cash flows. Forget waiting for checks to arrive in the mail, taking them to the bank, and waiting again for the deposits to clear. With invoicing software, your clients can pay you almost instantly, and you can get your funds in days instead of weeks or months. Invoicing Software Options Below are some popular and new invoicing tools and software. Lendio’s Mobile App Manage your business finances with confidence using our simple, centralized dashboard. Create quotes and invoices and collect payments from the same application where you manage your business bank account, track your cash flow, and even apply for a business loan. The Lendio mobile app is free to all users. Sage Like many other invoicing software, SAGE offers a combination of invoicing and accounting tools for small businesses. The Pro Accounting software starts at $346 for the first year and includes access for a single user, invoice and bill tracking, expense management, automated bank reconciliation, inventory management, fraud management and reporting. Freshbooks Freshbooks offers invoicing and bookkeeping software. You can try the software free with a 30-day trial. After that plans start at $8.50/month. On the lite plan, businesses can bill up to five clients, automate recurring invoices, send out estimates, send out unlimited invoices and accept credit card and ACH bank transfers. Plus and Premium plans include more robust accounting features. Wave Wave offers free accounting, invoicing and banking software. Instead of charging for the software the company charges a percentage for payment processing. It also offers optional payroll software and advisory services for an additional cost. Benefits Of Invoicing Software Invoicing software can be an invaluable tool for any small business. These are some of the most significant ways you can use them to your benefit. Online Invoicing Options In a world where convenience is increasingly in demand, online payment processing is no longer optional for many small businesses. If it’s at all possible for your business model, your clients will expect to be able to complete your invoices online. If you can’t meet those demands, it’ll soon start to cost you business if it hasn’t already. Fortunately, invoice software is an affordable way to collect funds remotely. For example, the free plan lets you access our invoicing tool at no cost. In addition, the convenience of the system isn’t just beneficial for your customers. It also means you’ll receive payment for your products or services more quickly, reduce the frequency of unpaid invoices, and improve your cash flow. Streamlined invoice creation It’s time to say goodbye to building invoices in a spreadsheet or document and emailing them to clients as a PDF. With invoicing software, you can effortlessly generate personalized and professional invoices in minutes. Once you’ve created one with a structure that you like, you can save it as an invoice template and duplicate it for future transactions. Not only will the software save you a significant amount of time and energy, but your clients will appreciate the increased quality of your documentation. Holding yourself to a higher standard of professionalism will only benefit your client relationships. Automatic collections processes Traditionally, the most frustrating part of invoicing is collecting from slow-to-pay clients after the due date has passed. You’ll inevitably run into those who have many other redeeming qualities but can’t seem to complete invoices on time. That can have a significant negative impact on your business’s cash flow. If you find yourself going for weeks at a time without receiving payment for your products or services, it can cause a lot of financial strain and even push you into debt. Fortunately, software can make the collections process the easiest part of invoicing. With it, you can schedule automatic follow-up emails that will go out to delinquent clients professionally and promptly without having to lift a finger. Integrated Invoices And Bookkeeping If your business sends invoices and purchases regularly, keeping your financial records in order can be surprisingly time-consuming. There’s a reason that full-time bookkeeping and accounting services exist. When you use old-fashioned invoices, you create a lot of work for the individual in charge of revenue and expense tracking. They have to adjust the books for each transaction by hand, and there’s a lot of room for human error. Once again, invoice software can help you automate the process, saving you or your accountant hours of work. Plus, when your invoicing feature integrates directly with your bookkeeping and accounting software, your Lendio account and records are always up to date. How To Choose Invoicing Software Invoicing is critical for most small businesses—it is likely the mechanism for how you get paid for the work you do. However, it can become tedious and frustrating for many of us who work with many different clients. Why do you want invoicing software? For any small business using invoices, the overarching goal of an invoice is to get paid what you’re owed on time. Good invoicing software helps you accomplish this task—and more. You should aim to create standardized, easy-to-understand invoices that can be made in minutes with a few keystrokes. Although it depends on your clients, ideally you don’t have to use different invoice templates for each entity you do business with. Invoicing software helps you homogenize and accelerate your invoicing operation. 1. Easy to Create Invoices Probably the most critical function of any invoice software is the ability to create invoices, which you want to be able to do quickly, easily, and repeatedly. You want your invoice recipients to easily recognize how much they owe you, where they should send payment, and when you expect it—you want to give them no excuses for being late with a check. Most likely, you didn’t go into business to create invoices—solid invoicing software makes this part of the job a snap. 2. Branding Capabilities for Your Invoices Along with making invoice creation breezy, look for invoicing software that easily allows you to add branding. Again, your big, bright logo sitting atop an invoice helps clear up any confusion on the part of the payee. Creating colorful invoices with your excellent branding also ensures you come across as highly professional and organized. Good invoice software can help you create documents in your brand voice for all of your clients. All you should have to do is switch out the type of work being invoiced and who you are sending the invoice to. 3. Ability to Create Recurring Invoices Invoicing software eases the burden of being a small business owner by chasing down payments for you. You should be able to set up recurring invoices to your repeat clients so you don’t have to remind yourself to send something out every week or month. Even better, some options allow clients to set up automatic payments so you get your payments as smoothly as possible. If you work with clients on a long-term, repeated basis, invoicing software means you don’t have to constantly remember to send out invoices to them. 4. Multiple Payment Methods Unfortunately, it can seem that clients will find any reason to delay payment. We’re often told that checks have been “lost in the mail” for weeks on end. Good invoicing software combats this issue by allowing your clients to pay you in multiple ways. Some can even allow you to receive payment by credit card or bank transfer, ensuring those funds enter your account as quickly as possible. Oftentimes, you can receive your money within 72 hours of your client paying the invoice through an automated clearing house (ACH) options. 5. Tie Invoices to Your Expenses So You Can Monitor Revenue Invoices are only one element of your business equation. They represent your cash in-flows, and, in many cases, invoices might be the entirety of your revenue. On the other end of the equation are expenses like rent, wages, equipment, and office supplies. The best invoicing software links the two parts of your finances so you can see how your business is earning and spending money. For the long-term, this feature will give you a granular, data-driven ability to create accurate business planning documents, not to mention it helps take the sting out of tax time. 6. Identify Unpaid Invoices If you have a long roster of clients, keeping up with your invoices is a job in itself. Determining who owes you what and when, along with who is delinquent, can be extremely frustrating and is likely not what you signed up for when you decided to go into business. Invoicing software can quickly identify which invoices are unpaid and how long they’ve been delinquent. It also easily sends invoice reminders on a recurring basis so you can let your payees know you are paying attention. 7. Change Your Pricing and Offer Deals Depending on your business, you might find your pricing changes with the seasons, business traffic, or other factors. However, it would be nice to determine price changes for your business without doing line-by-line math in every one of your invoices. Good invoice software allows you to easily change up your pricing in case you want to offer a discount or need to increase costs due to a surge in demand. Even better, software can allow you to easily set prices by either dollar amounts or percentages. Why A Professional-Looking Invoice Helps Your Business Invoices are more than just a way to document transactions with your clients and collect payments from them. Just like your website, emails, and any other public or client-facing communications, they’re also a representation of your business. As a result, investing in a small business invoicing software that can produce more professional-looking invoices may benefit you in similar ways, such as: Professional reciprocity: Your relationships with your clients are just like those in your personal life. Consciously or not, they’ll take cues from how you treat them and treat you similarly. Setting a high standard for professionalism with your invoices will only encourage them to do the same with you. Respect and credibility: Successfully closing a sale with a client means they think you’re the best option readily available. Anything you can do that builds further respect and credibility with them, including maintaining a professional image, will help you stay ahead of your competitors. General goodwill: Using invoicing software to make professional invoices does more than just present an attractive payment page. It also makes completing your invoices a more convenient experience. Making things easier for your clients whenever possible is a great way for freelancers and business owners to promote recurring transactions. These may all be intangibles, but they manifest themselves in a tangible way. Making your customizable invoices look more professional can directly increase your client’s timeliness in paying you and smooth out your cash flows.