If you’re like me, and pretty much every other freelancer in the world, you left the regular job sector for many reasons. One of the main reasons you kicked the daily-grind habit, was to become your own boss. While that’s all well and good, being your own boss also comes with different responsibilities that you didn’t have before. When you were working for someone else, you didn’t have to create and send invoices. Now, you need to know the best invoicing systems for freelancers.
In the past, this was a daunting task that required you to manually create an invoice either using paper or programs like Microsoft Excel. Thankfully, technology has made invoicing a painless experience.
There are numerous tools that allow you to create invoices and receive payments in a flash. These tools can also manage your day-to-day accounting tasks. But, with so many options, what are the best invoicing systems for freelancers?
Here are my 17 tried, tested and trusted recommendations for best invoicing systems for freelancers.
Although Due is relatively new to the game – they’ve only be around since 2015 – the company has rapidly become a favorite accounting tool among freelancers – just ask the fine folks over at Entrepreneur Magazine who have featured us several times.
The reason? Due allows you to create customized and professional invoices simply and quickly. In just a matter of minutes you can create, send, and get paid for an invoice. Due allows freelancers to accept multiple types of payments. There are no hidden fees and rates start at a low 2.8% for credit cards transactions.
Due is also more than just an invoicing platform. It’s also a digital wallet and innovative tracking tool so that you can take your freelancing business to the next level.
Prior to using Due, I was an avid Freshbooks user – I even recommended it to my fellow freelancers. This is because Freshbooks is incredibly easy to use. It supports unlimited invoices, expenses, time tracking, and time management if you need it.
Additional features include setting-up recurring invoices and the ability to let customers pay directly from their emailed invoices.
One of the most appealing options, however, is when completing the sign-up sheet. You are asked to select your career occupation, such as “content marketer” and “copywriter.” It makes you feel as if they really get who you are as a freelancer.
The downside is that Freshbooks has many big features not needed by a freelancer. If you only need invoicing you still have to pay at least $15 a month to use the system.
Quaderno was specifically designed and marketed with the freelancer in mind. It’s system is fairly simple and easy to use. There are several color choices and invoice templates so that you can quickly create a customized invoice. You can also easily export reports for your records or to your accountant.
The biggest selling point with Quaderno is that they automate all of your sales receipts, invoices, credit notes, and taxes. Once you’ve connected your payment gateway you can spend less time with accounting and more time working or growing your clientele.
My biggest grip with Quaderno is that it can get pricey. The company offers three monthly options; $29, $79, or $149.
Flint invoicing is another straightforward and easy-to-use billing platform that integrates with other Zoho products. It has Flint payments, project-tracker services, as well as Google Apps and devices like the Apple Watch.
Flint supports multiple languages, currencies, and will even deliver invoices via snail mail if your client is old school.
While Flint offers a free version, which supports invoicing of up to 25 customers, there’s also the professional version at $10 per month, which offers unlimited everything.
As it’s name implies, Simplybill is an easy-to-use web based invoicing platform where you can create, send, and track invoices with just a few clicks. I’ve been able to create and send invoices in well-under half an hour.
You can also use SimplyBill to form your quotes and convert them into invoices, as well as save them as PDFs. You’ll also receive notifications when payments are received or approaching a due date. And, all of your invoicing is always backed-up on the cloud.
One caveat, Simplybill only handles invoicing. So, if you need additional features, such as time tracking then you’ll have to look elsewhere. Plans are affordable at either $5, $15, or $25 per month.
When it comes to simple, and free, invoicing it’s pretty difficult to top Wave. You can set up your Wave account in less than a minute, create customized invoices thanks to the large collection of available templates, and then send follow-up statements if a statement is overdue.
You can also use Wave to accept credit card payments – which is going to be the typical credit card transaction fee of 2.9% plus 30 cents). Wave can scan receipts, handle payroll, and generate expense reports. All information is automatically backed-up in the cloud too.
QuickBooks is a household name. And for good reason. Online starter versions start at just $10 per month. They includes features like being able to track income, expenses, and customer contact information. It also syncs to your bank accounts, creates branded estimates and invoices. With the snap of a finger, it is compatible with leading business solutions like TurboTax.
QuickBooks has multiple package options, including one specifically meant for the self-employed.
Since QuickBooks is mainstream.Essentially every accountant knows how to use this software. In handle your accounting on your own, QuickBooks provides extensive customer support.
Harvest provides an interactive time tracking tool that can be used on desktops, tablets, or your smartphone. You can then convert that into easy-to-read invoice with that information.
The invoices that Harvest produces not only contains the total amount due within the invoice, but also at the top and bottom in large numbers so that the client can’t miss it.
If you have only one user, Harvest offers a free plan. If you have more than one user, or require some robust features, then you’ll need to select the monthly plan at just $12. Being able to upload a logo or import data is considered an extra feature.
The Invoice Machine
The Invoice Machine is another platform designed with freelancers and small business owners in mind. Like Simplybill, the Invoice Machine only allows users to create and send invoices. But, the interface is one of the simplest and most efficient platforms available. You can also export invoices, estimates, templates, and clients to CSV or XML files.
If you only send out 3 invoice per month, the Invoice Machine is free. There’s also a $12/month for two users with unlimited clients (30 invoices). The cost is $48/month for unlimited users, clients, and invoices.
Unlike other invoicing platforms, Pancake is stored on your server. This means that once it’s installed, its client portal actually becomes a part of your website. You can deliver truly personalized invoices that match your brand.
When it comes to customized invoices, Pancake is arguably at the top of the pecking order. It is extremely important if you’re a designer or programmer to be customized. Pancake can also be used to track your billable hours and manage your projects.
Best of all? There are no monthly recurring costs. You just have to pay a one-time fee of $179. The additional fees are associated with payment gateways and server hosting.
FreeAgent is more than just an invoicing platform. It’s an accounting platform that gives you the power to track your expenses, manage all aspects all of your projects, and track your billable hours either on desktop or mobile devices.
When it comes to billing, FreeAgent lets you quickly create invoices. You set-up recurring payments and sending automated reminders to late-paying clients.
After a 30 day free trial, FreeAgent charges a flat $24/month plan.
Cashboard is an invoicing platform specifically for freelancers. It contains features like being able to see which clients owe you money. Wen payments are due, the automated payment reminders go out.
Cashboard also allows you to accept credit card or PayPal payments, log hours with their timesheet feature, and keep your projects organized with task management software.
Cashboard isn’t free, unfortunately. You’ll have to select either the $8.25, $15, or $250 monthly pricing plan.
Paydirt is a time tracking and invoicing tool for freelancers and agencies. With their built-in time tracker you can track the time for a specific task and then use that info to create a customized and professional invoice. You can email invoices in over 50 currencies, 17 different languages, accept payments through gateways like PayPal and Stripe.
Paydirt offers 6 payment plan options ranging from $8 to $149 per month.
What separates Invoice Ninja from other invoicing platforms is that it’s a free, open-source system.This can be used to invoice, accept payments, track expenses, and time tasks. You can tinker around with the code so that you can customize these features to match your specifications.
If you don’t have coding skills, Invoice Ninja is packed with built-in features like being able to create and email invoice with just one-click; customize invoices by uploading your logo, brand’s colors, and messages; convert quotes into invoices; create project tasks; create recurring billing; and accept payments in over 45 different gateways.
While there is a free plan, Invoice Ninja also offers affordable $8 or $12 monthly plans.
While there are better options, PayPal is a solid invoicing platform for new freelancers since it’s easy-to-use. PayPal is popular, trustworthy, and syncs with your bank account. You also get a nifty debit card that you can use for everyday purchases.
Even though I’ve graduated from PayPal, I still use it occasionally when dealing with new or part-time clients because of the convenience.
On the downside, PayPal doesn’t come with additional features like time tracking and, despite being free, these fees can really put a dent in your cash flow.
Invoicely is a popular option for freelancers since it offers a full-suite of invoicing and accounting tools. For starters, you can create professional invoices in any language or currency in seconds.
You can also accept payments through PayPal, Stripe, or WePay and track hours, miles, or expenses – which can then be turned into invoices.
Invoicely offers a free plan, which is pretty limited in my opinion. You’re better off selecting either the $9.99, $19.99, or $29.99 monthly plan.
This tool offers a selection of free invoice templates for specific freelancers, such as consultants, photographers, plumbers, or caterers. Just download the desired template, fill it out, and email to your clients. You can then accept payments through Stripe, PayPal, or Authorize.net.
You can also use this tool to track your time, expenses, and income. There’s also a handy client follow-up and management system so that you can do tasks like notifying them of an upcoming payment.
If the free plan doesn’t work for you, plans range from $9.95 to $39.95.
What invoicing system have you used for your freelance business?