Over the years there has been a gradual shift in the way invoicing is done by professionals across the globe. The shift towards the use of web based invoicing from the traditional excel based invoicing has captured the attention of many and now the use of online invoicing and billing application has almost become indispensible. Excel invoice templates have served us well for years but could never really evolve into an ideal invoicing system. Customizations done on invoice templates would simply mess up when upgrading OS. It was one of the limitations that was in particular annoying and irked the users. And when this just didn’t work there was a need for a better system.

Evolution of web based invoicing came as a relief for businesses dependent on bulk invoicing and freelancers gladly braced it on various counts. Online billing and invoicing applications offer much more than just being accessible from anywhere. With ease of use, greater flexibility, better interface and professional approach web based invoicing applications outscored the traditional cumbersome invoicing. The convenience offered by this modern approach is far greater and takes the pain out of billing. The transition from traditional to modern billing method was rather slow, but in the last three years professionals and business using it have outnumbered the ones not using it. With online invoicing companies have found a way to reduce time and money spend on invoicing, be more organized and effectual in their approach. It has integrated seamlessly with modern businesses, freelancers and other professionals.

Today there are plethora of online invoicing and billing applications available over the Internet and by the time you finish reading this there would at least one new application you will come across. So it becomes equally important to choose the application that best suits our needs. The requirements may differ on account of business size, nature, etc. Therefore, we decided to first look at those invoicing systems that address the most basic and simple needs of most businesses i.e. invoicing, with most effectiveness. It was only when we were satisfied with their invoicing capabilities we moved to auxiliary features such as time tracking, expense management, additional accounting, etc. We judged the applications on the criteria we would want ourselves for a simple invoicing application; customization, ease-of-use, and tracking. For the final review we shortlisted three online billing and invoicing applications:

Invoicera

Some of the Best Online Invoicing & Billing Applications Reviewed and Compared

Invoicera is certainly one of the more popular choices amongst people when it comes to invoicing. It is one of the best online billing and invoicing application available which offers complete invoicing solution at the most affordable rate. And since the first point of contact is the front-end website, we decided to examine it. The design is refreshing and the color scheme is very pleasing and gentle to the eyes. The content is nicely distributed over various sections and explains what sets them apart.

The sign up process is short, simple and does not even take a minute to sign-up. The application has a nice clean interface, is friendly and intuitive, with a nice tabbed layout. Therefore, it was easy to navigate and move around without getting caught at any point in time. The user interface (UI) is unarguably amongst the best when compared with many other similar applications. The reports section needs to be improved upon as reports pertaining to taxes, VAT, forecasting, etc were missing. Below is the list of some of the other features:

a) Partial Payments

b) Multiple Language Invoicing

c) Multiple Currency Support

d) Multiple Invoice Templates

e) Customized Invoice Template

f) Export Invoices to PDF

g) Invoice Scheduling

h) Recurring Invoicing

i) Time Tracking for Project Management

j) Expense Management

k) Set Tasks To Do

l) Add Custom Field on Invoices

m) Send Invoices to Multiple contacts

n) Option to Charge Late Fees

o) Line Discounts Available

Freshbooks

Some of the Best Online Invoicing & Billing Applications Reviewed and Compared

Freshbooks has been in the market for a while now and is expected to be well versed with the market. The front-end website has been the same for quite some time and, therefore, does not give the same fresh feeling as it used to. The content organization is as it has been is good and nicely distributed. The application interface has often been criticized, but we would really not complain about it, except that the tabbing layout is least impressive. The project time tracking offered by Freshbooks has never been exceptional, but with recent updates it has certainly improved. Reports such as for invoices, estimates, and support tickets have also been mentioned as having issues with poor formatting and not being very presentable. List of available and non-available features is mentioned here:

a) No Partial Payments Available

b) Multiple Language Invoicing

c) Multiple Currency Support

d) Invoice Templates Aren’t Great

e) Export Invoices to PDF

f) No Invoice Scheduling

g) Recurring Invoicing

h) Time Tracking for Project Management ( Can be made more user friendly)

i) Expense Management

j) No Option to Set Tasks To Do

k) No Option to Add Custom Fields

l) Cannot Send Invoices to Multiple Contacts

m) No Line Discounts

n) No Option to Charge Late Fees

Blinksale

Some of the Best Online Invoicing & Billing Applications Reviewed and Compared

Blinksale has been constantly updating both its front-end website as well as the application. The front-end website doesn’t really have an appeal to it and the index page contains too much information. Even though the sign-up is extremely short and simple, the process of entering the activation code does not get the nod. The application is very basic, simple and clean. And when compared with the above two applications it is certainly minimalist in terms of features and interface. It is ideal for beginners or for those who are looking for extremely basic invoicing. Its integration with Basecamp is the standalone key feature and one can only expect a wider feature spectrum in the future. The invoice layout is neat and pretty with the option to send thank you messages. Other features:

a) Uncluttered Invoice Layout

b) Basecamp Integration

c) Create Custom Templates

d) No Time Tracking/Expense Management

e) Offers API

f) Quick and Simple Invoicing

Conclusion

Invoicing and billing form an integral and essential part of business framework and, therefore, the service provider should be chosen carefully. It is easy to get carried away and confused with numerous cloud based invoicing applications available over the Internet and each claiming to be the best. After evaluating various web based applications we zeroed on these three applications and after conducting in-depth analysis found Invoicera to be the most viable option. It offers the widest range of features which are often required by small and medium businesses, freelancers and other professionals. Their support is fantastic and their pricing is ultra competitive. It is unbelievable to come across such a powerful invoicing application at such nominal pricing. But since invoicing needs and requirements differ from business to business, it is highly recommended that they are self tested. Its only when you are convinced that your clients would appreciate the choice of your billing application, you should consider purchasing the plan that best suits your requirements.

Now – your turn! What invoice app do you use and what do you think about these three?