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12 Best Invoicing Software for Freelancers, Contractors, Consultants

What is the best invoicing software for freelancers?
The best invoicing software for freelancers is Melio. It lets you pay via bank transfer or debit at no cost, even as it allows for a range of payments including ACH and credit cards. There is no monthly fee, making it ideal for businesses running on a tight budget.

As a freelancer, contractor or consultant, you need efficient billing and invoicing software that attends to your due payments even as you find yourself always on the go. Not only do you need to look professional, but your billable hours need to be as detailed and precise to establish continuous trust and confidence with your work. You certainly don’t want the risk of bad practice with non-compliant entries, so you have to balance this must-have feature with flexible payment processing right inside your choice invoicing application. These applications are considerably budget-friendly, so you have to turn your attention to the most essential invoicing software features that you need from this software when looking up the market for one.

In this article, we shortlisted the best invoicing software candidates so you don’t have to expend more time and resources than necessary to accomplish this important task. Sorting through tens of invoicing software vendors can be especially tricky, as this functionality is well hidden among a number of other features of accounting software. As pricing for this software category is mostly competitive, what’s left for you to do is note the factors to consider when choosing invoicing software, including compliance, workflow and reminder automation, payment processing and the ability to include billable hours easily come to mind. You will find that the list contains applications with a good mix of essential and advanced features, so you might also consider capabilities that you will need down the road.

invoicing software

Invoicing is getting the email GDPR treatment.

That means that freelancers, contractors, consultants as well as businesses that operate in Europe are mandated to meet electronic invoicing compliance. Spurred by the need to address the growing complexity of working with paper invoices, the new standard is also seen as a solution to reduce the legal difficulties around those traditional forms.

While this new directive means more work for the professions that interact with invoicing on a daily basis, this is really nothing but part of a growing trend of global adoption of e-invoicing. Governments may be late in the game, but it confirms what many private businesses already know: that the benefits of software-driven invoicing are simply plain hard to ignore, from more streamlined and faster business processes, enormous cost savings, compliance, and better transparency.

In more specific terms, Germany alone stands to reduce invoicing cost by up to one euro per transaction from the transition. Considering the massive number of invoicing involved, it’s easy how much total savings electronic invoicing will give the country.

And what’s seen in Europe could very well be just the tip of the global iceberg. The rising tide of invoicing regulations will affect any profession, trade or business, and places compliance at the top of the features that users must demand from invoicing software.

12 Best Invoicing Software for Freelancers, Contractors, Consultants

1. Melio

Melio dashboard

You can use Melio to pay bills by bank transfer or debit card for free, even if the vendor only accepts checks. Melio deposits or mails checks to vendors on your behalf. Using your credit card to pay allows you to earn rewards and enjoy 45 days of grace until your next credit card billing cycle.

You simply upload files or take a photo of your invoice to add vendor and bill details to Melio, or you can also manually enter data or connect to QuickBooks Online to automate the process. Meanwhile, Melio accepts a variety of payments, including ACH, debit, and credit cards. Bank transfers are free, while credit card payments cost 2.9%. For vendors or stores that do not accept cards, you can pay by credit card. Vendors are paid by check or bank transfer, and Melio handles the check delivery, and they do not need a Melio account to be paid.

Melio

Melio

Try out Melio with their free trial

Just the same, you can receive digital payments through bank transfer or credit card at no cost, and payments are deposited into your bank account within two business days. You just need to sign up for a payment link and your customers can send payments without needing your bank details. They also do not need a Melio account to send money. 

Payment scheduling features help you avoid late fees. This is critical when paying utilities, insurance, taxes, or rent/lease. You will also be able to manage your cash flow better, ensuring that your suppliers and vendors are always paid on time.

Melio’s free accounts payable platform is designed for small businesses and freelancers. It is a free app: no monthly subscription fees and no delivery fees when sending checks to vendors. It works on any internet-enabled device like a laptop or smartphone, so you can pay bills and receive payments without spending a fortune on expensive accounts payable software.

Detailed Melio Review

2. QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online dashboard

From another trusted name in the finance and accounting space, Intuit’s QuickBooks Online makes it easy to create and send invoices, as well as to process payments from right inside the cloud-based application. Real-time tracking and automated notifications and reminders keep you on top of due and overdue payments without losing sleep over them.

Payment in QuickBooks Online is via PayPal, Apple Pay, a free bank transfer, credit card and many more. Once the payment transaction is concluded, the application will save the details in your books and transfer the money to your bank account without the need for you to do anything else. Payments are faithfully matched in your books automatically.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online

Try out QuickBooks Online with their free trial

QuickBooks Online lets you include billable hours in your invoice, great if your arrangement with your client requires those. If you communicate with your clients via text or messaging app, the application lets you create an encrypted link that you can send to your clients via those methods.

For the subscription plans, the $6 per month Simple Start plan is already equipped with all the essential invoicing tools that you need like invoices, estimates, and payment processing. The $12 Essentials plan adds bill management and time tracking to your tools.

Detailed QuickBooks Online Review

3. NetSuite ERP

NetSuite ERP dashboard

NetSuite ERP  helps you automate inventory, billing, order, fixed asset, revenue, and financial management and it seamlessly integrates with NetSuite ecommerce, CRM, inventory, and order management tools. This software allows you to create timely financial reports and comply with accounting regulations and generate precise financial statements for service and product sales transactions across multiple milestones and time periods.

The general ledger feature helps you to make better decisions by seeing how each day’s numbers stack up. You have access to all transactions at any time, with detailed information, ensuring an accurate general ledger and financial data, thus streamlining back-office processes.

NetSuite ERP

NetSuite ERP

Try out NetSuite ERP with their free trial

NetSuite also lets you match receipts, vendor invoices, and purchase orders, and pay your taxes and vendors electronically through the system. It, therefore, eliminates manual check printing and signing and streamlines business workflows.

To stay competitive, you need to plan for success while controlling costs. With NetSuite ERP, you can track costs and create new or multiple budgets to fit various scenarios. Entering budgets for all accounts on one screen saves time and effort, making budgeting a breeze. 

Detailed NetSuite ERP Review

4. FreshBooks

freshbooks dashboard

Next on our list is FreshBooks, which has been leading the finance and accounting software market for years now with its hard-to-beat mix of superb features and affordable pricing. Expert and non-expert users love how the application helps them turn complex financial management operations into satisfying tasks with all the accuracy and speed that it is known for.

If you are barely familiar with any accounting or billing software, FreshBooks will let you create professional-looking invoices in no time at all, complete with the name and logo of your brand. Your invoice comes with a credit card payment facility, which allows you to collect payments faster while sparing your clients the time and trouble of attending to all that’s needed to do to pay you. To close the transaction in a cheerful mode, you simply let the application send automatic thank you notes at the end of each payment collection.

If these features seem interesting to you, the vendor has an appealing free trial where you can actually tinker with the features at no cost. You can sign up for FreshBooks’ free trial.

FreshBooks

FreshBooks

Try out FreshBooks with their free trial

As a freelancer, contractor or consultant, you spend most of your time shifting from one client to another. Here you will find that you can run FreshBooks just about anywhere and any time using your iOS or Android mobile device. This means you don’t have to deal with clients who are continually frustrated at being unable to reach you any moment.

With a number of clients in mind, you will appreciate how FreshBooks puts your work on autopilot with reminders and automation rules that you can easily set up from the start. If you have a challenging client, for example, you let FreshBooks focus on following up with them while you go about doing what you do best.

You can have all these sterling capabilities at the budget-friendly $15/month price. If you have more than five clients, you may consider negotiating with the vendor or simply look up its other pricing plans.

Detailed FreshBooks Review

5. Salesforce CPQ

Salesforce CPQ dashboard

Salesforce CPQ automates quoting, ordering, and contracting processes, and is easier and faster to set up than traditional CPQ software. A user can generate precise sales quotes and orders on the fly from any device. It helps users close deals faster and increase sales productivity without leaving Salesforce.

Its out-of-the-box capabilities enable sales staff to deliver branded quotes faster, with pricing and discount schedules and guided sales prebuilt to help businesses scale easily as their sales processes evolve. With the instant creation of accurate quotes, sales reps can find the best product or service for each customer and increase their productivity as they find up-sell and cross-sell opportunities.

Salesforce CPQ

Salesforce CPQ

Try out Salesforce CPQ with their free trial

This module handles pre-negotiated contract pricing, volume discounts, percentage of total subscriptions, and channel and partner pricing. It allows you to set clear rules on pricing and discounts. The consistency allows the solution to quote the right mix of components. This makes providing customer-friendly quotes a breeze.

Salesforce CPQ speeds up the contracting and proposal processes with the proposal generator, letting you create branded proposals. It allows you to create documents using fully customizable templates. The manage contract feature makes professional sales contracts simple. It helps you sign contracts faster and close more deals.

Detailed Salesforce CPQ Review

6. Sage Business Cloud Accounting

Sage Business Cloud Accounting dashboard

Sage Business Cloud Accounting is a user-friendly cloud-based accounting solution that lets Sage 50cloud integrate into the cloud, thus providing cloud storage and access to all accounting data. It has a dashboard with extensive data visualizations for your transactions, giving you a comprehensive overview of your business. 

This app is mobile-friendly, so you can use your Android or iPhone to access customer data and make notes at any time. Find and contact customers right from your device and create and send quotes instantly. Meanwhile, you can use the map links to get directions to your customers’ offices.

Sage Business Cloud Accounting

Sage Business Cloud Accounting

Try out Sage Business Cloud Accounting with their free trial

Sage Business Cloud Accounting also helps you consolidate all accounting data into one dashboard, keeping you informed on cash flow and receivables. It can compute your taxes based on available transaction data and forecast cash using transaction history to estimate cash requirements.

You can brand your documents, add your logo to invoices, and choose from two product and service invoice templates. You can also change the delivery address, add notes, and terms. Reconciling your accounts is a breeze as you can also link your bank and credit cards, and with Sage Payment Processing, you can offer your customers the option of paying online.

Detailed Sage Business Cloud Accounting Review

7. vcita

vcita dashboard

vcita is a cloud solution that includes tools for managing daily business operations such as calendaring, online scheduling, client management, billing, invoicing, lead generation, and email and SMS marketing. It combines CRM, marketing, booking, appointment and scheduling, client communication, online payment, and more.

You can do easy online payments for services, which is a quick and reliable method for you also to receive payment. You can create and send customized invoices to your clients and collect payments before or after the service. On your website, clients can fill in their personal information and payment information on your payment form and button. They can pay with a credit card or PayPal account and send a pre-determined amount.

vcita

vcita

Try out vcita with their free trial

You can manage your appointments, classes, sessions, and events online by selecting your time zone, business hours, and availability on vcita. Your website can have a branded calendar and a self-service portal that allow clients to book services, make appointments, register for events, and pay online via third-party payment gateways. Besides, vcita also lets you run targeted marketing campaigns, as clients and prospects can access their contact history and collaborate with your team. You can create landing pages with a page builder, add dynamic widgets to your website, and send effective email campaigns to boost your marketing. 

All software capabilities and features are designed to help you grow your business through increased productivity, efficiency, and revenue. vcita helps you to complete operational and administrative tasks more quickly and efficiently. Starting with a free version, vcita allows you to upgrade and scale your operations with the features you need.

Detailed vcita Review

8. Zola Suite

zola suite dashboard

Zola Suite is a cloud-based integrated practice management platform designed to handle various business aspects of legal practice while providing a 360-degree view. This saves time and money for lawyers, law firms, and their staff.

The system easily captures important information like personal details, contacts, and meetings and allows lawyers and their clients to store and access data securely.  Your staff and clients have restricted access to information on a dashboard to ensure everyone is on the same page without compromising security. With the calendar management tool and advanced note features, you can stay organized. 

Zola Suite

Zola Suite

Try out Zola Suite with their free trial

Zola also has a built-in billing and accounting system. While it is a robust standalone solution, it also integrates well with email apps, document management software, and other business systems to improve workflow. Among them are Gmail, IMAP, OneDrive, and Google Drive. It also syncs with Google Calendar and Office 365.

The platform provides mobile applications for lawyers and their staff to practice on the go. The app is designed to fully utilize unique yet increasingly popular and functional mobile device features, including fingerprint scanning and recognition for added security and business card scanning to quickly capture and store personal information. You can use the app for both Android and iOS and all these for a starting price of $59/month. Regardless of the package, additional services like onboarding, training, and automation can be purchased separately.

Detailed Zola Suite Review

9. Zoho Books

Zoho Books dashboard

Available on iOS, Android, and Windows, online accounting and invoicing software Zoho Books lets you send clear, accurate, and customized statements to your clients and get paid quickly from its selection of multiple currencies. To create or change your invoice, you simply add your company logo to the default template. If the fonts do not fancy the font, clicking a single button will fetch you the one you like instead.

To process payments, Zoho Books lets you get paid via cheques, credit cards, or through online payment gateways like Stripe, Authorize.Net, Worldpay, Braintree and PayPal among others. To ensure your clients pay you on time or settle overdue invoices, you can set up Zoho Books to send regular reminders at predetermined times. Support for multiple currencies means that you can offer your services to any part of the world, freeing you from a possible limited locality that you currently find yourself in.

Zoho Books

Zoho Books

Try out Zoho Books with their free trial

If you want to investigate these features closely, you can easily do so when you sign up for Zoho Books free trial.

If you have clients that pay you regularly, you can simply make their invoices recurrent from the pop-up menu. If your work involves refunds and returns, Zoho Books lets you manage these tasks efficiently.

With its $9 per month Basic Plan, Zoho Books offers a sweet deal for freelancers, contractors and consultants out there.

Detailed Zoho Books Review

10. Zoho Invoice

Zoho Invoice dashboard

If a more dedicated invoicing platform from the same Zoho vendor works better for you, then Zoho Invoice covers the part splendidly, with the added benefits of more payment gateway options and support for the preferred language of your own clients. Aside from these, you also gain from this application’s capability to automate an expanded number of workflows, giving you more control on your collectibles and more time to focus on your productive work.

If you are worried of elevated pricing, you will be happy to know that not only do you have to pay the same rate as you would with Zoho Books, but you also get a free plan that lets you invoice up to 5 customers along with an allowance for 5 automated workflows.

Zoho Invoice

Zoho Invoice

Try out Zoho Invoice with their free trial

You can see for yourself how this application could affect your workflow once you sign up for Zoho Invoice free trial.

If you are used to providing estimates for your clients, then Zoho Invoice lets you accomplish this task with its Estimates tool. You can give your customers a draft of your prices, what discounts you could give them under certain arrangements, and the essential terms and conditions that apply to your working partnership. For recurring clients, you get an estimates history to help you negotiate with them better each time.

Detailed Zoho Invoice Review

11. HoneyBook

HoneyBook dashboard

Another invoicing software designed with freelancers, consultants, and contractors in mind is HoneyBook. Right within its core, HoneyBook has the blend of tools you need to effectively bill and invoice clients. Firstly, you don’t start creating each invoice from scratch. For expediency and convenience, HoneyBook allows you to use a recently sent invoice or pick a suitable template, and customize it to your liking. 

Secondly, adding billable items and services to the invoice is also a breeze. The best of it all is that with HoneyBook, you can easily bill all elements of the client’s project, including those that aren’t primarily detailed in an invoice. Whether it’s time spent brainstorming or designing a client project, the time tracker ensures no single minute of billable time goes unpaid. 

HoneyBook

HoneyBook

Try out HoneyBook with their free trial

By tracking and automatically collating all time entries, HoneyBook makes it easy to create invoices containing billable time. Essentially, all you need to do to create an invoice is to tick all relevant time entries and the invoice will be ready in seconds. You can even automatically compute tax and discounts, and set up recurring or schedule payments. Ultimately, this simplifies the invoicing and billing side of client contracts, which is a huge headache gone for freelancers and contractors.

Once you send the invoice, clients can access it by email and act upon it from any device—smartphone or desktop computer. Most importantly, all invoices include built-in features such as auto-payments, real-time notifications, and automatic reminders. These handy features prompt clients to make payments regularly and on time.

Detailed HoneyBook Review

12. AvidXchange

AvidXchange dashboard

If you are a small or medium-sized company, AvidXchange can be your answer to invoice management and accounts payable automation. The platform is loaded with automation features and tools to set you free from piles of paperwork, check printing, envelopes, postage, and all that time spent on manual data entry.

For example, the software has OCR technology. This allows you to extract information from scanned documents or images and convert the text to machine-readable form. This can be a handy feature when receiving and processing invoices and can save hours of repetitive data entry for your AP team.

AvidXchange

AvidXchange

Try out AvidXchange with their free trial

Being a web-based AP software, AvidXchange also helps companies stay organized on the go. Whether you have staff working from home or AP team members who are regularly assigned at different locations outside your physical office, they can easily access the invoice information they need through their digital devices as long as they have an internet connection. The software implements security features so your company’s details and invoice records are safe wherever they are accessed.

Another important feature of AvidXchange is its integrations. With more than 180 integrations with leading accounting platforms and ERP systems, you can seamlessly connect the software to your current business applications. This seamless connectivity means less downtime, less friction, and more productivity within your AP team.

Detailed AvidXchange Review

Have you chosen your invoicing software yet?

While Online Invoices easily takes the cake for bringing in an unprecedented number of business solutions around billing, which places it well within the ERP software ranks, it’s less than likely that users in the freelancing, contracting and consultancy professions would have much urgent need for the added capabilities.

Mr. Biller with its lowest price $3 monthly for the premium plan is unique, but it still needs more polish in the payment processing department.

The rest will be great for your varying needs, but whatever you finally decide to purchase, go the extra mile and see how the software could actually work for you by availing yourself of the free trial offer, which most, if not all, of these vendors give to potential customers. In the case of our top candidate, you can sign up for Freshbooks free trial.

Daniel Epstein

By Daniel Epstein

Daniel Epstein is a senior financial research analyst at FinancesOnline and the architect behind our Fintech and ERP content division. His main areas of expertise are blockchain technologies, cryptocurrencies, and the use of biometrics in fintech solutions. His work has been frequently quoted by such publications as Forbes, USA Today, Entrepreneur, and LA Times. With more than 1,800 solutions scrutinized in the last 5 years spent on our team he always prioritized offering readers an unbiased perspective on modern financial technologies.

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