If you are a freelancer, an agency or a small business, you have probably raised invoices for your work. And if you have been in the business world for some time, you need invoices to:
Keep track of the cash flow and the outstanding balance, if any.
- Stay as proof of evidence for tax filings.
- Maintain a paper trail for legal protection.
- Predict future sale of services/products.
- And most importantly, invoices help keep your transactions in working order should a crisis occur.
As it is one of the fundamental pillars of your business, erroneous invoices are often considered red flags. There are numerous online tools that help you raise proper invoices with your clients. We have listed three tried-and-tested ones here:
1. Zoho invoices
Designed exclusively for small businesses and freelancers, this free online software helps you create and raise invoices as easy as a, b, c. Other than sending professional invoices, the tool has automated payment reminders and accepts card payments.
Once you enter details about your business and the list items of transaction, the Zoho dashboard keeps track of the receivables, billed and unbilled expenses and sales.
When it’s time to raise an invoice, one can choose from the many templates available, configure a payment gateway, send the invoice via SMS, email and client portal, and collect payments easily.
Zoho is not limited to invoices, you can raise estimates with your clients as well. Another feature of the software is the delivery challan when your goods are in transit. Once the delivery is marked completed, the challan will be converted to an invoice to charge the buyer.
- It’s free.
- Provides a wide range of invoice templates which can be customised based on your business needs.
- Sales and expenses parameters are easily accessible on the dashboard.
- Integrates well with the accounting and admin side of any business.
- Automate recurring invoices with reminders and payment collection.
- Lack of an offline version makes it difficult to work with during internet outages.
2. Refrens invoice generator
Touted as the network for freelancers and agencies, Refrens manages leads, quotes, invoices and payments.
The online tool lets you create your invoice in less than two minutes. Once you sign up, you will be asked to submit details of the transaction, including client and bank details. You can either download or email the invoice.
The premium features, which start at ₹250 per month, include access to different customisable templates, autopiloting invoices by email scheduling, allowing bulk upload and inventory management.
- Lets you create unlimited invoices for free.
- When you send an invoice via email, it lets you know when it was opened.
- Ease of use with quick generation of invoice.
- Affordable pricing.
- There’s only one default template in the freemium model, and that is, it’s non-customisable.
3. Standard Invoice
Invoicing with pen-paper and Microsoft Word or Google Docs are the most conventional ways of accounting for many small businesses.
While old school, the method lets you stay on top of the accounting and admin side of your business.
To get started, you would need to create a standardised template that lists your business, client details, product/service details, and payment terms and details. You will then have to mail the invoice to your client.
For all recurring invoices, all you need to do is update the standard template.
If Google sheets or Excel is your thing, click here to access an invoice template that you can download.
- As far as templates go, sky’s the limit with creative invoices. Your invoice, your choice.
- Works perfectly offline.
- Limited in features.
- Required to edit the template for every single invoice.
- Prone to error.
Although tedious, invoicing is crucial for the longevity of any business. Invoice templates and software aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution for all niche businesses. Before you commit to any software or tool, we suggest you take it on a test drive first.