Making a sale is generally considered the difficult part. However, there is another, often-neglected operational area that is equally difficult.
I am, of course, referring to Billing and Invoicing.
Generally, the relation between sales and billing and invoicing: The greater the number of your sales, the larger the number of your invoices. That equation may sound simple but it is not. This is due to several factors such as complexity of billing process, accounting guidelines (that may differ between clients), integration with customer relationship management software, accessibility and ease-of-use.
The greater the complexity of account processing, the more inefficient the billing and invoicing process. So, what constitutes a good invoicing and billing solution?
That question is difficult to answer; however, a broad combination of characteristics provides pointers. For example, the ability to draw data from multiple applications seamlessly is an excellent feature. Similarly, usability is also an important characteristic to look out for. Thus, the ability to create invoices easily with auto-fill elements and share them through multiple channels is also an added asset.
Then, there is the integration with multiple payment systems that ensures easy and convenient processing. Finally, there is the often-overlooked customer relationship management aspect. The simpler and easier it is to store and retrieve customer information, the better you can serve your customers and clients and the faster you can receive payments.
We have shortlisted five apps to bill your customers from within our app ecosystem that you might like to investigate.
Blinksale is an invoicing solution for freelancers. It helps them track and extract time to invoice customers. With its minimalist interface and features, the solution is easy-to-use. It offers “time sheet approval” and allows an administrator to approve staff time sheets. In addition, you can also work with other Blinksale subscriber and automatically add it to your Purchases page.
Zoho Invoice is a short and simple invoicing solution that helps you invoice clients, receive payments, and check the overall health of your enterprise. It integrates with your address book to integrate business contacts. In addition, it supports online payments from multiple clients through popular gateways. The great thing about the solution is that it includes multi-currency and multi-language capabilities. This helps you create and deliver invoices/estimates to clients in their currency and local language.
Xero is an award-winning accounting application that is usable and affordable at the same time. It provides you with a real-time snapshot of your business activities as well as enables you to create dynamic reports pertaining to various aspects of your business. This includes integrated invoicing for precision management as well as enabling you to import your bank transactions. The best part about the solution is that it enables collaboration in the billing and invoicing process with an unlimited number of user logins.
Freshbooks is an online billing and bookkeeping solution with a sizeable number of users (based on their claims, more than 3.5 million users are already using the solution). Freshbooks enables you to send, track, and collect payments quickly and is designed for teams, freelancers, and subscription services. It has several nifty features such as the ability to create recurring subscriptions or invoices, thus eliminating manual effort. It also integrates with email providers to enable you to send invoices by email. Finally, it also integrates with major credit card processing engines and payment engines such as Google checkout or Paypal.
As the name denotes, FreeAgent is especially designed for freelancers. It helps them manage invoices and expenses in a simple and easy-to-use format. Beneath its fairly simple interface lies rich functionality which includes the ability to chase payments, import bank statements and explain transactions. You can also use the solution to submit bids or estimates for projects. Finally, the solution updates in real-time, providing you with an exact and updated estimate of your finances at any given time.
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