Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why I Use Online Invoicing Software

There are some great online invoicing software services available for you to try or subscribe to. As someone who bills his clients based on the different services I provide, web-based business tools are a great way to simply, automate, and organize my clients, products/services, and invoicing.

Why Online Software?

In today’s on-the-go, gadget obsessed business culture, the key word is mobility. Being able to have access to all your business’s vital information and at the same time securely, is the current trend. And it’s not going to end anytime soon as electronic communication devices get smaller and more powerful by the minute and wireless networks get faster by the millisecond. In order to keep up, traditional business software vendors like Intuit and Lotus, are switching to service-based business models where you pay for a subscription to have access to your account on the internet. Up and coming vendors like Billing Orchard make it easier for business owners to deploy and start using the software within minutes, and at an affordable price that is attractive to small and medium sized businesses alike. This business model is called software as a service or Saas.

To learn more about Saas, check out this article.

Web Invoicing

The main feature of online invoicing programs is the ability to create an invoice online, and email to your client with a click of the button. In addition, the ability for your client to view the invoice and pay it online is also a convenient feature. Some free online invoice programs allow you to do this but will limit the amount of clients you can add to your database. If you require more you have to upgrade to a paid account.

Online Invoicing Software Benefits

As I just mentioned, being able to centrally organize your invoices, clients, and products is a major advantage to physical software, but there are other benefits too. Here are some of them:

  1. Centralized data – all your clients, invoices, projects, services database, and whatever else your service of choice offers are available to all users from any internet connection.

  2. Free Upgrades – unlike traditional software programs that you download or install via disk, when a saas provider upgrades their system, the changes are immediate to all users.

  3. No maintenance costs – there is no need to monitor, backup, or synchronize data with all other users, which reduces expensive IT support.

  4. Rapid deployment - Most online invoice programs allow you to sign up and start using the system in a few minutes. Additionally, a lot of the more popular ones allow you to import your existing data, such as client information.

  5. Affordable – From the ones I tried out, the monthly cost of using online invoicing software is low. Some start as low as $14.95. And most of them do not require contracts and are pay-as-you-go.

  6. MobilitySome services allow you to use their online billing system with popular smartphone devices without software downloads making your valuable data accessible from anywhere.

  7. Automation – Most of the quality invoicing programs automated features that save you valuable time such as recurring invoicing, auto reminders, outstanding invoice notifications, etc.

Free Online Invoicing Software

There are a few online invoicing systems that have free accounts available for you to use. One of these services is called Freshbooks. It’s a popular service that simplifies the process of sending your clients an invoice and receiving payments for it. The free trial only allows you to add 3 clients but it is a great way to test out the product. Another free online invoice service is Easy Bill Online. Their free account allows you to add up to 5 clients, but also offers other great software tools for business management all in one package. Both of these services offer scaled and affordable pricing models.