Being your own boss is likely the main reason you left your day job to embark on your freelancing career. On the flipside, you probably wish you didn’t have to create invoices and send payment reminders in order to get paid for your projects and jobs.
Luckily for you, numerous tools are available to create invoices and receive payments, as well as manage your day-to-day accounting tasks. To help ease your billing angst and get you paid faster, we waded through a crowded field of bookkeeping apps for entrepreneurs and freelancers and came up with a list of four top budget-friendly tools for creating invoices.
Take a look:
When it comes to simple and free invoicing, it’s time to do the Wave. You can create a Wave account in under a minute and you’ll be on your way to creating and sending beautifully crafted and customized invoices using a bevy of available templates. Among the many other features available on Wave, you can send follow-up statements for overdue accounts, issue payment reminders, send receipts to your clients, and accept credit card payments (for this service you’ll pay a typical credit card transaction fee of 2.9% plus 30 cents).
Formerly called Curdbee, Hiveage boasts the same types of features as Wave, except that it’s not free. The basic package starts at $15 a month, although you can try it out on the house for the first 14 days. Hiveage is a bit more immersive in its offerings than Wave, and perhaps it’s a better choice if you have more than one freelance operation or employees who also use the system. That’s because Hiveage touts the ability to share statements among employees and manage the finances of more than one company from a single account. For a solo freelancer, you may also want to take advantage of Hiveage’s time tracker feature, which lets you track your work in real time, set billable rates and generate invoices using your hourly rate information. As far as accepting payments goes, Hiveage ups the ante by allowing clients to pay with multiple options including major credit cards, PayPal, WePay and Bitcoin.
The FreshBooks cloud accounting system is a great option for self-employed freelancers who want an all-in-one option for managing bookkeeping tasks, including invoicing, sending late payment reminder, managing expenses, and viewing financial reports. And it’s not just an invoicing app; you can use its time tracking and project management features to keep the moving parts of various projects in line. According to the company, the average FreshBooks customer saves over 16 hours a month by using its platform to eliminate the hassle of creating invoices and collecting payments. To get going on FreshBooks, pricing starts at $15 a month for up to 5 active clients; $25 a month lets you bill up to 50 active clients, and $50 a month bumps you up to 500 active clients. If your clients pay invoices by credit card, you’ll also have to pay a credit card transaction fee starting at 2.9% plus 30 cents. If you want to give FreshBooks a test drive, you can use it for free for your first 30 days.
Like FreshBooks and other accounting tools on the market, Intuit’s Quickbooks offers an immersive platform for small business and independent contractors. Along with creating invoices and collecting payments, you can use Quickbooks to manage your cash flow and run financial reports. With many different price points and packages available, the "self-employed" plan is a great option for freelancers. At only $5 a month for new customers for the first six months (regularly $10/month), you can create and send invoices on the go through your mobile device, and if you enable online payments, you can get paid by credit card or bank transfer. (To accept payments, you’ll have to pay a small fee which varies based on the exact transaction).
Among other features, the self-employed package allows you to track and itemize both your personal and business expenses, as well as keep tabs on your automobile mileage. On a personal note, I have been using Quickbooks online for seven years. As I don’t use or need all of the features, I could easily migrate to a less expensive system. At the same time, however, I appreciate the engaging bookkeeping options available, and I use the platform to run expense reports, integrate with my online banking and keep tabs on my payments in real time. If you think Quickbooks might be a good choice for you, you can try it out for free for the first 30 days.