Invoicing software for freelancers and small businesses

When starting your own business, there’s lots to consider, meaning that invoicing software may not be your highest priority. However, it’s something that should definitely be on your radar and can help your business thrive

Under UK law, you must keep a record of all of your business transactions for at least 6 years from the end of the accounting year. This includes all of your invoices, bank statements, expense receipts, accounting reports, and anything else that may relate to your business finances. 

Whether you’re a freelancer, self-employed person or small business owner, this article outlines what to look for in invoicing software, and how it can help you easily keep track of your business transactions. 

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Benefits of using invoicing software for small businesses

Regardless of whether you’re a small business or large corporation, you're required to issue invoices for any sales to other businesses as soon as the goods or services are provided. On top of that, you need to keep a detailed record of all business expenses that you plan to report in your tax return. As you can imagine, this results in a lot of paperwork.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already started searching for the best invoicing software for your small business. There's an abundance of options available, all varying in prices and features.

Invoicing software not only helps keep all of your financial documents in one place, but it can also ensure that you input all of the legally required invoice information and that you never lose any of your data. 

Some software runs in the cloud meaning that you can access it from anywhere, on any device, while others require software to be downloaded to one device.

Choosing the best  invoicing software for your small business

When choosing your business invoicing software, you must find a solution that’s suited to your specific needs. As a small business or freelancer, you likely won’t require complex accounting features or any VAT related functions. The best small business invoicing software for you is likely to be one that’s simple, inexpensive, and comfortable to navigate. 

To inform your decision, make a list of everything that you need in your invoicing software and start your search from there. Most software provides free trial periods so you can test it out. Take the time to test 2 or 3 different programs to get a feel of what works for you. 

These are some questions you should ask yourself when searching for the best invoicing software for your small business: 

Simple invoicing software for small businesses

Simplicity is key when it comes to software for new businesses. Invoicing software shouldn't require a user manual, but rather be intuitive and easy to navigate right off the bat. 

The best invoicing software for small businesses will make it easy for you to send invoices, get paid quickly and retain a clear overview of your business’s finances. If it can do this, it will save you time and stress in the long run. 

It’s worth testing different programmes to see what you like. Try testing how long it takes you to create and send an invoice, record an expense receipt, and add any payments to the account. Also, take a look at invoicing software reviews; most freelancers and small businesses will need access to the same features, so take a look at what others have said about the software and assess whether it meets your needs.

Free invoicing software for small businesses

Cost is one of the biggest factors when choosing invoicing software for your small business. Most software companies have different plans and pricing, related to the number of invoices you can create, and the different features you require. 

Some companies also offer free business invoicing software. However, sometimes the free software is limited in functionality. 

If you’re a freelancer and just need to send the occasional invoice, then free invoicing software may be an ideal solution. You’ll be able to find many suitable invoice templates for freelancers. However, if you’re a more established business that creates multiple invoices per day and requires accounting reports, you’ll normally need to pay for a more complex invoicing software. 

Using Word or Excel as invoicing software

While many small businesses starting out opt to use familiar software, like Word or Excel, there are certain drawbacks to using these programs for invoicing and accounting purposes. 

Word and Excel are programmes that nearly everyone who has a computer knows how to use, and for that reason, it’s widely used to create invoices. However, these are offline programs, meaning that the documents you create do not save in the cloud, but rather need to be downloaded to your device’s hard drive. 

If your computer crashes and you don’t have a backup of your files, then it becomes a serious issue when it’s time to report your finances to the authorities. If you decide to use Word or Excel, you always have the option to back up your data to online software like Google Drive or Dropbox. 

Another downside is that they are not designed specifically for invoicing, so you’ll need to create your own template or use a free Word or Excel invoice template as a starting point. 

As these programmes are not optimised for invoicing specifically, it may also be harder to manage more complex invoicing procedures, such as cancelling an invoice with a credit note or issuing delivery notes.  

Read more about the differences between online invoicing software and Excel invoices here: “Invoicing software vs. Excel”.

SumUp Invoices: online invoicing software

SumUp Invoices is specifically geared towards small businesses and freelancers. It offers a simple and intuitive interface from which you can create and send professional invoices to your customers. 

Your invoices and payments are centralised so you can add a payment link or QR code directly to the invoice and always have a precise overview of your cash flow. If for whatever reason you make a mistake on an invoice or need to issue a refund, this can also be done through SumUp Invoices by issuing a credit note

All of your data is saved in the cloud and can be accessed from any device. We also make sure that the required legal information is added to the invoice so you don’t have to worry. 

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