What are the benefits of invoice automation?
What is a digital signature?
5 best invoice software
Depending on the nature of your business, there might be several apps that you consider to be essential components of your tech stack.
If invoice software is not among them, it is time to think again!
What is invoice software?
Invoice software helps you to automate a swathe of your finance processes by generating, sending, tracking, and following up on all the invoices you send and when they are paid.
It can free up a colossal amount of time spent creating invoices, sending them, and tracking received payments.
How does invoice software work?
Different examples of invoice software benefit from specific functions and features, but the general way in which they work is the same:
- Your invoice software generates an invoice for services or products you have provided. You can integrate your invoice software with your CRM platform and other tools to pull all the relevant data, like your customer's details and how much you need to bill them.
- Your software sends the invoice to the relevant recipient. It is common for modern invoice software to send a link where the recipient can make the payment or download the invoice if they require a physical copy.
- Unique identifiers in your invoice, like the invoice number and recipient details, mean you can integrate your invoice software with your accounting platform to track when payments have been received.
- If your invoice is not paid, your software can send reminders at periodic intervals until you receive the payment.
On top of this, the best invoicing software can integrate with any features that allow you to facilitate a "self-service" element to your business. For example, say you are a SaaS provider with a tiered pricing model. If your customers can change tiers from their account dashboard, your invoice software should integrate with this and automatically ensure your customers are billed correctly.
How does Contractbook enhance invoice software?
While invoice software can automate a substantial proportion of your finance processes, sometimes, there are still shortfalls in their capabilities that you must address.
This is where Contractbook can add another layer of automation and help you trigger end-to-end workflows whenever you get a contract signed. We integrate with all the leading accounting software platforms to help make your process even easier.
Why, and how?
Well, sometimes, your contracts will include post-signature actions that do not get communicated correctly. These actions include things like the renegotiation of an agreement or a time-driven price increase. So, your operations team might have no idea that this action needs to happen. But, eventually, they will need to get involved, taking away time and focus from whatever they should be doing. Sometimes, even when they are notified, they end up going to your invoice software and adding or changing data manually anyway.
This does not, and should not, need to be the case.
When you integrate Contractbook with your invoicing software, all this data is added to the system. This then triggers invoices at the relevant periods, sends notifications when it is time to renegotiate a contract, and reminds customers of upcoming price increases. All while updating the contract and software to reflect these!
This avoids embarrassing or awkward conversations when things go wrong, allowing you to focus on growing your business than worrying about fixing an episode of amateur hour!
Top 5 best invoice software platforms
Here are five of the best invoice software platforms out there, all of which you can integrate with Contractbook to create automated workflows, from contract signing to payments and customer offboarding!
QuickBooks claims that using its platform gets you paid twice as quickly as using paper invoices or sending PDFs. That alone is enough of a reason to use QuickBooks. Still, its range of additional features means you will quickly consider it a "must-have" tool for your business.
Even the lowest tier of QuickBooks gives you the ability to send unlimited numbers of invoices and accept payments. If you pay a little more, you can unlock features like batch invoicing and receiving and paying invoices, too, making it an excellent two-way invoicing solution.
FreshBooks has a reported 10 million customers, so there must be some merit to this platform! The biggest downside you might find with FreshBooks is that each account only facilitates one user, but if this fits your needs, then it's a great tool to use.
If you run your business remotely or on the move, FreshBooks has one of the best mobile apps out of all the providers here, making it easy to send invoices or track financial performance wherever you are. FreshBooks also has several built-in features to avoid you needing to invest in other apps, like time tracking and management and project management tools.
Stripe bills itself as “a toolkit for business automation,” and it is fair to say that is a pretty accurate assessment!
The best thing about Stripe is how simple the platform makes everything. It is especially useful if you work cross-border and need to accept payments via several methods. At the same time, it is also easy to set up recurring payments while facilitating one-off purchases. If your business model means you offer one-off services as well as a subscription model, for example, then Stripe will help you deliver everything your customers want.
Xero is one of the best tools out there if you not only want to automate your invoicing but have all your finance functions within one platform. Xero will even complete your tax returns on your behalf!
One potential downside is that you need to be on the highest tier to unlock multiple currency capabilities. At the same time, you should also be aware that adding features such as payroll will increase your monthly subscription cost. We cannot argue with the quality of what Xero providers; just be careful about what you need if you are in the early days and are managing your expenditure!
Wave is great if you want a simple invoicing solution – and it is free to send unlimited invoices!
You only pay for Wave if you also use it to collect payments. Depending on the size of your business and what you sell, this may mean you quickly surpass what you would pay for another platform that includes receiving payments in its monthly fee. While you can save yourself the cost by getting your customers to pay via bank transfer, checking what payments you have received is a huge time drain.
Use Wave for invoicing as you are starting to grow your business, so you are not spending anything while searching for a long-term solution.
Using invoice software in your business
Invoicing software has the potential to streamline your finance workflows – so long as you choose the right one for your business. Remember, too, that you should cover any potential shortcomings in your processes, which is where integrations with software like Contractbook will help you get even more from your invoice software.