Cash flow is the lifeblood of your small business. But your invoicing software is the heart that keeps that lifeblood pumping through your operations. The best invoicing apps have the features to ensure that your company gets paid quickly, make it easy and convenient for your customers to make payments, and prevent businesses from wasting time and resources chasing payments.
Built to save time and get you paid faster.
If you’re looking for the best invoicing app for your SME but aren’t sure what to look for, we explore the 10 essential features we recommend prioritising.
1. Easy and convenient payment
It goes without saying that the best small business invoice apps are easy and intuitive to use. But as well as being easy and convenient for you, your invoicing software needs to be accessible and practical for your customers too.
A simple and user-friendly interface is a great start. But features that facilitate easy and convenient payment for the customer are even better. The best invoicing software enables users to request and accept payments 24/7 with shareable payment links that can be sent via email, SMS or social platforms. They can record payments made via offline methods like cash or cheque and some even enable customers to buy now pay later with providers like Clearpay. All of which can be accepted via a POS system or virtual terminal.
After all, your customers may have their own cash flow concerns, and a little flexibility can go a long way in building brand loyalty.
2. Customisable templates
Any opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors should be embraced. And your invoices should be as unique as any other aspect of your branding. As such, the best invoice apps allow users to create and reuse customised invoice templates and add custom fields. This not only allows businesses to apply their distinctive branding to their invoice but also saves them the time and effort required to create new invoices from scratch.
3. Robust integrations
Invoicing, like most business processes, doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It influences everything from cash flow management to customer relationship management. Joining the dots between these processes manually can be a time-consuming affair that opens itself up to human error. This is why a great small business invoice app will also feature robust integrations with other platforms like your company’s accounting software and CRM.
4. Real-time tracking
Keeping up with which invoices have been sent, received and settled can become a colossal task for small business accounts teams. Businesses should choose an invoicing app that tracks the status of invoices sent in real-time from anywhere via desktop, laptop or mobile device. When integrated with accounting software like Xero or Quickbooks, this can help to ensure that business leaders are always aware of how much liquidity they have at their disposal.
5. Recurring and batch invoice creation
Scaling your business upwards inevitably means generating, sending and settling more invoices. As your business grows, this can be very difficult to keep track of manually. Sending invoices in bulk, sending recurring invoices to the same customer, or generating them in large batches can be a huge administrative undertaking. And, once again, the larger the volume, the greater the scope for human error. The best invoicing software for small businesses leverages sophisticated automation for recurring and batch invoice creation.
6. Project file management tools
The best invoicing software features capabilities that go beyond simply generating, sending, and tracking invoices. They also help make it easier to manage digital files like contracts, estimates, invoices and receipts that pertain to particular projects. These can all be stored in a single digital workspace and accessed through an online dashboard so that users never lose track of a project’s paper trail.
7. Flexible payment schedules
Your invoicing software solution should give you the ability to schedule payments flexibly in line with the demands of different projects. Ideally, it should offer the chance to set up milestone-based payment schedules based on specific phases of a project, all within the same invoice. This can prevent cash flow crises mid-project and ensure that businesses and customers are aligned in their expectations of when different payments are to be made.
8. Send estimates quickly and easily
Efficient invoicing is crucial in maintaining operational cash flow. But the ability to make and send estimates quickly and easily is also imperative. The sooner an estimate is sent, and the easier it is to approve, the less time is wasted before a project can begin in earnest.
The best invoice apps are also the best estimate apps, enabling users to provide their clientele with estimates that they can approve from anywhere, and convert estimates into invoices quickly and easily in a single click.
A great invoicing app shouldn’t cost so much that it stymies the company’s liquidity. Ideally, your chosen invoicing software should provide you with a comprehensive range of functions free of charge, while using tiered pricing that allows you to take control of the features and benefits you want to use.
Payments should be transparent and consistent in order to ensure accurate forecasting, while also charging you a fair prorated sum if you decide to subscribe mid-month.
10. Reporting and cash flow management tools
Powerful reporting and cash flow management tools can aid businesses further by making it easier to track expenses and gain a clear picture of accounts receivable from anywhere through the user’s mobile device. The best invoicing software for small businesses has powerful reporting functions that can provide granular data on products, services, employees, and locations with downloadable CSV files to ensure quick and easy bookkeeping.
Why choose Square Invoices?
Square Invoices is our powerful invoicing tool that’s designed to help businesses get paid faster, keep better track of their cash flow and save time on tedious admin. While a wealth of services are available for free, users can get an even better invoicing experience with Square Invoices Plus which allows batch invoice creation, custom templates and fields, multi-package estimates, milestone-based invoicing and automated conversion of estimates to invoices. All for a single flat rate of £20 per month per Square account.
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