Best Billing and Invoicing Software for Small Businesses 2021

We weighed pricing, plans, limited and unlimited features, customer service reputation, and ease of use to find the best billing and invoicing software for small-business owners.
Best overall
Zoho
Zoho Invoice
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1
Free for life
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Accounting software add-on
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Up to 1,000 invoices a year to unlimited clients
Best total accounting solution
Fresh Books
FreshBooks
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1
Starting from
$15.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Complete accounting solution
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Unlimited invoices (client number limited by plan)
Easiest mobile invoicing
Square
Square Invoices
3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7
Starting from
$0.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Accounting software add-on
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Unlimited invoices to unlimited clients
Best payment gateways
Hiveage
Hiveage
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8
Starting from
$0.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Accounting software add-on
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Unlimited invoices (client number limited by plan)
Best reporting
Sage
Sage Business Cloud Accounting
3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7
Starting from
$10.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Complete accounting solution
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Unlimited invoices to unlimited clients

Data as of 9/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The bottom line: Zoho Invoice is our favorite billing and invoicing software option. Its unlimited professional, customizable invoices are free for life, and it syncs easily with Zoho Books, one of our top accounting software picks.

But Zoho Invoice isn’t your only option for software that fits your business’s budget and gets you paid on time. FreshBooks has some of the most professional invoice templates around, Square and Sage both include unlimited invoices to unlimited clients, and Hiveage has more payment gateways than the competition. Want to find the right one for you? Here are the year’s best invoicing and billing software options for small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs in 2021.

The best billing and invoicing software of 2021

Compare the best billing & invoicing software for small businesses

Brand
Starting cost
Invoice limit (with cheapest plan)
Automated recurring invoicing
Learn more
Zoho

Zoho Invoice

Free for lifeLimited to 1,000 invoices per year
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Fresh Books

FreshBooks

$15.00/mo.

Unlimited invoices (for up to 5 clients/mo.)
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Square

Square Invoice

$0.00/mo.Unlimited invoices
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Hiveage

Hiveage

$0.00/mo.Unlimited invoices (for up to 5 clients/mo.)
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Sage

Sage Business Cloud Accounting

$10.00/mo.Unlimited
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data as of 9/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

How to find the best invoicing software for your business

Not sure how to choose the right invoicing software for your unique situation? We recommend asking yourself these key questions about what you’re looking for before you dive into our reviews:

  • How much money (if any) are you willing to spend on billing and invoicing software?
  • Does this software help you save time with automated billing and invoicing features, such as automated recurring invoicing and late payment reminders?
  • Does this software sync with other small-business products, such as point-of-sale systems and bookkeeping software?
  • How many payment gateways does this software provider work with? Does it limit you to just one common payment portal, like PayPal, or does it let you accept ACH, debit, and credit card payments as well?

As a reminder, nearly all accounting software already include invoicing features. But standalone invoice software has more invoicing perks, including better templates and thorough billing automation. If you aren’t satisfied with your current accounting software’s invoice features, an invoice-specific option can give you more professional invoices and help you get paid on time.

Zoho Invoice: Best overall

Best overall billing and invoicing software
Zoho
Zoho Invoice
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1
  • Free for life
  • Check
    1,000 customizable invoices per year
  • Check
    Multicurrency support
  • Check
    Multiple online payment gateways
  • Check
    Standard payment transaction fees

Data as of 9/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Zoho Invoice’s completely free platform includes customizable invoices with professional templates. You can send invoices to an unlimited number of clients, and while Zoho does have an invoice limit, it’s 1,000 invoices a year—more than enough for most freelancers, solopreneurs, and small to midsize businesses. (And if you need more than 1,000 invoices, you can contact Zoho directly to discuss a custom invoicing plan.)

Plus, even though it isn’t a total accounting solution, Zoho Invoice includes additional features that compare to and even exceed a lot of standard accounting software offerings, such as these:

  • Built-in time tracking and project management
  • Expense tracking, including receipt scanning
  • Multicurrency support and multiple payment gateways
  • Customer self-service portals and automatic estimate approvals

But Zoho Invoice has one notable downside: it only syncs with Zoho Books, not with other accounting software options like FreshBooks or Xero. For what it’s worth, Zoho Books is an excellent (and affordable) accounting solution—but since Zoho lacks an integrated payroll solution, its accounting and invoicing software work best for freelancers and solopreneurs with no employees.

Pros
Pro Bullet Free customizable invoices to unlimited clients
Pro Bullet Automated billing and invoicing features
Pro Bullet Additional accounting features, including expense tracking and receipt scanning
Cons
Con Bullet Invoice limit (1,000/yr.)
Con Bullet Limited integration with non-Zoho products

FreshBooks: Best total accounting solution

Best invoicing + accounting software
Fresh Books
FreshBooks
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1
  • Starting price: $15.00/mo.
  • Check
    Unlimited customizable invoices (to a plan-limited number of monthly clients)
  • Check
    Multicurrency support
  • Check
    Multiple online payment gateways, including Stripe and PayPal
  • Check
    Preferred ACH and credit card transaction rates (with FreshBooks Select plan and higher)

Data as of 9/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

FreshBooks started out as an invoicing-only software that expanded into a full accounting solution. The company never lost sight of its invoice-based beginnings, and as a result, it offers some of the highest-quality professional invoices you can find. FreshBooks also offers more billing and invoicing features than most invoicing and accounting software:

  • Automatic recurring client billing
  • Automatic late-fee additions
  • Automatic notifications when clients receive and pay invoices
  • Multi-language invoicing options
  • Easy time and project tracking synced to invoices
  • Estimate and proposal creation

FreshBooks's estimate, proposal, and project tracking features make it particularly well-suited to contractors, especially service-based contractors like developers. However, contractors with a high monthly client base might want to look elsewhere. FreshBooks starts out at a fairly reasonable $15.00 per month, but that base plan limits you to invoicing just five clients a month (though you can send those five clients unlimited invoices).

Businesses with more than five clients a month will need the $25 a month Plus plan. Alternatively, you can try a provider like Wave or QuickBooks, neither of which limit your billable monthly clients.

Pros
Pro Bullet Thorough accounting features, including expense tracking and mileage tracking
Pro Bullet Time-saving billing, invoice, estimate, and proposal automation
Pro Bullet Beautiful, professional invoices
Cons
Con Bullet No free invoice-only plan
Con Bullet Monthly billable clients limited by plan

Square Invoice: Easiest mobile invoicing

Easiest mobile invoicing app
Square
Square Invoice
3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7
  • Starting at $0.00/mo.
  • Check
    Unlimited customizable invoices
  • X
    No multicurrency support
  • Check
    Standard payment gateways
  • Check
    Standard processing fees

Data as of 9/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Square’s free invoicing app, Square Invoice, lets you charge clients and receive payments anywhere, anytime. There’s no monthly subscription fee, invoice limit, or client limit. With the app, you can send free estimates, then instantly convert them to invoices on mobile once a client approves. Like Square’s payroll app, Square Invoice is geared towards contractors—its free contract templates are easy to fill out and send alongside your estimates, invoices, and bills.

But freelancers and contractors aren’t the only business owners who can benefit from Square Invoice. In Billing-wise, the product integrates perfectly with Square Point of Sale—a preferred point of sale and payroll system for restaurant owners, food truckers, and retailers. If your business fits into one of those categories and you’re already using Square’s mobile credit card reader, it just makes sense to go with Square Invoices. (And if Square’s free invoicing plan isn’t enough for you, its $20-a-month Plus plan offers additional support for midsize and growing businesses with heftier invoicing needs.)

Square Invoice also recently started letting customers accept ACH transactions, which brings it up to speed with other billing and invoicing products on the market. It still lags behind in some key areas, though, like multicurrency support (which it doesn’t offer) and project tracking (which many business owners need to correctly bill their clients).

Pros
Pro Bullet Seamless connection with other Square products
Pro Bullet Automatic late payment reminders and recurring invoices
Pro Bullet Next-day fund access
Cons
Con Bullet No built-in project tracking or time tracking
Con Bullet No multicurrency support

Hiveage: Best payment gateways

Most payment gateways
Hiveage
Hiveage
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8
  • Starting price: $0.00/mo.
  • Check
    Unlimited customizable invoices
  • Check
    Multicurrency support
  • Check
    Over a dozen online payment gateways
  • Check
    Standard payment transaction fees

Data as of 9/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Out of all of the billing and invoicing software we’ve reviewed, Hiveage accepts the most diverse forms of online payments. Along with all the typical payment gateways, like PayPal and Stripe, Hiveage supports Braintree, Authorize.Net, WePay, coinbase—and more. And Hiveage’s multicurrency support is ideal for individual sellers who accept payments through multiple gateways from clients all over the world.

Like most invoicing software, it lets you collaborate with clients through a self-service portal—but it also lets your employees and team members individually track their time and projects, send invoices, and bill clients. And while Hiveage isn’t a complete accounting solution, it does include some accounting features, like mileage tracking, time tracking, and expense tracking.

Like FreshBooks, Hiveage’s free plan limits you to billing just five clients a month. (And as with FreshBooks, you can send those five clients an unlimited amount of customizable invoices.) The Basic plan costs $16 a month and ups that limit to 50, which suits many freelancers.

However, if you already pay for accounting software, Hiveage’s additional price makes it a hard sell. With a basic billing and invoice plan that costs as much as FreshBooks’ cheapest accounting plan, Hiveage works best for larger teams with a bigger invoicing budget. On the other hand, many individual sellers track inventory and accounting with free spreadsheet software. If that describes you, leveling up your payment gateways could be a good investment that doesn’t break the bank.

Pros
Pro Bullet Basic accounting features, including expense tracking and financial reports
Pro Bullet Team collaboration options
Pro Bullet More payment gateway options than most billing and invoicing software
Cons
Con Bullet Monthly billable clients limited by plan
Con Bullet Higher starting price for some options

Sage Business Cloud Accounting: Best invoice reports

Most thorough reporting
Sage
Sage
3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7
  • Starting price: $10.00/mo.
  • Check
    Unlimited customizable invoices
  • Check
    Multicurrency suppport
  • X
    Limited payment gateways
  • Check
    Standard payment transaction fees

Data as of 9/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Sage Business Cloud Accounting takes care of all the most important invoicing and billing features for you, but what really sets it apart is its user-friendly dashboard and handy accounting reports.

When you sign in, Sage’s dashboard shows you outstanding and overdue invoices, quotes and estimates, net sales, and a bunch of other handy information. The info is arranged in a scannable, easy-to-understand format made especially for non-accountants, freelancers, and first-time business owners.

Sage Business Cloud Accounting plans start at $10 a month, but to get the full Sage accounting experience, you’ll want to sign up for the pricier $25 a month plan. While the cheaper plan, Accounting Start, helps you track overdue invoices, the more expensive plan has more thorough cash flow tracking with better reports. In other words, if you want to grow your business, not just send invoices, you’ll need Sage’s more expensive Accounting plan.

Pros
Pro Bullet Automatic expense tracking and cash flow management (more expensive plan only)
Pro Bullet Extensive customer support, including 24/7 customer service
Pro Bullet Easy-to-use interface with low learning curve
Cons
Con Bullet Limited accounting features with cheapest plan
Con Bullet Limited payment gateways

Honorable mentions

Wait, wait, there’s more! If you didn’t find your software match above, these five billing and invoicing software choices merit your time and attention.

Compare top billing and invoice features: Runners-up

Brand
Starting cost
Invoice limit (with cheapest plan)
Automated recurring invoicing
Learn more
Logo for Invoice Ninja

Invoice Ninja

$0.00/mo.Unlimited invoices (up to 100 clients/mo.)
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Wave

Wave Accounting

Free for lifeUnlimited invoices
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Quickbooks

QuickBooks Online

$25.00/mo.Unlimited invoices
Icon Yes  DarkYes
FreeAgent

FreeAgent

$12.00/mo.*Unlimited invoices
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Tipalti

Tipalti

$149.00/mo.Unlimited invoices
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data as of 9/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first six months only. Price increases to $24.00 a month after the first six months.

Invoice Ninja: Best free invoicing plan

Best free plan option
Logo for Invoice Ninja
Invoice Ninja
  • Starting at $0.00/mo.
  • Check
    Unlimited customizable invoices for up to 100 clients (free plan)
  • Check
    Multicurrency support (50+ currencies)
  • Check
    Integration with 40+ online payment gateways
  • Check
    Standard payment transaction fees

Data as of 9/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Looking for free online invoicing software that doesn’t skimp on billing features? Invoice Ninja’s free invoice plan includes 40+ payment gateway options, support for over 50 international currencies, and automatic currency conversion.

Invoice Ninja does limit the number of clients you can bill monthly, but the free plan’s 100-client limit is a good fit for busy freelancers, contractors, and self-employed business owners. We also love the software’s automated recurring invoice and auto-billing features, free time-tracking tool, and online project management assistance. Admittedly, these tools look a little outdated (think early Web 2.0), especially compared to sleeker, more modern interfaces like Square’s. But if you’re a freelancer with a huge client list and a minimal invoice budget, Invoice Ninja’s free software is perfectly serviceable.

But while we like Invoice Ninja’s comprehensive payment portals and unlimited invoices, it doesn’t offer the most professional or customizable invoice templates. You have to pay extra to remove Invoice Ninja’s branding from your invoices—which is typical for a lot of online invoice software, but “Invoice Ninja” looks and sounds a little too casual for some business owners. And the free plan only gives you four basic templates with limited customization.

Wave Accounting: Best free accounting solution

Most affordable accounting software
Wave
Wave Accounting
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
  • Free for life
  • Check
    Unlimited customizable invoices
  • X
    No multicurrency support
  • X
    Functional but limited online payment gateways
  • Check
    Standard payment transaction fees

Love FreshBooks’ accounting features but dislike its client limitations and price? Try Wave Accounting’s completely free accounting software. Its automatic recurring invoicing feature alone makes Wave a good investment, but Wave Accounting also includes free income and expense tracking, receipt scanning, and automatic bank reconciliation. In other words, Wave Accounting is a great fit for freelancers and first-time business owners who want a fair amount of features without paying hundreds of dollars a year in accounting software.

For the most part, Wave Accounting doesn’t trade affordability for features. But it isn’t particularly scalable—since it has just one plan, Wave’s not the best choice for businesses planning on growth. And while Wave’s billing feature gets the job done, it’s nothing to write home about. It doesn’t offer as many payment gateways as other options (especially Hiveage), and, like Square, it doesn’t include multicurrency support.

Finally, you get a little less automation with Wave than you do with invoice-specific products. (Invoice Ninja, for instance, automatically follows up on overdue and unpaid invoices.) You’ll have to work a little harder to chase down overdue invoices than you would with more fully automated competitors like Square or Zoho.

QuickBooks Online: Best transaction fees

Best payment transaction fees
Quickbooks
QuickBooks Online
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
  • Starting price: $25.00/mo.
  • Check
    Unlimited customizable invoices
  • X
    No multicurrency support with cheapest plan
  • Check
    Standard online payment gateways
  • Check
    Better-than-average payment transaction fees

Data as of 9/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

QuickBooks Online is an extremely popular accounting system, but most QuickBooks products are far from cheap. However, while you can get only QuickBooks Payments with an existing QuickBooks Online subscription, its transaction fees are notably affordable: swiped fees are just 2.4% plus $0.25, cheaper than any other provider on our list.

There’s a catch, of course (isn’t there always?): the fee climbs depending on the type of payment you’re accepting. Most importantly, transaction fees are higher for bills paid through invoices. You’re looking at a 2.9% plus $0.25 transaction fee, but that’s still cheaper than average. Additionally, QuickBooks Online’s invoicing tool isn’t all that customizable, professional, or aesthetically pleasing. On the other hand, QuickBooks Online’s mediocre invoices are still better than those you get with QuickBooks Self-Employed, which we don’t recommend to self-employed freelancers who want a professional, high-quality invoice generator.

FreeAgent: Best invoice templates

Most professional invoice templates
FreeAgent
FreeAgent
  • Starting price: $12.00/mo.*
  • Check
    Unlimited customizable invoices
  • Check
    Multicurrency support
  • Check
    Standard online payment gateways, including Stripe and PayPal
  • Check
    Standard payment transaction fees

Data as of 9/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first six months only. Price increases to $24.00 a month after the first six months.

A common complaint with invoicing software is its lack of professional-looking invoice templates. FreeAgent stands out from competitors by offering eight professional invoice templates that are easy to customize to your business and customers. FreeAgent also includes easy-to-read reports for metrics like sales tax and outstanding invoices.

The only thing keeping FreeAgent out of our top five is its price. FreeAgent starts at $24 a month, though if you sign up as a new client, you’ll pay $12 for the first six months before the price doubles. So if you’re willing to pay a bit more for multicurrency and multi-language options, easy sales tax reporting, and automatic payment reminders, FreeAgent could be a good fit. Otherwise, you might prefer a free invoicing solution like Square Invoice or Zoho Invoice.

Tipalti: Best for high earners

Best for high-earning global companies
Tipalti
Tipalti
  • Starting price: $149.00/mo.
  • Check
    Unlimited customizable invoices
  • Check
    Multicurrency support
  • Check
    Multiple payment gateways
  • Check
    Standard payment transaction fees

Data as of 9/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Out of all the software we’ve reviewed, Tipalti offers the most technical and extensive accounting solution. In fact, it’s such an extensive solution that it may take an expert to wield successfully. This more comprehensive software includes invoicing and billing features, but it’s specifically known for its accounts payable capabilities. At a minimum of $149 per month, Tipalti is fairly pricey, which is another reason it works best for established global businesses.

Not sure which is best?

The takeaway

The right invoicing and billing software can help you track cash flow, bill clients exactly what you’re worth, and go home happy at the end of the day. Hopefully, one of the online invoicing solutions above can help you check all three things off your small-business to-do list.

  • If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend trying Zoho Invoice. It lets you send up to 1,000 invoices a year, and its accounting features give freelancers a good way to track finances without extra hassle. Zoho Invoice also completely free, so if you don't love it, you can move on to any of the other options on our list.
  • For instance, if Zoho Invoice isn’t a good fit for you, you might like FreshBooks’ high-quality invoices, which complement its thorough accounting features.
  • For invoicing and accepting payments on the go, it’s hard to beat Square Invoice, which is free and syncs simply with other Square products.
  • Hiveage has multiple payment gateways and supports individual and team invoicing.
  • If you’re looking for basic bookkeeping on top of invoicing, you can try Sage Business Cloud Accounting for $10 a month.

Looking for more software to keep your business on track? Check out our bookkeeping software recommendations for affordable solutions.

Related reading

Best billing and invoicing software FAQ

What is the best invoicing software for small businesses?

The best invoicing software for your small business depends on your company’s size, budget, and needs. In general, our top pick is Zoho Invoice, which lets you send up to 1,000 invoices a year and fully automates the entire invoice and billing process. If you’re looking for billing and invoicing software with solid invoicing apps that don’t limit the number of invoices you can send each year, though, Wave or Square could be a better fit for you. And if you want a complete accounting system, not just invoicing and billing software, FreshBooks or Sage Business Cloud Accounting have your back.

Can you make invoices with Microsoft Office?

Yes. You can find invoice templates for Microsoft Office on Microsoft’s site. If you’re looking for a truly free invoice solution, you can use a Google Docs template instead.

What is the best free invoice software?

Zoho Invoice helps you create and send professional, thorough invoices that get you paid on time. It’s completely free for life (unless you want to send more than 1,000 invoices a year, in which case Zoho can find you a custom solution with custom pricing). But there are dozens of free invoice options to rival Zoho, including Square and Wave Invoice. And some paid invoice software have free plan options, like Ninja Invoice and Hiveage, though free plans usually have invoice or client limitations that paid plans don’t.

What is an ACH payment?

When you accept a customer’s payment from their bank to yours, or when you pay your employees through direct deposit, you’re processing an ACH payment. (The name comes from the American Clearing House, or ACH Network, which processes most electronic transfers in the US.) Depending on the size of the payments you’re processing, ACH payments can be cheaper than credit card payments, though they can take longer to transfer to your bank.

Our methodology

To find the best billing and invoicing software and calculate our star ratings, we compared these key aspects of the most popular invoicing products:

  • Pricing
  • Plan scalability and limitations, including limited clients and invoices
  • Invoicing features, including templating, automatic recurring invoicing, and automatic late payment reminders
  • Billing features, including number of payment gateways and payment processing fees
  • Ease of integration with accounting software, time tracking software, and project management software
  • Overall customer service reputation, including customer service availability, hours, and user reviews

We also considered our reviewer’s expert opinion when calculating ratings. Star ratings are reviewed frequently and subject to change.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Kylie McQuarrie
Written by
Kylie McQuarrie
Kylie McQuarrie has been writing for and about small businesses since 2014. Prior to writing full-time, she worked with a variety of small-business owners (from freelance writers to real-estate solopreneurs), which gave her a front-row look at small-business owners' struggles, frustrations, and successes. Currently, she’s Business.org’s accounting and payroll staff writer. Her work has been featured on SCORE.org, G2, and Fairygodboss, among others.
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