Best Billing Software and Invoicing Software of 2021

Need to get paid? Customers are 30% more likely to pay invoices online,1 and if you send invoices the same day, you’re 1.5 times more likely to get proper compensation.2 So it pays—literally—to invest in an invoicing and billing software in 2021.
Best overall
Fresh Books
FreshBooks
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Intuitive user-friendly interface
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Extensive Accounting features beyond invoicing
Best automation
Zoho
Zoho Invoice
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Unlimited clients
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Multiple payment gateways
Best for accounting
Wave
Wave
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Free invoicing, billing, and accounting software
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Reasonable transaction fees
Best for low volume
Square
Square Invoices
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Mobile-friendly setup
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Subscription-free options
Best reporting
Sage
Sage Business Cloud Accounting
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Plans starting at $10/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Thorough reporting

In 2021, it’s easier and more cost effective than ever for non-accountants (like you!) to manage small-business finances. All you need is the best billing and invoicing software for your business. But with so many options out there, how can you find the right product? Check out our 10 favorite invoicing and billing software options for small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs in 2021.

The best billing and invoicing software of 2021

Best billing & invoicing software for small businesses

Brand
Starting cost
Credit card transaction fee
ACH bank transfer transaction fee
Learn more
FreshBooks

$15.00/mo.

2.9% + $0.30

1%

Zoho Invoice

$0.00

UnlistedUnlisted
Wave

$0.00

2.9% + $0.30

1%

Square Invoices

$0.00

2.9% + $0.30 (2.6% + $0.10 for in-person card transactions)

N/A

Sage Business Cloud Accounting$10.00/mo.UnlistedUnlisted

Data effective 1/12/21. At publishing time, pricing is current but subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Best overall: FreshBooks

Fresh Books
Need an affordable accounting plan with a slew of invoicing features? FreshBooks starts at $15—a tough price to beat for comprehensive accounting and thoroughly customizable mobile invoicing.

FreshBooks’s invoicing software is versatile enough to work for almost everyone, from freelancers to business owners with a dozen employees. With FreshBooks, you can tackle any of these billing-related tasks:

  • Create unlimited customizable invoices.
  • Set up automatic recurring client billing.
  • Automatically add late fees to your clients’ bills.
  • Get notified when clients receive and pay their invoices.
  • Accept payments, create invoices, and send bills through the mobile app.
  • List your time worked and expenses directly on your invoices.
  • Use invoices to request deposits.
  • Send invoices in whatever language you and your clients prefer.
  • Accept payments in multiple currencies.

 

Best Small Business Accounting Software
Xero
Best overall
FreshBooks
Best invoicing
Quickbooks
Most user-friendly
Wave
Most affordable
Zoho Books
Best automation

Learn more about our top brands.

You can also use FreshBooks to create estimates and proposals, which is particularly useful for contractors, interior designers, and other businesses that need to itemize materials and include contracted workers.

FreshBooks plans and pricing

Plan name
Cost
Billable clients
Learn more

Lite

$15.00/mo.

Up to 5/mo.

Plus

$25.00/mo.

Up to 50/mo.

Premium

$50.00/mo.

Up to 500/mo.

Data effective 1/12/21. At publishing time, pricing is current but subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

FreshBooks starts out at an eminently reasonable $15 per month. (New customers can get 70% off their first three months, which lowers the cost to $4.50.) Unfortunately, that base plan lets you bill only up to five clients a month. If you enter a new active client that exceeds that limit, FreshBooks automatically charges you for the Plus plan, which lets you bill up to 50 active clients.

Best automation: Zoho Invoice

Zoho

Zoho offers an expansive suite of products that mesh together perfectly, including invoicing, accounting, time tracking, and project managing. With Zoho Invoice, you can bill up to 50 clients a month at the low starting cost of $9—or up to 5 clients for absolutely free.

Like all Zoho products (including Zoho Books, Zoho’s small-business accounting product), Zoho Invoice does a lot more than what its name suggests. Along with automatic recurring invoicing, each Zoho Invoice plan includes time tracking, expense tracking, and multi-currency support. You can also set up a customer portal where your clients can view and pay invoices and collaborate with you on projects.

Zoho Invoice’s cheapest paid plan starts at just $9 a month and lets you invoice up to 50 customers a month. If you don’t have quite that many customers and want to save a bit of cash each month, Zoho’s free plan lets you bill up to five customers.

Bear in mind that if you want to accept online payments, you’ll also need Zoho Checkout. This nifty plan lets you set up three or more customized online payment pages. However, unless you’re fine billing customers through Stripe only, you’ll need a Zoho Checkout paid plan with multiple payment gateways. And like Zoho Invoice, paid Zoho Checkout plans start at $9 a month, bringing your total billing and invoicing cost to $18 a month.

Most affordable: Wave

Wave
Payments by Wave and Wave Invoicing don’t have monthly fees, and neither does Wave’s free accounting software. So if you want invoicing, accounting, and payment features at no cost beyond a standard transaction fee, Wave is our top pick.

If you want to both send invoices and accept payments with Wave (one of our favorite accounting software providers), you need two separate Wave products: Wave Invoicing and Payments by Wave. Don’t worry, though—like Wave’s accounting software, both products are completely free, apart from Payments by Wave’s standard processing fees.

With the combination of Wave’s two products, you can send out customized invoices and accept payments from all major credit cards (including American Express).

At 2.9% plus $0.30 for credit cards and 1% for ACH transactions, its fees are the same as FreshBooks’ and Square’s. (As with many other billing and invoicing solutions, Wave charges 3.4% + $0.30 for American Express transactions.) And from a customer-facing perspective, Payments by Wave is super intuitive and easy to use.

Best for low volume: Square Invoices

Square
For a stand-alone invoicing and billing platform with no monthly fee, try Square Invoices. Its low transaction fee and easy integration with the Square Point of Sale app makes it a perfect fit for low-volume invoicers.

Send invoices infrequently? Use Square Invoices. There’s no monthly subscription fee, so you can send invoices for free. Square charges the standard 2.9% + $0.30 to process invoiced and online payments, but if you use a Square Terminal or the Square Point of Sale app for in-person payments, the processing fee is just 2.6% + $0.10. Square Invoices also lets you send free estimates that you can instantly convert to invoices, plus free contract templates that you can easily pass along with your invoices.

Square Invoices includes a free mobile app so you can send estimates and invoices on the go or accept any type of payment wherever you are. The product also integrates perfectly with Square Point of Sale—if you’re already using Square’s mobile credit card reader, it just makes sense to go with Square Invoices. Unfortunately, as far as we can tell, Square doesn't let you accept ACH payments. This shouldn't be a huge problem, but if you frequently take ACH payments, don't switch to Square.

Info
Definition: ACH payments
Most electronic transfers are processed through the American Clearing House, or ACH, Network. When you accept a customer’s payment from their bank to yours or pay your employees through direct deposit, you’re processing an ACH payment. 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.
Find Your Money—and Keep More of It

With plans starting at $15 a month, FreshBooks is well-suited for freelancers, solopreneurs, and small-business owners alike.

  • Track time and expenses
  • Create custom invoices
  • Accept online payments

Best reports: Sage Business Cloud Accounting

Sage

If you want thorough reporting, a user-friendly dashboard, and easy estimate features, it’s hard to do better than Sage’s accounting plan, which includes invoicing and billing.

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—all in a scannable and easy-to-understand format made especially for non-accountants.

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 the more expensive Accounting plan.

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.

Best for collaboration: Xero

Xero

Xero’s accounting plans start at just $11 a month. The low cost makes Xero perfect for freelancers and solopreneurs with just a handful of clients.

Looking for a full-service accounting and invoicing solution that costs less than FreshBooks and QuickBooks? Xero’s fully featured accounting plans start at just $11 a month. And while Xero’s plans used to limit you to just five billable clients a month, you can now send up to 20 invoices with the cheapest plan. Xero’s software also grows with you—its three affordable plans are super scalable, so if you’ve just opened your doors, Xero’s cheapest plan is a great place to start.

Best transaction fees: QuickBooks Payments

Quickbooks

Want to minimize the amount you spend on infrequent payments? Depending on your method of payment, QuickBooks Payments has some of the lowest transaction fees in the business.

QuickBooks is one of the world’s most popular accounting software options, but most QuickBooks products and services are a far cry from the cheapest on the block. However, while you can get only QuickBooks Payments with an existing QuickBooks Online subscription, its transaction fees are completely affordable. For instance, swiped fees are just 2.4% plus $0.25, which is 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 FreshBooks, Square, and Wave.

Most payment options: Hiveage

Hiveage

If you want stand-alone invoicing software with multiple international payment gateways and no client cap, Hiveage is the way to go.

Out of all of the software we’ve reviewed, Hiveage accepts the most diverse forms of online payments, which can increase your chances of getting paid. This invoicing software supports a dozen online gateways like PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, and Authorize.Net. They even accept Bitcoin via Coinbase, as well as lots of foreign currencies.

Along with supporting multiple payment gateways, Hiveage also offers a feature for setting up teams, which lets you share the invoicing load with your team. And if you’re not sure you want to sign up for a paid Hiveage plan, try its free invoice generator to start getting paid faster.

Best templates: FreeAgent

FreeAgent
If your business needs a rigorous, highly technical accounting solution, Tipalti has excellent accounts payable features and an extensive international invoicing feature to boot.

A common complaint with invoicing software is its lack of professional-looking, customizable invoicing templates. FreeAgent stands out from competitors by offering eight professional 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 multi-currency and multi-language options, easy sales tax reporting, and automatic invoicing reminders, FreeAgent could be a good fit.

Best for accounts payable: Tipalti

Tipalti

If your business needs a rigorous, highly technical accounting solution, Tipalti has excellent accounts payable features and an extensive international invoicing feature to boot.

Tipalti appeals to a mid-market audience, but it can work for small businesses too, especially international B2B operations. 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 $299 per month, Tipalti is super pricey, which is another reason it works best for established global businesses.

The takeaway

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

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

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.

Sources
1. John Rampton, Inc., “7 Tips for Billing Customers That Will Get You Paid Faster,” May 17, 2016. Accessed January 12, 2021.
2. John Rampton, Forbes, “25 Invoicing Mistakes to Avoid in Your Small Business,” May 27, 2017. Accessed January 12, 2021.

Kylie McQuarrie
Written by
Kylie McQuarrie
Kylie spent two of the last four years writing for and with small-business owners—from dentists in Australia to plumbers in the Midwest. She spent the other two writing in depth about internet and security. She’s passionate about reading, hiking, and dedicating every spare second to writing for fun (at lunch, between meetings, on the train, before breakfast . . . ). Her content helps small-business owners tackle the logistics of running a business so they can focus more on their passions too.
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