As a freelancer, you're well aware of the stress that comes with handling outstanding invoices and delayed payments. While various factors contribute, it often stems from inadequate invoice management.
With the right invoicing software, you can easily generate invoices, track their status, and maintain an in-depth record of your work. This article will give you an overview of some of the best cloud-based invoice software freelancers can use to stay organized and efficient.
Freelancers operate differently from larger businesses with unique needs. Being a one-person show means juggling a lot. Handling several projects for different clients involves sending multiple invoices, keeping tabs on payments, and tracking expenses individually for each project.
Where large companies have dedicated roles to navigate this work, freelancers must do it all on their own — on top of their heavy workload. This is not only complicated but also time-consuming and distracting from your work. So what do freelancers who don’t have invoicing software use?
Self-employed individuals often opt for tools such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word templates to craft their invoices, sending these to clients. To manage the invoicing process, they might rely on Excel spreadsheets or other datasheets to track the created invoices.
While this sounds straightforward, this method of generating, tracking, and invoicing clients is subject to error and miscalculation. This restricts your access to tools such as automatic tax calculators and time-tracking features.
With suitable invoice software, freelancers can consolidate all financial data in a single location, granting a comprehensive view of cash flow, and empowering them to make informed business decisions.
Invoicing software commonly includes features aiding freelancers in staying organized and compliant with tax rules, like automated tax calculation and expense categorization. This proves especially beneficial for freelancers lacking a dedicated bookkeeper or accountant to handle their financial matters.
Freelancers that invest in project invoicing software will benefit from automatic features and tools that cater to their unique needs. Some essential features to look for include:
Freelancers should be able to create professional-looking invoices that reflect their brand identity. The software should offer a range of customizable templates to choose from.
If you work for clients worldwide, look for software catering to these needs. Seek out a platform offering multiple languages to track client expenses seamlessly.
Invoicing by project phase
Invoicing by project phase brings a sense of structure and clarity to freelancers and clients alike. Clients can see the progress of work through distinct stages, making it easier for them to understand the billing process and the value each phase brings. Plus, it allows for incremental payments as each project phase concludes, ensuring freelancers receive timely compensation.
Time tracking and project management integration
Many freelancers charge clients based on the hours they’ve worked on a project. Invoicing software that integrates with time-tracking and project management tools can streamline this process and generate accurate invoices based on tracked work hours.
Freelancers need to track their project expenses to help them choose the right pricing strategy to stay profitable and handle tax deductions. The software should provide features that help categorize and monitor expenses.
Chasing after late payments can be time-consuming and frustrating. Look for software with options to send automatic payment reminders to clients when payments are due.
In addition to seeking out features that fit your needs, you should also consider:
- Budget: How much are you willing to pay for invoicing software?
- Industry: Are you looking for programs and software that serve the industry you freelance for? For example, if you do creative work like graphic design, look for software that other creative agencies and professionals trust.
- Usability: While you want your invoicing tools to be able to calculate costs and automatically perform certain tasks, you don’t want to waste time trying to figure out a system that’s not intuitive. Consider the usability of different platforms, and look for software that gets you up and running in no time.
Now that you better understand the importance of invoicing software, where do you start with comparing the range of options? Let's find out:
Now that you better understand the importance of invoicing software, where do you start with comparing the range of options?
To help you find the best product, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best invoicing software for freelancers in 2024. We’ve compared them based on their features, pricing, and ease of use to meet your needs as a freelancer.
1. Rodeo Drive
Rodeo Drive stands as a user-friendly project management platform, seamlessly integrating invoicing, highly favored by freelancers. This tool streamlines organization, boosts productivity, and facilitates the expansion of client bases, all contributing to the growth of your business and financial success.
On top of that, the platform offers a simple pricing model. Let’s explore some of the key features Rodeo Drive offers:
Building a project budget in Rodeo Drive
Every profitable project starts with a solid budget. Rodeo Drive's budget feature allows you to start from scratch or reuse a framework from a previous project. Then, easily enter your hours, the hourly rate, and the resources required, and you will have your budget proposal ready in minutes.
The budgeting feature enables project segmentation into distinct phases with individual budget allocations. As your project advances, tracking your financial status becomes effortless; real-time comparisons between projected and actual expenses help prevent overspending and protect your profits.
Easily manage billable hours in Rodeo Drive
Time is money for companies, but as a freelancer, you are responsible for your own calendar and finances.
The time tracking module in Rodeo Drive helps freelancers track the hours they’ve worked for clients accurately. Rodeo Drive automatically updates your budget according to the time you’ve logged. Visibility in the hours you’ve worked can be a reference for future similar projects.
Creating an invoice in Rodeo Drive
There’s no more need to worry about creating invoices from scratch. Rodeo Drive uses the data from your logged hours to automatically generate invoices, which means you don’t have to calculate the time spent on projects by hand. You can even split and send invoices in phases. The platform integrates with Xero in the UK and via QuickBooks in the US.
Rodeo Drive’s Projects report, which provides an overview of the project status
When you're working for yourself, it's up to you to decide how you spend your time and what tasks you need to do to succeed and grow. It's great to have freedom, but it also comes with a big responsibility. As a freelancer, it's important to figure out what work makes you the most money and helps you grow.
With Rodeo Drive's reporting feature, available with the Achiever plan, you'll get regular reports that show you how you're doing. You'll be able to see what conditions help you work the best and get the most value for your time. In other words, it'll help you make smart decisions based on data, so you can make more money and grow your business.
Adjusting project activities within Rodeo Drive’s planner
Rodeo Drive’s platform is designed to be user-friendly, so you don’t have to waste time trying to navigate through a complicated system. Instead, you can focus on staying organized and getting to work.
Who is Rodeo Drive for?
Rodeo Drive is built for freelancers and teams focusing on project-based work for clients who need all the features necessary to keep an eye on profit margins and manage projects in one place.
Rodeo Drive's Pricing
There are two pricing plans available in Rodeo Drive — the Free plan, which includes a limited feature set, and the Achiever plan, which gives you access to all features for $14.99 per user/month.
If you opt for the Free plan, you will have a limited number of seats, 3 active projects, no guest users, and no reports. You’ll need to upgrade should you need more than that.
nTask is a project management tool that offers an all-in-one solution for multiple industries. This platform allows you to manage your personal checklist while tracking task progress so that you can stay on top of your work.
As a freelancer, this tool can be a helpful way to manage client relationships while keeping your responsibilities organized.
Related: The Best nTask Alternatives
Key features of nTask include:
Who is nTask for?
Although nTask can be used for freelance work, this tool is widely used in large enterprise businesses, including Walmart, Mclaren, and more.
nTask has a range of pricing plans to choose from that are both yearly and monthly. Most individual users and small teams start at the Premium plan, which is $4 per user/ per month. The price drops to $3/month per user if you pay yearly.
Harvest is a time-tracking and invoicing software tool designed to keep teams on track and provide insights on where they can improve. Harvest provides instant reports, invoicing, and payments and helps keep this information organized.
Also read: Harvest Alternatives for Project Management
Key features of Harvest include:
- Time tracking
- Payments and invoicing
- Reports and analysis
Who is Harvest for?
Harvest is designed for teams of all sizes, industries, and locations around the world. Some Harvest clients include Yale and Dell, though the company also serves small businesses.
Harvest has a free plan that includes 1 user and 2 projects, and a Pro plan that includes unlimited seats and unlimited projects. The pro plan is $10.80 per user/per month when billed annually and $12.00 per user/per month when billed monthly.
Source: Toggl Track
Toggl Track is a time-tracking software and hiring system meant to streamline billing, invoicing, and budgeting tasks. This invoicing system is also designed to do away with timesheets and other traditional tracking methods so you can manage more simply.
Related: The Best Toggl Alternatives
Key features of Toggl Track include:
- Time tracking
Who is Toggl Track for?
Toggl Track is for freelancers, small teams, and large businesses.
Toggl Track's pricing
Toggl Track has a free version for up to 5 users, including unlimited time tracking, exportable reports, and unlimited projects, clients, and tags. Their Starter version is $9.00 per user/per month and includes additional features like billable rates and the ability to save reports. When billed monthly, the Starter plan is $10.00 per user/per month.
Bonsai is a project management tool for freelancers — also a popular collaboration platform for freelancers and small agencies. The goal of Bonsai is to allow professionals to manage and collaborate easily so they can focus on their craft rather than trying to navigate a complicated system.
Also read: Top Bonsai Alternatives to Try Now
Key features of Bonsai include:
- Time tracking
- Expense tracking
Bonsai also has tools for managing work and educational content like tax and legal guides.
Who is Bonsai for?
Bonsai is made for small businesses and freelancers looking for a way to easily manage finances and admin work so they can focus on their business.
Bonsai has the option for monthly and yearly payment plans. Their starter package is designed for freelancers or small contractors and includes features like templates, scheduling, unlimited invoicing, and payments.
This plan starts at $25 per month per user if you pay monthly. If you choose to pay annually, this plan is $21 per month per user.
HoneyBook is a client flow platform designed for independent small businesses and professionals to manage projects and payments. With HoneyBook, you can schedule meetings, send and receive payments, and more.
Key features of HoneyBook include:
- Online contracts
- Online payments
- Online invoices
Who is HoneyBook for?
HoneyBook is designed for small businesses and independent contractors looking to streamline the administrative side of their work.
HoneyBook has a Starter, Essentials, and Premium plan. The Essentials plan is the most popular and includes up to 2 team members, standard reports, automation, and more. This plan is $39 per month when billed annually and $32 per month when billed monthly.
Source: Intuit Quickbooks
QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based financial management software. This program is designed to help you track expenses, view your profit over time, and have your books cleaned for tax time.
Key features of QuickBooks Online include:
- e-Commerce management
- Expense tracking
Who is QuickBooks Online for?
QuickBooks Online is used by freelancers and businesses of all sizes and across industries.
QuickBooks Online's pricing
QuickBooks Online has four packages suited to different-sized businesses. The Simple Start package is $30 monthly and includes income and expenses, tax deductions, general reports, and more. Other packages include Essentials, Plus, and Advanced.
Paymo is a project management software that lets you track work time, invoice clients, measure profitability, and more. Using Paymo, you can either manually log hours or use the time tracking app to record your work automatically.
Key features of Paymo include:
- Time tracking
- Invoicing and estimates
- Third-party integrations
Who is Paymo for?
Paymo serves a range of industries and is available in 22 languages. From creatives to architects, this tool is designed to be adaptable to all types of work environments and business sizes.
Paymo has plans for freelancers, small teams, and large businesses. Their Starter plan is ideal for freelancers and includes project templates, in-app tech support, and more. This plan has a maximum of one user. When billed annually, the Starter plan is $5.60 per month. When billed monthly, the plan is $9.30 per month.
Teamwork gives you the tools you need never to miss a billable minute. With Teamwork, you can manage resources, track your budgets, and get set up quickly using the template center.
Key features of Teamwork include:
- Time tracking
Who is Teamwork for?
Teamwork is designed for agencies, creative teams, and professional services. This platform can accommodate both small and large businesses.
Teamwork has a free plan that allows up to 5 users and includes project management essentials, client work essentials, and certain third-party integrations. Their Starter plan is $8.99 per user/per month and includes more project power, dashboards, and other features for a minimum of three users.
Source: Zoho Invoice
Zoho Invoice is a cloud-based unlimited invoicing and billing solution to help businesses streamline financial workflows. Zoho Invoice is accessible from anywhere without an Internet connection, which allows teams and freelancers to work wherever they need.
Key features of Zoho Invoice include:
- Custom templates
- Billing and tracking
- Reporting tools
Who is Zoho Invoice for?
Zoho Invoice is designed for businesses of all sizes, from freelancers to large businesses, and has different plans to accommodate these needs.The platform is part of Zoho’s One Suite and offers limited capabilities compared to other all-in-one solutions.
Zoho Invoice's pricing
Zoho Invoice is free to use if you need invoices, credit notes, and reports. If you require automated billing and project budgeting, look into Zoho Billing starting from $20 per organization/month.
In addition to finding the best software for your freelance invoicing, there are some other tips to keep in mind as you work with clients on this process:
Keep a record of all client details
As a freelancer, you should keep a record of client details — name, address, phone number, email address, etc. This information should be up-to-date, and you should have an organized system to retrieve it quickly.
Establish your payment terms
Discuss your payment terms with your clients before you start the work to avoid any misunderstandings. Agree on how much you charge, how often you invoice, and what payment methods you accept.
Offer multiple payment options, such as credit cards, PayPal, and bank transfers, so your clients can choose the most convenient. And be consistent with when invoice your clients, whether it’s on the date each month or after completing a project.
Use professional invoices
A well-designed invoice with clear language and your company’s branding makes you look more professional and helps you get paid on time. Use your invoice software to choose a standard template or customize one with your logo and other branding elements.
Provide a clear breakdown of the work and deadlines
It's essential to break down and clearly outline the project scope so they know exactly what they're paying for. Also, make deadlines clear so your clients know when they're expected to pay. This will help you avoid late payments and ensure you get paid on time.
Follow up on late payments
If a client doesn't pay on time, don't be afraid to follow up with them. Politely remind them of the payment due and ask when they expect to settle their invoice.
Keep all your financial records up-to-date
Make sure you keep all your financial records up-to-date and organized so you can easily track your income and expenses. This will help you manage your finances more efficiently and make tax season less stressful.
Numerous user-friendly invoicing tools cater to freelancers, making it challenging to select the perfect match. This list aims to assist in navigating your options and finding software that aligns best with your distinct requirements to kickstart your selection process.
For freelancers, small to midsize creative agencies, marketing teams, and consulting firms, Rodeo Drive can be an all-in-one solution that keeps you on track with accurate time management, budgeting, invoicing, and planning.