October 1, 2014

What to Look for Today in Online Invoicing Apps

Back in January 2010, we gave you a list of 30 Online Invoicing Apps for Small Business.  We got lots of emails and comments.  Since then, readers like you have pointed out invoicing apps we missed.  So we thought we’d add some new players, and take another look at the market.

The first thing we did was add an additional 20 online invoicing software apps to the list, and renamed the article to: 50 Online Invoicing Apps for Small Business.

The second thing we did:  we reviewed the market as a whole to see what’s changed and what’s new.  We discovered that the online invoicing market has evolved and is starting to “grow up.”  One change in online invoicing and billing solutions from 17 months ago is that back then, most solutions were pretty broad (or marketed that way, at least).  Their websites simply offered a Web-based solution for the small business owner, no matter what type of company.  Now, there are more niche offerings specifically for certain industries.  For example, you’ll see Time59, which focuses on the solo attorney market.  Or there’s  Zencillo, which offers a product for Spanish-speaking business owners.

Invoicing App

Other things have evolved over the past 17 months, too:

  • MOBILE — Almost all vendors have dialed in to the mobile market.  Most offer iOS and Android solutions to complement their Web-based product.  Apparently they are banking on the fact that small business owners operate on the go, and increasingly use mobile devices not just as phones but to conduct business transactions.
  • FREE VS SUBSCRIPTION – Large or well-funded vendors may offer a completely free solution as a way to pull you into other products they offer.  Free is a positive — but shouldn’t be the main deciding factor.  Some of the most exciting features and time-savers come from the smaller vendors.  Also, the smaller vendors tend to be the ones offering tailored solutions to specific industries or types of businesses.
  • DASHBOARD INTELLIGENCE – More analytics tools and dashboards are available to help you determine how your cash is flowing.  Now you can expect your invoicing tool to do more than just handle invoicing transactions well.  Now the bar is higher.  Look for an invoicing tool that gives you both:  transactional capability AND intelligence.
  • VIDEO TO “SHOW” YOU – Marketing, support and training sections of their websites are using more video.  This strikes us here at Small Business Trends as a great use of video.  A video can convey much more information than words when it comes to showing people what the software is like and how to use it.
  • MORE TESTIMONIALS — More credible testimonials appear on all of the sites, including the original 30.  This in part is a reflection of the fact that many of these apps now have more of a track record 17 months later.  That’s a good thing.  We suggest looking closely at the type of business giving the testimonial.  That may give you some clues as what type of industry or size of business the product is best suited for.
  • PROMINENT PRICING — Almost all vendors, at least the truly savvy, list their prices prominently so you can easily answer the most important question:  Can I afford this?  Business owners are time-pressed.  Many of us are shopping for online software after hours and on weekends or holidays.  And time is money for many of us in the small business world.  So look for a vendor that makes it easy for you to make a choice online, without needing to contact them for additional information.

On each of the earlier 30 reviewed, I visited each site again to confirm mostly if pricing was the same or different. If there were any significant changes, the short summary has been edited to reflect the new information. In a couple of cases, companies went out of business or sold and are not currently available.  Fortunately, most of the original 30 are still doing well and keeping up with customer demand.

Visit the full post, “50 Online Invoicing Apps for Small Businesses,”  and please feel free to share your comments, thoughts and recommendations.

1 Comment ▼

TJ McCue - Product Editor


TJ McCue TJ McCue served as Technology/Product Review Editor for Small Business Trends for many years and now contributes on 3D technologies. He is currently traveling the USA on the 3DRV roadtrip and writes at the Refine Digital blog.

One Reaction

  1. Great article, TJ.
    There are many great websites which offer useful features and we were looking for one which has in it Online Invoicing, Billing and Cash Flow. But we couldn’t find any. Perhaps it is too custom to have it all together but it might be very useful for small business. We started working on our own and it did help us quite a bit (when it was completed). It has minimal appearance but has all we need.

    Start Online Invoicing

    Obviously there might be some room for additional features, however it did replace our manual invoicing, billing and we are always aware of our cash flow. And for the rest there is an accountant (Not a part of the website) :-)

    Feel free to check it out. We do like good comments and especially critics.

    Thanks,
    Peter

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