Or use the traditional forms…
Every business needs to make money. Whether it’s an individual selling goods online, a partnership building itself as a small boutique, or a corporation selling massive amounts of merchandise to a wide demographic of customers, no business can continue to function if it is not paid for its goods or services. The only time-tested way to ensure payment is through invoicing, a method which has been evolving in its many forms for many years.
First, invoices were done with a paper and pencil, sometimes with hand-drawn lines. Then, we upgraded to computers. There was a multitude of offline-computer based software such as Intuit QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel and Word. In Excel, setting up an invoice template is easy. With number and letter coded fields, entering data, pricing information, and customizable data is a cinch. With Word’s table ability, the same thing can be done within the visible limits of a letter or A4 document.
However, with Word and Excel, people found a problem with customized invoice templates being changed by OS upgrades, which caused a greater problem. Add to that that a separate file will be needed for every client, and there is no ability to manage all clients in a single location without a database program, and offline invoice management loses its touch. While the Office software is great for invoicing, it just couldn’t reach the potential needed for people. Businesses with multiple, long-term clients need to be able to provide customized invoices, and with any potential interference, they need a more stable option than Microsoft Office.
Enter the internet. There are endless online services offering invoicing at a low $20 a month, with limited options. With FreshBooks, a business with three or less clients can invoice for free. For $20, a business can manage up to 25. For $30, it can manage an unlimited amount. With their $40 package, a business can have unlimited clients, one free registered staff member, as well as the ability to assign project managers, do team timesheets, and handle team expense management.
All of their account types provide the ability to handle unlimited invoices, add a company logo to the document, invoice in many different languages or currencies, and different invoice templates. They also offer mail services, data backups, and a firewall and secure encryption to keep your data safe. Other paid services of a similar kind are Invoicera and Blinksale.
If a business is on a lower budget but has a high number of clients, free options exist as well, such as SageSpark’s BillingBoss, which allows a business to create, send, and track invoices for an unlimited number clients, absolutely free. It also has similar features to the aforementioned pay services, like adding logos, manage all clients from a singular list, and it adds the ability to have a bookkeeper or accountant handle the BillingBoss account for you.
With services like these, offline invoicing and invoice templates will probably end up being a distant memory, or, at the very least, done only for a backup. With all of the basic capabilities of offline invoicing software, with the added element of centrality and transcendent customization, online-based invoicing services will come out on top.