There are probably hundreds of ways to handle invoicing your clients and collecting payments for projects. We’ve talked about a few of them here before and you may be using something already. New tools are coming into the marketplace all the time with more small businesses doing things in the cloud and using web based services, so I thought we might take a look at what’s new out there, what’s been updated, and what other people are using. It’s also crucial to provide benefits to your staff if you want to keep them as happy as is possible and also look for a platform that offers flexible benefits as those will be appreciated even more.
When I first started doing virtual assistant work and even when I started focusing on transcription instead of general services, I didn’t have an invoice and bookkeeping system of any kind. I was manually creating invoices in Word with tables and doing the math on a calculator. I look back at that and wonder how I managed to not make myself crazy, it was really time consuming and not at all efficient. There were a few tools available back then, but they all seemed expensive and complicated. Thank goodness things have changed! There are affordable solutions, even a few free ones, and they make it all so easy to manage and organize the financial side of your business fast so that you can focus on the work and what you do best.
Let’s take a look at some nifty accounting and invoicing tools that are out there to make your virtual assistant life a little bit easier… (in no particular order)
Pricing: Free. The only things you’ll pay for at Wave are the usual payment processor fees for credit cards and bank transfers per transaction.
Features: Invoicing, with option to customize images. Can accept credit cards and bank transfer payments. Track expenses, supports receipt scanning and bank connection. Payroll options are available, if that is something you need, at $4 per employee or a monthly fee.
Pricing: Free / $18/month
UPDATE: In early 2019 AndCo is changing their pricing. It will be free for one client and $18/month for full options and features.
Features: Send custom invoices, proposals, estimates, and contracts with e-signing included. Accept Paypal, credit cards, and ACH payments. Automatic payment reminders. Create subscriptions for monthly recurring packages and get paid automatically every month. Time tracking. Expense tracking and tax ready reports.
Pricing: Free 30 day trial available. $15/month up to 5 clients, $25/month for 5 to 50 clients, or $50/month up to 500 clients
Features: Invoicing, with some customization options. Client login portal. Can accept credit card payments and other options can be integrated. Automated payment reminders. Set up recurring invoices for ongoing projects. Expense tracking and easy to read reports to make tax time easier. Send quotes and estimates for client approval. Time tracking available. Team collaboration available.
Pricing: Free basic level account with additional features available for $15/month.
Features: Easy invoice creation, with some customization options. Send quotes and estimates. Accept payments by Paypal or credit cards, the usual processing fees apply per transaction. Expense tracking. Recurring invoices with auto-billing and time tracking features are available in the paid upgrade.
Features: Can manage accounting for multiple businesses from one account. Client login portal. Payment processing through Paypal, Stripe, or credit cards. Set up recurring invoices. Automatic payment reminders. Send quotes or estimates for project. Expense tracking. Connect your bank account for easy accounting. Attach receipts to projects and invoices. Profit and loss and tax reports available.
Features: Customize your invoice, add a logo. Schedule invoices in advance to be sent on a certain day. Accept partial payments. Allow clients to leave a tip. Send payment reminders. Process credit card payments with per transaction fee. Record payment manually if a client sends you a check in the mail.
Pricing: Free up to 5 clients, $9/month up to 50 clients, $19/month for 50 – 500 clients, and $29/month unlimited clients
Features: Customize invoice templates. Client login portal. Time tracking tool. Expense tracking. Automate recurring monthly billing. Automated payment reminders. Paypal and credit card processing, with the usual fees. Send an invoice via snail mail for those old school clients who prefer paper.
Zoho also offers other tools and solutions, like a CRM and virtual document signing. You can choose what additional services you want and only pay for what you need.
Pricing: Free 30 day trial available, $0 up to 2 projects, $12/month unlimited solo account
Features: Project focused. Payment processing with Stripe and Paypal, usual fees apply. Automatic payment reminders. Time tracking tool with daily timers and a weekly worksheet to show progress. Integrates well with project management platforms like Asana and Basecamp.
Pricing: Free 14 day trial available. $0/month up to 3 invoices sent monthly, $5/month up to 25 invoices sent monthly (invoices will include SimplyBill branding in the footer), $15/month up to 100 invoices sent monthly, $25/month unlimited
Features: Customize invoice header. Easy to read charts right on the dashboard. Accept partial payments. Automatic reminders and thank you messages.
Pricing: Free 17 day trial available, $37/month
Features: Easy invoice templates. Create custom forms and questionnaires to collect information from clients. Time tracking and project management. Expense tracking and tax ready reports. Create lead forms and embed them on your website. Virtual contract signing and storage.
Pricing: Free trial available, $40/month
Features: All-in-one solution for accounting, booking and scheduling, project management, and client retention. Customize invoices. Scheduling. Send proposals. Manage client contracts, including virtual document signing. Project to-do lists. Automate responses to schedule inquiries, payment reminders, and thank you notes.
Pricing: Free 30 day trial available, plans at $10/month, $20/month, $40/month, and $60/month depending on features you want.
Features: The $10/month plan allows you to send invoices, receive payments, and track expenses including mileage. The $20/month plan includes sending and managing estimates. The other account upgrades allow you to integrate with your bank account, generate profit reports, track inventory, and pay bills.
Pricing: Free trial available, $29/month or $39/month for a team
Features: Payable and receivable account managements. Payment processing of all types. Receive automatic ACH payments from customer accounts. Automated billing and payment reminders. Integrates well with other financial management software for automated bookkeeping.
Pricing: Free 14 day trial available, plans start at $10/month for up to 6 users, tiered price increases for larger teams
Features: Agile project management software with time tracking and project billing. Manage your team and your clients all in one location. Kanban-style boards for project collaboration. Customize invoices, accept payments, and automate reminders.
Pricing: Free 30 day trial available, $12/month for first six months, then $24/month
Features: You can have as many users, clients and projects as you want, no limit. Send estimates and invoices. Time tracking and time sheet generation. Expense management, including the ability to connect your bank account and automatically import transactions.
Pricing: Free for just invoices and Paypal payments, $9.99/month for additional features, $19.99/month for additional features plus team members
Features: The free level is just basic invoicing. The $9.99/month level includes sending estimates, additional payment processing options, tracking expenses, setting up recurring invoices, and changing the branding.
Pricing: Free trial available, free up to 3 clients, $25/month
Features: Client and project management together. Send customized invoices, proposals, and quotes. Manage contracts with e-signatures. Client portal login. Receive payments, allow for tips, and create payment plans. Expense tracking. Set up subscriptions for recurring monthly packages. Create lead forms and embed them on your website. Use questionnaires to gather data you need for projects. Integrates well with other applications, like Zapier, G-Suite, and iCloud.
What are other virtual assistants and service providers using?
Loretta Oliver is using SlickPie at The Small Business Transcriptionist
I figured I should add my own experience since I’m asking everyone to tell me what they’re using. I was surprised at all the features and changes out there compared to just a few years ago when I started using web based accounting and invoicing.
In January 2017 I spent days trying out as many invoicing platform trials as I could, trying to find the right solution and see if there was something better than what I was using. Ultimately, I switched from using Freshbooks to SlickPie because it had a few additional features that Freshbooks hadn’t rolled out. It’s also nice that SlickPie is free, so I reduced my monthly business expenses by switching.
Cindy Bidar is using Zoho to invoice her clients
Beginning in late 2017 I started using Zoho for invoicing. Previously I was using PayPal’s built-in invoice system, but I found it pretty clunky. I wanted something that would:
1. Be easily brandable.
2. Let my clients choose how to pay – either PayPal or by credit card through my Stripe account.
3. Let me create a database of projects and tasks to easily add to invoices, I just need to make sure to use the best nosql databases system to keep my data safe.
4. Not cost a fortune every month.
It’s important to note that I didn’t need time-keeping capabilities, since I already use and love Teamwork for that.
I found Zoho, and it far exceeds my expectations. Invoicing is super quick, it’s easy for clients to pay, but the best part is the integration with PayPal business. If my client pays with his or her PayPal business account balance, my fee is only 50 cents!
I pay $7 per month for Zoho, and that feature alone saves me in excess of $100 every month. I only wish I’d found it sooner!
Stephanie Watson-Barry is using Paypal Invoices at Barry Publishing
I used to use Freshbooks and I really liked it, but then PayPal came out with their own free invoicing option. I really love it.
It does everything that I need it to do including allowing for partial payments. It allows my clients to pay me via credit or PayPal. You can also personalize your invoice with your logo and other information.
It keeps everything in one spot. I really like to keep things simple.
Alicia Jay from New VA Advice is also using Paypal Invoices
I’ve tried several different types invoicing software over the years, and I’ve come back to one that’s simple as well as easy for my clients to use.
I send my clients an invoice via PayPal. I can send one-time invoices, set up recurring billing, and also send reminders.
I use PayPal for all of my outgoing and incoming transactions, which makes it very easy when tax time rolls around. I can easily print reports needed, and I have all of my information in one place.
My clients are happy with the PayPal invoicing process, and for the few who don’t have a PayPal account, they can still pay the invoices I send using a credit card.
Dara Simons is using Dubsado along with And.Co for managing clients and invoicing in her business.
I use both Dubsado and And.Co. I LOVE Dubsado’s forms and the ability to have different options in a proposal. It works great for the web design part of my business.
Dubsado’s workflows are awesome to help automate things. But I really like and.co’s time tracker a lot better. I use it for my hourly virtual assistance clients.
Christina Lemmey is using 17 Hats at Multimedia Content Solutions
I use 17 Hats for my invoicing as well as my project calendar, client emails, and my time tracking. I love having multiple functions all within one platform; it prevents me from needing 3 separate windows open on my computer.
I’m just starting to use their bookkeeping function and they recently created a client portal but I haven’t had time to explore that yet. There are even more features which I’m not using yet; it’s really a powerful tool and cost effective for small businesses. Even though they had a lot of glitches during my first year using it, their support team is awesome and I’ve been glitch-free for this whole second year.
Tools & Solutions are Available for Everyone
As you can tell from the variety of answers my friends had, there’s no shortage of affordable invoicing solutions that will keep you looking professional no matter where you are in your journey or what your business expense budget is. There are so many options these days, there really is something for everyone.
What are YOU using to invoice your clients?
Tell us about your favorite invoicing solution and how it helps make your life easier in the comment section below.
I have to say, in doing the research for this post and in talking with these smart ladies, I learned about a few tools I didn’t know about yet. I’m also impressed at how some of the services have changed in just the last year or so since I looked at free trials and compared features.
If you’re not using an invoicing or accounting solution yet, I hope this round up of tools was helpful for you in finding something that will be a good fit for your business needs.