EGF’s Top Picks: Business Financial Management Software

Business financial management software

Having organized, digital financial documents is important for many reasons. By using software for invoices and bill payments, you’ll make your life as a small business owner much easier, as well as for your bookkeepers and accountants. These software programs can help you track business income and expenses, and also help you get invoices out in a timely way, follow-up on accounts receivable and pay pending bills on time. They can also help you easily pull up-to-date financial reports that will be required when you need a business loan.

Why use bookkeeping software for invoices and bills?

In addition to helping you work more efficiently, there are several additional benefits to using full-suite bookkeeping software, like QuickBooks® and Xero®, for invoices and bills:

  • For many quality bookkeeping programs, these functions are designed to integrate with your financial institutions, such as business bank accounts and credit card holders, which eliminates or reduces the likelihood of data-entry errors that wreak havoc on your books.

  • The software ties directly into project, vendor and customer histories so you don’t have to produce this information each time you need it, and revenue and bills are tracked appropriately.

  • These programs make it easy to track open and overdue invoices and send reminders (via email or regular mail), and to accept payments through your clients’ and vendors’ credit cards or bank transfers (via automated clearing house, or ACH, payments).

  • It’s also easy to pay bills using these programs—many have check-printing capabilities as well as the convenience of linking to your business bank account and sending funds directly.

Importantly, full-suite bookkeeping software makes it easy to pull up-to-date financial reports to let you take the pulse of your business at any given time. When your business needs financing, these updated and accurate reports will make the loan application process go more smoothly and improve your chances of approval. If you need assistance setting up these systems, EGF can help.

How to choose the best bookkeeping software program for your business

While most software programs that are developed for bookkeeping purposes include the same basic functions, including invoicing and billing capabilities, there are some key differences that can make one program better for your business than the others.

When reviewing the different programs that are available, it’s important to think about whether or not the programs you’re considering can help you:

  • Easily track invoices and take payments online

  • Schedule and automate bill payments and create checks to vendors

  • Generate purchase orders and convert them into bills

  • Create estimates or quotes and turn them into invoices

  • Track customers or projects for both billing and invoicing purposes

  • Create recurring transactions

Some or most of these capabilities are available in several reasonably-priced software suites.

You’ll also want to consider additional capabilities that you may need as your business grows. For example, some software programs offer the ability to generate employee paychecks or track mileage. Even if these aspects aren’t relevant to your business today, consider whether they may be as you grow. And if you choose a simplified version of a software program, find out if it’s easy to upgrade down the line and whether or not your existing information can be easily migrated.

In addition, research the customer-service side of the program. Look into whether someone is available via phone or chat if you run into problems. And if you’re using the services of a certified public accountant, be sure that the program is easy to set up for additional users.

Once you learn how to use the invoicing and billing capabilities of your bookkeeping software suite, they’ll make your time more efficient and eliminate a lot of late payments—those owed to you, as well as those you owe.

Additional invoicing and billing software options if you don’t want or need a full package

If you don’t have or want a full bookkeeping-software suite, there are some third-party options that you can purchase simply for invoicing and billing purposes. Here are some with reasonable fees and easy-to-use capabilities:

Square Invoices®: Square has been one of the most popular and reliable small business payment-processing software options since it launched.

 Advantages:

  • It offers open-invoice tracking, credit-card payment processing (for a moderate fee, currently about 2.75% to 2.9%) and mobile capabilities, all with a very easy-to-use interface.

Drawbacks:

  • It doesn’t offer ACH payments, quotes or estimates.

  • It doesn’t allow customers to enter a payment amount that’s different than the invoice amount, which can be a disadvantage if you want to offer installment payments.

Invoice2go®: This platform is very easy for small business owners to use.

Advantages:

  • You can create customized invoices and track them.

  • It allows for image-capture of expenses that have already been paid.

  • It offers well-integrated mobile capabilities as well as good customer support when needed.

Drawbacks:

  • For this to be used with your existing bookkeeping software program (if you use one), integration is required, which can often lead to data glitches, so you’ll have to spend time reviewing your results.

  • It doesn’t allow businesses to track billable labor costs or labor-per-customer.

  • It doesn’t offer live bank-feed capabilities.

Invoicely®: This software has a free option, with no monthly premium and most of the features that the other options offer. It also offers paid options with additional features.

Advantages:

  • An easy-to-use, basic system with a good user interface and unlimited invoicing.

Drawbacks:

  • Limited invoice-customization capabilities.

  • Limited integration capability.

  • Moderate customer-support satisfaction.

Billy: Billy’s primary advantages are its ability to send electronic estimates and quotes that can be digitally signed later and converted into invoices. It enables business owners to track customers and projects by both income (invoices) and costs (bills).

Advantages:

  • An easy-to-use system that offers invoicing and expense-tracking along with bank reconciliation.

  • A well-designed interface and strong customer support.

Drawbacks:

  • Billy is a relatively new system and its developer has been responsive to drawbacks, which seem to be addressed promptly, so it’s already highly rated and will likely continue to improve.

Whichever option you use, it will help you run your business better

Whether you choose a full-suite bookkeeping software program that integrates invoices and bill payments, or you prefer to use stand-alone software just for invoices and bills, you’ll find many advantages to using these capabilities. Not only will you get invoices out more efficiently—and follow-up and get paid more quickly—but with automated and integrated bill payments, you can improve your business’s credit standing, too. This can result in potentially becoming a preferred client for vendors and help you negotiate better terms for purchases and loans.

For more information on how this can help your business, or to have a consultation with an Excelsior Growth Fund Business Advisor, get in touch with us today.