You've already found clients, put in the hours, and completed the work. Now it's time to get paid. Invoicing should be the easiest part of your process, but creating and sending an invoice can be a time suck—and one you're not getting paid for.
Invoicing software does the grunt work for you. Whether you're looking for a quick way to send a simple invoice, an affordable way to process electronic payments, or a secure way to accept wire transfers, invoicing apps will get the job done. We've tested dozens of options, and here are the best we found. Click any app below to learn more about why we chose it, or keep reading to learn more about invoicing software.
The best invoicing software
PayPal for invoicing clients who have PayPal accounts
Stripe for securely accepting wire transfer payments
Zoho Invoice for sending paper invoices by snail mail
Harvest for turning tracked time into invoices
AND.CO for generating invoices from contracts
FreshBooks for simple accounting with invoicing
QuickBooks Online for low-cost payment processing
Invoice2go for sending invoices by mobile messaging apps
Pancake for simple self-hosted invoicing
Bill.com for status visibility
Note: Quoted payment processing and transaction fees apply only to payments sent to and received from individuals within the United States. International fees may vary by both provider and location.
What makes great invoicing software?
First and foremost, invoicing software should enable you to create an invoice more quickly than you could in your word processor and, ideally, lets you receive payments online. Good invoicing software autofills details like product and customer information. Many tools can even track the time you or your team spends on projects, the prices for each item or hour of work, and expenses.
From there, creating an invoice takes only a few clicks. Instead of creating a new document and typing everything in manually each time, you customize your invoice app once, track ongoing projects, and let the app generate the invoice.
When testing apps, we looked for ones with either unique or extensive features—those that do something no other app offers. We also considered pricing, but because we have a roundup dedicated to free invoice software, we expanded our testing to include paid apps.
We also focused our research on software primarily designed for invoicing. For example, accounting apps offer the ability to invoice clients, but that is just one feature among many. If you're interested in more robust accounting tools, read our roundup of best accounting software.
Best invoicing software for invoicing clients who have PayPal accounts
PayPal (Web, iOS, Android)
PayPal is one of the most popular payment gateways, so there is a good chance many of your clients already have PayPal accounts. Plus, PayPal's name recognition and reputation may alleviate any concerns they have with paying you online.
With either a personal or business PayPal account, you can create invoices and accept payments by credit/debit card, bank transfer (ACH), or PayPal balance. When clients pay, the money is added to your PayPal account. You can transfer your PayPal balance—subject to certain limits—to your debit card or bank account at any time.
PayPal invoices are simple. You can create quantity- or hour-based invoices in the currency you want and with customizable tax rates. You can also input your customers and products to build invoices faster—or import a CSV file of invoice details to generate invoices in bulk. You can also create recurring invoices and allow clients to make partial payments.
Even if your clients don't have PayPal accounts, you can still invoice and accept payments from them. However, the option to pay without a PayPal account isn't immediately obvious from the client side, so it might be worth sending them instructions on how to do it.
PayPal price: Free to create an account and send invoices
PayPal payment processing fees: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
Automate PayPal with PayPal's Zapier integrations.
Best invoicing software for securely accepting wire transfer payments
Stripe (Web, iOS, Android)
Stripe's powerful suite of online payment processing tools includes invoicing and a unique feature: the ability to accept wire transfer payments without exposing your bank account information.
Occasionally, you may run across a client who insists on paying via wire transfer. The problem: To accept a wire transfer payment, you have to divulge sensitive financial information, including your bank name, routing number, and account number.
Stripe's invoicing tool lets you generate virtual bank account numbers when accepting wire transfers, protecting your private banking details. The wired funds are then added to your Stripe account and automatically transferred to your bank on the schedule you specify.
Stripe also offers the other features you need from invoicing software: sending one-off invoices; creating recurring invoices; and accepting card, ACH, and wire transfer payments. You can also populate invoices with pre-saved customer details or customize your invoice with your own branding.
Stripe price: Free for the Starter plan that includes unlimited one-off invoices and unlimited recurring invoices up to $1 million; from 0.4% fees on recurring charges after you exceed $1 million in lifetime recurring charges. If you're interested in invoice auto-reconciliation, where Stripe automatically reconciles invoices paid by ACH credit or wire transfer, fees start at $7 per invoice.
Stripe payment processing fees: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for credit/debit card payments; from $8 per wire transfer payment; 0.8% with a $5 cap for ACH Direct Debit payments
Automate Stripe with Zapier's Stripe integrations.
If you can't decide between PayPal and Stripe for your payment gateway, check out our detailed Stripe vs. PayPal breakdown.
Best invoicing software for sending paper invoices by snail mail
Zoho Invoice (Web, iOS, Android)
Zoho Invoice can automatically make invoices that match your company's brand and then mail them to your clients. After inputting your company details and selecting one of a handful of standard templates, you can quickly create invoices with a form that helps you add line items, taxes, and details.
You can email the invoice immediately—or schedule it to be emailed later. If you have a client who prefers paper, use the Send Snail Mail option hidden under the More menu, and Zoho will professionally print and mail your invoice inside the U.S. for $2, complete with a return envelope so customers can mail back their payment. It's a great way to automate invoicing even when you still need to use paper.
Zoho Invoice price: Free for unlimited invoices, one user, and up to five customers; from $9/month for the Basic plan that includes unlimited invoices for one user and up to 50 customers
Zoho Invoice payment processing fees: Payments accepted through Zoho Invoice are made through third-party apps like PayPal, Stripe, and Square, so transaction fees vary based on the terms of your selected payment gateway
Automate Zoho Invoice with Zoho Invoice's Zapier integrations.
Best invoicing software for turning tracked time into invoices
Harvest (Web, macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Chrome, Safari)
Harvest is built around time tracking. Using its mobile, web, desktop, or browser apps, you can track every minute of your workday—with Harvest automatically noticing when you're away. Select the client, project, and task you're working on to have your time automatically logged with the rest of your team's contributions.
If Harvest isn't right for your time tracking needs, find other great options in our guide to the best time tracker apps.
You can assign a budget to each project so you can see how close your team is to hitting it—or if you're in danger of missing the mark. You can even see who's getting the most done and use past performance to better estimate future projects. Once your work is complete, you can automatically pull the details into an invoice so you can bill clients for that time. It's a great way for teams to collaborate around their time spent on tasks.
Harvest price: Free for unlimited invoicing, one user, and two projects; $12/month per person for the Pro plan that includes unlimited invoicing and projects.
Harvest payment processing fees: Payments accepted through Harvest are made through either PayPal or Stripe, so transaction fees vary based on the terms of your selected payment gateway
Automate Harvest with Harvest's Zapier integrations.
Best invoicing software for generating invoices directly from contracts
AND.CO (Web, macOS, Chrome, iOS, Android)
AND.CO is an invoicing, time tracking, and task management app designed specifically for freelancers, and it offers pretty much everything you need to run and manage a freelance business. Build proposals, track time worked toward clients and projects, generate invoices quickly from your timesheets, and accept payments.
But AND.CO offers one standout feature: It automatically populates invoices for you based on your contracts and projects.
Creating a contract is easy with templates provided by the Freelancers Union. You can customize the template with your project terms and fees, select which clauses you want to include (like non-compete, late payment fees, or ownership rights), and even collect e-signatures.
Then, when it’s time to bill for your work, you can create an invoice from an existing project, create an invoice and set up a new project at the same time, or send a quick invoice from scratch. If you create an invoice from an existing project, the work and fees you outlined in the contract will automatically populate. Just review the details and click send.
AND.CO price: Free for one active client. The pro plan is $18/month for unlimited clients, editable contracts, and the ability to remove AND.CO branding.
AND.CO payment processing fees: Payments accepted through AND.CO are made through Stripe or PayPal, so transaction fees vary based on the terms of your selected payment gateway
Automate AND.CO with AND.CO's Zapier integrations.
Explore more accounting and invoicing apps in our roundup of the best bookkeeping apps for freelancers.
Best invoicing software for simple accounting with invoicing
FreshBooks (Web, iOS, Android)
If you need more accounting tools than your basic invoicing software provides but fewer than a robust accounting tool like Xero or QuickBooks, FreshBooks may be right for you. FreshBooks lets you create projects, track time, log expenses, create estimates, and pull detailed reports—all in addition to simple invoicing and payment processing.
Log in and you'll see your team's revenue and profit, along with other basic reports on the dashboard in bright colors and bold fonts. That same fun, info-driven design is present throughout the app. The Invoices tab shows your outstanding, draft, and overdue items at the top, with recently updated invoices underneath so you can get right to work on them.
Building new invoices is quick, too. You'll see the invoice page preview, where you can edit details, switch up the theme in a couple of clicks, or pull in tracked time and expenses for each client. And speaking of expenses, FreshBooks can connect to your company bank account or credit card and pull in business expenses automatically, making it easier to bill your customers and figure out your total expenses at tax time.
FreshBooks price: From $15/month for the Lite plan that includes up to five clients, unlimited invoices and estimates, and payment processing.
FreshBooks payment processing fees: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for credit/debit card payments through FreshBooks Payments (if American Express cards are used, the fee jumps to 3.5% + $0.30). Payments accepted through Stripe are subject to Stripe's transaction fees.
Automate FreshBooks with FreshBooks' Zapier integrations.
Best invoicing software for low-cost payment processing
QuickBooks Online (Web, macOS, Windows, iOS, Android)
QuickBooks Online is one of the best-known accounting apps. But it's not only for tracking your expenses and income; it's also a great tool to make invoices and accept payments.
QuickBooks Online offers plans for both freelancers and small businesses. Its Self-Employed plan, which is designed for freelancers and other one-person companies, includes simple invoicing and payment processing, as well as transaction tracking, expense tracking, and tax estimation.
QuickBooks Online plans for small businesses include all of the Self-Employed offerings plus more robust features like managing 1099 contractors, tracking inventory, and managing bills. And for an additional monthly cost, you can add self-managed or full-service payroll.
In addition to helping you create invoices, accept payments, and manage your expenses, QuickBooks offers some of the lowest fees of any payment processing tool on this list. Per-transaction fees are $0.05 less than most other payment gateways, and you can accept ACH bank transfers with a 1% processing fee (which is capped at $10 per transaction). You can even disable credit card payments when creating invoices to ensure you aren't charged fees when clients pay.
QuickBooks price: $15/month for QuickBooks Self-Employed; from $25/month for the Simple Start plan that includes invoicing, payment processing, and sales and sales tax tracking.
QuickBooks payment processing fees: 2.9% + $0.25 per transaction for credit/debit card payments on invoices
Automate QuickBooks with QuickBooks' Zapier integrations.
Not sure which combined accounting and invoicing app is right for you? Check out our detailed comparison of Xero, FreshBooks, and QuickBooks to make an informed decision.
Best invoicing software for sending invoices by mobile messaging apps
Invoice2go (Web, iOS, Android)
Digital invoices can easily get buried in your client’s inbox. Invoice2go helps you stand out and get paid faster by letting you send invoices from any messaging app on your phone.
On the iOS or Android app, simply fill out a handful of fields to create an invoice. You can then choose to send the invoice by email, text, or any messaging app on your phone, including WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, and Facebook Messenger. Your client will receive your message with a link that directs them to the Invoice2go portal where they can view, download, and pay their invoice online.
You don’t need to worry about any sensitive data being shared through these messaging apps, either—payments go through Invoice2go’s secure online portal, powered by Stripe, so all payment information stays safe and secure.
Invoice2go price: From $5/month for the Lite plan that includes 50 invoices, five clients, and invoice status tracking. From $11/month for the [Standard plan].(https://invoice.2go.com/invoice-app-pricing-plans/) that includes 20 invoices, 25 clients, and advanced tracking features.
Invocie2go payment processing fees: Payments accepted through Invoice2go are made through Stripe. Transaction fees depend on the plan type and are the lowest for the Unlimited plan, at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
Best invoicing software for self-hosted simple invoicing
Pancake is an easy-to-use time tracking and invoice app that you can run on your own servers—which means there's no subscription fee. With a one-time fee, you can buy a copy of Pancake and even get free assistance with installing it on your server. You can also customize its theme to fit your branding for a consistent experience when clients visit your site to pay their bills.
Your team can then track their work and send estimates and invoices to customers—all from the same app. Clients can log in to see their ongoing projects, the tasks your team is doing for them, and their payments. It's a great way to build a customized workflow for your clients that fits into the rest of your site.
Pancake price: One-time payment of $179 for a Pancake 4 license and free installation assistance.
Pancake payment processing fees: Payments accepted through Pancake are made through third-party apps like PayPal and Stripe, so transaction fees vary based on the terms of your selected payment gateway.
Best invoicing plan for status visibility
Bill.com (Web, iOS, Android)
Regardless of how easily you can create an invoice online, what happens after you send that invoice remains a black hole. You may have to send reminders in the app or, even worse, send emails to follow up. Bill.com eliminates the guesswork by displaying the status of an invoice on a progress bar with milestones, such as sent, bill created, approved, and payment incoming.
Bill.com works best when both you and your client use the tool. Your clients can customize their approval workflow for easy, automatic routing. For example, clients can add business and finance approvers to the workflow and, once approved, the invoice would be automatically routed to the accounts payable team to pay the bill via ACH, credit card, or PayPal.
On your end, each invoice displays the stage it is in. You’ll also receive an email when the payment is scheduled and when it has been deposited. If you have any questions along the way, you can leave comments and notes directly on the invoice page.
Other invoicing apps offer similar workflow features, but they often feel overwhelming and clunky. Bill.com provides these advanced features in a simple, intuitive way.
Bill.com price: $39/month per user for the Essentials plan to manage payables or receivables. The Essentials plan includes standard approval workflows, unlimited document storage, and the ability to choose from five standard roles. If your client already has a paid plan with Bill.com, they can send a unique invite link to allow you to sign up for free as one of their vendors.
Bill.co payment processing fees: $0.49 processing fee for an ePayment or ACH. If you want to accept credit card payments online, there is a processing fee of 2.75% + $0.15 per transaction.
Tips for streamlining your invoice workflows
Now that you've picked out an invoicing app, it's time to fit it into your workflow. Using Zapier, you can connect many of the tools in this roundup to more than 1,500 other apps—including software you already use like Gmail, Slack, and Trello.
Here are a few popular use cases to inspire you:
Create invoices automatically
Invoicing software lets you build new invoices quickly, but Zapier can make it even faster. With Zaps—Zapier's automated workflows—you can build invoices automatically from spreadsheets, projects, sales, and more.
Automatically create tasks
Whether you've recently added a new client, started on a new project, or billed someone for work, you'll need to keep track of everything going on. If you already have a favorite way of tracking tasks, Zapier can create new to-dos and projects from your clients and invoices automatically.
Make companion documents for clients
Need to send contracts, project details, or other template documents to your clients along with your invoice? Zapier's WebMerge automations can help, creating new documents automatically for new customers and invoices.
Add customers to a mailing list
If you stay in touch with your customers long after your job is done, it might lead to them hiring you for a new job. Connect your invoice app to your mailing list to add new customers to a list or to put those you've invoiced in a special list.
Originally published in July 2017 and previously updated by Jessica Green, this post was most recently refreshed by Emily Esposito with each app's latest features and pricing, plus great new apps.