What Is Invoicing Software?
As you might expect, invoicing software is designed to streamline sending invoices to clients.
While it is possible to prepare an invoice manually, invoicing software allows you to significantly improve the process in several areas, no matter how large or small your business is.
You could also use our free Invoice Generator if you just wanted to create a one time invoice.
Invoicing Software vs. Traditional Invoicing
Using invoicing software will enable you to significantly increase the speed of invoice preparation, especially when compared to doing it by hand.
However, most invoicing software can integrate with other platforms, which let you input information with just a few clicks of a button. For example, Bonsai allows integration with various popular business and financial applications through Zapier.
2. Templates and Formatting
Traditional invoicing requires you to create your own templates or — worse — write and format all your invoices from scratch. Not only is this time-consuming, it’s a waste of resources.
However, most invoicing softwares have preset templates and auto-formatting, which are efficient, can be used repeatedly, and will help make your invoices look professional and cohesive. You can add your company logo or brand colours and customize them.
These aren’t one-off solutions but something to integrate with your business tools that you’ll use repeatedly!
3. Storage of Records
Traditional invoicing requires reams and reams of paper and somewhere to store it. Neither very efficient – nor eco-friendly!
With invoicing software, you can keep all your records in one place (either on your hard drive or in the cloud) and provide you with pre-built naming systems to help you keep things organized.
4. Payment Tracking
Payment tracking with traditional invoicing requires you to review various accounts to reconcile your payments manually.
However, invoicing software that can integrate with various payment platforms instantly records the payment against the invoice, meaning you can see at a glance whether or not it’s been paid.
Bonsai, for example, allows clients to pay directly from within the invoice itself, making payment and payment tracking as simple as possible.
Traditional invoicing usually means that all your records are kept in one physical place. That means digging through boxes and boxes to find pricing or client information — a waste of time!
With invoicing software, on the other hand, you can pull up any information you need from your desktop or digital device, whether you’re in the office or on the road.
We particularly love that Bonsai has a library of services allowing you to access service pricing anytime!
The Benefits of Using Invoicing Software for Small Businesses
Invoicing software has some particular benefits for small businesses.
1. Time Efficiency
Small business owners run off their feet and have little time to waste. That’s why you should invest in invoicing software to help you deal with time-consuming but essential tasks such as invoicing.
Typically cheaper than hiring a full or part-time employee, it will free up your time and resources so that you can get back to the essential things.
2. Accuracy in Invoicing
While human error happens, when it happens to your invoices, you could delay your payments and hinder your cash flow. Avoid this by using invoicing software which can autofill set prices or create recurring billing cycles for clients.
While you can’t eliminate the risk of human (or machine) error, the chance of it happening with invoicing software is much reduced.
3. Professional Appearance
Keeping things professional in function and form is something to strive for as a small business trying to establish itself in the market. Invoicing software often comes with invoice templates which ensure your business has a quality, professional, and cohesive appearance.
Look for a platform that will allow you to add your branding, ie, pre-built image fields for your logo, or the ability to use your brand colors.
4. Faster Payment Processing
Invoicing software allowing payment gateway integration can speed up your payment processing capabilities, ensuring better cash flow in your business (the number one issue for small businesses).
Look for software that can integrate different payment methods directly into your invoices — such as Bonsai. Not only is this more convenient for your client, you’ll also potentially be able to access your funds faster (bear in mind that card payments are often processed faster than bank payments).
5. Organization of Invoices
Gone are the days of having to scramble through boxes and boxes of paper invoices to find the information you want. Instead, with all of your invoices organized digitally within your invoicing software (either on your desktop or in the cloud), you can access any record anytime.
Not to mention that some invoicing software, ie, Bonsai, has a library of services available so that you can access your pricing whenever you need to.
6. Automated Reminders
Unfortunately, not all clients pay on time, and chasing payments can be anxiety-inducing.
However, most invoicing software can send out automated reminders to your clients, saving you the hassle and potential embarrassment.
7. Financial Insights
While not all invoicing software comes with financial insight capabilities (although some do!), you can often integrate it with other platforms that provide these capabilities.
Not only do financial insights help you to understand your business better, they’re also vital for growth and sustainability.
8. Tax Compliance
Ensuring tax compliance can be a headache, especially when dealing with multiple states or countries.
However, most invoicing software provides a variety of options for taxation, meaning you can leave it up to your software to auto-calculate. Some platforms even offer multiple different types of tax compliance that you can choose between!
9. Cost Savings
Not only will invoicing software help you cut costs when it comes to staffing or outsourcing to an accountant, but it’ll also free up your time so that you can get on with running your business.
Most invoicing software is tiered according to the size of your business — some are even specifically geared towards small businesses — so you can upgrade as and when you need to.
Just be aware that you should consider the business you’re striving for (as well as the business you currently have) so that you don’t waste time with the wrong software.
10. Accessibility and Mobility
As a small business, you’re likely on the road more than you are at your desk (if you even have a desk). That means you need to be able to run your business on the go.
The majority of invoicing software currently on the market have mobile apps, the ability to sync data across devices, and cloud storage, allowing you to access your client information, past invoices, and pricing, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
Why Choose Bonsai for Your Invoicing Software?
Bonsai is a great choice for a small business looking to streamline their processes with invoicing software.
It has an easy-to-use interface, is perfect for freelancers and small businesses, and has plenty of capabilities and features for slightly bigger businesses, too.
What exactly are those features? Read on to find out!
1. Customizable Templates: Tailoring the Look and Feel
Don’t have time, money, or know-how to create your own invoices from scratch? Easy! Just use one of Bonsai’s preset templates, and customize them with your logo and brand colors.
Not ready to sign up just yet? Access Bonsai’s seven-day free trial or try out one of the free templates first! We’re sure you’ll love what you see.
2. Automation: Recurring Invoices, Payment Reminders, etc.
Why waste time on the small things, when automation can take care of it for you? Regarding recurring invoices or payment reminders, Bonsai has you covered, so you’ll never miss an invoice again.
And, when it comes to chasing payments, Bonsai can do that for you, too.
3. Reporting Tools: Financial Insights and Overview
Bonsai isn’t just an invoicing platform — it also comes with a variety of other useful tools, including the ability to see how your business is tracking financially at a glance. This means you’ll be able to store all your financial information in one convenient place, keeping you in the know, and your accountant happy.
4. Mobile Functionality: Invoicing On the Go
On the go? Take your invoicing with you with Bonsai’s mobile app!
We know that you’re likely not chained to your desk, so why should your invoicing software be? As long as you’ve got access to the internet, you can send invoices from anywhere with Bonsai.
5. Secure Payment Gateways: Ensuring Client Trust
Unlike some other invoicing software, Bonsai allows for secure payment integration into your invoices. This allows clients to pay using their standard Visa, American Express, or other common credit or debit card.
Not only does this protect the client (card payments are much more protected than bank payments), ensuring their trust in you, it can also help you get paid faster.
Implementation and Getting Started
Heard enough, and ready to get started with Bonsai? It’s easy! Follow the steps outlined below.
Setting Up the Software
You’ll need to create an account to get started with Bonsai.
- Click the “Start free” button in the top-right of the homepage
- Either sign up with Google or enter your email address, full name, and password.
Bonsai will take you to an initial configuration menu, where you can customize your experience with the platform based on your business’s needs.
It will ask you:
- What industry does your business operate in?
- What is the name of your business?
- Where does your business legally operate?
Countries have different regulations and restrictions, so be sure to fill this information out accurately.
It will then ask you some further questions about your business, including:
- Is your business registered (incorporated) or unregistered?
- What currency do you bill your clients in?
- What is your estimated annual revenue?
The definition of registered or unregistered varies by country, but generally, a registered business has more ability to hire employees or sell products.
Finally, it will ask:
- Do you work in a team or alone?
- Does your business use subcontractors?
Once you’ve filled out all this information, you’ll be able to get started with Bonsai!
Bonsai allows you to import certain data, such as pricing and client information, making it easier to access that information when needed.
To import existing client information:
- Format the data as a CSV file
- Be sure to include the client’s name, email, and company name (optional) in three columns.
You can have as many rows of clients as you would like, as long as they are formatted correctly.
And don’t worry — you won’t need to create a CSV file every time you need to add a client! You can add them manually directly into Bonsai.
Creating Your First Invoice
To create an invoice:
- On the left-hand side of the page, click on the “Invoices” tab
- Click the green button labeled “Create an Invoice”
- Select what kind of invoice it is (single, recurring, etc.), who you want to send it to, and what project it’s attached to.
Want to see an example of what the invoice creation process looks like? Check out this free invoice generator!
Customizing a Template
Need to customize your template? Uploading an image as a background to your invoice or adding your company’s logo to the top is easy.
Adding Line Items
Adding line items is as simple as point, click, and type! The template will prefill the first line for you so you can see the available fields. You can:
- Change price units (for example, per day, per hour, per unit, etc.) by selecting from the drop-down menu under “Price”, and then setting the price
- Title line items and add brief descriptions, if you need to
- Add a new line item by clicking “Add new row” below your invoice’s bottom line item.
Including Payment Details
To add built-in payment capability to your invoices:
- Click “Enable online payments” underneath the payments section
- Connect your PayPal or Stripe account to receive card payments.
If you don’t want to do this, don’t have a PayPal or Stripe account, or want your clients to have another payment option, you can list alternative payment instructions in the “Notes” section.
Sign Up for Bonsai Invoices, Get Paid Faster
So, now you’ve seen the benefits of using invoicing software as a small business — and there are so many! But, of course, our top recommendation is Bonsai.
Signing up for Bonsai not only means you’ll have more control over your invoices (and small business in general), but you’ll also have:
- Professional and cohesive invoices that don’t need to be built from scratch
- More time to spend on the important things
- Access to reporting tools
- The ability to deal with your invoices on the go with the Bonsai app
- Integrated payment gateway solutions within your invoices for faster, more convenient payments.
Ready to get started? Sign up for free with Bonsai now, and get paid for your services faster!