3 Free Invoicing Web ApplicationsJul 18th, 2008 | By Tom | Category: Featured Articles, Web Applications
I’ve been looking around at the various web applications for invoicing that are available at the moment. I must have come across at least 20 or so different ones over the last couple of days, most which require subscription fees. I did come across three that are completely free however and these are the ones that I’ll focus on here. Actually I came across a fourth which looked very good but it lacked Euro currency support and so I’ll leave it out.
Update: Since writing this article I’ve discovered even more free invoicing applications and these have also been added below.
www.invoicejournal.com is a hosted invoicing application which means you don’t need to download or install anything, just sign up for a free account and away you go invoicing your clients. This makes it an ideal choice for people who don’t want to get dirty installing files and setting up databases for a self hosted solution. If you consider hosting costs (free hosting isn’t really ideal for something as important as your invoices) then it’s the only option here that is 100% free.
Pros: Simple to use, good looking interface, custom invoice template support, easy paypal integration, pdf export (currently via third party website)
Cons: Doesn’t seem to be any way to backup or store your data locally, worrying if anything happens to the service.
www.bambooinvoice.org is a free open source invoicing application. With this one you’ll need to provide your own hosting and install it before you an use it. The good thing about this is you’ll have complete access to your data and can back it up easily. Because it’s open source the possibility of future growth via community contributions is good. The app is, at time of writing, pre version 1.0 so it is unfinished although it does look promising.
Pros: Backup MySql database, xml and excel export options, pdf export, nicely documented installation instructions
Cons: lacks multiple billers/multiple templates, no read only access for eg. accountant, no support for recurring invoices
www.simpleinvoices.org is another free open source invoicing solution so again you’ll need to host and install it yourself. The interface is possibly the least appealing of the others listed here although it does seem more mature and functional than it’s closest alternative Bamboo Invoice.
Pros: Export invoices as .pdf, .xls and .doc, backup database, support for multiple billers
Cons: Ugly interface, complex install (so complex I gave up my install and could only review the demo)
Even more Free Invoicing Applications
Since covering the three invoicing applications above I’ve come across some more alternatives that allow you to invoice your customers for free.
www.curdbee.com offers a nice easy to use invoicing system. It’s a hosted invoicing service so you don’t need to install anything, just create a new account and you’re ready to start invoicing right away. There is some service provider branding and advertising on the invoices and sent emails but then it is a free hosted service after all. Invoices can be branded with your own logo and some page colours changed, and you also get to choose your own subdomain where customers view and can pay their invoices online. Both Paypal and Google checkout are supported and easy to activate.
Unfortunately with Curdbee emailed invoices consist only of a link that points to an online invoice page and there is no PDF export option. It also seems that every item invoiced needs to be created and saved as an item which feels a bit clunky and at times is probably unnecessary, especially if items are not likely to be repeated. Notes can be added to invoices which are shown on the invoice although it’s not possible to have a standard note that is saved and included on invoices by default. Notes can also be included when adding payments to invoices.
A pro version of Curdbee is in the pipeline which will remove branding and add other goodies including PDF export and data import/export but it leaves me concerned that sacrifices will always be made to the free version of Curdbee that other free invoicing solutions wouldn’t suffer. All in all Curdbee is an invoicing application well worth checking out.
Pros: Well developed and seems to be bug free, very tidy and easy to use interface, Paypal and Google checkout payments
Cons: No support for taxes yet, forces you to save all items when adding to invoice, no saveable default standard note(s) for invoices, no PDF support, optional pro version will mean a stunted free version
www.billingboss.com is a free online invoicing application from well known accounting software developers Sage. Their free online offering is a pleasant surprise and offers almost everything you’d want from an invoicing application. Invoices can be easily created and managed through a user interface that is shiny, clean and easy to use.
When creating an invoice notes can be added and there is the option to save a default note that is included on new invoices. These notes support html code which is a real bonus. There’s support for taxes and discounts and invoices can also be printed and downloaded as pdf. When emailing an invoice you can also choose to include a pdf attachment which is another great bonus. By default emails include a link that bring you to an online web page for the invoice where it can viewed and printed. Paypal payment links are also included in emails if activated. Each email subject line can be edited and additional body text can also be included.
Thankfully Billing Boss keeps their self branding to a minimum and display online invoices and pdfs in a clean manner and branding only becomes really apparent when emailing invoices. With emailed invoices coming from a Billing Boss email address and the default email text there is a strong sense that your invoices are coming from a third party and not directly from you. This might be a good or bad thing depending on what you are looking for but if there were options to use your own email address and the ability to personalise the email a bit more they would be welcome options indeed.
Overall Billing Boss is a fantastic invoicing application that is well worth checking out and I look forward to seeing it develop further.
Pros: Pretty and easy to use interface, share read only access with your accountant, basic reports, pdf support, Paypal support
Cons: More customisation options for invoice layouts would be nice, online invoice pages lack Paypal payment button although you can include links in invoice notes, emailed invoices give the strong sense of third party involvement, logos are shrunk to tiny size on pdfs!