Not required if you already have a full accounting solution, but it's great for sole traders and freelancers
If you’re a sole trader or run a small or home business then the process of issuing and tracking invoices can be a chore. You could always use a high-end accounts package to generate invoices, but such packages might provide more features than you actually need. You could always generate invoices informally in Word or Excel, but doing so can make it difficult to track non-paying clients and can slow the flow of money into your business. Happily, there is a middle way in the form of Zoho Invoice.
Zoho Invoice is a web-based invoicing service that’s free if you have just one user and up to five clients. However, it costs $15 (£9.30) per month for up to three user accounts and 500 customers and $30 (£18.60) per month for unlimited users and customers. The free account also sends out emails with Zoho branding, while the paid-for versions won’t have any reference to Zoho service.
Zoho’s features include mobile invoicing and time sheets via its Android and iOS apps, which makes it easy to send bills or estimates to clients on the move. The service also has built-in support for online payment gateways including PayPal, Authorize.net and 2CO. All versions of the service allow you to issue invoices in multiple currencies, track payments and automate recurring invoices.
After you’ve signed up online you’re asked to complete an Organisation Profile containing basic information about your firm such as your trading name, address and contact information. This information appears on your invoices by default. There are also three additional fields you can use to add extra information such as your VAT number or Companies House registration number.
Once you’ve done that you can use the Add Contact shortcut to add people that you want to invoice. Although the shortcuts description says you can “simply import business contacts” you actually have to do this via an option on the Customers tab. You can do this by exporting existing contacts from programs such as Excel or Access in a CSV file and then mapping the file’s fields to Zoho’s. This is worth doing if you have dozens of customers and have that information in an exportable format, but will probably be too much of an effort for just a handful of clients.