2010-02-13

Comparison of online invoicing systems

In my first post I promised an evaluation of online invoicing systems. Well, I finally got around to it. Which is to say our current system finally got unbearable enough. Our current system is  Excel Invoice Template by office-kit.com. The price couldn't be beat; it was about $30 one-time. And it served us well for several years. The developers were responsive to e-mail support requests, and with their help I learned how to add custom address fields and modify the Excel template to our needs. However, it was just these modifications that messed us up when we upgraded from Windows XP to Vista. They just didn't work any more.

That's when I decided to look into a cloud-based system. It looks like the office-kit.com system has evolved in the meantime, but with a cloud-based system I don't have to keep checking if the software has updates. It updates automatically. And I don't need to worry about surprises and headaches when I update my operating system.

Besides we're ready to evolve ourselves to a system that is more sophisticated than an Excel add-in.

First I defined our needs and then based my evaluation on them. Your requirements will be different, so don't take my review for gospel. Also keep in mind that this is a snapshot in a quickly evolving area. By the time I publish this, I'm sure many of my assertions won't be true. However, I like to think some people can benefit from the work I put into the evaluation.

Here are our current requirements:
  • Mainly an invoicing system for goods rather than services. Customer order entry, ordering from suppliers and payment reminders might be added benefits.
  • Affordable price for a home-based business.
  • Multiple languages. We are based in Austria and ship internationally, so we need to define the language the customer prefers.
  • Multiple currencies. See multiple languages above.
  • Line discounts, that is, the ability to define a discount for each line of the invoice. This is important when invoicing other companies rather than end consumers.
  • Line tax rates, that is, the ability to assign a different sales tax rate to each line, article or product group. For example, books have a different tax rate than CDs in Austria.
  • Output invoice in PDF format, for e-mailing and storing.
  • Customer database, that is, the ability to enter customers and select them when invoicing rather than entering the entire address for each invoice.
  • Product database, that is, the ability to enter products and select them when invoicing rather than entering the entire item description for each invoice.
  • The ability to import customers and products from our current database.

And here are the online systems I tested or at least looked at:

Google Checkout
http://checkout.google.com
Country: us, uk
Price: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
Multi-language: ?
Multi-currency: no (GBP with separate account)
Line discount: no lines
Line tax: no lines
PDF output: no
Customer database: no
Product database: no
Comments: customer must sign up for Google Checkout, no PayPal, no bank cards

PayPal
https://www.paypal.com
Country: several
Price: 1.9% to 3.4% + EUR 0.35 per transaction
Multi-language: no (except multiple accounts)
Multi-currency: yes
Line discount: no discounts
Line tax: no
PDF output: no
Customer database: no
Product database: no
Comments: Google Checkout and PayPal aren't really invoicing systems but checkout/payment systems, but I wanted to see if they would fit our needs. They don't.

OnlineOffice
http://www.winweb.com
Country: uk
Price: GBP 142.80/yr. + tax (EUR 13.80/mo.)
Multi-language: no
Multi-currency: ?
Line discount: no
Line tax: yes
PDF output: yes
Customer database: yes
Product database: yes
Comments: complex, complete business office solution

FreshBooks
http://www.freshbooks.com
Country: ca, us
Price: free to $149/mo.; $39/mo. for 500 to 2000 customers
Multi-language: no
Multi-currency: yes
Line discount: no
Line tax: yes, up to 4 tax rates
PDF output: yes
Customer database: yes
Product database: yes
Comments: invoicing, time tracking, expenses; very active on Twitter; added multi-currency since my first post

Smart Invoice
http://www.smartinvoice.com
Country: us
Price: $39/mo. for 25 to 5000 customers
Multi-language: yes, but not clear if one can invoice in different languages simultaneously
Multi-currency: yes, but price is not converted
Line discount: no
Line tax: yes
PDF output: no
Customer database: yes
Product database: no
Comments: invoicing for freelancers and small businesses; was AcuInvoice; addresses only in US format

Saasu
http://www.saasu.com
Country: au
Price: AU$25/mo. up to 2GB
Multi-language: no
Multi-currency: yes, with exchange rates
Line discount: no
Line tax: yes
PDF output: yes
Customer database: yes
Product database: yes, including inventory control
Comments: online accounting

CurdBee
http://curdbee.com
Country: lk, us
Price: $5/mo. for Pro version
Multi-language: no
Multi-currency: yes
Line discount: no
Line tax: no
PDF output: yes, in Pro version
Customer database: yes
Product database: yes
Comments: replied to my initial tweet; billing for small businesses & freelancers; they let me test the Pro version for 24 hours after asking for it

invOOice
http://www.invooice.com
Country: es
Price: $5/mo. for Pro version
Comments: replied to my initial tweet; invoicing, customer relationship management; currently in test phase, sign up to be notified when demo accounts become available

Harvest
http://www.getharvest.com
Country: us
Price: $12/mo.
Multi-language: translations, but no multiple languages
Multi-currency: yes
Line discount: no
Line tax: yes
PDF output: yes
Customer database: yes
Product database: no
Import clients/items: no
Comments: replied to my initial tweet; time tracking, time sheet and invoicing; time tracking via Twitter commands

Intervals
http://www.myintervals.com
Price: free to $175/mo.
Comments: replied to my initial tweet; emphasis on time tracking, task management and project management

Zoho Invoice
https://invoice.zoho.com
Country: us, in
Price: $15/mo. for 150 to 500 invoices/mo.
Multi-language: yes, via custom templates
Multi-currency: yes, with exchange rates
Line discount: yes
Line tax: yes
PDF output: yes
Customer database: yes
Product database: yes
Comments: replied to my initial tweet; invoicing; integrates with other Zoho modules; custom address fields is a big plus

MeinAuftrag.net
https://www.meinauftrag.net
Country: de
Price: up to 10 addresses free, up to 50 addresses EUR 4.95 + tax, up to 100 addresses EUR 9.95, over 100 addresses EUR 14.95
Multi-language: yes, via custom templates
Multi-currency: yes, with multiple currency fields in item database
Line discount: yes
Line tax: yes
PDF output: yes
Customer database: yes
Product database: yes
Import clients/items: not yet implemented but will import for you at no charge on request
Comments: user interface German; very responsive to e-mail support calls and feature requests

If your requirements are similar to ours and you understand German, you might want to try MeinAuftrag.net. If you don't understand German, then you can try Zoho Invoice.

In addition to our main requirements above, MeinAuftrag.net also lets you maintain suppliers and make orders. Future possible requirements that it doesn't have (yet) is inventory management, sales reports, and exporting data.

20 comments:

  1. Great list except you missed Blinksale.

    www.blinksale.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Patrick, I was expecting people to mention sites I missed. Thanks. I have signed up for Blinksales's 30-day trial and will add my evaluation when I'm done.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Do also try out www.cannybill.com

    Not only does it handle all your online invoicing needs but also web based order forms.

    Sell anything from a service or subscription to a digital download, web hosting, domain names and even SSLs.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wladimir, thanks for mentioning CannyBill. Here's my evaluation according to our needs:

    CannyBill
    http://www.cannybill.com
    Country: uk
    Price: free up to 3 clients, $8/mo. up to 10 clients, $21 up to 50 clients, $32 up to 500 clients, $48 up to 2000 clients
    Multi-language: no, only one template active simultaneously
    Multi-currency: yes
    Line discount: no
    Line tax: no
    PDF output: yes
    Customer database: yes
    Product database: no
    Import clients/items: no
    Comments: integrated webshops and customer login; good for web developers; sales reports; user interface in several languages but can't enter decimal comma; German translation currently not very good; can't switch languages after signup; help only in English

    ReplyDelete
  5. Saasu does have a product database (in fact it is probably the most powerful in this list for inventory management). I use it for a few businesses.

    Thanks for doing this list btw, it is really useful to see what else is out there.

    Cheers, Pete.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi,

    I'd just like to fill in the blanks for the WinWeb service that you mention in your post:

    Country: US, CA, UK, IRL, AUS, NZ
    Price: GBP 142.80/yr. + tax (EUR 13.80/mo.)
    Multi-language: No
    Multi-currency: Yes- Price available in US $
    Line discount: Np
    Line tax: Yes
    PDF output: Yes
    Customer database: Yes
    Product database: yes
    Comments: complex, complete business office solution.
    Includes: website, online-shop (integrated) complete accounting system, online disk, business services, business planning and online calendar.

    Thank you for mentioning WinWeb,

    Susan

    ReplyDelete
  7. Peter, I stand corrected concerning Saasu (and have corrected my post). I must have missed it during my test because "Service" is the default when creating a new invoice/sale. When I switch to "Item" there is a dropdown list of previously entered products, but one cannot enter a new item on the fly as with other systems. This is no doubt due to the sophisticated inventory management possibilities you mentioned.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Blinksale
    http://www.blinksale.com
    Country: us
    Price: $6/mo. up to 6 invoices/mo., $12/mo. up to 50 invoices/mo., $24/mo. up to 250 invoices/mo.
    Multi-language: no
    Multi-currency: yes
    Line discount: no
    Line tax: no
    PDF output: yes, only with Gold plan
    Customer database: yes
    Product database: no
    Import clients/items: no

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Robb!

    This is such an informative blog post, but I noticed you didn't include
    http://LessAccounting.com

    Check it out and tell us your thoughts about it :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Scher, thanks for mentioning Less Accounting. Here's my evaluation according to our needs:

    Less Accounting
    http://lessaccounting.com
    Country: us
    Price: $12/mo. for new freelancers, $20/mo. for busy freelancers, $24/mo. for small businesses, $300/mo. for "everyone"
    Multi-language: no, different templates but only one translation active simultaneously
    Multi-currency: yes
    Line discount: no discounts
    Line tax: yes
    PDF output: yes
    Customer database: yes
    Product database: no
    Import clients/items: "csv import coming soon" for customers

    ReplyDelete
  11. CurdBee just announced a new localization feature, meaning invoices (and estimates) can be translated, but only one translation is active at any one time. Therefore, it still doesn't meet our multiple language requirement.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Robb, we'd love to see your evaluation of WorkingPoint:

    http://www.workingpoint.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I received an invite to preview http://www.billfor.it - basically it appears that it's free if you don't mind them branding your invoice - otherwise it's a flat monthly fee of 2.00 to remove the branding and be able to customise your own invoices. I've emailed them to see if I can have some more invites

    ReplyDelete
  14. Quick File is also worth considering http://www.QuickFile.co.uk especially for UK users. They have designed a great UI and it's currently free. It also links into SagePay, Worldpay and PayPal.

    ReplyDelete
  15. roninapp

    and

    invoicemachine

    i'm pretty impressed, i've been comparing services all weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Dellfalconer,

    This is great list and comparison. We were looking for long long time for some website which would do what we required. But some of them did online Invoicing only, some of them Cash Flow, Some of the recurring billing. But All those three features required by a small business. So, we decided to make our own. And it is quite great. Of course we are adding more stuff as it goes and when users send us feedback.

    If you get a chance feel free to review. We like Comments and Criticism.

    Please email me through website and I will send you the access to the account with full access.

    http://www.startinvoicing.com/

    Thank you
    Peter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi _

      Please give a try to CloudBooks.

      Cloudbooks is a web-based app to create and track online invoices, estimates, time-sheets, and expenses. Add a "Pay Now" button to your invoices so your customers can pay you by credit card or PayPal immediately.
      You can try CloudBooks free for 30 days. Plans starts from $2 per month. Give it a Try!

      www.cloudbooksapp.com


      Thank you

      Delete
  17. I think it would be interesting to take a look at a price comparison:
    http://fetchflow.com/pricecomparison

    Here's a fetchflow coupon for a free 90-days ultimate package:
    http://fetchflow.com/coupon.aspx?code=D5FJX-173-DKD-DF129

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have tried many billing apps. I used these for sometime, but have recently switched to http://www.billin.in/ . It is a good resource. Very intuitive and robust application.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Nice Read !
    I would like to suggest one more useful invoicing tool i.e. Invoicera. It is an online solution with features like online invoice,recurring billing, auto billing, expense management, time tracking and reporting. It helps us to provide better control over business finances and increase the productivity of the business. You may also consider this tool.(www.invoicera.com)

    ReplyDelete