PROS / Your customers sign into a personal portal via email where they can view their invoices and make payments.
CONS / Some actions are not intuitive, making you search for certain options.
VERDICT / QuickBooks offers a streamlined process within an easy-to-use online platform, making your billing and invoicing a simple task.
Intuit has numerous options for managing aspects of your business. QuickBooks Online is a tiered service that offers packages with differing features depending on the needs of your company. The Essentials package for small businesses offers features that include billing and invoicing services.
The online platform is well organized and easy to navigate, though it may be more than what you need if all you're looking for is a way to create invoices and keep track of your billing. Although it may be over-featured for some businesses, QuickBooks is easy to use. That and its excellent tools earn it our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award.
As QuickBooks is an online platform, you can log in from any computer, and it does not require you to download any files. After creating your account, you enter your basic company information and can upload your logo.
Depending on the information you enter about your business and the industry in which it falls, the software automatically applies relevant features, such as specific invoice fields. Of course, you can modify these if needed in the settings. One element you'll add in the settings is your company email. While some services require additional information to set up your email, all you need to enter with this invoicing software is your email address, so it is a simple process.
The home screen provides an overview of your account, including a summary of invoices that are open, overdue and paid. The toolbar on the left side organizes the main options, including customers and transactions. You have the option to add new customers and their information from that customer’s tab, or you can add them as you create new invoices.
New customers, items and services you add when creating invoices are saved in the database, which saves you time as you're working rather than requiring you to enter information beforehand, as many services do. The option to add products and services is harder to find, as it is located in the settings section rather than the toolbar or under the add option.
Billing & Payment
Finding the option to edit the invoice templates also takes a bit of searching. However, once you find it in the company settings, the editing process itself is simple. This billing software comes with five templates, and you can adjust the color scheme and font, although you only have two font choices: either serif Times New Roman or sans serif Helvetica, which is fewer choices than many services provide. You can further customize the header, footer and the columns included on the invoice.
Once you've created your invoice, you have many choices, including previewing, printing, saving or emailing it. You also can set it to recur daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly if needed. When emailing the invoice, you can edit the subject and body of the email. When you hit Send, a notification pops up to tell you if your invoice was sent successfully or if there was an error. Many services we tested did not indicate if the email failed to send, so that is a major plus to this invoice program. The error also shows up on the homepage so you can address it later. The customer's profile shows the status of the email, including if the customer has opened and viewed the invoice.
When customers receive their invoice, they can open and view it. If you have set up payment methods, the customer then has access to those options through their private portal, to which the email gives them access. Those payment options automatically post to their account, but they cost extra if you chose to set them up with Intuit. You can choose ACH bank transfers, swiped or keyed credit cards, or a mobile card reader. If you accept other payment options, you can easily post payments to the customer's account.
This invoicing software offers over 40 different reports to let you analyze your business in a multitude of ways. You can customize the reports to get the information you need for the timeframe you're interested. The reports are exportable or savable as a PDF. You can also email the reports so others in your company can use them.
Help & Support
If at any point you need assistance, you can search the help topics within the billing software, or you can go to the QuickBooks website, where you'll find additional information, tutorials and a community forum.
In addition to those two resources, you can chat live with or call customer support. However, these options are not readily available, as the support options direct you through the channels to find answers on your own before offering the telephone number or chat. In our perusal of the website, though, the chat box popped up at random times as well.
QuickBooks Essentials provides a large toolbox of useful features to manage your invoices and billing. It keeps track of your customers and items or services, allows you to customize and email invoices, and gives you online payment options to offer your customers, which they can access via their own small QuickBooks portals. The platform and most of the processes are intuitive and easy to navigate. This is one of the best billing and invoicing applications, and it offers additional options for growing small businesses.