FreshBooks vs. QuickBooks vs. Xero vs. Invoice.to vs. WP-Invoice vs. Sprout Invoices

 Shortcut. This post is all about the battle of online invoicing tools and solutions. Click here to go straight to the comparison, and find out who comes on top … FreshBooks vs. QuickBooks vs. Xero vs. Invoice.to vs. WP-Invoice vs. Sprout Invoices. 

Running a business imposes a lot of unique challenges. Finding customers, negotiating rates, building a product, marketing that product effectively, minimizing costs, hiring new people, and on and on and on. All of this is what keeps the entrepreneur in you awake at night.

And when you finally feel that you have all of the above pretty much figured out, you can still get stuck with issues as boring as bookkeeping or accounting.

Having to send out invoices is exactly one of those boring issues. At the end of the day, you’d prefer not to have to deal with them at all, but it’s still a required element of your day-to-day operations.

So here, we’re looking into the top online invoicing tools and solutions out there. The goal is to find a solution that would make sending and managing invoices as little hassle as possible. In other words, we know invoices suck. Let’s see how we can make them suck less.

FreshBooks-vs-QuickBooks-vs-Xero-vs-Invoice.to-vs-WP-Invoice

Here’s the lineup:

Overview
FreshBooks is one of the biggest players on the market, and also one of the easiest solutions to use out there.

Personally, I’ve been using it for a couple of years, and there’s hardly anything I can complain about. FreshBooks lets you in on every invoice-related feature that a business owner might need.

You can white-label your invoices (set logos, etc.), you can edit every detail about them (for instance, not all tools let you edit the invoice # for some reason), you can manage your clients, send estimates, track time and expenses, and most importantly, you can enable online payments.

freshbooks-menu

Main features
  • Invoice customization.
  • Workflow automation. Sets recurring invoices.
  • You can accept credit cards.
  • PayPal integration.
  • Multi-currency invoicing available.
  • Sends estimates, and then turns them into invoices.
  • Insights on when your invoices are viewed and paid.
  • Apps for iOS and Android available.
  • Integrations with third-party tools such as MailChimp, Zenpayroll and Basecamp.
Price
First of all, there’s a free 30-day trial available. After that:

  • $12.95 / mo – invoice up to 5 clients.
  • $19.95 / mo – 20 clients.
  • $29.95 / mo – 200 clients.
  • $39.95 / mo – unlimited clients, plus team options.
Pros and cons
  • Really easy to use and only minimal setup needed.
  • Integrates with PayPal in minutes.
  • You can freely customize your invoices.
  • If you work with more than 5 clients, having to pay $19.95 monthly for access seems like much.
Is it right for you?
I’d say, use it if you’re looking for a hands-off invoicing solution that just works and doesn’t cause any headaches. No learning curve, no hassle.

Overview
QuickBooks is a popular alternative to FreshBooks, although a bit more advanced. While FreshBooks is geared at providing you a solution that just works in minutes, QuickBooks is more about the customization and making your online invoicing tool suit you hand-in-glove.

For instance, it all starts by selecting the type of business you run:

qb-businesses

But that’s just the beginning of the range of questions that QuickBooks asks you.

Feature-wise, QuickBooks has all you could ask for and more. You get invoicing, expense tracking, online payment processing, you can create estimates and proposals, and even track personal expenses.

Main features
  • PayPal integration.
  • Accepts credit cards.
  • Creates estimates.
  • Issues sales receipts.
  • Tracks expenses.
  • Payroll features.
  • You can hook up your bank account and see your transactions through QuickBooks.
  • Manages and pays bills.
  • Mobile apps available.
  • Access for up to 5 users.
Price
There’s a free 30-day trial. After that:

  • $9.99 / mo – the “Self-Employed” plan. Warning: no possibility to send invoices here.
  • $12.95 / mo – “Simple Start.” Basic invoicing features.
  • $26.95 / mo – “Essentials.” Additional features for paying bills, instant sales and profit reports.
  • $39.95 / mo – “Plus.” Additional inventory tracking (good for e-commerce).
Pros and cons
  • It’s easy to use once you get through the setup and configure everything to suit your way of doing business.
  • Really nice dashboard that makes it clear where you stand, plus good reporting.
  • If you sign up for the wrong plan, you won’t have invoices (the “Self-Employed” plan).
  • Painful setup, despite what the promo materials say (for instance, you can’t get through one of the screens without selecting your state, never mind you’re not in the US).
Is it right for you?
If you’re looking for an integrated accounting software for your business (and you don’t mind spending a while to get through the setup), this might be it. QuickBooks is much more than just an online invoicing tool.

Overview
Xero is a piece of accounting software targeted toward small businesses. What this means is that everything in Xero is optimized for the entrepreneur on a rise, without unnecessarily over-complicating things.

Xero lets you take care of your accounting and invoicing on the go with handy mobile apps, and your clients can pay you right through Xero’s dedicated invoice page, that they receive via email. Lastly, you can import your latest bank transactions to have a closer look at your current numbers.

In the end, Xero is about being your all-in-one simplified accounting dashboard.

Main features
  • Online payments.
  • Hookes up your bank account and imports transactions.
  • Mobile apps available.
  • Notifications when your invoices get opened.
  • Inventory tracking.
  • Multi-currency accounts.
  • Integration with a large set of third-party apps.
  • Tracks expenses.
  • Handles your bills.
Price
There’s a free 30-day trial. After that:

  • $20 / mo – create and send up to 5 invoices and enter 5 bills.
  • $30 / mo – unlimited invoices, bills and bank transactions.
  • $40 / mo – multi-currency accounting added.
Pros and cons
  • Easy to use and a very user-friendly interface.
  • The invoices are designed nicely and they’re going to be easy to grasp for your clients.
  • More expensive than the other solutions on this list. Having more than 5 invoices in a month will cost you $30.
  • The customer support doesn’t have the best reputation.
Is it right for you?
If the price doesn’t scare you off, Xero will provide you with an easy-to-use accounting dashboard that covers everything going on in your business.

Overview
Invoice.to is a very interesting alternative. While all the other solutions on this list attempt to be much more than just an invoicing tool, Invoice.to remains very minimalist.

There’s no signup, there are no pricing plans, no settings. All you get is a nice fill-in-the-blanks invoice template and a “send” button straight on the Invoice.to homepage.

There’s hardly anything to explain here…

invoice-to-invoice

Main features
  • The possibility to create, edit, and send an invoice to your clients through email.
  • Stripe integration.
Price
This tool is completely free.
Pros and cons
  • It’s incredibly easy to use.
  • Utterly minimal user interface.
  • It’s experimental. Proceed at your own risk.
Is it right for you?
Use it if you just need to send an invoice fast, and you don’t have the time for signing up to anything, adjusting countless options, and so on.

Overview
Finally, let’s see what a member of team WordPress has to offer when it comes to online invoicing. WP-Invoice is a free WordPress plugin that lets you create, manage, and send invoices straight from your WordPress website.

This is a very interesting option, mainly because you’re in full control of your crucial invoice data (everything stays on your server), and due to WordPress’ standard license agreement, you even get access to the plugin’s source code.

Under the hood, WP-Invoice offers you all the standard goodies, such as invoice management, client profiles, invoice customization and more.

Main features
  • Displays all invoices within your site, which also means that it uses your current WordPress theme.
  • Creates client profiles as standard user profiles in WordPress.
  • Pre-defined line items.
  • Discount line items.
  • Editable email templates.
  • PayPal and Stripe integration, plus a couple of other gateways.
  • Credit card processing.
  • Partial payments.
  • Multiple currencies available.
  • Simple reports.
Price
The plugin is free, but there are paid add-ons for additional payment gateways, one-page checkout, quotes, “Power Tools” (including sales charts, import/export features), and more.
Pros and cons
  • Free (if you don’t need the extra features), and sits all inside your WordPress site.
  • It’s easy and fast to send new invoices.
  • To make the invoice look right, you need to experiment with your page templates in WordPress.
Is it right for you?
Use it if you prefer to keep things all within your WordPress website, instead of having to sign up for some external tools. Keep in mind, though, that if your site goes down, you’ll lose the invoice data too.

Overview
Sprout Invoices is the final entry in our lineup and the second WordPress plugin on the list.

The standard version of Sprout Invoices is free, but there’s also a pro edition, giving you access to some additional payment gateways, more elaborate reports, time tracking, recurring payments, WooCommerce support, and a lot more.

At the end of the day, the free version of Sprout Invoices provides you with all the features you’d need to get started working with invoices straight on your WordPress site. The plugin is of really good quality, and it’s highly extensible due to all the add-ons available (for instance, there’s even an add-on for handling EU VAT rules).

sprout-add-ons

Main features
  • Custom estimate and invoice templates.
  • Multiple payment methods available (just PayPal on the free version).
  • Customizable notifications.
  • Unlimited estimates.
  • Unlimited invoices.
  • Advanced reporting.
  • More than 300 app integrations with Zapier.
  • Time tracking.
  • Client dashboards.
  • WooCommerce integration.
  • Pre-defined line items.
  • Legally binding digital signatures.
  • Client summary emails and payment reminders.
  • Add-on Marketplace with myriads of useful things.
Price
The main plugin is free. And after installing the free PayPal add-on, you have a fully functional online invoicing solution for your WordPress site.

Apart from that:

  • There are free and paid add-ons offering additional features. The price tags on those vary between $10 and $160.
  • There are two premium versions of the plugin available, for $60 and $108 (one-time payment).
Pros and cons
  • Sprout Invoices offers a lot of features …  some built in, and some through add-ons.
  • The tool is easy to use, and the invoices look great (you can include your branding).
  • To make it more functional, you’d need to spend a lot on add-ons. In that scenario, it’s cheaper to just go for one of the premium versions right out the gate.
Is it right for you?
Use Sprout Invoices if you want to keep all your invoices within your WordPress site. Also, if you want to start small with just a minimal set of features, and then expand gradually as your needs grow, this plugin can be perfect for you.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, there’s surely a lot to choose from when it comes to online invoicing tools. But what it all comes down to is your specific needs, so please pick the persona that describes you best:

A)

  • I need an easy-to-use invoicing solution that just works with minimal setup and has a good price-to-value ratio.
Click Here to Reveal

B)

  • I need a tool to handle my whole accounting online, not just invoices.
Click Here to Reveal

C)

  • I need an advanced online accounting solution that I can tweak to perfectly reflect the way I do business.
Click Here to Reveal

D)

  • I need something that’s free.
  • I want to be able to send an invoice in minutes.
  • I don’t want to have to sign up to any new tool!
Click Here to Reveal
So that’s me, but what do you think? Have you tested any of the invoicing solutions here for yourself? Which one is working out best for you: FreshBooks, QuickBooks, Xero, Invoice.to, WP-Invoice, or Sprout Invoices?

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Karol K

Creates content, manages CodeinWP's team of writers and makes sure that every piece of content you see on this blog looks great! / Author of "WordPress Complete" / Professional yerba mate drinker / @carlosinho
  • Annamma Philip Vergh

    Hi Karol,
    A wonderful comparative analysis!

    Any small business people can save their time and energy by using any of these tools. Of course one need to select it wisely.

    I found this wonderful post’s notification on the pages of Bizsugar curated by Erik Emanuelli. and i up-voted it and posted a comment too.

    Hey, Karol you did an amazing job here.

    Keep sharing.

    Good day

    Annphil

  • Andrew

    Slickpie(http:slickpie.com) is the free cloud based accounting software that I use to run my entire business. It provides real time cloud based data about every financial aspect of my small business. I can log on everyday to see an up to date receivables and bank account balances.

  • Jack faye

    SlickPie is the best alternate for Xero. It is really fast and reliable. It’s helped me get paid fast. I basically use it for online invoicing and billing and to study the financial reports. It’s 100% free online accounting software.

  • Retrocool

    I’m using Sprout invoices, which is very flexible and has really great support from the author, who helped me with deep customisation. I chose it initially for a client project because it has a system for receiving online enquiries, sending out estimates and converting these to invoices, as well as standard invoicing, and then, having enjoyed working with it, I chose it for my own small agency use too.

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  • Nice comparative study, I prefer QuickBooks for my accounting works but for sure the above listed tools and application including QB can save extra expenditure and time especially of non-technical professionals.