If you’re a freelancer, small business owner, or entrepreneur, then you already know the headaches that can come from creating and managing invoices. Without invoices, you won’t get paid. Yeah, they’re pretty important.
But the thing is, not all invoicing solutions are equal. The right one for you will depend on your particular needs, how complex your invoices are, and yes, your budget. Unsurprisingly, the best invoicing apps will cost you money.
What are your options if you don’t want to spend a dime?
Invoice Mini is our very own invoicing app that’s used internally by our own writers. It was created with freelancers in mind, but anyone with invoicing needs can make use of it and come out ahead.
It’s extremely simple and lightweight, so if you’re tired of fiddling with complicated accounting software just to get paid, you’ll love the straightforward design of Invoice Mini. And it’s completely free with no ads, no in-app purchases, and no premium subscriptions.
When you need to invoice a client, simply create a new invoice, add client details (which are saved for next time), select a template, add your line items, then send it off to your client in an email right from within the app. It couldn’t be easier. The app can also track which invoices have been paid or not.
Invoice Ninja is an excellent web tool for freelancers and small business owners who have more complex needs beyond simple hand-crafted invoices.
As a free user, you can manage up to 100 clients and unlimited invoices, plus advanced features like time tracking, auto-billing, branded invoices, direct payment integration with over 40 gateways, and the ability to accept deposits and partial payments. However, invoices have a “Created by Invoice Ninja” watermark.
Upgrading to the $8/mo plan increases your max clients to unlimited, grants access to 10 professional invoice templates, a custom Invoice Ninja URL where clients can view and pay invoices, the ability to create custom invoice and auto-reminder emails, and much more.
Download: Invoice Ninja for Android, iOS, Web (Free, paid plans available)
Invoicely is similar to Invoice Ninja and serves the same kinds of users: freelancers and small business owners who deal with complex accounting needs beyond simple invoices.
One of the more advanced features is the ability to manage multiple businesses with multiple team members and clients for each business, which comes in handy for serial entrepreneurs. You can also receive payments online directly to your invoice, which Invoicely uses to auto-update an invoice’s paid status.
Free users get unlimited clients and invoices but none of the notable advanced features, and generated invoices are branded with the Invoicely logo. For $9.99/mo, you get features like time tracking, taxes, mileage, customized branding, and online payment methods other than PayPal.
Download: Invoicely for Web (Free, paid plans available)
Akaunting is a completely free web tool that lets you invoice, track expenses, and handle all of your freelance or small business accounting needs right in the browser. It works well on PC, Android, and iOS devices.
Notable features include unlimited clients and invoices, billable expenses, inventory tracking for sales, dynamic reports, direct payment for invoices, per-client discounts, full accounting with deposits and transfers with bank accounts, and multilingual panels for admins and clients.
What’s unique about Akaunting is that it’s open-source and you can download the software and host it on your own web server. You’d still access it using a web browser, but all the data remains with you. For privacy-minded folks who want remote invoice access, Akaunting is a smart choice.
Wave is the best-known invoice app on this list, especially for small business owners, but we’ve ranked it as fifth because it can be a bit slow at times and the interface can be a bit rough to navigate at first.
However, Wave is completely free and comes in three parts: the Invoicing software (i.e. creating and sending invoices for payment), the Accounting software (i.e. tracking income and expenses), and Receipt Scanning (i.e. scanning receipts with a mobile device for expense tracking).
Notable invoicing features include auto-reminders for overdue clients, professional invoice templates, custom branding for your invoices, invoice sending and management on mobile devices, see when clients view an invoice, automatic cloud backups, and more.
You’ll only have to pay if you want to use Wave’s online payment processing or payroll management services. If you don’t care about either of those, yes, Wave is entirely free to use.
Let’s be very clear about one thing: whichever invoicing app you choose, you’re trusting that it will do what it says and won’t fail on you. God help you if something goes wrong and you lose all kinds of data.
Which is why we only recommend free invoicing apps for freelancers and small business owners without complex invoicing needs. If your accounting is complicated, you should definitely pay for a robust invoicing solution.
That said, if you’re okay with free, then we highly recommend Invoice Mini (for basic and straightforward invoicing), Invoice Ninja (for growing freelancers and small business owners), or Akaunting (for privacy-minded folks).