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Get details on useful billing software for small-business owners.

Billing software can help simplify the billing process. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Billing software can help simplify the billing process.

Billing software can help small businesses manage sales, clients, vendors and invoices. Small businesses may purchase billing software to help keep track of company finances, as well as to help create simplified yet professional invoice templates. Accounting software programs can save businesses time in record keeping and can account for errors that commonly occur in manual accounting.

According to WebProNews, simple billing software programs cost around $100, while larger and more complex versions may run upwards of $3,000. It's best for businesses to conduct product research before investing in a billing software program.

General Small Business Billing Software

One of the most popular billing software programs is Quicken, which is produced by Intuit. This program allows small businesses to keep tabs on any money that is coming in or going out. With Quicken, businesses can track profits and losses and receive reminders when monthly bills are due.

Another type of billing software is Microsoft's Office Accounting program. Microsoft offers a free Express version aimed toward smaller home-based businesses and start-up companies. More established businesses may benefit from purchasing the Professional program. As with Quicken, the software allows businesses to access customer, vendor and employee financial information all in one place. Users will benefit from Microsoft's software if they already use the Microsoft platform with other programs.

According to PC World, the Microsoft billing software offers a multicurrency application, which may prove beneficial to companies involved in importing and exporting. Small business owners unsure of whether or not to purchase the software can test the Microsoft Professional product free for 60 days.

Specialty Billing Software

Some accounting software programs are designed specifically for certain industries. Construction companies, medical offices and hotels are just a few of the businesses with access to particular billing software programs that cater to specific needs.

QuickBooks, also created by Intuit, is a complex billing software program that allows small businesses to download bank and credit card transactions. QuickBooks permits up to five simultaneous users, which means that five people can access the file at the same time. Intuit offers several specialty QuickBooks products, such as programs for contractors, nonprofits and retail businesses.

Medical offices have a plethora of billing software programs to choose from that assist with filing insurance claims, medical billing and checking insurance codes. Billing programs can be launched on-site or online as part of an online medical billing software program. One of the top medical billing programs is AllegianceMD, which uses a system called Artificial Intelligence. The system can be navigated by even the most novice user, and it helps medical offices abide by the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires businesses to ensure that individuals' health records are properly protected.

Another type of specialized billing software is aimed at the hotel industry. According to M3 Accounting Services, its AccKnowledge hotel accounting software program boasts a 10-year retention rate of 99 percent. As the first accounting software program for hotels on the market back in 1982, AccKnowledge has remained the same price for the last decade and helps customers keep track of properties and financial reporting.

Before Purchasing Billing Software

If a business is so small that it has few paid employees or little to no inventory, a billing software package may not be an ideal solution. In this case, it might be better for the business to set up spreadsheets, track employee time manually and design invoicing templates. However, if there is still a desire for billing software, the company may be able to locate a free accounting software package online.

If a company does decide to purchase billing software, it's best to ask those who work within the same industry which software programs they use, especially since there are so many types of billing software available. Certain accounting software programs offer free trials to allow businesses to test the program's capabilities and see how compatible it is with a company's other software programs.

Small business owners should check to see if the billing software requires frequent upgrading. This upgrading can prove costly if it requires business owners to purchase the entire program again. The good news is that some software manufacturers provide links to software updates on their Web sites, so users only need to log on to the site to download the latest changes. Additionally, if the small business expands, some billing software allows users to add program modules. These modules are aspects of the software that the user did not need when the software was first purchased but later on decides to use.

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