Invoice software versus Invoicing in excel

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08 min read.

Managing work with multiple clients is a given for businesspersons. However, this is no easy task. Simultaneously updating the progress of work made with each client is a challenge in itself.

Freelancers commonly turn to Word or Excel to keep a record of their work and also to raise invoices.

Meaning of invoice software

Software that enables businesses to create and generate invoices for goods and services provided to customers is called invoicing software. Various invoicing software options are available for business and personal use, enabling the user to create efficient, professional invoices suited to their needs.

Meaning of invoicing in excel or spreadsheet

Using Word or Excel or any other spreadsheet to maintain and track invoicing and billing is common practice in the business world. Excel offers some readymade invoice templates that help one build professional business invoices.

Comparison between invoice software and spreadsheet invoicing

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Invoice softwareSpreadsheet invoicing
Powerful accounting software enabling ease of doing businessData is populated on a spreadsheet that is manually entered from time to time
Automated invoicing process can be scheduledThe invoicing process has to be done manually on the specified date
Automatic generation of invoice numbers and datesManual entry has to be made
Room for human error is relatively lowPotential for errors is relatively high since manual entry is prevalent
Professional, modern looking, customisable templatesProfessional templates, but very generic looking

Pros and cons of using spreadsheet invoicing

Pros

  • Low cost

Google Sheets is freely accessible as long as you have a Gmail account. For the paid version of Excel, a nominal subscription fee will have to be paid, either monthly or annually.

  • Free templates

Spreadsheets come with various template options which carry a standardised professional format. These templates do not carry any extra fee to be paid for their use.

  • Easy accessibility

Accessibility is relatively easy, with the google docs and Excel apps available on smartphones today. Spreadsheets can be filled in, and invoices can be created in a matter of minutes.

  • Automation

Excel carries with it certain functionalities that allow for automation. There is a sequence of steps to be followed to automate the invoicing process in Excel. For cloud-based spreadsheets, the automation function can be put to use after integrating the Mail Merge add-on.

Cons

  • Potential for errors

Since most of the work done on spreadsheets is manual, there exists a high potential for errors. Moreover, manual entry is a time-consuming process.

  • Lack of security

Excel does not have adequate security controls. Data may be easily manipulated by persons who gain unauthorised access to it.

  • Tracking changes is difficult

If the spreadsheet is heavily populated, tracking changes to the data is almost impossible. It is hard to identify which version of the spreadsheet is the latest, which has errors, etc.

  • Templates are limited

The templates provided by Excel still have to have information entered manually. So, most times, the work is being done on the invoice from scratch, which does not serve the purpose. 

How is invoice software better when compared to spreadsheet invoicing?

  • Payments and tracking

Invoice software ensures quicker payments since it supports various payment methods such as payment wallets, cards, and online banking. Spreadsheet invoicing is mainly focused on presenting the data. Therefore, it tells the client how much is to be paid. On the other hand, invoicing software takes it a step further by offering them the convenience of making payments on a real-time basis.

  • Automation function

The functionalities of spreadsheet invoicing are relatively limited and outdated compared to modern invoicing software. The software allows for automating the invoicing processes, which comes in handy when dealing with regular customers who buy products every month.

  • Customisation

Excel offers a few standard invoice templates, but the problem is these invoices are very commonly used. Therefore, it is difficult to distinguish between businesses. On the other hand, invoicing software allows you to customise your invoices to suit your personal and business needs, thus creating clean, unique, and professional invoices.

  • Tools and features

Modern invoicing software boasts a variety of functionalities and features that enable easy, efficient invoicing and data storage. Information related to a particular customer needn’t be entered repeatedly as the software saves and stores the customers’ data.