5 Best Recurring Billing Software in 2023
This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
The best recurring billing software help streamline the billing process and often have easy-view features like a customer portal, which allows clients to view and pay invoices. Other key features include invoice customization, the ability to create estimates and proposals, and access to reports. We looked at a variety of software that provides these solutions.
Here are our top choices for the best recurring billing software, including the best free and best standalone software:
- FreshBooks: Best overall recurring billing software
- QuickBooks Online: Best recurring invoice software for mobile users
- Zoho Invoice: Best free standalone recurring billing software
- Wave: Best free bookkeeping system with a recurring billing feature
- Invoicera: Best standalone recurring billing software
Comparison of Best Recurring Billing Software
Estimates & Proposals
Class & Location Tracking
$17 to $55+*
$30 to $200
$0 to $149
*Recurring invoices are only available with the FreshBooks Plus plan, which costs $30 monthly.
FreshBooks: Best Overall Recurring Billing Software
- Ability to add time and expenses to invoices
- Invoicing is part of a complete bookkeeping system
- All plans include unlimited invoices
- Less expensive than other popular accounting software
- Ability to create retainers to set up an ongoing relationship with a client
- Allows for electronic signatures on estimates and proposals
- Recurring invoice feature unavailable with Lite Plan
- Extra fee for additional users
- Lite plan only allows for five billable clients
Plans & Pricing
FreshBooks offers a choice of four plans that vary in terms of the maximum number of billable clients and the features available, such as a dedicated account manager. There’s currently a 30-day free trial available. All plans include one user, and additional users are $10 per month. The recurring invoice feature is only available with the Plus, Premium, and Select plans:
- Lite: $17 per month for up to five billable clients
- Plus: $30 per month for up to 50 billable clients
- Premium: $55 per month for up to 500 billable clients
- Select: Custom pricing for more than 500 billable clients
FreshBooks first became known as an invoice generator, but it has evolved into a comprehensive bookkeeping software that’s able to create personalized invoices seamlessly. It ranked as one of our best invoicing software, and for good reason: it combines professional-looking invoices with a full bookkeeping system. With its intuitive user interface (UI), creating a recurring invoice is simple, and the additional sales forms available allow you to customize your interactions with every client:
- Estimates and proposals: FreshBooks supports two additional sales forms—estimates and proposals, both of which can be converted to invoices. These can accommodate descriptive text and tables and can span several pages.
- Mobile app: Available for both iOS and Android, the FreshBooks mobile app allows for accounting and invoicing on the go and automatic mileage tracking.
- Invoice customization: FreshBooks has a wide range of customization options, and you can choose from a gallery of free invoice templates in PDF, Google Docs, Word, or Excel.
- Expense tracking: All FreshBooks plans include expense tracking features, with the ability to set up auto-categorization of expenses, manage multicurrency expenses, and assign recurring expenses. You can also take a photo of receipts and store them in the cloud.
With FreshBooks, you can create a recurring template that generates invoices automatically based on the frequency you choose. This is useful for businesses that charge a monthly subscription fee for their services, such as a software company, or ongoing work that occurs regularly.
Recurring invoices can also be paid using recurring payments. To set up your recurring template, you would fill it out like any other invoice, and then adjust the settings, which allow you to set up a recurring schedule, accept online payments, and send reminders at customizable intervals:
- Freelancers and solopreneurs: Since FreshBooks focuses on keeping things simple, self-employed individuals who want do-it-yourself (DIY) bookkeeping will find it easy to use—even without bookkeeping experience. FreshBooks is also our best freelance accounting software for service- or project-based freelancers.
- Ecommerce businesses: If you sell products online, FreshBooks can help with integrations for Shopify, eBay, Squarespace, and others.
- Service-based businesses looking for an alternative to QuickBooks: FreshBooks offers many of the same features at a low price point, which includes expense categorization, billable time tracking, receipt capture, and simultaneous users.
QuickBooks Online: Best Recurring Invoice Software for Mobile Users
- Unlimited number of clients and invoices
- Robust mobile app with receipt capture and mileage tracking
- Invoicing is part of a complete bookkeeping system
- Progress invoicing is available
- Class and location tracking with Plus and Advanced plans
- Not possible to add additional users without upgrading to next subscription level
- Classes and locations limited to 40 (combined)
- Maintaining and adding features can be expensive
Plans & Pricing
QuickBooks Online has four subscription levels that range from $30 to $200 per month. New subscribers can choose between 50% off for three months or a 30-day free trial. All plans allow for an unlimited number of invoices and clients:
- Simple Start: $30 per month for one user
- Plus: $55 per month for three users
- Essentials: $85 per month for five users
- Advanced: $200 per month for 25 users
Our pick for the overall best small business accounting software, QuickBooks Online not only has a robust mobile app but also has a couple of unique features that assist with collecting sales tax on invoices. Unlike the other software in this guide, QuickBooks can add the correct sales tax to invoices based on the location of the transaction. This is especially useful if you make taxable sales in multiple jurisdictions like cities or states. Because there’s no limit to the number of clients invoiced or invoices sent, you have the freedom to send recurring invoices as needed:
- Customized billing: You can use recurring invoices even if some of the billed items may change on each invoice. QuickBooks will save the standard items as a template and allow you to input the remaining items when you’re ready to send the new invoice.
- Recurring transactions screen: This screen lists all recurring transactions, which include the template name, type of transaction, interval, previous and next transaction dates, the customer or vendor, and transaction amount. It’s important to review this information on a regular basis to ensure accuracy.
- Invoice reminders: When an invoice goes unpaid, it’s a good idea to follow up with an overdue invoice reminder email. You can send these types of emails either in a batch or individually.
- Sales tax calculation: When you record a sales transaction in QuickBooks Online, you can accept the default tax or choose a different tax item if needed. QuickBooks will calculate the sales tax amount for the sales transaction, tracking it for future sales tax payments:
When you create recurring invoices in QuickBooks Online, you’re leveraging a powerful tool that will assist in streamlining your invoicing process. To schedule a recurring invoice, you can either make it recurring via the View/Edit menu or create a template from scratch by clicking the gear icon on the dashboard.
The Recurring Transactions screen in QuickBooks Online allows you to create a template by entering the customer name and email, indicating the billing interval, and selecting whether you want to send emails, print later, and include unbilled charges automatically.
- Mobile accounting: As one of our best mobile accounting applications, QuickBooks Online’s mobile app allows you to send invoices, track mileage, receive payments, capture receipts, and more.
- Property management companies: QuickBooks Online’s class and location tracking features allow property management companies to separate net profit by type of property and location, making it our best real estate accounting software.
- Collecting sales tax on Invoices: QuickBooks Online is the overall best invoicing software because of its ability to calculate sales tax based on the customer’s location and customize invoices to any industry.
Zoho Invoice: Best Free Standalone Recurring Billing Software
- Free forever with no ads or in-app purchases
- Manages up to 1,000 invoices per year
- Add sales tax rates manually
- Includes project time management features
- Create multilingual and multicurrency invoices
- Subscription billing integration available for an additional fee
- No approval workflows for issuing invoices
- Manages outgoing invoices only
- Mobile version doesn’t include all functionalities
- Must purchase Zoho Books for accounting functions other than invoicing
Plans & Pricing
Zoho Invoice is free with no credit card required to sign up.
For subscription billing, Zoho Invoice integrates with Zoho Subscriptions, which allows you to handle your customer subscription billing life cycle from start to finish. There’s a free add-on available for up to 20 subscriptions, and additional subscribers start at $59 per month.
One of more than 40 apps in the Zoho suite of products, Zoho Invoice has the distinction of being free forever for all small and medium-sized businesses. Sharing invoices is simple, with the option to either schedule emails for a later date or time or send out invoice links with expiration dates.
Zoho Invoice’s client portal is better than any of the software in this guide and allows your clients to access their estimates, invoices, and unbilled time for projects in one place. They can also access their statement of accounts and accept or decline estimates and make payments in the client portal:
- Client portal: With the client portal, your clients can keep track of all of their transactions with you. You’ll receive a notification when your clients have viewed or paid for an invoice with a real-time status view. You can also enable project details, so your clients can view projects, associated tasks, and logged or unbilled hours.
- Recurring invoice reports: You can obtain consolidated information on all recurring profiles in the system, along with details about payment failures, payment retries, and card expiration dates.
- Estimates and proposals: You can convert estimates and proposals to invoices in one click and add customer notes or terms and conditions. You can also view the estimate history, including discounts offered and client interaction.
- Project invoicing: With Zoho Invoice, you can create multiple projects per customer and assign time and expenses by project. You can include these expenses as part of client billings once they’re assigned to projects.
To access recurring invoices, you must first enable this module from the preferences. You can do this by clicking on the gear icon, then Preferences, General, and Recurring Invoice. As shown below, you can create a new recurring invoice template and customize the billing interval with optional start and end dates, assign the invoice to projects, enter payment terms, and specify a salesperson.
- Service providers: If you offer a professional service, such as accounting or law, or personal service, such as pool maintenance, Zoho Invoice fits your type of business. You can use the timesheet feature to track employee time by client for later billing.
- Zoho users: Zoho users can connect Zoho Invoice with other products from the provider, such as Zoho Books, our pick for overall best accounting software for freelancers.
- Billing clients by project: Zoho Invoice allows you to create multiple projects per customer and assign time and expenses by project. Once assigned to projects, you can include these expenses as part of client billings.
Wave: Best Free Bookkeeping System With a Recurring Billing Feature
- Free accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning services
- Assisted bookkeeping is available for a fee
- Straightforward setup
- Unlimited users for free
- Easy to record a bill and manage unpaid bills
- Not able to set up separate income and expenses by classes or locations
- Poor customer support
- Not a good fit for businesses with inventory
- Can’t reconcile bank statements when timing differences exist
Plans & Pricing
Wave is free for accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning. It offers the following services for an additional fee:
- Credit card payments: 2.9% plus 60 cents per transaction or 3.4% plus 60 cents per AMEX transaction
- Bank payments: 1% per transaction, with a minimum $1 fee
- Wave Payroll: Fixed monthly cost of $35 for tax service states or $20 for self-service states. There is an additional $6 per month, per active employee or independent contractor.
- Wave Advisor: $149 per month for bookkeeping support
- Accounting and payroll coaching: $329 per coaching session and email support
Wave is a cloud-based accounting solution and our choice for the best free accounting software for companies with multiple users. It offers free invoicing and receipt scanning services, and because of its built-in integration, Wave Payments, it’s a great option for businesses that accept online payments. It lets you create, customize, send, email, and print invoices, and also has an estimate management feature:
- Sales tax: Wave lets you add sales tax to invoices, bills, estimates, and expense and income transactions. Whenever you enter a transaction with sales tax, it records the amount automatically in the sales tax liability account.
- Invoice customization: There are different ways to customize your Wave invoices, including the ability to choose from different templates, add your logo, change colors, and include a personalized message.
- Reporting: Wave has a robust reporting capability as free software, with all standard reports―profit and loss (P&L) statement, general ledger, trial balance, accounts receivable (A/R) aging, and accounts payable (A/P) aging―included.
- Unlimited users: Wave allows for unlimited users at no charge, making it an excellent option for businesses seeking an affordable and flexible solution.
To access recurring invoices, you must access the left navigation menu and select Sales & Payments, then Recurring Invoices. You’ll be brought to a list where you can view any recurring schedules you have already created. Click “Create a recurring invoice” to get started. On the next page, you can customize your invoice. You can then set your schedule for when invoices will be sent, select the payment and sending methods, and review the details before finalizing the recurring invoice.
- Businesses looking for free bookkeeping software: Wave is our pick for the best free accounting software for multiple users. Its accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning services are free for an unlimited number of users and companies.
- Ecommerce integration: Through Zapier, you can integrate Wave with ecommerce platforms. We selected it as our best ecommerce accounting software for companies using Zapier.
- Receipt scanning: We named Wave our best free receipt scanner because it has optical character recognition and unlimited cloud storage for receipts.
Invoicera: Best Standalone Recurring Billing Software
- Manage multiple companies in one account
- Free plan available
- International invoicing with multicurrency support
- Seven invoice templates available or design your own custom template
- Schedule invoices to be sent at a later time
- Not a complete bookkeeping system
- Time tracking and reporting are limited
- No live bank feeds
- Free plan is limited to only three customers
- Mobile app unavailable for Android
Plans & Pricing
Invoicera offers a choice of four subscription plans, including a free starter plan. All plans can accommodate multiple businesses, support multiple currencies, and have customizable invoice templates. You can start with a 15-day free trial, and the prices for each are below:
- Starter: Free forever for up to three clients
- Pro: $15 per month for up to 100 clients and one additional user
- Business: $29 per month for up to 1000 clients and 10 additional users
- Infinite: $149 per month for unlimited clients and unlimited users
On the Pro or Business plan, you can add additional clients for $10 per month, per 100 clients, and additional users for $9 per user, per month.
With a variety of automations and customizations, Invoicera’s strongest feature is invoicing. It’s an all-in-one invoicing software that allows for template customization, and you can accept payments directly from the invoices with your choice of more than 30 payment gateways. You can also activate an invoice approval workflow and invoice PDF protection. Unlike all the other software in this guide, Invoicera is only an invoicing system, so you’ll need to integrate it with a bookkeeping system if you want financial statements:
- Multilingual and multicurrency support: Invoicera supports more than 120 currencies and you can send invoices in at least 16 different languages. You can opt to set your own exchange rate or let the software handle it for you.
- Client portal: The easy-to-use client portal allows clients to pay for or dispute invoices as well as accept, reject, or comment on estimates.
- Estimates: You can duplicate and copy estimates to create a new one for a client quickly. You can also convert estimates to invoices and auto-schedule estimates.
- Project management: Projects and tasks can be created and assigned to specific staff members or clients, and you can attach billable and nonbillable time to projects as well as important documents and incurred expenses. You can also set task priorities within a project.
If you want to send recurring invoices to your clients automatically at chosen intervals of time, you need to fill in the form for recurring invoices as shown below. Be sure to select the frequency, and you can also select Auto Billing if you want to receive payments from your clients automatically without entering credit card details manually every time:
- Companies looking for standalone invoicing without bookkeeping: If you need a dedicated invoicing solution without any bookkeeping tasks involved, then Invoicera is a great option.
- Freelancers with very few clients needing free invoicing: Invoicera’s free plans allow you to send invoices for up to three clients.
- Project-based businesses: Invoicera lets you create and manage projects assigned to customers or staff and log project work time to bill to your clients. Invoicera also integrates with Basecamp, allowing you to upload all your Basecamp clients, staff, and projects to your Invoicera account.
How We Evaluated the Best Recurring Billing Software
There are a few important features to keep in mind while evaluating the best recurring billing software, which include the ability to customize invoices and accept multiple currencies. Our criteria to help assess the best recurring billing software included the following:
- Customer portal: You can give your clients an easy, professional, and secure portal that allows them to view and pay invoices as well as approve or reject estimates.
- Invoice customization: These options vary from changing the color or font, uploading a logo, or adding custom messages.
- Estimates and proposals: The best recurring billing software allows you to convert estimates and proposals to invoices easily, saving you time and increasing your productivity.
- Reports: The best recurring billing software provides detailed reports that help you to understand your customers’ behavior better. This includes detailed invoice reports, payment failure reports, and cancellation reports.
- Invoice restrictions: Many recurring billing software have restrictions on the number of invoices or clients allowed per month. Ideally, there would be an unlimited number for both.
- Multicurrency and multilingual support: For companies that want to expand internationally, the software you decide to implement must be accessible to users from different countries, whether that’s with multilingual invoices or the ability to accept global payments.
Recurring billing software is specifically designed to prevent late payments, automate invoicing, and take the stress out of the process. Whether it’s a free solution or software that provides extra features, such as a client portal or automatic sales tax calculation, these options are suitable for many types of small businesses. The best platform for you is the one that suits the needs of your particular industry.