Guide to service and time billing software
The purpose of billing software is to help streamline business processes in your accounts receivable department. It allows for easy invoice generation, either from a template or a customized alternative, and automates recurrent billing. You can also use billing software to manage customer and product databases if you're running a retail business.
Types of Billing Software
Just as payroll software allows you to create accounts payable invoices, billing software generates accounts receivable invoices. In the most general terms, billing software covers three categories: time, services and products or merchandise.
Time billing software is extensively used by consultants, consulting companies and a host of other professionals who charge clients by the hour for advice or services. It is also heavily used by staffing agencies to bill clients for commissions, since many agencies compute their commissions based on the hours one of their employees works. Legal billing software is a subtype of time billing software that is used by lawyers, paralegals and legal aid agencies to facilitate payment collection at the conclusion of a case or consultation. Child care billing software is another example.
Medical billing software meets a growing need in the healthcare community. This type of software is used by doctors, dentists, surgeons, clinics, chiropractors, physiotherapists, nursing homes and hospitals to invoice insurance companies or individuals for services rendered. Typically, medical billing software offers you automated tools for itemizing expenses, maintaining a database of all services and materials you offer and immediately totaling what a client owes.
Small business billing software is specifically designed with the needs of start-up and specialized entrepreneurs in mind. Typically, it allows you to generate bills both for time as well as merchandise and automatically calculates taxes, shipping expenses and finance charges (if applicable).
If you need bill-generation capabilities as part of a larger suite of financial management software, many general-purpose accounting software suites have billing modules that you can use. If your company has complex or constantly evolving needs, investing in a more complete package of programs may make more financial sense in the long run.