Sometimes it feels like finding a good billing software is like online dating--you have to kiss a bunch of frogs before you find someone worth seriously investing more of your time in. Solid billing/invoicing software should offer:

You deserve recurring invoices, gorgeous invoice templates, customization and a mobile app if that strikes your fancy (after all, it is an era of rapidly increasing mobile usage). If you want a sure thing (the closest to love at first sight you'll get with billing software), check out GetApp's list of various invoicing solutions to see if one fits for you. However, if you want a laugh, take a look at these nightmarish billing/invoicing software reviews. Don't say you weren't warned:

1. Chiropulse reviewed by Back2Basics

Back2Basics is a "punny" chiropractor from Pennsylvania who also teaches anatomy--and he's sick and tired of those subpar chiro-centric billing software solutions out there. He recently reviewed Chiropulse, saying:

"I attempted to use Chiropulse as both my SOAP note program and chiropractic billing program over the last year and a half. The only good thing about it was that it was cheap. I say cheap rather than inexpensive because it really is an inferior product and the service sucks. The documentation side is full of inconsistencies and requires you to have to go back in and correct errors in almost every note.

If you try to customize any of the few areas that allow for customization it ends up making things worse. The billing aspect requires you to either make a template for every conceivable combination of CPT and ICD codes or you will have to match the two on every visit...every time. Instead of simply adding an option that allows you to duplicate a previous visit, Chiropulse forces you to match each procedure with each diagnosis code over and over and over again."

2. NextGen reviewed by Stacy from Georgia Ophthalmologists

The next time you get a medical billing error (Fox News suggests it's more likely to happen than you think), you might want to blame the software instead of the human trying to wrangle it. NextGen is a semi-popular software option that's had some negative reviews. Stacy of Georgia Ophthalmologists says, "The trainers make it more complicated than it needs to be...if you need help, prepare to wait two hours or two months for a response...the communication from the beginning with the salesperson wasn't good. I felt deceived by the way he sold me the product, but he later apologized for 'misinforming' me.

His mistake cost me a lot of money and many hours of work. Support is good at times, but other times, it takes weeks to hear back. Their accounts payable department has been horrendous! In the last year and a half, I've left at least ten messages for supervisors, and not one has ever called me back. Their invoices are always a month late, and then I receive it with a Past Due notice. It takes this department up to three months to reply to a simple invoice question, and it seems like nobody is in charge or cares."

3. BillingOrchard reviewed by Katherine (independent contractor)

This is one of the first billing software companies to enter the market, but according to some reviewers, it's gone downhill. RipOffReport has more than a dozen complaints due to "hidden fees". According to Katherine, an independent contractor who reviewed the product for Merchant Maverick, "BillingOrchard is so far out of line for its price point that it's difficult for me to understand how the company is still in business. The software is full of bugs, and even when it does work, you won't find the broad spectrum of functions that you'd expect for $19.95/month.

One of the interesting points about invoicing software is that it's usually hard to make a blanket recommendation. No one program has everything, so finding the best invoicing program for your specific business isn't so much a matter of what's the "best" program as which program offers the features you need. That said, is BillingOrchard right for anyone? If the bugs were shored up, perhaps. But until that happens, just about any company will have better options."

Takeaways

The lesson learned from each of these reviews? Research, research, research. Know what you want, deserve and expect from a billing software before you even start window shopping and make sure the biggies are checked off your list. Online comparison shopping isn't just for Cyber Monday (although Inc.'s tips are great year-round), so brush off those research skills and get a billing software that's worthy of your business.

Published on: Dec 10, 2014
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.