Starting a small business doesn’t come without it’s challenges. From cash flow issues to an uninspired workspace, solving these issues require apps that help you be productive, keep track of sales and track your expenses.
Small business apps for accounting, billing and payments
1. Square Point of Sale
Square Point of Sale allows you to accept payments wherever your business takes you. Essentially, you can turn any iPhone, iPad, or major Android device into a mobile POS that accepts credit and debit cards (including EMV chip cards) and mobile payments like Apple Pay. The Square Point of Sale app is free to download and you can use it as either a mobile POS on a smartphone or on a tablet at your counter. With Square Point of Sale, just swipe a payment and see money in your account in two business days or less. If you need your funds even faster, for 1% of the transfer amount, you can opt for instant transfers to get paid as soon as the same day.** Users love that they get paid quickly. Square’s magstripe card readers are offered free of cost, and once you start swiping, payment processing fees are only 2.6% + 10¢ of each transaction for all major credit cards.
**Instant and scheduled same-day transfers require a linked debit card and are currently available for most debit cards. Funds are subject to your bank’s availability schedule. Minimum amount is $50 USD and maximum is $2,500 USD in a single transfer. Limits start at $500 USD per day for new sellers.
2. Intuit QuickBooks
The Intuit QuickBooks app is an immense help when it comes to your accounting and bookkeeping needs. It includes robust tools to track your expenses and sales. Users appreciate that they can use their mobile devices to do things like send invoices and accept payments via email. You can also share access with your accountant so you’re better prepared for tax time. QuickBooks offers its business app free for 30 days.
[RELATED: 5 Habits of Highly-Creative People]
Xero’s accounting app helps with taking care of bills and expenses, paying your employees, and managing your purchase orders. Your data is saved in the cloud, so you can access it from your phone, tablet, or laptop; that also means that if any of your devices are ever lost or stolen, you won’t lose any of your information. Xero’s accounting app helps busy business owners handle expenses quickly and easily, even letting them see their cash flow in real time. Users call it a life-saving accounting app and love that it’s easy to use. Xero offers its app for small businesses free for the first 30 days.
4. Zoho Books
Zoho Books manages invoices and quotes, tracks payments, and allows you to upload expense receipts right from your phone or tablet. Users appreciate that the program is simple to use and doesn’t require any training. Plus, you can easily track time and bill from your device, and access business invoices. Business owners appreciate that with the app’s real-time updates, their multilocation workers can see the same info all the time, reducing communication errors. They also like that its friendly user interface makes it easy to build an estimate and convert to an invoice with one click.
5. Square Invoices
With Square Invoices, you can create and send invoices directly from your mobile device, as well as track the status of invoices. There are many benefits that come with mobile invoicing.Customers can pay securely online with a credit or debit card, and you can record the transaction even if they pay with cash or a check. Invoices are always free to send — pay only 2.9% + 30¢ for each invoice paid online. You can access this free invoice app by selecting Invoices in the the main menu of your Square Point of Sale app. More than $3 billion have been paid to small businesses with Square Invoices.
Get Started With Square Invoices
Get paid faster with online invoices.Send Invoices with Square
Small business apps for documents and pictures
Dropbox keeps all your business files (like documents and images) safe, synced, and easy to share. It’s an excellent organizational and collaborative tool for teams. It only downloads files when you need to access them, so it won’t eat up all your storage. More than 500 million businesses use Dropbox to store and share files for their business. This includes the more than 150,000 businesses, like Pinterest, Intuit, and Hyatt Hotels, that use their paid service.
This small business app lets you send and receive secure and legally binding contracts for your business. You can upload PDFs and email them to clients, and filling out signatures and timestamps takes only minutes. The app also allows you to edit the PDF before you send it, and you can also scan documents using the camera on your phone. Users enjoy the simple, sleek design and how it simplifies business operations.
Monthly fees: $13/month when paid annually for individuals with unlimited documents per month, and $40/month for business accounts (up to five users) when paid annually.
Available here on iOS and Android
You can use PicMonkey, a photo editing app, for things like designing cards, working on website images, or quickly cropping photos for social media imagery (Pinterest, Instagram, etc). The tools are intuitive and simple to use, so you don’t need a graphic design background to edit photos. Users say the user-friendly app’s features make it really simple to edit a picture quickly and make it look professional, and they get amazing results.
9. Google Drive
Another storage and file sharing option, Google Drive, lets you keep all files related to your business in one place that you can access from your laptop, tablet, or phone. You can also set sharing permissions to allow people to view, comment, or edit documents, and you can view files offline. Documents are accessible from any device, and business owners love that they can collaborate safely with clients anywhere.
Small business apps for inventory and shipping
ShipStation is a huge time-saver when it comes to your shipping needs. The app features batch label creation and connects to top shipping carriers. The web-based system is hosted in the cloud, and it allows you to process orders, print shipping labels, track shipments, process fulfillment orders, and even get order alerts on your Apple Watch. Small business owners call ShipStation a fast, easy-to-use solution.
Shopventory is an easy-to-use and advanced inventory management system for small- to medium-size businesses. You can see profit margins, compare multiple locations, and spot sales trends. For example, Shopventory can identify the items that aren’t selling well, so you know what you should discount — and not restock. It can also help you pinpoint when or where theft might be happening. Keep in mind that payments and point-of-sale software is supported but must be secured separately. Currently Shopventory offers payment processing support for Square, PayPal Here, Shopify, Clover, and Vend. Users love that the app helps them stay up to speed, even when they’re not in the office.
Avoid unnecessary trips to the post office with the Shyp app. The company’s couriers come to your door to pick up what you need to ship, package it, and send it at the lowest price. Although the app is currently only available in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, customers love the 20-minute pickup service and convenience. Shyp always make the shipping experience that much easier, especially from home offices, users say.
Small business apps for communication and employee management
With Homebase, you can build an employee schedule in seconds, track your team’s hours, and manage your labor costs in real time. The app also allows managers to message employees, employees to chat with coworkers in real time, request time off, or trade shifts. Employers can also track both paid and unpaid breaks and retroactively edit employee shifts to ensure accurate reporting. It’s also convenient for employees, since it gives them better access to schedules, shift trades, shift covers, time off requests, and availability.
Monthly fees: The Basic plan is free, the Essentials plan costs $10 per month per location, and the Plus plan costs $30 per month per location, including advanced payroll features like early clock-in prevention, timesheet approvals, and support for multiple wage rates and employment status.
Available here on iOS and Android
14. When I Work
When I Work provides an easy way to schedule and communicate with your hourly employees, saving you a ton of time and reducing absenteeism. If there’s an open shift, you can make it available to all employees in 30 seconds, and you can send employees a mobile alert when the schedule changes. Business owners can also easily monitor shift trades or time-off requests, and set up personalized timecard stations on a desktop or tablet to allow easy employee clock ins and clock outs. The app can remind employees with an alert before their shift begins.
With the TSheets app, you can track your employees’ hours, see who’s currently working, and manage employees from any mobile device. It also features an easy way to approve paid time off, vacations, and timesheets. TSheets comes with a variety of features to help make business finances easier, like automatic overtime alerts and multilocation management. Approved timesheets easily integrate with QuickBooks to make your business accounting a breeze. For Square sellers, TSheets integrates easily with your Square POS system too, so employees can clock in and out right on your Square Stand by entering their unique four-digit passcode. Small business owners like the simplicity and adaptability of the app, and the fact that it syncs with their online accounts.
Reduce email back-and-forth (and thus improve productivity) with Slack, a real-time messaging, archiving, and collaborative tool for teams. It’s especially helpful when everyone’s not in one place. Slack’s business app offers a variety of messaging options, including direct messaging, group chats, and private channels that cannot be joined or viewed by others. It also allows you to drag and drop files, so you can seamlessly share information without having to switch to email. Current users love that you can divide by topics, and that it’s easy to utilize on the go.
Monthly fees: Free for the basic plan. Paid plans start at $6.67 per month per active user, billed annually, for smaller companies seeking deeper encryption, app integrations, and storage capabilities. Enterprise plans are priced on a per-company basis.
Available here on iOS and Android
Expensify makes employee expense reports less of a drag (and a time drain). You can import expenses directly from a credit card to generate free expense reports. To record an expense, you just take a picture of it with your phone, and the app reads the receipt and creates the expense. Managers can approve reports online and reimburse directly to a checking account. Expensify has over 2.5 million users worldwide. Users call the app a time-saver that helps expenses get reimbursed quickly.
Monthly fees: $5 per month per active user for the most basic team plan, and $9 per month per active user for the Corporate plan, which includes upgraded features like policy reinforcement and corporate card reconciliation
Available here on iOS and Android
Small business apps for organization
Evernote is a great tool for organizing all those notes you’re jotting down about your business — as well as your to-do lists. Evernote automatically syncs your data across both mobile and desktop devices, for quick, easy access. Evernote’s business app also makes it easy to store additional media, letting you quickly scan or clip web articles and images. Users appreciate that you can access it or work on your mobile devices even when you’re not online.
If you’re constantly getting on planes and using rental cars, the TripIt app is worth a download. It organizes all your travel plans in one place and sends you real-time alerts about any changes. It can also help you find alternate flights, and even snag the best seat. After your flight is booked, simply email travel confirmations to [email protected] to instantly create a travel schedule on your devices. TripIt’s app for small businesses allows you to view your entire itinerary when you’re offline, which means you can save money by avoiding roaming charges when you’re traveling abroad. The pro version also features real-time flight alerts throughout your trip — so you can stay in the know whenever you’re on the go. TripIt’s users call it a must-have app for all flyers.
Asana is a versatile project management tool that helps teams stay on track, hit deadlines and reach goals. It has the capability to automate workflows, standardize work requests and visualize projects in real time across multiple teams. You can integrate Asana with your email and calendar platforms, and use its reporting tools to manage workloads and find ways to become more efficient.
When you start a small business, it’s essential to use the best apps to operate. Whether you are managing inventory, invoices, or finances, these apps are crucial to your success.