Let’s face it: We love startups in every way. Handsome founders, great ideas, and fast-paced development with no lack of new ideas. But when it comes to financing management, we hate them. Oh boy, do we hate them! So much so, in fact, that last year we decided to create a special Top 10 list dedicated to startups and their cash flow needs, called the Toolkit for Startups. This post will be a follow-up on that one, and of course you can find the first part of this year’s list here.
Mint is one of the best free online business tools on the market. So, what does it do? Essentially, it’s a budget planner that provides you with a way to manage all your finances in one place. Powered by Intuit (the creators of QuickBooks and TurboTax), the app shows users an overview of their budget, bills, spending, and credit score, making it an excellent way to stay on top of your business’s day to day finances. Features of this free online business tool include the ability to create a budget, set goals and reminders, and sync your data between apps and the web. Furthermore, Mint has a portfolio and investment tracker that allows you to keep a close eye on all your accounts.
2. Personal Capital
Offering software for tracking investments and planning your retirement, Personal Capital is an excellent free online business tool to explore. There are multiple features to explore, including analytics for cash flow, budgeting, spending, and net worth. It’s an excellent way to organise your long-term financial planning, and with multiple layers of security, your financial data is always safe and secure. However, it’s also worth noting that Personal Capital’s budgeting components aren’t quite as robust as other start-up business tools, so if you aren’t an investor, this may not be the best business tool for your start-up.
As a free online business tool for small business accounting, GnuCash is perfectly placed to help you handle double-entry bookkeeping, the production of accounting reports, and scheduled transactions. Furthermore, GnuCash is one of the best tools for start-ups looking to manage payroll and statement reconciliation more effectively.
For easy and accurate time-tracking, Hubstaff is the ideal start-up business tool to add to your repertoire. HubStaff provides you with the capacity to monitor an unlimited range of programs, take automatic screenshots (to prove that work is being completed), and produce detailed online timesheets. Furthermore, Hubstaff offers payroll software that allows you to automate and send payments quickly and effectively. In short, it’s one of the best tools for start-ups looking to boost productivity and manage employees. However, it’s worth noting that Hubstaff isn’t a free online business tool (aside from a 14-day demo period), so depending on your team’s size, it could represent a fairly sizable investment.
Finally, there’s Zoho. As a GoCardless partner, Zoho is ideal for any small businesses already using our automated payment solution. Offering a full suite of online productivity tools and SaaS applications, Zoho is one of the best tools for start-ups seeking a way to run their entire business from one central location. One of the critical areas that Zoho can help to improve is company cards. Integrating with the most popular credit card companies in Europe, users can upload receipts, set per diem rates, and convert expenses to any currency. However, Zoho isn’t a free online business tool, so you’ll need to weigh up the financial impact of investing, particularly if you’re dealing with tight margins.
Financial management may not be one of the most glamorous parts of starting up (assuming you consider pulling sober all-nighters, eating nothing but ramen for a year, and regularly going to meetings in unwashed clothes to be glamorous), but it’s arguably the most important. Because, unless you have a magic money fairy, without the proper tools to keep track of your finances, there’s really no way your startup will succeed.
If you had enough money, you could do what plenty of established businesses do and hire your own bookkeeper or accounting team. But we’re going under the assumption that that’s not an option for you. Therefore we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular online financial management tools used by startups. Whether you have a team of ten, with several former finance majors on board, or are a one man/woman show who’s financial planning experience tops out at creating a personal budget on Mint, there’s a tool for you out there. This list only scrapes the surface of what’s available, but it’s a sufficient starting point to finding the best services to do everything from tracking invoices, to streamlining customer payments, to keeping track of those all important tax deductions.
- Salesforce Invoice and Payment Platform – This new tool from Salesforce, in partnership with Taulia, lets you quickly and easily track invoices, payment status, and choose early payment options. It’s a completely free and fully integrated platform. It also facilitates early payments which allows you to get paid earlier in exchange for offering invoice discounts.
- BodeTree provides daily updates and instant tracking of your business’s finances. One feature included is a cash tracker which helps you visualize your income, expenses, and profit in real time. They also offer a full suite of financial insights that helps you set goals, calculate your company’s valuation, industry comparisons, and build a strategic roadmap that covers a number of areas of building a successful business.
- Bench is an online bookkeeping service that provides your business with its own personal professional bookkeeper. They offer free paperless bookkeeping, bank level security of your financial information, and tax time support to help lower your business-related stress levels.
- Abukai is more than just a fun name; it’s also a really quick and easy platform for creating status reports. All you have to do is take individual photos of your receipts (it’s up to you to remember where you put them) and hit submit. They will send you finished expense report with cost categorization, date, vendor and all the other information already filled in for you.
- Shoeboxed basically turns all of your paper clutter into organized, paperless data and reports. It will scan receipts and business cards. It will scan your receipts and turn them into expense reports, as well as scan business cards into a contact management system so you can get rid of the paper copies of both. You can also auto-import emailed receipts.
If you’re looking for more information for how to go about organizing your startup’s finances, here’s an article we posted a few months ago that gives some great tips.
This Startup Toolkit was created by the team at Revenue.ng, a bootstrapped startup that raised $1M in funding in 2017. As experienced startup founders, we’ve bootstrapped our own companies from idea to runway. We understand what it’s like being strapped for cash which is why we want to share some of the tools we use to keep our costs down.