The Best Software for Small Business
Choosing the right small business software for your needs isn’t easy, especially with some of the options you have available. There are so many accounting packages, point of sale systems, invoicing applications and inventory management systems out there, it can be difficult to work out which software package will suit your business needs best.
Here are the best softwares in running your small business.
Best project management software: Trello
Overview: Trello is a collaboration and task management tool that supports all kinds of projects, such as marketing campaigns, content development, customer support, sales tracking, data entry, and HR tracking. It’s important to note that it works for most projects with the exception of budgeting and invoicing, although these kinds of documents can be attached. For smaller businesses, it’s a convenient and easy tool that easily tracks projects through due dates, card cover photos, users, a task commenting feature, labels, priorities, and more. Attachments such as files, images, or documents can also be added to each project management pipeline.
Tech support: Customer support is available Monday through Friday, 9:00 – 5:00 Eastern Time, except during holidays.
Free trial: Trello Business Class is available as a free 14-day trial that includes unlimited functionality with advanced features.
Best time tracking software: Toggl
Overview: For very small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs who just need a simple time tracker, Toggl might be the best bet. While there are many great software solutions out there that include extensive features such as expense management, mileage tracking, employee monitoring, and more, many small businesses don’t need all of those features (and don’t want to pay for them). With Toggl, it’s all about ease of use because employees can instantly track time across hundreds of third-party apps, computers, and devices — just hit Start and the timer gets going. Toggl is free with paid tiers that start at $9/month for add-ons such as invoicing features.
Free trial: Toggl offers a 30-day trial for all features.
Tech support: Toggl offers a free self-service help center on its website.
Best online payment software: PayPal
Overview: PayPal and Stripe are two of the largest online payment solutions available. While they share many things in common, such as an online payment processing fee of 2.9% + $0.30, PayPal overall is a better option for small businesses and entrepreneurs. While Stripe offers more customization options to suit larger companies, PayPal is easier to set up and use, making it a better choice for small business owners. PayPal helps millions of customers and merchants around the world send and accept payments using bank accounts and credit cards, which is why it’s one of the most widely adopted platforms in the eCommerce industry. The PayPal button can be added to the payment page, which allows customers to use PayPal, PayPal credits, or Venmo to complete purchases in just one or two clicks. From start to finish, PayPal is one of the easiest payment services available — for businesses and customers.
Free trial: PayPal does not offer a free trial period, but merchants do not pay startup or termination fees for most plans.
Tech support: PayPal offers multiple sources of customer support, including a community forum, resolution center, and text and email support.
Best email marketing software: MailChimp
Overview: We think small businesses can’t go wrong with MailChimp because it’s flexible, affordable, and it allows users to add features and capabilities as business needs change. In fact, it’s available for free to companies with fewer than 2,000 subscribers. This is a huge advantage for small companies or entrepreneurs who want to avoid as many costs as possible while they grow their businesses. But even the higher level plans won’t break the bank, since the Essentials and Standard plans cost only $9.99 and $14.99 per month, respectively. (Note that the actual rate varies according to the number of subscribers.) But overall, MailChimp has a great selection of features, such as behavioral targeting, A/B testing, custom templates, advanced segmentation and more that put targeted marketing and relationship building well within reach of even the most inexperienced business owners. (Note that Act! also offers marketing automation capabilities in its Standard and Expert plans.)
Tech support: Self-service and email support are available to all subscription levels, while chat and phone support are only available to higher subscription levels.
Free trial: MailChimp offers a free plan for less than 2,000 subscribers. The free plan allows users to send up to 12,000 emails per month, set up multi-user accounts, and get email and chat support for the first 30 days.
BEST OVERALL QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online is the best overall accounting software for small businesses of those reviewed. Not only do the majority of small business accounting professionals use QuickBooks Online, but there are also endless online training resources and forums to get support when needed. All accounting features can be conveniently accessed on one main dashboard, making bookkeeping more fluid and efficient.Pros
- Commonly used by accounting professionals
- Integration with third-party applications
- Mobile app
- Upgrade required for more users
- Occasional syncing problems with banks and credit cards
Intuit’s QuickBooks Online has been the most common accounting software used by small businesses and their bookkeeping and tax professionals. The software is cloud-based and can be accessed through a web browser or through the mobile app.
After the 30-day free trial, the four options for subscription plans include: Simple Start at $25 per month, Essentials at $40 per month, Plus at $70 per month, and Advanced at $150 per month. Typically there is a significant discount offered for the first few months, and some accountants are able to offer wholesale pricing to small businesses, as well.
The monthly subscription for this software can be upgraded as a business grows, and there are many customization options with the mobile app that can be used to receive payments, review reports, capture an image of a receipt, and track business mileage. For businesses looking for a payroll solution, QuickBooks Payroll fully integrates with QuickBooks Online.
Each plan offers more advanced features like inventory management, time tracking, additional users, and budgeting. Most service-based small businesses will find that Simple Start meets all of their needs. For product-based small businesses, Essentials or Plus will have more options for inventory and customizations. The Advanced subscription is a new offering and provides robust financial reporting that is powered by Fathom. Fathom is an elite online financial report analysis tool used by many large companies all over the world.
All plans allow integration with third-party apps such as Stripe or PayPal. QuickBooks Online’s app store breaks down all of their apps by function and provides helpful examples of the benefits of each app.
BEST FOR MICRO-BUSINESS OWNERS Xero
Xero is the best in our review for micro-businesses that are looking for very simple accounting software. This software has a clean interface and also fully integrates with a third-party payroll service. Businesses can collect payment online from customers through Xero’s integration with Stripe and GoCardless.Pros
- Mobile app
- Payroll integration with Gusto
- Third-party app marketplace
- Simple inventory management
- Limited reporting
- Fees charged for ACH payments
- Limited customer service
Xero was founded in 2006 in New Zealand and now has over 2.7 million users worldwide. This accounting software is popular in New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Xero has over 3,500 employees and is growing rapidly in the U.S., as well.1
Xero offers three monthly subscription options and a full-service payroll add-on: Early at $11 per month, Growing at $32 per month, and Established at $62 per month. The full-service payroll option is offered through Gusto and is an additional $39 per month, plus $6 per employee. The company offers a 30-day free trial and a promotion for 50% off for two months.
The Early plan limits usage and only allows entry for five invoices or quotes, five bills, and reconciliation of 20 bank transactions per month. This limited plan may be suitable for a micro-business with high-ticket transactions, but only a few per month, such as a consulting or small service provider. Both the Growing and Established plans offer unlimited invoices, bills, and transactions. The only difference between the two is that the Established plan has additional features like multi-currency, expense management, and project costing. All three plans offer Hubdoc, a bill and receipt capture solution.
BEST FOR SERVICE-BASED BUSINESSES FreshBooks
The most crucial accounting need for most service-based businesses is invoicing. FreshBooks offers more customizations for invoicing compared to other accounting software. Its primary function is to send, receive, print, and pay invoices, but it can also take care of a business’ basic bookkeeping needs as well. This accounting software makes it easier for service-based businesses to send proposals and invoices, request deposits, collect client retainers, track time on projects, and receive payments.Pros
- User-friendly interface
- Third-party app integration
- Advanced invoicing features
- No inventory management
- No payroll service
- Mobile app has limitations
Founded in 2003 in Toronto, FreshBooks started as just an invoicing software. Over time, more features have been added and FreshBooks now has over 500 employees.2 There are four different plans, and businesses can get a 10% discount if they choose to pay yearly, rather than monthly. Additionally, FreshBooks offers a 60% off discount per month for six months. The four plans are: Lite at $6 per month, Plus at $10 per month, Premium at $20 per month, and Select, which is a custom service with custom pricing.
The main difference between the four plans is the number of different clients that are allowed to be billed per month. In the Lite plan, up to five clients can be billed per month. In the Plus plan, up to 50 clients can be billed per month. In the Premium plan, unlimited clients can be billed per month. The Select plan also does not have a limitation on the number of clients that can be billed per month, but adds unique features. It costs an additional $10 per month for multiple team members to use the accounting software and it costs an additional $20 per month for the advanced payment feature, which allows users to charge a credit card in real-time or set up a recurring credit card charge for a client.
There are many third-party app integrations available, such as Shopify, Gusto, Stripe, G Suite, and more. A unique feature of FreshBooks is that invoices can be highly stylized and customized for a professional look and feel. FreshBooks is a great tool for budgeting out projects, sending estimates or proposals, and collecting customer payments.
No matter what size of business you own or manage, you need online software that will help you manage and grow your company. There may be some top small business accounting and payroll software at different GST free shopping sites but it doesn’t mean that they’re perfect for your company.