If you own a small business, chances are you spend a lot of time on the move. Long gone are the days of being chained to a desk — you spend your days in the thick of it, getting things done and making connections. Fortunately, today's mobile world is full of apps that can help you run your business and track its financial health even when you're on the go. To save you time, we've tracked down some of the best finance apps for small businesses so you can choose the one that works best for you.
You don't want to trust your finances to just anyone. If you feel more confident in going with a name you know, QuickBooks may be the ticket for you. This is also a good choice if you need to go beyond bookkeeping basics. QuickBooks has the tools you need to create full-fledged financial reports and generate invoices, receipts, and estimates.
More power means a higher fee, however. The system offers four service tiers, so you can choose a plan that only goes as far as you need it. As of publication, the prices for these tiers ranged from $25 to $150 a month. Even the most basic plan allows you to manage cash flow, track receipts, maximize tax deductions, accept payments and manage 1099 contractors.
The great thing about Wave is the price. Although you can add payment acceptance and payroll services for a fee, most of Wave's services are entirely free. Although it won't track your accounts receivable or payable for you, it still does far more than most free services, including tracking your receipts, generating custom invoices, and linking multiple bank accounts.
Of course, Wave also covers the bookkeeping basics, tracking your income and expenses in the popular double-entry accounting system. Wave operates entirely online so that you can access it from a PC, MAC, or mobile app.
Starting at $6 a month, FreshBooks is an excellent way to get a lot of bang for your buck. Many small business owners describe it as a more intuitive version of QuickBooks and praise its clean user interface and a vast array of tools. Adding to its charm is the fact that this app is compatible with 84 others, allowing you to create a completely customized and integrated bookkeeping system if you wish.
FreshBooks feature time-tracking to help freelancers accurately bill their time and allows you to collaborate with other team members, permitting an unlimited number of simultaneous users. This managing software also allows you to assign various permissions and data access levels to your employees — something QuickBooks allows only at the most expensive plan. Compatible with PC and MAC, FreshBooks is an excellent, budget-friendly, cloud-based solution.
In the early stages of starting and building a business, money can feel incredibly tight. If this is where you currently find yourself, GoodBudget may be an option for you. This particular software is actually geared toward household budgeting and finances, but it will cover the basics for a small startup and do so affordably. It also works well for freelancers whose personal and business finances often intermingle.
The free service is adequate, but you'll get more out of the paid service, such as seven years of financial history tracking and email support rather than just user community help. For only $7 a month, this is a budget-friendly option well worth the investment. The downside, however, is that there is no scalability here. This can get you started, but you will likely need to move to something more advanced as your business grows.
If you want a name you know without paying brand-name prices, consider Mint. This app is entirely free, but Intuit owns it. This is the same company that does QuickBooks and TurboTax, both of which you've likely heard of and heard good things about.
Unfortunately, Mint isn't a robust business bookkeeping tool, and you'll be frustrated if you try to use it as such. It's an excellent tool for tracking your expenses and budgeting, however. You can use the app to track your cash, organize your credit cards, track your bills and monitor investments. Mint will also track your credit score.
This app is geared toward budgeting, letting you divide your money into different virtual envelopes so you can stay focused on a goal. This is especially helpful if you're hoping to save for a new piece of business equipment or want to set aside marketing funds.
Mint can be glitchy, so you may find yourself randomly booted out of the system. It's super user-friendly, but you may have to log in a few times during a single session if the software gives you the boot. Mint is free, too, which in this case means ad-based.
Running a business often means managing multiple financial accounts. If you're looking for an excellent way to track them all in one place, Marcus Insights by Goldman Sachs is a good choice for iPhone users. Sadly, the app is notoriously glitchy to the point of being worthless on Android systems.
However, the iPhone app lets you sync your checking, saving, and investment accounts along with your credit cards and other financial accounts. This information is then presented in an easy-to-read dashboard that gives you a solid financial overview in one place. Viewing your accounts in this way allows you to see your spending patterns as well easily. The app is happy to help with this, compiling your spending into simple reports, charts, and graphs that can help you pinpoint and, if necessary, alter spending trends.
The Marcus app isn't a complete accounting system and is designed only for helping you manage accounts and track spending. It works pretty well, though, and is the highest-rated budgeting app available for the iPhone. That's pretty good street cred for a freebie.
So far, we've discussed many apps that will help you track your income and expenses or plan a budget. Square is a little bit different. If your business carries a physical inventory or needs to accept payments on the go, the Square app may work well for you.
The app requires a credit card reader that attaches to your phone but is otherwise web-based. Square is a complete point-of-sale (POS system that accepts credit cards anywhere, tracks your inventory and lets you set up an online store. Square is compatible with many other apps, allowing you to manage your sales and inventory in conjunction with other apps that can perform more advanced bookkeeping and accounting functions.
The app and the credit card reader are both free but don't celebrate just yet. Square does charge a fee for each credit card swipe, which was 2.75 percent at the time of publication. This is in line with other credit card processing fees but can add up if you do many credit card transactions.
Zoho Books is the go-to app for small business owners who want to automate as many accounting tasks as they can. This app lets you automate time-sucking tasks like categorizing income, making recurring payments, or sending reminders to clients with outstanding invoices. Zoho will automate these tasks if you like, but it does so without the annoying tendency of trying to wrest control away from you. You choose which tasks to automate and how to set them up, so you're never fighting a "helpful" software program that tries to do too much.
This bookkeeping system works well, and users report being quite happy with its performance. Even the free version does an incredible amount, including managing bank statements, tracking 1099 contractors, generating recurring invoices, and providing a payment gateway. Zoho's most significant limitation is that it doesn't deal with payroll, so you'll need another app or service for that.
Although technically not a finance app, Gusto is a name you might want to know. Even in a small business, payroll can prove a daunting and time-consuming task. Gusto can help, but it comes with a fee. The base price for Gusto is currently $39 per month plus $6 per month per person. The cost is $149 a month plus $12 per month per person for their top-tier concierge service. The good news is, you get a lot of your money.
Gusto includes setup and customer support, which a surprising number of payroll apps don't have in their pricing. For no extra charge, Gusto lets you run payroll for more than one state and file Forms W-2 and 1099. It will even calculate and automatically pay your payroll taxes for you after processing every payroll.
This app also lets you manage employee benefits like HSAs and 401(k) plans while also providing a portal where your employees can access and manage their accounts. They'll be able to continue accessing these accounts to print reports and perform other tasks after leaving your employ, allowing former employees to access their W-2's and other personal records without your assistance.
These are some of the best finance apps for small businesses, and we encourage you to use all of them that may help you. Remember that many other software tools can help make running your business a bit easier during your automation journey. We have several tools like visitor management software and social media management aids that are powerful business boosters when adequately combined. Call, email, or reach out to us today and we'll be happy to share with you the many ways our software programs can help make running and growing your business a more straightforward and more efficient process.