As a small business owner, you are constantly working on the go. Fortunately, with the power of technology, it has become much easier to manage your business from almost anywhere. Whether you need to send emails, check on a project’s status, or even process payroll, there’s an app for that.
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Running your business from your phone is not only convenient, but it can also save you money and help you streamline your day-to-day processes. By building your business processes around these cutting-edge apps, you can quickly check in on your most important priorities without having to lug your laptop around everywhere you go.
With the ease of use and cost-effectiveness in mind, here is a list of the best apps for every area of your small business.
Quickbooks Online – Best App for Cloud Accounting
When you think of small business accounting, what comes to mind? If you said Quickbooks, you would be in good company. With over 29 million customers in the U.S., Quickbooks offers a diverse set of products to target businesses from self-employed freelancers to medium-sized companies with 100+ employees.
With Quickbooks Online, you can take your accounting with you anywhere you go through Cloud access via the web or a phone app. Importing transactions from your bank or credit card is easy, and you can categorize them in the app and even see a Profit and Loss statement right from your phone.
Quickbooks offers plans as low as $15 per month for a stripped-down self-employed version. Small business plans start at $25 per month and go up from there depending on how many users you need and other advanced features such as inventory tracking and payroll processing. If you’re not sure where to start, most plans offer a 30-day free trial and a sign-up bonus of up to 70% off for the first few months.
- Best-in-class small business accounting software
- Flexible features and pricing for micro and small businesses
- Cloud-based software that is accessible from anywhere
Quickbooks Online Alternatives
Quickbooks offers a solution for almost any small business need, but a simpler and cheaper platform like FreshBooks or Wave Accounting might be a better fit if you are just starting. Xero is another accounting alternative that has a loyal following.
LastPass – Best App for Password Management
As an entrepreneur and business owner, you have enough things on your mind. Keeping track of dozens of passwords should not be on the list.
LastPass offers a one-stop solution for password management. With one master password, you can log in to any site or app that requires your credentials. It works on all major browsers, phones, and operating systems, giving you the flexibility to log in from anywhere.
LastPass has a free version for individual use, and business plans start at $4 per user per month.
- Never forget a password with encrypted password storage
- Advanced security options in business plans
There are many good password management alternatives, depending on your needs. Some other options to consider include 1Password, Dashlane, and RoboForm.
Square – Best Point of Sale App
If you have a retail store or customer-facing business of any kind, you know how important a seamless payment process system can be. Square offers several solutions, from a complete Point of Sale (POS) system to a simple mobile card swiper you can attach to a phone payment app.
Square quickly changed the small business payment processing landscape, doing away with clunky cash registers or writing down credit card numbers onto invoices. It also offers a competitive rate of 2.6% plus 10 cents for each payment transaction.
- Easy-to-use POS system for small businesses
- Range of options for specific needs such as restaurants, retail stores, and more
- Simple fee structure
While Square offers a well-rounded payment processing system, there are other options. Two that stand out are PayPal Here and QuickBooks GoPayment.
Slack – Best App for Connectivity
Slack is an all-in-one connectivity app to help you and your team collaborate and stay in contact. It’s AOL Instant Messenger (for you early Millennials) meets an online forum, blended in the best way possible.
Slack allows you to organize your conversations into channels by team or topic. The phone app is full-featured and will enable you to stay in touch and keep track of the conversation in your channels, whether you’re on a plane or in a meeting. The platform also supports voice and video calls and integrates with many other services like Google Drive and Office 365.
The free version of Slack keeps a history of the last 10,000 messages, offers 1-on-1 video calls, and provides limited integrations. Paid plans start at $8 per person per month and allow you access to your entire message history along with expanded integration and video features.
- Instant messaging, voice, and video connectivity
- Organize conversations into Channels
- Robust free version for small teams
If you need a more straightforward interface and fewer features, Google Chat allows anyone with a Gmail account to communicate directly. If you subscribe to Microsoft Office 365, you can try Microsoft Teams. Other similar apps include Chanty, Discord, and RocketChat.
Asana – Best App for Project Management
Asana is a workflow management app that helps you and your team track tasks and processes. Asana can help each team define internal processes and coordinate with other teams to get projects done if you manage multiple teams. It is highly customizable and can be divided into Workspaces, Organizations, Projects, and more.
Workflow management is essential for remote teams, and Asana allows you to manage all of your goals and deadlines in one place. Asana translates well between platforms and offers a desktop app for Windows and iOS and an Android and iOS app. It also integrates with other apps such as Slack and Google Docs.
Asana offers a free plan with some feature limitations for 15 team members. Paid plans start at $10.99 per month per user and offer upgraded features such as workflow builders, templates, and more.
- End-to-end workflow and project management
- Real-time reporting on progress
- Set up workflow automation
If you’re looking for something more visual, Trello offers a card-based system that allows you to drag and drop. For a more straightforward tool, try Evernote. Other alternatives include Basecamp and Airtable.
Rakuten – Best App for Saving Money
While Rakuten is often mentioned in personal finance circles as a cashback app to save money while shopping online, it’s equally useful for any small business that makes online purchases.
Whether office supplies, IT equipment, or inventory, you can save anywhere from 2-15% cashback on purchases from major retailers such as Staples, Dell, HP, Vistaprint, Walmart, and more. Combined with using a cashback business credit card, you can save a tidy sum on your regular business purchases.
Rakuten works as an app or as a browser extension and reminds you to activate cashback when you visit a retailer that partners with them. Once a quarter, you will get a deposit in your Paypal account from the extra money you earned in the app.
- Cashback on online business purchases
- Works at a wide array of small-business friendly retailers
While Rakuten offers the most comprehensive assortment of business-friendly retailers to choose from, there are some alternatives. If your business buys many food ingredients from grocery stores, Ibotta or Fetch could be a good fit. Other similar apps to Rakuten include TopCashBack and BeFrugal.
MileIQ – Best App for Mileage Tracking
Mileage tracking used to be a manual process that was easy to forget. Now with a smartphone in every pocket, a simple app can log your mileage and help you keep tabs on your driving habits, and provide easy support for tax deductions.
MileIQ is an app known for its simplicity. It has an easy-to-use interface and does just what it says – it tracks your trip mileage and allows you to categorize trips based on purpose. The basic version is free for up to 40 trips per month. If you drive more, the unlimited version costs $5.99 per month.
- Track business mileage automatically from your smartphone
- Log and classify trips for easy expense deductions at tax time
While MileIQ’s strength is its simplicity, if you need more features such as vehicle expense tracking or timesheets, TripLog may be a better fit. If you are already a Quickbooks user, a mileage tracker built into the app may meet your needs for no additional cost.
The Bottom Line
Every company is unique, and not all of the options on the list of best apps for small businesses will fit your needs. But with all of the different apps available, at least a few on the list can make your business run more efficiently while helping you sleep better at night.
Wherever these apps fit into your business, building processes and systems around them can help you and your team stay connected, no matter where you are in the world.
About the Author
Andrew is the founder of Wealthy Nickel where he writes about all things personal finance. He has a passion for helping people pursue financial freedom through saving money, making money, and building wealth. Andrew documents his family’s journey to financial independence through side hustles while raising 2 kids on a single income.