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19 Best Small-Business Apps of March 2024

These apps can help you with point-of-sale, accounting, invoicing and payroll.
By Claire Tsosie, Alex Rosenberg, Lisa A. Anthony
Last updated on October 26, 2023
Edited byChristine Aebischer
Fact checked and reviewed

⏰ Estimated read time: 2 minutes

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

The best small-business apps can help you run your company, startup or side hustle more efficiently, saving you time and money. Here are NerdWallet's top picks for accounting, point-of-sale, payroll and invoicing.

Our picks for

Point-of-sale systems

Point-of-sale systems allow you to ring up customers and complete sales, and the best ones can be customized to fit your business and industry. Restaurants, for example, need POS systems that allow for table management and coordination. Retail shops, meanwhile, require robust inventory management features in their retail point-of-sale systems.

Square POS

Learn more

on Square POS's secure website

Payment processing fees
2.6% + 10¢

in-person; 2.9% + 30¢ online.

Monthly fee
$0.00

and up.

Toast POS

Learn more

on Toast POS's secure website

Payment processing fees
2.49% + 15¢

if you buy hardware upfront; 3.09% + $0.15 for pay-as-you-go option.

Monthly fee
$0.00

Quick Start Bundle; $69 Core plan; $165 Growth plan. Custom plan also available.

Lightspeed Retail POS

Learn more

on Lightspeed Retail POS's secure website

Payment processing fees
2.6% + 10¢

in-person; 2.9% + 30¢ online.

Monthly fee
$89.00

for Lean plan, $149 for Standard plan, $269 for Advanced plan.

Shopify Retail POS

Learn more

on Shopify POS's secure website

Payment processing fees
2.70%

in-person; 2.9% + 30¢ online (Basic plan).

Monthly fee
$29.00

and up for e-commerce plans with POS Lite; Can upgrade to POS Pro for an extra $89.

Clover POS

Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

Payment processing fees
2.3% + 10¢ or 2.6% + 10¢

in-person; 3.5% + 10¢ online.

Monthly fee
$14.95

and up.

Our picks for

Accounting

With careful bookkeeping and good accounting software, you can track your business's revenue, profit margins and overall financial health. It can also help you answer important questions, like, "How much can I afford to spend on marketing this month?"

QuickBooks Online

Learn more

on QuickBooks Online's secure website

Starting at
$30/month

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $60, $90, $200.

Promotion
50% off

for first three months or free 30-day trial.

Learn more

on Xero's secure website

Starting at
$15/month

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $42, $78.

Promotion
30-day free trial

or monthly discount (terms vary).

Wave Accounting

Starting at
$0

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $16

Promotion
N/A

Zoho Books

Learn more

on Zoho Books' secure website

Starting at
$0

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $20, $50, $70, $150, $275.

Promotion
14-day free trial

of the Premium plan.

FreshBooks

Learn more

on FreshBooks' secure website

Starting at
$19/month

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $33, $60, custom.

Promotion
30-day free trial

or monthly discount (terms vary).

Our picks for

Payroll

Paying your employees is a must, and good payroll software can make it easier to manage and track wages, withholdings and tax filings. Many programs also give employees access to a portal so they can view their pay history.

Gusto Payroll

Learn more

on Gusto Payroll's secure website

Starting at
$40/month

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $80, custom pricing. Fee per employee varies by tier.

Promotion
N/A

QuickBooks Payroll

Learn more

on QuickBooks Payroll's secure website

Starting at
$45/month

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $80, $125. Fee per employee varies by tier.

Promotion
One month free trial

or 50% off for three months; terms apply.

OnPay Payroll

Learn more

on OnPay Payroll's secure website

Starting at
$40/month

Plus $6 per employee.

Promotion
One month free

Terms apply

Patriot Payroll

Learn more

on Patriot Payroll's secure website

Starting at
$17/month

Plus $4 per employee. Additional pricing tiers (per month): $37.

Promotion
One month free

Terms apply

RUN Powered by ADP

Learn more

on RUN Powered by ADP's secure website

Starting at
$79/month

Plus $4 per employee. Custom pricing also available.

Promotion
Three months free

Terms apply

Roll by ADP

Learn more

on Roll by ADP's secure website

Starting at
$29/month

Plus $5 per employee.

Promotion
Three months free

Terms apply

Our picks for

Invoicing

Zoho Invoice

4.5
NerdWallet rating 
Learn more

on Zoho Invoice's secure website

Starting at
$0

Free.

Promotion
N/A

Square Invoices

Learn more

on Square Invoices' secure website

Starting at
$0

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $20.

Promotion
30-day free trial

of the Plus plan.

Harvest

5.0
NerdWallet rating 
Starting at
$0

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $12 per user.

Promotion
30-day free trial

of the Harvest Pro plan.

How to choose the right small-business apps for your needs

Point-of-sale

The best point-of-sale systems reach far beyond simply handling customer payments. Some systems are designed for specific industries, such as retail, online stores and restaurants. In addition to the cost of hardware and software fees, a processing fee for each customer transaction will typically be assessed. When comparing systems, pay attention to the following:
  • Hardware options including card readers, terminals, cash drawers and receipt printers.
  • Inventory tracking features.
  • Monthly software fees and payment processing fees.
  • Accepts swiped, tapped and keyed payments.
  • Offline and mobile payment processing options.
  • Live support offered 24/7.

Accounting

Accounting software, at a minimum, tracks the income and expenditures of a small business. The best accounting software has additional features that can make it easier to determine the financial health of your business. Look for the following features:
  • Easy to use.
  • Robust accounting reports.
  • Invoicing capabilities.
  • Integrations with third-party apps including payroll and point-of-sale systems.
  • Daily customer support.
  • Scalability.

Payroll

The best payroll software does more than help you pay your employees on time. Transparent pricing is a timesaver when comparing products and you’ll want to look for the following features:
  • Unlimited payroll runs.
  • Calculates, files and pays federal, state and local payroll taxes.
  • Provides employee access through a portal or mobile app.
  • Benefits administration.
  • Next-day or same-day direct deposit options.
  • Accounting integrations.

Invoicing

The best invoicing software goes beyond simply creating bills for your services. It can help you create quotes, track time and communicate with your customers. Before comparing products, consider the following:
  • How much do you want to pay each month?
  • What features are must-haves?
  • Does it need to be scalable?
  • Does it need to integrate with other software you use?
  • Are you interested in bundling with another app such as accounting?

Methodology

Here is more information on how NerdWallet evaluates different business software products and their apps:
Last updated on October 26, 2023
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