BEST OF

16 Best Small-Business Apps of August 2022

These apps can help you with point-of-sale, accounting, invoicing and payroll.

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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.

Best Small-Business Apps

Our pick 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
Shop now

on Square POS's secure website

Square POS

Square

Payment processing fees

2.6% + 10¢

In-person

Monthly fee

$0

Starts at $0/month for unlimited devices and locations.

Shop now

on Square POS's secure website


Why we like it

Square is easy to use, and the company offers transparent pricing and live support. It’s also mobile-friendly and works on iPhones, iPads and Androids. For small businesses that don’t need advanced functionality, there’s also a free plan.

Pros

  • First magstripe credit card reader is free; free plan available.

  • Transparent, flat swipe fees.

  • No fees for early termination, PCI compliance, chargebacks or setup.

  • Versions available for retail, restaurants or professional services; offers inventory management, table and menu management, multi-location setup, appointment scheduling and online orders.

  • Live support available by phone, instant message or email.

  • Subscription fees are generally month-to-month and easy to cancel if needed.

Cons

  • Loyalty program and email marketing features cost extra; appointment-booking for more than one person is an additional fee.

  • Ability to create and print barcodes isn’t available on free version.

Read Full Review
Toast
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on Toast POS's secure website

Toast POS

Toast

Payment processing fees

2.99% + $0.15

Monthly fee

$0

Starter Plan. Essentials Plan also available

Shop now

on Toast POS's secure website


Why we like it

Toast’s restaurant-specific design prioritizes features that make the back-of-house and front-of-house operate smoothly. You can manage menus and tables easily, get useful reporting and analytics and accept orders from multiple platforms.

Pros

  • Promises no additional transaction fees or markups.

  • Restaurant-friendly features for managing tables, inventory and employee performance.

  • Multi-location management and the ability to publish different menus and set different prices at different locations.

  • Live support available by phone, email or instant message.

  • Pay-as-you-go plan with no monthly fee available.

Cons

  • Some features, like online ordering and the loyalty program, may cost extra based on the package you choose.

  • If you close your account before your contract term ends, you’ll have to pay the remaining subscription and software financing fees.

Read Full Review
Lightspeed
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on Lightspeed POS's secure website

Lightspeed POS

Lightspeed

Payment processing fees

2.6% + 10¢

Monthly fee

$69/Month

Lean Plan. Standard & Advanced Plans available.

Shop now

on Lightspeed POS's secure website


Why we like it

Lightspeed’s inventory management system sets it apart from the competition. That makes it an ideal choice for large businesses that keep track of a lot of inventory in multiple locations, with various discount rules or tax classes.

Pros

  • Transparent, flat swipe fees; can also use POS with certain other payment processors if you don’t use the in-house option.

  • Promises no complicated or cryptic fees on your statements. (Chargeback fees are $15.)

  • A comprehensive inventory management system to keep detailed records of your products across multiple locations and set automatic reorder points so you don't run out.

  • The restaurant POS features an adjustable floor plan, easy-to-edit menus, multi-location management and reports showing peak times and employee performance.

  • Live support available by phone, instant message or email.

Cons

  • No free plans available.

  • Loyalty, e-commerce, accounting integrations and analytics features only included on more expensive plans.

  • If you cancel your subscription, you’ll immediately owe the remaining installment fees in your plan, if any apply. Prepaid annual and monthly fees are nonrefundable.

Read Full Review
Shopify
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on Shopify Retail POS's secure website

Shopify Retail POS

Shopify

Payment processing fees

2.4% + 0¢

Monthly fee

$89/Month

Shopify POS Pro: Your Shopify plan + plus $89 USD/month per location.

Shop now

on Shopify Retail POS's secure website


Why we like it

Shopify makes it possible to almost instantly set up and run an e-commerce store and has helpful features like automated emails sent to shoppers who abandon their virtual shopping carts. It also offers software and hardware for accepting payments in store — including the option to rent hardware rather than buying it.

Read Full Review
Vend
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on NerdWallet's secure website

Vend POS

Vend

Payment processing fees

N/A

Monthly fee

N/A

Software: $99/month (billed annually) and up. Hardware: Works with industry-standard hardware for Mac and PC; also runs on iPad. A Starter Hardware Kit for iOS through Vend's partner is $600; a Tablet Success Kit is about $94. Payment processing: Not included; you’ll have to add service separately.

Learn more

on NerdWallet's secure website


Why we like it

Vend is a retail-specific POS that allows you to set sales targets for your team, manage inventory easily and forecast purchasing trends. It doesn’t come bundled with hardware and payment processing services, so you can choose your favorites from a variety of compatible options.

Pros

  • Inventory management feature allows you to forecast trends and automate reorder points so you don’t run out of stock.

  • Unlimited users.

  • Ability to add customer profiles and create custom loyalty programs.

  • No transaction fees from Vend (though the payment processor you select will charge these fees).

  • Live support available by phone or instant message.

Cons

  • No free plans available.

  • Loyalty program is only available on more expensive plans.

  • Payment processing isn’t included, so you’ll have to shop for this separately; however, Vend has some payment processing partners that offer exclusive rates to their clients.

  • Prepayments are nonrefundable; if you prepay for a year and don’t use the full term, you can’t get the money back.

Our pick 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
Shop now

on QuickBooks Online's secure website

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks

Starting at

$30/mo

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $55, $85, $200.

Promotion

50% off

for first three months or free 30-day trial.

Shop now

on QuickBooks Online's secure website


Why we like it

QuickBooks is the industry leader for small-business accounting software, so it’s easy to find an accountant or bookkeeper who will support it. Its multiple tiers of service can easily scale with your company, too. QuickBooks Online, the cloud-based version, can also be accessed anywhere.

Pros

  • Full suite of reports, including profit and loss statements and balance sheets.

  • Easy sharing with outside accountants or bookkeepers.

  • Double-entry accounting.

  • Access across devices, including mobile and browser (in addition to a desktop app).

  • Live full-service bookkeeping support available (pricing is based on your company’s average monthly expenses).

Cons

  • Can take a little effort to learn.

Read Full Review
Xero
Shop now

on Xero's secure website

Xero

Xero

Starting at

$12/mo

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $34, $65.

Promotion

30-day free trial
Shop now

on Xero's secure website


Why we like it

Xero is easy to use, rich with features and widely supported by bookkeepers and accountants. Unlike some competitors, it doesn’t place any limit on the number of users you can add.

Pros

  • Unlimited users in all pricing plans.

  • Inventory management in all plans.

  • Full reporting included with all subscription levels.

  • Automated bill and receipt capture.

Cons

  • No live phone support.

  • Limits on bills and invoices with the entry-level plan (five and 20 monthly, respectively).

Read Full Review
Wave
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on NerdWallet's secure website

Wave Accounting

Wave

Starting at

$0

Free (Wave makes money via paid money management products).

Promotion

N/A
Learn more

on NerdWallet's secure website


Why we like it

Unlike its competitors, Wave's accounting software is completely free. With it, you can add unlimited users and unlimited bank and credit card connections. It’s also possible to run multiple businesses from the same account.

Pros

  • Free.

  • Ease of use.

  • Unlimited income and expense tracking.

  • Unlimited partners, collaborators or accountants.

Cons

  • Limited scalability. Wave lacks features that quickly growing companies need, like audit trails.

  • Free plan doesn’t include customer support with a human (self-service resources are all that’s available).

Read Full Review
Zoho
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on NerdWallet's secure website

Zoho Books

Zoho

Starting at

$0

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

Promotion

14-day free trial

14-day free trial of the Premium plan.

Learn more

on NerdWallet's secure website


Why we like it

Zoho Books offers plenty of useful features at an affordable price, including a free option for businesses that bring in less than $50,000 per year. It also has handy automation tools so you can, for example, send email notifications to yourself when an employee creates an invoice that exceeds a certain amount.

Pros

  • Ease of use.

  • Can integrate with a family of other Zoho products and several third-party apps.

  • Ability to automate workflows in the Professional plan and up.

  • Free plan available, though it’s limited to businesses with less than $50k in annual revenue.

  • Email support in free plan; phone and chat support in paid plans.

Cons

  • Third-party app integrations are more limited than other choices.

  • The top-tier plan only includes 15 users.

Read Full Review

Our pick 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
Shop now

on Gusto Payroll's secure website

Gusto Payroll

Gusto

Starting at

$40/mo

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

Promotion

One month free

Terms apply

Shop now

on Gusto Payroll's secure website


Why we like it

Gusto gives employees access to a self-service portal for payroll- and benefit-related information that’s accessible even after they leave a company. It also administers full-service payroll across 50 states and offers online and phone support.

Pros

  • Benefits administration (401(k)s available in all 50 states; health benefits are available in 38 states and Washington, D.C.).

  • Time-tracking features at higher-price tiers (limited at Simple level).

  • HR support available (at the Plus level).

  • One-month free trial; terms apply.

  • Next-day direct deposit (at Plus and Premium levels).

Cons

  • More expensive than some options.

  • Limited hours for live support.

Read Full Review
QuickBooks
Shop now

on QuickBooks Payroll's secure website

QuickBooks Payroll

QuickBooks

Starting at

$45/mo

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $75, $125. Fee per employee varies by tier.

Promotion

50% off

50% off for three months or 30-day free trial; terms apply.

Shop now

on QuickBooks Payroll's secure website


Why we like it

QuickBooks Payroll offers full-service payroll services in all 50 states with a direct connection to QuickBooks Online, unlimited payroll runs and next-day or same-day deposits. Also nice: Employees can view pay stubs, withholdings and remaining vacation day balances.

Pros

  • Benefits administration at all levels.

  • Time-tracking features available (Premium and up).

  • Next-day direct deposit at Core level (same-day at Premium).

  • HR support available (Premium and up).

  • The option to choose a 30-day free trial or 50% off base price for first three months; terms apply.

  • Easy integration with QuickBooks Online.

Cons

  • Limited integration with non-QuickBooks products.

  • Additional fees if you have employees in more than one state.

Read Full Review
Patriot Software
Shop now

on Patriot Payroll's secure website

Patriot Payroll

Patriot Software

Starting at

$17/mo

Plus $4 per employee. Additional pricing tiers (per month): $30.

Promotion

One month free

Terms apply

Shop now

on Patriot Payroll's secure website


Why we like it

Patriot's payroll software is a relatively affordable payroll option that offers direct deposits, an employee portal, unlimited payrolls and multiple locations and pay frequencies. There’s also email, chat and phone support available.

Pros

  • Time tracking available as add-on.

  • HR support available as add-on.

  • One-month free trial; terms apply.

  • Covers up to 100 employees.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer benefits administration.

  • Extra fee for 1099 e-filing (at Basic level).

  • Limited accounting integration options.

Read Full Review
Payroll4Free
Learn more

on NerdWallet's secure website

Payroll4Free

Payroll4Free

Starting at

N/A

Promotion

N/A
Learn more

on NerdWallet's secure website


Why we like it

Payroll4Free is one of the few payroll companies that allows you to run payroll at no cost — though you’ll have to pay extra for additional services such as tax filing and W-2 processing. It supports tax calculations, PTO tracking, an employee portal, and direct deposits or paper checks. It also offers live and email support.

Read Full Review
ADP
Shop now

on RUN Powered by ADP's secure website

RUN Powered by ADP

ADP

Starting at

$59/mo

Plus $4 per employee. Custom pricing also available.

Promotion

Three months free

Terms apply

Shop now

on RUN Powered by ADP's secure website


Why we like it

RUN Powered by ADP is the industry leader’s cloud-based payroll software for businesses with up to 49 employees. This app allows you to automate payroll, enter data online or by mobile app and, in more advanced subscription tiers, manage human resources tasks such as background checks.

Pros

  • Benefits administration available as add-on.

  • Time-tracking features available as add-on.

  • HR features offered at higher tiers, including HR help desk support.

  • First three months free; terms apply.

  • Ability to scale up for growing businesses.

Cons

  • Opaque pricing.

  • Limited HR support at base level.

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Invoicing

If you send bills or invoices to customers, invoicing software can be a key tool to keep track of transactions and what you’re still owed. The best options also handle quotes and estimates, time tracking and integration with payment processing and accounting systems.

FreshBooks
Shop now

on FreshBooks Invoicing's secure website

FreshBooks Invoicing

FreshBooks

Starting at

N/A

Promotion

N/A
Shop now

on FreshBooks Invoicing's secure website


Why we like it

FreshBooks bundles accounting and invoicing tools together with useful automation features, handy mobile apps and integration options. With the mobile app, you can send automated messages to clients to remind them about invoices or late payments. It’s a helpful feature for entrepreneurs on the go.

Read Full Review
Zoho
Learn more

on NerdWallet's secure website

Zoho Invoice

Zoho

Starting at

$0

Free

Promotion

N/A
Learn more

on NerdWallet's secure website


Why we like it

Zoho Invoice has a feature-filled free option, including estimates, time and expense tracking, invoicing, payment acceptance and a portal where clients can review their account.

Pros

  • Schedule invoices to automatically send at a later date.

  • Set up recurring invoices.

  • Highly customizable templates.

Cons

  • No direct integration with Zoho Inventory.

Read Full Review

Point-of-sale

NerdWallet's pick for: Best overall.

Software cost: Free and up. (Additional hardware and payment processing are additional costs.)

NerdWallet’s pick for: Restaurants

Software cost: Free and up. (Additional hardware and payment processing are additional costs.)

NerdWallet’s pick for: Inventory management.

Software cost: $69 per month (billed annually on a plan with Lightspeed Payments) and up. (Hardware and payment processing are additional costs.)

NerdWallet’s pick for: E-commerce.

Software cost: $29 per month and up. (Hardware and payment processing are additional costs.)

NerdWallet’s pick for: Retail.

Software cost: $99 per month (billed annually) and up. (Hardware and payment processing are additional costs.)

Accounting

NerdWallet's pick for: Best overall.

NerdWallet’s pick for: Unlimited users.

Cost: $12 and up per month.

NerdWallet’s pick for: Free option.

Cost: Free (Wave makes money through payment processing).

NerdWallet’s pick for: Low-cost, high-value.

Cost: Free for businesses with annual revenue under $50,000; otherwise $15 per month and up (billed annually).

Payroll

NerdWallet’s pick for: Best overall.

Cost: $40 per month plus $6 per person for the basic package, which includes tax filings and payments.

NerdWallet’s pick for: Integrated payroll solution.

Cost: $45 per month (50% off for first three months) plus $4 per employee per month for the basic package, which includes tax filings and payments.

NerdWallet’s pick for: Low-cost option.

Cost: $17 per month plus $4 per employee or contractor for basic payroll (tax filings and payments not included).

NerdWallet’s pick for: Best overall free option.

Cost: Free (monthly fees apply for two optional services: tax filings and direct deposit).

NerdWallet’s pick for: Larger businesses.

Cost: Prices begin at $59 per month plus $4 per employee for basic payroll, which includes tax filings and payments.

Invoicing

NerdWallet’s pick for: All-in-one invoicing and accounting solution.

Cost: $15 per month and up (60% off for first six months).

Zoho Invoice

NerdWallet’s pick for: Best overall.

Cost: Free.

Last updated on January 19, 2022

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Small-Business Apps of August 2022