28 Top Small Business Apps
The best small business apps offer many helpful tools, but what are some of the most useful apps for businesses and what features do they offer?
When you run a small business you have countless things to juggle. From finance to sales to marketing to operations, there’s a lot to think about. If you’re trying to get more organised and you’re looking for ways to make your life a bit simpler, a good business app, such as accounting software, could be invaluable.
Because finding the most useful apps for your business can be a major task in itself, we’ve shortlisted some of the more popular apps, as well as some lesser known ones, to help you see what’s available. There are apps to help with your accounts, organisation, communication and more, all aiming to make the process of running a business a little bit easier.
For more information on these apps and for up-to-date details on pricing, check with each individual company.
Best business apps for finance and accounting
Managing your accounts can be tricky, especially if you have little experience in that area. But using the right app can help you to stay on top of your company’s finances and streamline tasks like invoicing, payroll, and logging expenses.
FreeAgent aims to offer a full accounting package to small businesses, with different pricing plans available for different company statuses (sole trader, partnership/LLP, or limited company).
You can sync FreeAgent with your business bank account and other online systems like PayPal. This helps you to keep tabs on your business finances as you can see your latest transactions and get a real-time overview of your current financial situation on the app.
On the FreeAgent mobile app you can record expenses and upload photos of receipts while you’re on the move; create and send invoices; track your mileage as you drive; and keep up-to-date with your cash flow. You can also submit your VAT returns to HMRC through Making Tax Digital and, if you have employees, you can manage your payroll through FreeAgent’s software too.
QuickBooks is accounting software that can help businesses get to grips with their company finances. Business owners can choose from different pricing plans, depending on their size and what functions they would like with their software.
With the basic plan, QuickBooks allows you to track income and expenditure, upload receipts to track expenses, view invoices, track and plan cash flow, track mileage, and generate reports. With QuickBooks, you can also submit your VAT through Making Tax Digital. Depending on your plan you may get stock management, bills management, and employee time tracking functions, and you could also purchase payroll as an add-on feature.
QuickBooks imports data from your business bank account, as well as your credit card and PayPal accounts, so everything is automatically synced.
This accounting software aims to be an all-in-one solution for small business owners and the self-employed. It is available on PCs and via a mobile app.
FreshBooks connects with your business bank account and its features can help you to manage and track your business finances. For example, its functions include creating and managing invoices, automatically billing clients, tracking expenses, creating business reports and estimates for specific projects, and tracking time spent on work. Again, FreshBooks works with Making Tax Digital to make it simpler for business owners to send their tax returns to HMRC.
There are different pricing plans available, so if you are a sole-trader you can choose a more basic plan while an owner of a growing business with several employees could need a more advanced package.
Wave is an accounting software targeted at sole traders and small business owners. It doesn’t charge a monthly fee, but the functions are more limited than other paid software and you may be charged for certain activities like making payments.
With Wave, you can create and send invoices, scan and upload receipts, track your cash flow, generate reports, and more. The software is compatible on Macs and PCs, but Wave also has an invoice and receipt scanning mobile app to help you keep your finances up-to-date even when you’re on the move.
Sage offers cloud accounting software for small businesses which is compatible with Making Tax Digital. Through the Sage accounting mobile app you can create and manage invoices, track and log expenses, upload receipts, view your past and current business performance, and more, with further features available on the desktop software. Sage offers a range of pricing plans to account for different business sizes and requirements.
Crunch accounting software is available on desktops and mobile to help businesses update and keep track of their accounts wherever they are. The mobile app allows you to track mileage, record your expenses, and upload receipts, with more advanced functions available on desktops. Crunch is Making Tax Digital compliant and has different payment plans suitable for various businesses.
Best business apps for communication
Every small business needs effective channels of communications to ensure everything runs smoothly. Below are some useful apps that can aid communication between team members and improve collaboration on tasks.
Pushover is a way to receive notifications and messages more effectively. The app integrates with a host of other common applications and will organise notifications from these different sources in one single space. If you get a lot of notifications from different platforms, this can help to ensure you don’t miss an important alert. With Pushover for Teams, you can also send out priority messages to your team to quickly update them on important information or changes.
There won’t be many businesses that haven’t heard of Zoom after 2020! Zoom is a video conferencing platform where team members can conduct individual video calls as well as group calls and webinars. It’s intuitive to use and participants can share their screen, record meetings, and share files or general thoughts in a Zoom chat, helping teams to collaborate even when they’re not in the same room, or even the same continent.
A basic Zoom plan is free, but there is a time limit on meetings. So, if businesses regularly need to video call, especially if their team is working remotely, then a paid Zoom plan may be worth the investment.
Skype faces a lot of new competition in the video conferencing space, but it is still a popular app for businesses. Through Skype you can voice and video call people across the world, whether that’s with one other person or with a group. You can share screens, record meetings, send messages to other Skype users (direct and group), and even use a “raise hand” feature to let people know you have something to say in a group call.
Fuze is another video conferencing app where you can hold 1:1 calls and online meetings with people from across the world. You can make and receive audio and video calls on Fuze via a range of devices, including desktops, mobiles, and desk phones, with features like screen-sharing, instant messaging and call-recording available to help teams collaborate.
Slack is an instant messaging platform that is incredibly popular with businesses of all sizes. With direct messages, private groups and public channels, Slack can help businesses to organise their communications to make it easier to track different conversations. For example, you could create separate channels to discuss specific projects, to share important company updates, or even to share videos of cats playing the piano.
Slack integrates with a range of other business apps including Google Calendar, Zoom, and Asana to name just a few.
Addappt makes it easier for individuals to manage and update their contact information. You can connect with team members and other associates through the app then, when they update their contact information (such as their email address or mobile number), you will automatically see these new details. This means you wouldn’t need to worry about having out-of-date information for someone.
Addappt also allows you to create groups and send messages via the app.
Best business apps for time management
Time is a valuable commodity for small businesses. Managing your time and your employees’ time effectively can make it easier to stay focused and complete tasks on schedule, and below are some apps that may be able to help you with this.
RescueTime is a software you can install to automatically track the time you spend on different websites and apps. You will receive reports of your activity, helping you see exactly how you divide your time during the day.
Other tools on RescueTime that could give you further insight into your day and help you build good time management habits include: logging time spent offline, blocking distracting websites during “FocusTime” sessions, setting goals, and setting time limits on certain websites.
My Minutes is an iPhone-only app that enables you to set goals to help keep you focused on your tasks. On the app you can set either a minimum or a maximum time you want to spend on certain activities, and then it will remind you of your goals throughout the day.
OmniFocus is a task management software app that allows you to create tasks in one place and organise them into to-do lists. On this app you can order and prioritise your projects to see what the most urgent task is, helping you to stay on top of your workflow. OmniFocus syncs across different Apple devices, including iPhones and Macs.
TripIt allows you to consolidate all your travel details into one place, wherever you booked your tickets from. It means you can check this one app for your travel information, rather than flicking backwards and forwards between different websites or confirmation emails. Users just need to forward their bookings for flights, cars, and hotels to TripIt and the app will create a master itinerary. TripIt Pro can offer further features like terminal/gate information and the latest flight alerts.
Best business apps for mobile payment
Mobile payment apps are useful for small businesses as they allow you to track cash flow and accept payments from customers. Below are some examples.
iZettle, which is part of PayPal, is a point-of-sale (POS) mobile app. It pairs with a portable card reader to allow customers to make card, contactless, or mobile payments, which will then be deposited into your linked business PayPal account.
The app, which is available on both Apple and Android devices, also has other functions that allow you to send invoices, issue refunds, print or email receipts and more.
Square is another payment app to help businesses who regularly receive payments from customers, such as market stalls, salons, retail shops, and more. Users will receive a small, portable card reader that can connect with the app on their mobile device, enabling them to take card payments.
Square also offers a point-of-sale system called Square Register, which is a more advanced and comprehensive service that helps businesses to manage their payments, inventory, sales, and more.
SumUp is a point-of-sale app that enables small businesses to take payments via a portable card reader. The card reader pairs with the free SumUp mobile app so businesses can track their sales and revenue, create invoices, send digital receipts, view their products, and more. You will pay a one-off cost for the card reader, but other than this and a transaction fee on payments, there are no other ongoing charges.
Best business apps for organisation
Using an organisation app, such as those listed below, can help you to stay on top of your company projects and boost your team’s productivity.
Asana is a web and mobile app that can help businesses improve their communication and collaboration. Users can view the progress of different tasks, set goals, share notes, and upload files directly to Asana, allowing team members to keep track of projects and see what people are working on. Asana also integrates with other business apps like Google Drive and Slack.
Evernote is a note-taking app that aims to keep your notes more organised than scraps of paper on your desk! You can make to-do lists, create documents, or simply jot down ideas with the option of adding images, audio, and files to make your notes as useful as possible. The advanced search function means you can search all your Evernote documents for a specific phrase or word, including any handwritten text.
It syncs across devices so you and your team can access Evernote anywhere. There is a free Evernote plan which is more targeted at personal use, as well as paid plans that may be more suitable for businesses and their teams.
Trello is another project management app that works on desktop and mobile devices. On it you can create boards for certain teams or projects, then within these boards create cards for individual tasks assigned to specific team members. There are many ways you can customise boards and cards to make them relevant for your business, including adding checklists, attachments, comments, due dates, and more. Trello provides a way to track workflow and helps teams stay focused on both their individual tasks and the overall project. Trello offers both a free and a premium package.
KanbanFlow is a way for managers and teams to get an overview of what still needs to be done, the work that’s in progress, and what tasks have been completed. On the Kanban board you will be able to split work into columns, assign tasks, create subtasks, upload files, schedule deadlines, and more to help teams stay on top of their workflow. For ease of viewing you can also filter tasks to only see those that are relevant to you. KanbanFlow offers both a free and premium package.
Boxmeup is an Android app that organises and tracks your packages, containers and other bulk storage items. You can use the mobile app to see where your goods are, where a specific item is, and what exactly is inside a container for example.
Some other apps we think could come in handy for small businesses are:
Expensify is a way for businesses to keep track of their expenses. It can automatically connect with your bank account and your accounting system to make it easier to monitor your finances. On the app you can categorise expenses, upload pictures of receipts so Expensify can create an expense report, and customise settings to either automatically or manually approve expenses.
Dropbox is a popular platform for people to store and share their files. The cloud-based storage system means you can access saved documents on multiple devices and also means you can easily share and collaborate with others on your team.
MailChimp helps businesses to manage their mailing lists, and can be especially useful for creating and sending things like email newsletters. On MailChimp you can build and customise branded email templates, create automated messages, and gain performance insights about your email marketing campaigns, plus many other useful functions. The MailChimp platform is free for businesses with under 2000 contacts, making it ideal for small businesses just starting to build up their customer base.
Polaris Office lets you create and edit files which can be accessed on multiple devices. It means you can view and work on documents wherever you are, and also share them with your team so you can collaborate on them together.
Rhiannon is a financial writer for NerdWallet, with a particular interest in personal finance and insurance guides for consumers. Read more