Technology is a wonderful thing and it is making business finances easier to manage than ever before. Everyone can turn their phone or tablet into a mobile accounting machine by downloading a few useful apps that will save you both time and money.
From sending out invoices and managing customers, to credit card transactions and complex financial projections, there is an app for every business need. Small and large businesses alike will find these apps save valuable time and when you get everything in sync, your accounting may actually become enjoyable.
If your small business is on a tight budget, or if you are a very small business with limited needs, the Wave bookkeeping app may be for you. In terms of free bookkeeping apps, it may be the best on the market. This app is free for its most basic pricing plan and it has several features you should look for in terms of mobile bookkeeping.
Wave tracks your income and expenses and uses double-entry accounting, which is used by most businesses. The app allows you to link unlimited bank accounts. It also has a shoebox function for receipts. You just take a picture of the receipt with your phone. Wave even allows for custom invoicing. It does not allow you to track accounts receivable and accounts payable, perform payroll functions, or accept online payments.
Wave is 100% web-based so you can access it from anywhere. It runs on both a PC and Mac and has a compatible app for invoicing and scanning receipts.
QuickBooks Online is one of the the premier bookkeeping and accounting tools, and is top-tier when its comes to reporting applications. The catch is that not every small business needs it. It has a four-tiered pricing plan from the basic plan to an advanced plan. The advanced plan has every feature a bookkeeper or accountant would ever need.
For example, you cannot invoice your customers using SimpleStart. The pricing goes from $25 per month for Simple Start to $150 per month for the Advanced plan.
The basic plan, called Simple Start, does not have some of the features that the Wave app has and it costs $25 per month. The Wave app, on the other hand, is free.
QuickBooks Online is better characterized as a powerful accounting app than a straightforward bookkeeping application. Small business owners and anyone who handles the bookkeeping and accounting for a company will find that this app is invaluable.
QuickBooks Online can be used to create and edit customers, invoices, sales receipts, and estimates. Your data is then immediately available in the app. If you are visiting a customer, you can prepare an estimate or invoice right there on the spot. There's no need to return to the office or turn on your laptop.
QuickBooks Online is also a powerful reporting tool. It takes your data and develops your financial statements. The income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows become an easy quarterly or yearly task. The app is strong from a tax perspective. It also helps the business develop illustrative charts and graphs.
It is available in both a mobile Windows app and a mobile Mac app and is 100% web-based.
FreshBooks, which is often compared to QuickBooks, is a mobile app that operates and stores data in the cloud. Cloud storage is especially nice if you are on the go. FreshBooks is often rated as outstanding and is suitable for both small businesses and freelancers. Some think it is more intuitive than QuickBooks.
The strength of FreshBooks is probably in customizing and automating your invoicing. It is compatible with 84 other different applications such as Shopify, Zoom, and G-Suite. The tool also allows you to build your own customized billing system for your business if you need it.
FreshBooks has a time-tracking feature that, if you are a freelancer, allows you to track your billable hours. It has several features that QuickBooks Online does not have. While QuickBooks Online limits you to 1-5 simultaneous users depending on which plan you choose, you can have unlimited simultaneous users on FreshBooks. You can also categorize your expenses as they are entered in order to have that information available at tax time.
Another feature of FreshBooks that is only available on the top-tier QuickBooks plans is team roles. You can assign different levels of permissions to different people. It also allows you to collaborate with others on projects. That feature is not available on QuickBooks.
FreshBooks Accounting is web-based, so it will run on a Mac or a Windows-based computer.
Bill.com is a mobile app that can manage either or both of the accounts receivable and accounts payable functions for a small business. The business may want to only use this app for its powerful accounts payable functions. Accounts receivable, which includes invoicing your customers, can easily be managed by the Wave Bookkeeping app already reviewed or by the accounting apps, QuickBooks Online or FreshBooks Accounting. If you use Bill.com only for your accounts payable, the pricing is considerably cheaper than if you use it to manage both accounts receivable and accounts payable.
If you use Bill.com only for your accounts payable, the pricing is considerably cheaper than if you use it to manage both accounts receivable and accounts payable.
Many of the top accounting firms use Bill.com. It is useful for paying your business's bills to their suppliers or your accounts payable. You can pay both U.S. and international suppliers electronically. It also supports ACH payments. If you use this app for accounts receivable, you can invoice your credit customers. You can generate digital invoices, automatic reminders, and electronic payments. Bill.com also allows for document storage. It integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks Online and FreshBooks Accounting.
Small businesses can use Bill.com for either their payables or receivables for $39-$49 per month. If, however, you want to use Bill.com for both, the price goes to $69 per month or higher.
Bill.com is a web-based app so all of your data is available to you at any time. It is compatible with both the Mac operating system or Windows.
Square is an excellent point-of-sale (POS) app for small businesses that accept credit cards and those that have an online store or website presence. You set up the Square software on your computer and the mobile app on your phone or another mobile device, like a tablet. Here are some of the ways in which Square works:
- It helps you manage your inventory and keep track of all your items.
- It not only allows for mobile credit card payments, but it also allows you to do business online since you can set up an online store.
- Square can also prepare reports regarding your inventory and your point-of-sale transactions.
You can use the software if you are accepting payments at your storefront. If you are accepting payments away from your store, you can use the app on the phone or tablet. In addition, You just swipe the customer's credit card on the card reader for contact-free payments, the customer can swipe the card. The app then uses the Square proprietary software and card reader to record the transaction.
Another benefit of using Square for your point-of-sale transactions is that you can set up an online store with online transaction capability. Square is compatible with a number of other apps, including delivery apps that you can access through the Square dashboard. Square also supports inventory management, particularly for retailers.
The Square app is free and Square also gives you a free credit card reader. Transactions are credited to your account within one or two days and the charge is 2.75% for each card swipe. You also do not need a merchant account, so there are significant savings over traditional processing.
Square can also help you collect customer email addresses because you can email or text a receipt immediately.
There is no charge for cash or check transactions using Square and it gives you a daily sales report for everything. It is, in a sense, a mobile cash register.
Because it's inexpensive and easy to use, many small businesses are choosing to use Square in their brick-and-mortar stores. It is one of the best apps for mobile credit card transactions. It does have some downsides:
- A lot of transactions seem to be abandoned when using Square, so business managers have to watch out for that.
- It is not good for bulk transactions.
- It can also be expensive if you have a heavy sales volume since it costs 2.75% or above for each transaction.
It is compatible with both the Windows and Mac operating systems. The only thing you need is the Square card reader with regard to equipment.
InDinero is a budgeting app that works with various bookkeeping apps like FreshBooks.
The inDinero app pulls your bank and credit card statements from all of your banks. There is no need to shoebox receipts due to this feature and inDinero places your expenses in the proper categories for you immediately. The app tracks the spending habits of the business every month. In this way, you can develop your budget and inDinero will generate reports that will show you how you are doing.
The inDinero app offers a lot of services for the small business. In addition to helping the small business with budgeting, inDinero prepares financial reports like profit and loss statements, statements of cash flows, and assists in financial forecasting. It is compatible with most accounting and bookkeeping apps like Bill.com and QuickBooks Online.
As a fairly comprehensive app for small businesses, inDinero allows you to even get small business finance advice from a professional chief financial officer (CFO) through the app. However, the app does have one downside. Not only is inDinero comprehensive, but it is also expensive. The base price is $300 per month, although there are custom pricing plans available.
The app is cloud-based so you can access your data at any time. It also runs on both Mac and Windows operating systems.
"Cash is king" is the old saying always heard in business and it is particularly relevant to small business. Small businesses live and die by their cash flow. No matter what the financial statements of a small business says, if the business does not have a good cash position, it is going to fail.
Fluidly is cash management software that any business or accountant could use to keep on top of cash flow. It gives the business real-time cash flow forecasting so it can keep on top of its cash position and forecasted future cash position, Fluidly also helps your business plan for various cash flow scenarios. It will connect with both a QuickBooks or Xero ledger in order that you may instantly see your cash flow forecasts.
Fluidly works for both Mac and Windows and is web-based. It has an interface that makes uploading to social media platforms like YouTube easy. Pricing starts at a little over $13 per month and goes up from there.
Every small business needs to have access to a tax program for its accountant or bookkeeper. The best app of the bunch is TurboTax Small Business. It allows the accountant to do preliminary tax analyses of the business in order to determine where they stand from a tax perspective. The business can then present its Certified Public Accountant (CPA) a host of financial information at year's end to assist with tax preparation.
TurboTax Small Business is a very comprehensive tax preparation package. It has most of the features that small businesses need and covers the tax issues that small businesses face. Here are some examples:
- TurboTax Small Business searches more than 350 deductions, some of which are industry-specific.
- It includes tax analysis for special financial events that have happened in that year. For example, in 2020, TurboTax included a special section for those businesses that have received federal government support programs.
- It has a tax calculator as well as a self-employed expense estimator along with many others.
TurboTax Small Business is a downloadable program for the Windows operating system. In order to use it on a Mac computer, you have to use one of the software's online editions. From a pricing perspective, it is within the budget of most small businesses.
Expensify is one of the premier mobile apps for expense account development and management. Employees can scan the receipts they have from day-to-day sales, for example, as well as receipts from long-distance travel and trips for business purposes. Expensify can be used to track receipts and expenses for sole proprietorships or for employees to track and send copies of receipts and expenses to managers.
Expensify can also be used on a company level for a small business. Companies use Expensify for expense reporting, card management, approvals, and reimbursements for managers as well as employees. The software can be automated in order that reports are automatically sent to managers and to accounting.
Companies use Expensify for expense reporting, card management, approvals, and reimbursements for managers as well as employees. The software can be automated in order that reports are automatically sent to managers and to accounting.
Expensify starts at $4.99 per month for the sole proprietor and goes up from there depending on the number of people using the app and the number of transactions per month. There are four possible price points.
There are mobile apps for both the Mac and the Windows operating systems.
The final app that is particularly useful to small business finance is the mobile Evernote app that is used for many purposes. In business and in finance, there is always some extraneous piece of information you need to jot down that doesn't seem to go anywhere else. You can use the powerful Evernote app for this.
Do you need to send someone an email about, perhaps, an expense they had? You can email right from Evernote. It integrates well with email programs, communication programs, and many other productivity applications. You can also clip webpages and capture images with Evernote, along with making whatever notes you need to make throughout the day to supplement what you have done in the other mobile apps.
Evernote has mobile apps for both Windows and Mac operating systems. It has three price points, one of which is free. A premium version is $7.99/month. Evernote keeps all of your notes in the cloud.