As a small business owner, you probably already rely on your mobile devices a great deal, both for day-to-day communication and to check in on things when you’re away from the office. There are all kinds of apps out there that can maximize your mobile capabilities, allowing you to get more done even when you aren’t at your computer.
Need to put together a presentation from the back of a cab? Sign a legal document from the airport? Process credit card payments away from your desktop POS system? With the right apps, your mobile phone or tablet can become a powerhouse of productivity and organization, helping your small business run more smoothly whether you’re in the office or out.
We’ve done the homework to find you the best apps for all kinds of small business needs, from accounting to calendar consolidation. Please note that these picks may not be compatible with all types of mobile devices.
Best Calendar: Tempo
Tempo is a free app for the iPhone and allows you to sync multiple calendars into one location. It can also scan your email to find relevant conversations regarding your upcoming events and include that in your consolidated calendar. If you try to schedule a duplicate activity, Tempo will let you know you have a conflict. You’ll receive email summaries of your daily agenda with iCloud reminders incorporated into them for convenience.
You can also directly dial into conference calls using Tempo, obtain your flight schedule and status, and connect with your social media accounts. Tempo is available for both iOS and Android.
Best for Task Management: Taskful
Taskful is a free app for iPhone and iPad that functions as an electronic to-do list, giving you a streamlined way to manage ongoing tasks. This app makes it easy to prioritize: organize your jobs by days of the week, color-code them based on category or due date (Inbox, Today, Upcoming, Whenever), and set ongoing tasks to repeat for however long you need them to. If you have a task with multiple repetitions, the app will track your progress as you go, which is an especially useful feature if you have specific work quotas to meet. You can even add friends, manage or add to your list using Siri voice control, and integrate your account with other apps so your daily checklist is consolidated and comprehensive. A "Daily Task Bar" keeps you motivated with a graphical representation of your progress.
Best Presentation Builder: Paste
Paste is a collaborative presentation-building tool from FiftyThree that is free for iPhone and iPad. It's an alternative to PowerPoint that allows you to create beautiful, streamlined presentations that are instantly shareable among your work team. Paste automatically formats screenshots, videos, and links to create eye-catching slideshows and proposals extremely easily. The "storyboard" view lays out your slides in a clear and visually appealing way, making them easier to rearrange for better flow in your presentations.
The app also integrates with Slack so you and your team can share and comment on each others' projects instantly. For expanded functionality, Paste can be used in tandem with FiftyThree's other app, Paper.
Best Calculator: Calzy
Calzy is a free calculator app for iPhone and iPad and winner of the 2018 Apple Design Award. This app goes far beyond your phone's built-in calculator, with both basic and advanced scientific functions for all your calculation needs. The "3D touch" buttons pack tons of different key option into a small, streamlined screen, and you can even rearrange the keypad to customize it.
If you make a mistake in Calzy, you can easily tap and hold to edit your calculations right on-screen. The app can also store past results for reuse in new calculations.
Additional functions include dark/light modes, decimal rounding, currency rounding, bookmarking calculations, FaceID/TouchID support, widget and iMessage extensions, and iCloud sync.
Best Transcription App: Otter
No need to worry about taking notes during business meetings with the free Otter app. Otter is a real-time transcription app available for iOS, Android and web. It uses automatic speech recognition (ASR) to process and transcribe conversations in real-time, adding punctuation and distinguishing between individual speakers in the text (this feature is still being improved). It's a great tool for creating a written record of a meeting or interview, freeing you up to listen and enjoy without having to worry about taking notes. Once your conversation has been recorded and transcribed, you can edit the text in the app.
Otter also allows you to share conversations with your contacts and link to your Google or Zoom account, which is great for small business collaborating. The basic version of this app is free, but there is also a paid version for $8.33/month which allows you to transcribe 6,000 minutes of audio per month.
Best Point-of-Sale App: Square
Square is a free point-of-sale app that allows you to use your iPhone, iPad, or Android mobile device to accept credit and debit card payments from your customers. Once you download the app and sign up for Square's service, they mail you a tiny, square-shaped magstripe reader that plugs directly into your mobile device. This reader allows you to swipe customers' cards directly on your phone or tablet and conduct the transaction onscreen through the Square app. This effectively turns your device into a streamlined POS system that's easy to use and entirely mobile.
Customers' payments are added into your business account within two business days or, if you choose, you can pay 1% of the amount deposited and get your funds the same day. Payment processing fees are 2.6% and $0.10 for each transaction using a major credit card. You can deposit as little as $25 or as much as $10,000 in a single deposit.
Best for Accounting: Xero
The Xero accounting app contains a paid subscription service that helps with everyday small business accounting procedures such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, employee payrolls, and purchase orders. You can save your data in the cloud and access it from mobile devices including iPhone, iPad, or your laptop, which means that your information stays safe even if something happens to your devices. Have Xero on your mobile devices means you can handle business accounting transactions from anywhere and the real-time accounting allows you to keep track of your cash flow quickly and easily.
With the Xero trial subscription, you receive 30 days of free service. After the trial period expires, it costs $9/month for up to 20 banking transactions. There are increasingly advanced plans (with higher prices) that go up from there. Non-profit companies receive a 25% discount and you can also receive a discount for registering multiple companies.
Best for Legal Documents: HelloSign
As a small business owner, you always have paperwork to sign. The HelloSign app gives you the ability to sign documents on the go, from anywhere. The app comes with both free and paid subscription service options. Pick your plan and you’ll have the ability to scan, edit, sign, and send documents via your mobile device. HelloSign can also integrate with Gmail, Google Docs, Salesforce, and Oracle. For the free app download, you receive three free documents per month. You then have the option to upgrade to one of three paid plans: Pro, Business, and Enterprise. These range from $13 to $40 per month and include features like audit trail, data validation, branding, in-person signing, signer access code, and team transaction overview.
The pricing for the Enterprise Plan is not given on the website, but it includes all of the Business Plan features plus salesforce integration, Oracle content, cloud integration, and other advanced features.
What Is a Small Business App?
A small business app is really any app that you can download on your smartphone or tablet and helps you with some aspect of your small business. It can be used on the go to increase your productivity and help you with a task. These apps range from things like calculator apps to accounting apps to apps with templates of legal documents.
Who Should Use a Small Business App?
You should use a small business app if you own or manage a small business and don’t want to have to do everything by hand or write it on paper. These apps can help small businesses such as e-commerce sites, freelancers, contractors, accounting businesses, and more.
What Functions Should a Small Business App Perform?
There are so many different types of small business apps, and they each perform different functions. For instance, a calculator should be able to accurately perform calculations, and an accounting app should be able to help you keep track of your accounts payable and accounts receivable.
How Much Does a Small Business App Cost?
There are some free small business apps with no download or monthly fees. Other apps offer free trials and then may cost around $9 per month. Some apps charge processing fees when you accept payments.
What Are the Benefits of a Small Business App?
Some of the benefits of using a small business app are:
- Improve efficiency
- Save time on small tasks so you can focus on tasks that grow your business
- Convenience and being able to use them on the go
- Increase accuracy because the app will do the calculations for you
- Get organized
- Increase productivity
How We Chose the Best Small Business Apps of 2021
After researching many small business apps, we decided on the top eight. We chose these as our best small business apps based on a number of factors, including the tools and features they offer, their compatibility, and their pricing. We also looked at things like subscription and plan offerings.