As a small business owner, you may be bogged down by your to-do list. From managing your team’s schedule to ensuring your workers get paid on time, it can feel overwhelming to handle all the moving parts of your business. Fortunately, there are now more apps than ever to help streamline day-to-day tasks—but choosing the best options can be challenging.
So: how can you narrow down the best apps for your small business?
We’ve rounded up the most useful apps for small businesses and arranged them by category, making it easier for you to choose the tools you need most.
Follow this guide to find out how you can lean on technology to run your small business, all from the convenience of your mobile device.
Best apps for small business accounting
For some small business owners, accounting can be nothing but a headache. But with these user-friendly apps, keeping track of invoicing, expenses, and payroll has never been easier, making your business’ bookkeeping a breeze.
QuickBooks Online has become a household name for a reason. Making Forbes’ list of Best Accounting Software For Small Business in 2023, this comprehensive accounting app is as straightforward as they come. With four monthly subscription options starting from $9 per month, there’s a customizable plan to suit every small business’ needs.
The cloud-based accounting software provides the flexibility to manage all accounting tasks from anywhere with internet access, keeping your business’ books at your fingertips.
- Real-time tracking of income and expenses
- Synced inventory tracking
- Flexible incoming and outgoing payment options
- Options for add-ons and integrations with third-party apps
- Automatic data backup and security
If you’re new to the accounting world and need some guidance, Quickbooks Online provides a free onboarding call with one of their experts, as well as a free 30-day trial to see if it checks all your bookkeeping boxes. But when you subscribe, look out for extra costs once you surpass the 3-month introductory period.
Known for its ease-of-use and outstanding customer service, FreshBooks is a must-have accounting app for small businesses. According to NerdWallet, this cloud-based accounting tool is best suited to freelancers and independent contractors. It offers customizable invoicing features and automatic time tracking that comes with all four plans, ranging from $17 to $55 per month.
If you’re juggling many clients, payment deadlines, and more, this intuitive online tool can streamline your accounting tasks without the steep learning curve.
- Unlimited invoice and expense tracking for a set number of billable clients
- Automated bank import
- Data syncing across devices
- Secure data storage with SSL encryption
- Over 200 third-party integration options
With substantial functionality and an intuitive interface that’s easy to navigate, this app is perfect for small business accounting. But it’s not the best fit for larger companies and teams due to some feature limitations.
Best invoice app for small business
Using an invoice app will simplify your small business’ billing processes. Keep your accounts receivables organized and ensure you and your team get paid on time.
As one of the only free invoice apps on the market, Wave will save your small business time and money, especially if you’re just starting out. This straightforward mobile app offers all the benefits of hiring an accountant without the overhead costs.
- Automation of manual tasks
- Recurring billing for repeat customers
- Syncs automatically with the free Wave Accounting software
- Keeps invoicing records in a single database
- Notifications when invoices are viewed
If you’re a freelancer with multiple clients but only require basic invoicing features, Wave’s free tier is a great fit. The mobile app also offers optional paid features like payroll software and personalized guidance from in-house advisors when you’re ready to level up.
Best payment app for small business
The ability to send and accept online payments quickly and securely is a key requirement for most small businesses. The best payment app offers lower transaction fees, improved efficiency, and robust security features.
Named as TechRadar’s best online payments app, PayPal is like a trusted friend when it comes to making and receiving electronic payments. It’s free to open a business account, but this accessible platform also offers paid features when your business is ready to grow, making it one of the top options for startups.
With a user-friendly interface and strong encryption technology to keep your data protected, PayPal is best used for securely processing credit card payments and streamlining the daily operations of your small business.
- Simple integration for e-commerce platforms
- No monthly or set-up fees
- Custom payment solutions for any type of business
- Analytics and reporting tools, included in the business account
- Make payments in 23 different currencies
Keep in mind, there are some fees when business owners accept payments through PayPal: 1.9%–3.5% per transaction, plus a fixed fee of between 5–49 cents, as well as a bank account instant transfer fee of 1.75% ($25 maximum).
Best time management apps for small business
Managing your team’s time can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with multiple schedules. The best time management apps help your small business maximize productivity, ensuring you meet deadlines while reducing the stress of your team.
Teamdeck is a resource management app known to be easy-to-use. With a streamlined scheduling tool and a distraction-free interface, this app offers an employee-friendly experience.
Ideal for small businesses in the tech and creative industries, this platform is priced as low as $3.99 per team member per month, including access to a simple resource calendar without the hassle of manual tracking.
- Simple drag and drop calendar
- Improved project workflow with Slack integration
- Easy schedule monitoring across different projects or departments
- Automatic warnings when your team is over and under booked
- Customizable reports on project budget, employee payroll, and more
Teamdeck’s comprehensive time management solutions can help generate scheduling stability for your small business, but some users find the app lags while using certain features, and the onboarding process can be time-consuming.
When it comes to time management apps, Homebase is one of the most user-friendly options for your small business, whether you’re in the retail, hospitality, education, or beauty industry. Their Basic plan includes timesheets, time clocks, scheduling, and a messaging feature for up to 20 employees—and is completely free!
If you’re ready to take the hassle out of managing your team’s hours, Homebase is your all-in-one tool. Simplify hourly work with a time-saving solution for business owners who dread paperwork.
- A time clock app to accurately record employee hours
- Automatic conversion of employee hours into timesheets for payroll
- Calculation of overtime work with auto clock-out
- GPS-enabled time tracking
- Setting break and overtime rules help to comply with local, state, and federal labor laws
Best time tracking apps for small business
In the business world, time is money, so choosing the best time tracking app is a crucial decision. Gone are the days of manually tracking your employees’ time on the job. These apps decrease the margin of error, while simplifying overall operations.
Clockify is a solid option for small businesses looking for a full-featured, cloud-based time tracking app that also handles attendance and project tracking. It’s free to sign up for their most basic features, but if your business requires more time tracking solutions as it grows, the paid tier starts at $3.99 per month per user, billed on an annual basis (and $4.99 for monthly billed subscriptions).
- Unlimited number of users
- Time tracking across multiple projects
- All data is auto-synced across devices
- Easy integration with other apps such as QuickBooks, Trello, and Asana
- Intuitive dashboard and visually polished shared calendar
While Clockify offers comprehensive access to core features for free, the mobile app comes with some challenges, such as slower processing times, glitches while in offline mode, and risk of losing data due to synchronization issues.
As a workforce management app designed for small businesses, Homebase is the top choice for time tracking. Free online timesheets take the guesswork off your plate while saving you money, automatically calculating hours, breaks, overtime, and wages.
Plus, Homebase’s built-in labor law alerts ensure your schedule complies with federal, state, and city laws.
- Daily, weekly, and monthly timesheet templates
- Streamlined payroll preparation process
- Free time clock calculator
- Seamless integration with other apps such as QuickBooks
- Accurate recording of employee attendance to reduce time theft
Homebase’s user-friendly interface and option to ask a certified HR Pro for guidance when you’re stumped will help optimize your small business.
Best marketing app for small business
Effective and strategic marketing is key for the growth of any small business. To cut through the online noise of saturated markets and stand out in the crowd, your small business should lean on the support of a marketing app.
If your small business wants to level up its marketing strategy through an email campaign, look no further than Mailchimp. This all-in-one marketing platform allows you to create newsletters to boost your reach, distributing them to audiences you curate.
Mailchimp offers a free tier to get your foot in the door, plus 3 paid plans with more advanced features, starting at $13 per month.
- Automations to convert and drive revenue
- Simplified drag-and-drop editing tool
- Extensive library of pre-built email templates
- 24/7 customer support
- 300+ integration options
Since its launch in 2001, Mailchimp has had time to work out kinks and optimize functionality. But keep in mind that they limit the number of emails users can send per month, depending on the tier.
Best scheduling apps for small business
A chaotic scheduling system can be a barrier to the growth of your small business. Finding the best scheduling app to suit your team’s needs will not only boost the efficiency of your operations, it will also keep your employees organized and happy.
For employee scheduling made easy, Sling helps you create, update, and manage various types of shift schedules. Thanks to its practical design and effective time tracking features, Sling is a great option to schedule hourly workers in industries like retail and hospitality.
- A labor cost calculator to optimize any schedule
- Synced employee timesheets for easy payroll
- Centralized team chat groups
- A task manager that includes checklists and subtasks
- Time clocks with geofencing for multi-location employees
Sling’s free tier offers basic scheduling functionality, with their premium package starting at $1.70 per user per month, and their business package at $3.40 per user per month.
For a go-to tool that prioritizes employees, try Homebase as your scheduling app, named one of the best free employee scheduling softwares of 2023.
Homebase is free for unlimited employees (one location), with plenty of integration options. The platform will also send updates to your team through in-app, text, or email alerts when schedules are adjusted.
- One click auto-scheduling
- Unlimited scheduling templates
- Extensive free communication tools
- Self-scheduling features (post open shifts and shift swap with your team)
- Integrations with time tracking and payroll features
Best inventory app for small business
Choosing the best inventory app for your small business will make it easier to manage operations on the go. If you need to scan incoming and outgoing products, check stock levels, and generate sales and purchase orders, you’ll need to defer to the right inventory app.
The Sortly inventory management app offers barcode scanning and supports QR codes, giving your small business more flexibility. As a full-featured inventory control system, prices start with a free Basic plan, going up to $59/month for their Ultra package.
- Easily upload existing inventory list
- Organize inventory folders by type, location, and other categories
- In-app barcode scanner
- Real-time inventory reporting
- Seamline asset tracking system
Summary: Best small business management app
The best small business apps offer simplicity and efficiency so you can improve your productivity, regulate your operations, and relieve your burdens, even from your mobile device. Whether you’re running your business from a remote office on a Bali beach, or you’re in the thick of things on site, it’s beneficial to lean on technological solutions. Apps will automate your processes while saving you valuable time and money.
Homebase can help carve the way to success for any small business. With a diverse range of solutions to clean up your processes, you can focus on running an efficient team, all while keeping your employees on track. By simplifying time management, streamlining time tracking, and organizing your team’s schedules, Homebase is a vital tool for all small business owners.
Elevate your small business with Homebase. Get started for free today.
Apps for small business FAQ
What apps should you use for your business?
You first have to narrow down the specific needs of your business before choosing the best apps to use. Factors like industry, team size, business goals, and more determine the most useful apps to optimize your business operations. At the end of the day, you want to choose apps that offer the right functionality for your business while also delivering on value for money.
What are the different types of small business management apps?
Different types of small business management apps include: accounting, invoicing, payment, time management, time tracking, marketing, scheduling, and inventory. Apps like Homebase are designed to make the day-to-day tasks of managing a small business easier. The best part? Their free version encompasses a wide variety of offerings, so you can save money while managing your business on the go!
What should small businesses look for when buying a new app?
The first thing small businesses should look for when buying a new app is a free trial to test run the features. This will buy you time to see what works best for you and your team, considering things like ease-of-use, app integration, functionality, and more. From there, you’ll be able to determine what apps will be most helpful—and on-budget—for your small business.