Running a small business is an exciting journey, but means juggling customer management, expenses, inventory, and team coordination — all at the same time. Some days, there’s not enough time to get everything done, and the lines between different tasks can start to blur.
Think about all the hats you wear as a small business manager — wouldn’t it be nice to have a dedicated assistant for each role?
We’ve explored a host of tools from time tracking and scheduling and team management to inventory management and communication — all tailored specifically for your needs.
By the end of this guide, you’ll have a list of handy tools ready to lighten your workload, make your business run smoother, and boost your profitability.
Best time tracking and scheduling team management tools:
Every workday, you’re checking who’s on duty, who’s away, and if everyone’s on the right track with their tasks. You adjust schedules on the fly, accommodating sick days, vacations, or sudden changes in workload. But missteps can happen easily and lead to frustration, missed deadlines, and even lost profits.
These simple-to-use tools can help automatically organize your team’s tasks and schedules, leaving you more time to focus on growing your business.
1. Homebase: Best all-in-one solution
Designed for small businesses that employ hourly workers, with Homebase you can create and share schedules, track employee hours, manage shift trades, and even automate timesheets. These features reduce the time spent on administrative tasks and minimize manual input errors.
And with its native mobile app, you can review and edit schedules, approve or deny shift trades or time-off requests, and message your team from anywhere.
Beyond scheduling and time tracking, Homebase supports team communication and task management. The platform offers a centralized location where you and your team can share updates, and assign tasks, reducing the need for back-and-forth emails or separate messaging apps.
It also takes the burden off two of your most time-consuming tasks: hiring and onboarding. You can advertise jobs, monitor applicants, digitally welcome new team members, and consolidate all employee documents in one convenient location.
Homebase’s time clock feature enables break tracking and prevention of early clock-ins, and it handles overtime calculations helping your business maintain compliance with labor laws. Plus, it integrates with popular point-of-sale (POS) systems and payroll providers supporting a smoother transition from scheduling and time tracking to payroll processing.
And with a Homebase subscription, you get access to live HR experts who can audit and tailor your company’s policies, clarify queries, and even assist you in crafting your employee handbook.
- Easy employee scheduling that auto-populates timetables with shifts every week
- Self-scheduling tools for employees to claim open shifts, arrange trades and covers, and request time off
- Time tracking with GPS and geofencing features for team members to easily sign in and out remotely and prevent time theft
- Team communication app that sends auto alerts for late arrivals, no shows, and missed breaks
- Complete payroll management that calculates wages, send payments, and files taxes
- Labor law compliance tools with built-in break rules, overtime warnings, and data storage making you audit-ready
- Report generation for labor costs, employee performance, and sales forecasts
Homebase offers a variety of services at different price points, and customers save 20% on all pricing when they opt for annual billing.
- Basic or Free plan for one location and up to 20 employees with basic scheduling and time tracking, employee management tools like Messaging, point-of-sale integrations, and access to email support.
- Essentials plan starting at $24.95 per month per location includes everything in Basic plus payroll integrations, team communication, performance tracking, advanced time tracking and scheduling, and access to live support.
- Plus plan starting at $59.95 per month per location includes everything in Essentials, plus hiring tools, retention and performance tracking, time off controls, and departments and permissions.
- All-in-one plan starting at $99.95 per month per location includes everything in Plus, with HR and compliance, new hire onboarding, labor cost controls, and business insights.
2. QuickBooks Time (formerly Tsheets): Best for advanced reporting
QuickBooks Time (formerly Tsheets) is a cloud-based time tracking solution designed to automate various HR and payroll processes. It lets employees remotely clock in and out and helps managers monitor attendance and approve paid time off (PTO).
- Time clock kiosk, a portable tablet-based device, lets onsite employees clock in with an authorization code to avoid buddy punching
- Facial recognition for enhanced security
- Customized reports for easy data categorization by job, task, or employee
- Audit trails for payroll and data-driven insights
- Mobile app is available for Android and iOS devices
- GPS tracking sends notifications when employees clock in or out
TSheets offers a 30-day trial after which you can commit to the Premium plan starting at $8 per user per month with a $20 base fee for one admin. It includes features like QuickBooks integration, time tracking, and smart reports. But if you want more features, you can opt for the Elite plan starting at $10 per user per month with a $40 base fee.
Best accounting and finance tools
When the books don’t balance or an expense slips through the cracks, the resulting financial inconsistencies can affect your business’s profitability and sustainability.
The following tools can automate, organize, and simplify your financial tasks with ease and accuracy:
3. QuickBooks: Best for large enterprises with complex needs
QuickBooks helps small and medium businesses manage all accounting tasks like tracking expenses, creating invoices, running financial reports, and managing customers and vendors. The software is popular for its user-friendly interface, strong feature set, and the flexibility it offers with cloud-based access.
- Automatic tracking of billable hours by customers or employees
- Expense tracking with attached receipts
- Built-in reporting for profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow statements
- Reorder points automatically generate purchase orders when inventory levels are low
- Integrates with PayPal, Square, and CRM systems like Salesforce
QuickBooks Online offers three different plans with a 30-day free trial:
- Simple Start — All the basics like GST and VAT tracking, income & expenses, and progress invoicing at $18 per month.
- Essentials — Additional features like bill and payments management, employee time tracking, and multi-currency at $27 per month.
- Plus — Includes advanced features like budget management, recurring transactional bills, and project profitability tracking at $38 per month.
4. FreshBooks: Best if you don’t have accounting experience
FreshBooks is known for its user-friendly features for managing and tracking invoices, expenses, time tracking, and financial reports. What sets FreshBooks apart is its focus on a high degree of customization in invoicing which extends to payment reminders, late fees, and even thank you emails, making the invoicing process more hands-off.
- Multi-currency and language support
- Financial reporting for profit and loss, sales tax summaries, and invoicing details
- Client portal to view invoices, estimates, and make payments
- Estimates and proposals can be converted into invoices
- Built-in time tracker for accurate billable hours
- Recurring invoices and automatic payment reminders
FreshBooks offers a free 30-day trial along with 3 paid plans:
- Lite — Supports unlimited invoices for up to 5 clients and unlimited expense tracking at $17 per month.
- Plus — Supports unlimited invoices for up to 50 clients, recurring bills, and financial reporting at $30 per month.
- Premium — Unlocks unlimited client support with advanced features like customized email signatures, health reports, and accountant accessibility starting at $55 per month.
Best POS and payments tools
Running a small business means managing transactions, and ensuring every customer payment goes through smoothly. But this process can get complicated, especially when you’re managing different payment methods, refunds, or discounts. Here are our recommendations for the best point of sale (POS) and payment tools:
5. Clover: Best for brick-and-mortar businesses
With Clover your business can accept credit cards, debit cards, and other payment methods directly from customers. It’s ideal for brick-and-mortar retail businesses, restaurants, and service providers that want a simple, all-in-one POS solution. What makes Clover different is its variety of hardware and software options, including countertop devices, portable POS systems, and even a mobile card reader.
Plus, Clover’s Homebase integration means your employees can directly clock in and out from Clover and the information is synced into Homebase timesheets. This way, you can easily generate sales, labor, and labor % – as well as run shift reports from Homebase.
- Manages employee schedules, track hours worked, and even handle payroll
- Accepts a wide variety of payment types, including credit cards, debit cards, contactless payments, and mobile payments
- Reporting tools track sales and monitor business performance
- Customer loyalty programs drive repeat business
- App market allows for integrations with Homebase
Clover’s pricing plans vary based on the kind of hardware you want for your business. For example, if you’re into retail, you can opt for a compact 8″ countertop POS at $60 per month or a handheld device on top of a 14″ and 8″ countertop display at $185 per month.
6. PayPal Zettle: Best for on-the-go payments
PayPal Zettle is a mobile payment app that uses a card reader that plugs into the mobile device’s audio jack or connects via Bluetooth. The card reader works with the Zettle app, which can be downloaded for free. You simply enter the amount of the sale in the app, then, the customer inserts, swipes, or taps their card or mobile wallet on the card reader, and the transaction is processed.
- Accepts credit cards, debit cards, PayPal payments, and checks
- Integrates with other PayPal services like online payments and invoicing
- Inventory management
- Reporting tools track sales and overall business performance
PayPal Zettle charges $29 for card readers and $199 for a Terminal. There are also some additional charges like:
- 2.29 % + $0.09 per card transaction
- 3.49 % + $0.09 per transaction with manual entry
- 2.29 % + $0.09 per QR code transaction
- 3.49 % + $0.49 per transaction for PayPal invoicing
Best inventory management tools
These tools can help you stay on top of what’s in stock, what’s running low, and when it’s time to reorder, freeing you up to focus more on other aspects of your business.
7. SOS Inventory: Best if you’re using QuickBooks
SOS Inventory is designed specifically to use with QuickBooks. It provides small to medium-sized businesses with advanced inventory tracking, sales, and order management functionalities that complement QuickBooks’ features making it a valuable extension for businesses with more advanced needs.
- Tracking and management of inventory across multiple locations
- Serial and lot number tracking, assembly and kitting, and barcode scanning
- Sales order management from quotations to invoices and packing slips
- Supports multiple pricing levels
- Supports manufacturing processes with product assembly, materials billing, and work orders
SOS Inventory offers a 14-day free trial after which you can choose from its 3 pricing plans:
- Companion — Includes basic inventory tools for sales orders, assemblies and QuickBooks integration at $59 per month.
- Plus — Supports unlimited locations, lot, and barcode tracking at $119 per month.
- Pro — Advanced automation like job costing, manufacturing, and customer portal at $169 per month.
8. Sortly: Best for its visual tracking
Sortly lets you track items and any of their details, including quantity, price, condition, and notes. What sets this tool apart is that it lets you browse your inventory using photos rather than words in a spreadsheet, with up to 8 images per item. And since it’s cloud-based, your data is automatically synced across all devices: desktop, tablet, and mobile app.
- Printed QR labels can be linked to folders and items
- The in-app scanner checks items, add tags, and remove items
- Automatic notifications manage stock levels and returns
- Access for multiple users and management of permission levels
- Data import and export via CSV and PDF files
Sortly offers a free plan limited to 1 user license and 100 entries. But if you want more advanced features, you can opt for their pricing plans that range from $49 per month to $149 per month.
Best communication tools
With staff often working on different schedules or even remotely, you need to have reliable communication tools that keep everyone connected and informed. Here are two of the best:
9. Slack: Best for instant messaging for remote teams
Slack is a widely known instant messaging app for remote teams that lets you create channels and segment different communication topics. It also supports audio and video calls.
For sales teams, this means sharing updates on leads, deals, and customer feedback instantly. At the same time, integrations with CRM tools like HubSpot, Salesforce, and Zoho give real-time notifications on deal changes or new customer interactions, helping your sales team respond promptly and stay ahead of the game.
Or if you’re managing a team of freelance professionals, you can create channels for different projects for transparent and organized discussions.
- Organizes conversations into public and invite-only channels for different projects or departments
- One-click meetup for quick calls without app switching
- Async video and audio meetings
- Huddles to join and leave group calls even if you missed the ring
- Slack’s app directory includes various time tracking apps for a seamless way to manage billable hours
Slack has a free limited plan that supports one-to-one calls, while the paid version, which starts at 6,75 € per user per month, supports up to 14 meeting participants on an annual subscription.
10. GoToMeeting: Best for video conferencing
GoToMeeting is a video conferencing solution that lets users schedule one-click meetings across mobile or desktop devices. However, participants need to download and install the software to join meetings. Plus, the transcripts are available only in English which isn’t ideal for international teams.
- Smart assistant tool detects action items and follow-ups from call recordings
- Reporting features
- Virtual whiteboards
- Drawing tools
- Personal meeting rooms
- Integrates with Microsoft Teams, Calendly, and Slack
- Recording function
GoToMeeting offers a 14-day trial before committing to a plan.
Put the ‘fun’ back in business functionality with Homebase
When it comes to managing your small business, every tool in our line-up shines in its own right. If you’re on the hunt for a robust POS, Clover’s your go-to. Or perhaps you need a financial whizz like FreshBooks.
But at the end of the day, you need information from all these different tools to get an overall picture of your business performance. It’s like piecing together a puzzle, but the pieces are scattered across different boxes.
So if you’re looking for one tool that can do everything from HR to compliance, time tracking, onboarding new hires, and integration with accounting tools, then try Homebase. It’s easy for your whole team to use and combines automated solutions for everyday tasks across team schedules, payroll, team communication, and HR. Plus, it’s free for up to 20 team members, and you can upgrade to our paid plans as your business expands.
Homebase isn’t just a tool, it’s a partner that grows with you.