I grew up in a small business family. I know how hard—and essential—it can be to stay on top of every cent. My dad spent a lot of time sorting through paperwork, dealing with invoices, and trying not to misplace essential files: It was a major part of each workday for him.
The wonders of modern technology have made much of what he had to deal with in the past 30 years obsolete: Customer files can be digital, billing and finance can be done in the cloud, and even expense receipts can be scanned in so they never get misplaced.
SEE: How to market your startup with no budget (TechRepublic)
Transitioning from the analog world to the digital one can be difficult, especially if a business has been doing it the old-fashioned way for years. Luckily it's a brand new fiscal year: the perfect time to make a digital resolution, and here are five apps to make it a reality.
inDinero markets itself as "your new back office," and if the hype is to believed, it is. The inDinero team is made up of accountants, CPAs, and tax experts who don't just help SMBs with their finances: they do it for them.
inDinero is cloud based and offers account syncing, forecasting, invoicing, and detailed reporting options. If you want to completely outsource your accounting and budgeting inDinero is worth checking out.
2. QuickBooks Online
Most SMBs have used QuickBooks at some time: It's easily the most ubiquitous bookkeeping app available. Desktop applications have limitations, especially in today's mobile world, which is where QuickBooks Online comes in.
QuickBooks Online has most of the same features as the desktop version, but with the added benefit of being hosted in the cloud. There's no data to lose, no computers to break, and no spyware to worry about. QuickBooks also has migration tools available to make transition simple. It's subscription based and pretty affordable too.
Wave handles all the essential aspects of accounting with the bonus of a built-in payroll system. It connects to bank accounts, corporate cards, PayPal, and other data sources to keep things simple, and here's the best part: It's free to use.
The only things you pay for with Wave are credit card transactions and payroll. Both of those are pay as you use, allowing you to theoretically get a professional-level SMB accounting suite for next to nothing.
Bench, like inDinero, offers a whole accounting team to do your work for you. Data flows in from your various accounts, invoices, and payments, and they take care of the rest. What's more, Bench has a chat function that allows users to talk directly with Bench's team: pretty handy around tax time.
Bench is having a sale right now, allowing you to get six months of services for as little as $63. If inDinero is a bit too much for your needs Bench might just fit the bill.
FreshBooks is a QuickBooks Online alternative that estimates it can save you 192 hours a year with its comprehensive bookkeeping software—that's nearly five weeks of full time work. It's cloud based, works on desktop and mobile devices, and syncs with all the usual platforms.
FreshBooks starts as low as $15 per month and comes with the first month free. At a glance the interface looks a bit simpler than QuickBooks: If complicated accounting software makes you nervous this is a platform to check out.
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- Partnerships between startups and large companies key to 'smart disruption': Optus (ZDNet)
- More small businesses put focus on a mobile-first strategy (CBS News)
Brandon Vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.