It's tax time, which only serves as a reminder, to many of us, how disorganized our expenses are. No matter how hard we try, spreadsheets and accounting tools don't always do the trick. For some, another application is necessary - one that will help you not only see the immediate, but also the big, picture. By taking advantage of such a tool, your business expenses can be better managed and not turn into a nightmare at the end of the year.
But what apps are out there? Sure you could set up a CRM or ERP tool to help you tackle this task, but when you need something easier, more user-friendly, and faster to get up to speed on, a more singular-minded app is necessary. I have found five such apps that might help you out.
1. Duck Software's Budget Tracker
Duck Software's Budget Tracker is one of the simpler tools on this list. This particular take on these tools doesn't offer a lot of bells and whistles. What it does offer is a simple to use tool that will assist you in tracking your monthly spending by date and category. Not only will this give you an immediate glance into how your monthly budget is going, it will help you see the big picture, so you can develop a better budget. This tool offers custom fields, monthly print out, a solid help tool, and more. Duck Software's Budget Tracker is free to use.
Mint.com is one of the on-line tools that offers quit a number of outstanding features. With Mint.com you can create an account in seconds, connect to your account from your desktop or your mobile device, see all of your finances in one place (using a single password), and more. What is unique about Mint.com is that it is a read-only service. You cannot make add or remove funds from Mint.com on your mobile device - so your account is safe. And what's best, is that Mint.com has an outstanding budgeting/expense tool that allows you to set budgets and print out reports based on those budgets. Mint.com automatically organizes your spending into categories for you, so you don't have to bother going through every detail in your account; fast and simple. Mint.com is free to use.
Xpenser is another web-based tool that offers access from nearly any device. With Xpenser you can enjoy features like: Expense submission and approval, export and print, tracking (expenses, receipts, mileage, and more), analyzing and organizational tools, import bank statements, integrate with QuickBooks (and other such software), Schedule C reporting, manage multiple accounts and taxes. Xpenser offers three different plans: Individual (One user $9.00 per month), Small Business ($9.00 per user, per month), Enterprise (100-3000 employees, contact for pricing).
4. Budget Tracker
Budget Tracker is another on-line expense solution. This tool allows you to track your accounts, track spending, and schedule income. With Budget Tracker you will find tools to compare interest rates on various accounts, track outstanding balances on credit cards (next to available cash balances in bank accounts), manually enter transactions or batch download them, track recurring bills and non-recurring items, tag transactions with categories, make use of email reminders, scan in receipts, auto record income, split income into multiple categories, tie income and bills into your calendar, and much more. Budget Tracker is free to use.
5. Ora Time and Expense
Ora Time and Expense is an Adobe Air application and works as an easy to use tool for tracking and generating: time sheets, expense reports, and invoices. Ora was the winner of the Adobe AIR Developer Derby Best Business HTML Application and stands as a great example of how such a tool can be easily used and elegantly displayed. Ora features include: PC or Mac, task timer, webcam scan receipts, mileage and hotel expense wizards, timesheets, and reports. It can also create invoices in HTML, Excel, CSV, or XML, customizable timesheet, reports, and invoice templates. Ora is a great tool for the individual or small business who needs fast, easy access to these features. Ora is free to use.
If you're an individual, SOHO, or small business, you should be keeping track of your expenses. With the right tools, this task can not only be easy, but help to make your small business more profitable. Give one or more of these tools a try and see if your expenses become more organized and helpful for your small business' bottom line.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for Techrepublic and Linux.com. As an avid promoter/user of the Linux OS, Jack tries to convert as many users to open source as possible. His current favorite flavor of Linux is Bodhi Linux (a melding of Ubuntu and Enlightenment). When Jack isn't writing about Linux he is hard at work on his other writing career -- writing about zombies, various killers, super heroes, and just about everything else he can manipulate between the folds of reality. You can find Jack's books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Outnumbered in his house one male to two females and three humans to six felines, Jack maintains his sanity by riding his mountain bike and working on his next books. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website Get Jack'd.