Gone are the days when financial management involved pouring over blotchy ledgers. Even the trusty spreadsheet is now old news. Instead, there’s a raft of nifty tools and apps that can manage most of your business’s finances at the touch of a button – and in some cases, automatically – without you having to do a thing.
Competition in this sector of the app market is fierce, which is a good thing for businesses like yours. It means apps and software are getting faster, smarter, and cheaper. But it also means that it’s tempting to think you need an app – and pay a monthly subscription fee – for everything.
Knowing what tools to pick can be daunting, so before forking over your credit card details, it’s a good idea to sit down and evaluate your specific needs. As a young business, you don’t have to pay a fortune for these, either. Most tools come with free or budget versions perfect for small businesses – and you may already be using some tools with overlapping features.
If you’re starting out as an entrepreneur, these are a few tools you might want to take for a spin.
This local financial app and website may have made a name for itself as a personal finance monitoring tool, but there’s a lot more hiding under the hood than you may think. Link it up to your business banking account, and you can monitor all of your financial comings and goings. Think of it as your internet banking simplified, but greatly enhanced.
Online accounting software is critical for any small business, and few make the process of balancing your books as simple and, bizarrely, almost enjoyable as Zoho Books. This nifty tool not only manages your finances, it also automates many of your business’s workflows. Its features cater for both small and medium-sized enterprises, and it has a presence in several countries around the world, ensuring no nasty currency conflicts or confusion.
Xero aims to simplify everyday business tasks, and it has a range of tools built specifically for small business owners. It also allows accountants and bookkeepers to link in seamlessly, saving you the hassle of downloading data and sending a deluge of emails. Xero has found a way to make paying bills, claiming expenses, and tracking projects straightforward and devoid of the drudgery usually associated with these tasks.
QuickBooks is a great bookkeeping app for South African entrepreneurs. They have local sales and support services and crucially, allow transactions to reflect in multiple currencies. QuickBooks is also one of those tools that continues to add new features, including invoicing, expense tracking, linking to your bank feeds, inventory management, and cash flow management.
FreshBooks has earned a name for itself as the go-to small business invoicing tool. It’s primarily the domain of freelancers and other independent service providers and has useful tools like time and mileage tracking. In recent years it’s also grown considerably to include several useful features for small business owners, including financial overviews, cash flow management, automated billing, and team functionality as your employee base grows.
The Yoco App is a favourite among merchants who benefit from its raft of small business-related features. The free app captures all sales – including those from cards, cash, and EFTs – in one place. Entrepreneurs can also create a payment link in the app, send it to clients, and get paid online. And best of all, the app will ping you every time you make a sale or receive money in your account, and automatically complete a daily, weekly, or monthly financial recon.
These days there’s an app for everything – and you certainly don’t need to go overboard. But having a few automated tools in your arsenal that manage your finances will free you up to do what you do best.