There are hundreds and thousands of apps out there that can potentially help your small business, but narrowing that down to just the essential few is really time consuming and at times confusing.  We have tried to take the hard work out of the decision on which apps you need to successfully run and grow your business in our top ten app countdown.

10. Excel

Excel is flexible and can therefore be a solution to many business problems from a basic accounting system (cashbook, invoicing and budgeting) to job management system and client relationship manager (CRM).  Often Excel is the program you use before implementing a more specific software solution.  Excel is a must for anyone just starting out in business, but for novice users, once whatever you are trying to do in it reaches a certain volume then you need to look for an alternative.

9. Xero

We love Xero at Accounting Heart!  Xero is so much more powerful than receiving bank feeds for BAS and year end accounts work.  Xero is a tool that can be used for managing your business, if set up correctly.  Cashflow management, budgeting, invoicing, accounts receivable management, accounts payable management, not to mention payroll and super processing.  The easy to read dashboard tells the story of your finances at a glance.  Being on top of where your money is going is key to running a successful business, Xero can make that happen.  Xero also integrates with a lot of apps that further streamline your business process.  If you bank with NAB you can even use Xero to automate the payments to your suppliers (this is my favourite feature in Xero).   Xero has various paid plans.

8. Hubdoc

Hubdoc is the perfect example of an app further streamlining business processes, particularly if you are like me and not a lover of paper!  Say goodbye to keeping hard copies of invoices and receipts while automating their input into Xero.  A quick photo of a receipt or hitting forward on an invoice email, some background wizardry and your documents come into Xero either matching them to a transaction or waiting in accounts payable to be paid (you will always know how much you owe to suppliers once you have this up and running).  This cuts down the questions from your accountant about transactions as they can view the invoice and see the details for themselves.  The best part is that this app is free with your Xero subscription.

7. Practice Ignition

If you send engagement terms to your clients this app is a game changer.  It integrates with Xero so that all of your client contact details prefill on your terms.  Select the services for the engagement and payment terms.  You have the option of pay by instalment, upfront or on completion by either direct debit, credit card or transfer.  Send to your clients for easy electronic approval.  This saves loads of time in preparing and sending engagement terms as well as streamlining invoicing (automatically creating and sending the invoice in Xero) and speeding up the collection times on invoices.  The down side of allowing credit card payments is the charges can’t be passed onto your clients.  See app recommendation 6 for an alternative credit card solution.  Practice Ignition has a range of paid plans and also charges a collection fee on direct debit and credit card transactions.

6. Stripe

If you have clients that like to pay by credit card Stripe is an easy to set-up solution.  Stripe is a payment method that allows clients to pay by credit card by a click through on your electronic invoice generated by Xero.  Credit card charges are easily on charged, if that is something that you choose to do.  Stripe charges on a per transaction basis.  If you need a credit card reader then Square is another great option.

5. Monday

Monday just happens to be the latest addition to the Accounting Heart app stack.  We have ditched our ugly, hard to manage spreadsheet for tracking work and instead use this intuitive app to keep the team updated on what work needs doing and by when.  It also tracks the various milestones in our workflow so we know exactly where a job is up to.  The sky’s the limit on what you can track through this program which also has dashboard functionality if there is information from several different workflows that you want to aggregate.  We have also started using it to track leads and prospective new clients.  I am sure we will find more uses for this awesome app as time goes on.  There are both free and paid versions of this app available.

4. Active Campaign

If you are serious about your online marketing then this app is for you.  Active Campaign allows you to create professional email newsletters and automated marketing campaigns with ease; but it goes much further than that with a CRM and the ability to create landing pages and subscription forms and much much more.  This app has various paid options.

3. Content Studio

Managing your social media platforms can be so time consuming and sometimes difficult to track how a particular channel is performing.  With Content Studio you can schedule your content to all channels and networks from a single platform.  It also allows you to collaborate with your team members in an editorial calendar while providing you with analytical data to measure the performance of your social media content.  Finally it does the discovery work on finding and analysing top performing content for any topic or industry so that you can share with your audience.  There are a range of paid options.

2. Canva

Even if you are only the tiniest bit creative you will love Canva.  Create social media banners and graphics for posts along with email headers for newsletters and marketing campaigns in Canva, plus more.  Canva is a free app with some in app purchases that is intuitive to use.

1. Zapier

If you have two apps or programs that you wished would talk to each other, but don’t, then Zapier is the app that you need. Zapier automates workflows by passing information between your apps with workflows called Zaps.  Zapier has both free and paid options.

If you would like specific advice tailored to your business and circumstances, Accounting Heart offers affordable service packages where you can work with Sonia one-on-one to help you get the most out of Xero and your business apps. Book your FREE Discovery Call to find out more.

Disclaimer: This is general information only and is not advice of any sort.  No warranty or representation is provided by Accounting Heart Pty Ltd as to the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information contained in this summary Readers of this summary should not act or refrain from acting in reliance upon any information contained herein and must always obtain appropriate taxation and / or other advice as may be appropriate having regard to their particular circumstances.