Today’s entrepreneurs have more options than ever when it comes to the best software for small business management. Whether you need to ensure your payroll is accurate or generate customer leads to take your sales to the next level, there's software for just about every business need. To help you figure out which of these programs can help you streamline your operations, here are our picks for the best software for small business management.
Our Top Picks for Best Software for Small Business Management
- Sortly: Best Inventory Management Software
- Kickserv: Best Field Service Management Software
- TenantCloud: Best Property Management Software
- Salesforce: Best Client Management Software
- Expensify: Best Expense Management Software
Why we chose it: This reasonably priced software allows small businesses to stay on top of their inventory and assets without breaking the bank.
Sortly is an inventory management solution with an emphasis on a streamlined and simple user experience. While similar products have more bells and whistles and integrate more fully with other software, Sortly offers ease of use for a competitive price. That makes it among the best inventory management programs for small businesses.
When users begin with Sortly, they can easily upload their existing inventory data. Sortly allows business owners to organize inventory, parts and other assets and group them by location. Sortly is also supported across an array of devices with access to the cloud; that means employees can update inventory data in real time to ensure that there's never any confusion or misinformation.
In addition, Sortly offers reports that allow business owners to track trends in their inventory data and predict when new orders might need to be made. Sortly even promotes itself as a solution for families and individuals who are moving.
Sortly offers a free product for individuals and very new businesses, but the free plans only allow for one authorized user and a hundred entries per month. Larger businesses can opt for the Advanced plan at $29 per month, which offers 2,000 entries and two authorized users per month, or the Ultra plan for $59 per month, which offers 10,000 entries and five authorized users per month.
Both the Advanced and Ultra plans are available for a 14-day free trial. Companies that need an even larger scope can opt for the Enterprise plan, which allows for unlimited entries and over 10 authorized users per month. Sortly does not publicly publish the cost of this plan, so you'll have to contact the company for a quote.
- Affordable pricing, including a free plan
- Data easily transferred to the platform
- Multiple users can input data in real time
- Limitations on authorized users and entries
- Lack of transparency about the pricing of the Enterprise plan
Why we chose it: Kickserv is a highly dynamic software program that allows companies to manage both employees and customers with relative ease.
The program offers a number of functions. It allows small businesses to monitor field employees through GPS and live updates, in addition to allowing field employees to handle customer invoices and payments. Kickserv also allows companies to manage customer data, including previous appointments and lead management. In addition, the software facilitates oversight of scheduling, expenses and the time to completion of different jobs.
Kickserve offers multiple plans:
|Price Per Month||$0||$47||$95||$159||$239|
Kickserv allows for integration with other software, including QuickBooks, Stripe and MailChimp. However, the options for integration are limited, which means some users might need to change their current email marketing or payment software in order to fully integrate all of their business needs onto one platform. Furthermore, should your business expand rapidly, Kickserv's premium package is rather expensive at $239 per month.
- Allows companies to monitor employees in the field via GPS
- Manages both existing customers and potential leads
- Helps to manage scheduling and expenses
- Integration only available with select other platforms
- Premium package is pricey
Why we chose it: TenantCloud is a one-stop shop for both landlords' and tenants' rent and maintenance needs.
While TenantCloud is primarily a platform for landlords and property managers to manage lease agreements and rental applications. However, tenants can also use the software, to pay their monthly rent and to send maintenance requests and other messages to their landlord.
On the landlord's side, TenantCloud allows tracking of rent payments, expenses and monthly income reports. The software also allows you to list property vacancies, and then use the platform to manage potential leads and run background and credit checks. The maintenance management module allows landlords to keep track of upcoming and completed maintenance tasks.
Unlike other property management software, TenantCloud doesn't limit the number of properties one can have on different pricing plans. But the number of advanced features you can use varies depending on the plan you select.
For the Starter Plan at $12 per month, landlords can manage the following via TenantCloud:
- Rent payments
- Maintenance requests
- Existing and potential tenants
- Tax information
For the Growth Plan at $49 per month, landlords may enjoy all the above tools as well as being able to manage:
- Management fees
- Lease creation
- Landlord forms
- Tenant message boards
- QuickBooks integration
A higher-tier customized plan is available, with pricing information provided upon request. While TenantCloud may seem like a useful option for landlords to streamline their business operations, it's worth noting that some tenants may be reluctant to download the app (or any other) and utilize it for all of their needs.
Furthermore, the lead generation tools in TenantCloud are not very sophisticated and may exclude certain potentially great tenants whose background check discrepancies can be easily explained.
- Straightforward rent collection tool
- Facilitates maintenance requests and tenant-landlord communication
- Streamlines lead generation and applicant background checks
- Tenants might be reluctant to download and utilize the app, or any other
- Could potentially exclude great potential tenants due to background check discrepancies
Why we chose it: As a leading provider of client management software since 1999, Salesforce continues to stand out for offering users the most comprehensive packages and plans available.
Salesforce lets businesses manage customer interactions and data all in one place. The platform has a variety of applications outside of customer management, however. It also allows businesses to centralize their marketing efforts, data analytics, revenue predictions, e-commerce and email communications. Users can access their company's Salesforce data via portal, on any internet-connected device.
Unlike other software that limits integration with outside business apps and programs, Salesforce supports a wide array of integration options, from Google Cloud to Slack to LinkedIn.
Salesforce offers a wide variety of packages, with different plans aimed at a range of industries, including retailing, service industries, health care and more. Packages begin at around $25 per month for very small businesses (with less than ten users), and jump to $75 per month for companies with more users than that. Packages with even more users, asd well as additional features, can cost as much as $1,200 per month.
Choosing among these options is hampered by the Salesforce website, which bombards you with the different options and features. There is, however, a prominent chat window on the page that promises assistance in choosing a plan that suits you. Regardless of Salesforce’s somewhat confusing packaging structure, its wide array of options makes it the best client management software on the market today.
- Numerous plan options and features
- Supports integration with numerous other platforms
- Enables business owners to truly streamline operations onto one platform
- Website is confusing and bombards prospective customers with options
- Those who need the most comprehensive packages may end up spending over $1,000 per month
Why we chose it: Expensify allows employees to submit expenses quickly and allows employers to reconcile those expenses just as rapidly.
Expensify boasts that it can cut down the time it takes for a company to track and manage expenses by 75%. The software allows expenses to be submitted in real time via its receipt scanner tool, promising approval of expenses quickly enough to provide employees with next-day reimbursement.
The software also boasts several features that facilitate reconciling expenses for accounting. The platform allows for integration with many of the most popular accounting platforms, from QuickBooks to Oracle. The software offers similar options for people management, allowing for easy integration with HR management software like Gusto and Workday.
Expensify also allows for tax tracking and has features that allow companies to monitor employee expenses for audit compliance. Companies can set their own parameters for employee spending as well, to minimize the risk that erroneous expenses will slip through the cracks.
While Expensify is marketed as a free service, there are actually several upgraded packages available. Users who want a more comprehensive package can expect to pay $5-$9 a month, depending on which expense tracking features they need. However, some users have complained that the platform doesn't allow for enough customization, such as inputting specific expenses that are unique to one's business. The company's pricing page also heavily pushes the Expensify company credit card.
- Allows employees to easily scan receipts and submit expenses
- Easily integrates with most accounting and HR software
- Companies can set parameters to limit employee spending
- Could be more customizable
- Heavily pushes its credit card product
Other software for small business management we considered
While the five options above represent our leading picks for the best business management software, these other choices may merit consideration as well.
Square allows small businesses to easily process point-of-sale (POS) transactions by setting them up with the software and hardware they need, specifically in the form of card readers that plug into smartphones and tablets. Square also offers data analytics so that businesses can track their sales with ease.
Why it wasn't chosen: While Square is a great choice for those who need POS processing, it's probably not useful for companies that don't do in-person transactions.
- Makes POS processing extremely accessible for small business owners
- Eco-friendly choice for those who want to take pen and paper out of the equation
- Some consumers complain that Square is of little assistance when a Square-using company charges them incorrectly
- Must independently purchase a tablet or smart device in order to use Square
Trello is a platform designed to facilitate project management for teams. It utilizes a highly visual user interface that enables team members to save tasks and upcoming reminders into cards, which they can move around the screen in order to streamline each step of the project until completion. The platform also allows for messaging and team announcements, which ensures that everyone stays on the same page when it comes to deadlines and responsibilities.
Why it wasn't chosen: This type of software is only relevant to a slim segment of small businesses. For a one-to-five-person operation, it likely wouldn't provide significant efficiency gains.
- Visually appealing interface
- Keeps team members on task and abreast of project deadlines
- Extremely affordable price structure
- Probably unnecessary for many small businesses, especially those with only a few employees
Quickly growing in popularity for business purposes, Canva allows just about anyone to create their own graphics and promotional materials, such as infographics, brochures, web advertisements and more. Canva theoretically allows just about any small business owner to act as their own graphic designer. Canva also offers video options for those looking to create a short promotional spot.
Why it wasn't chosen: While Canva might be a great choice for those who would prefer to keep their graphic design tasks in-house, their stock templates and images won't allow you to create anything truly unique.
- Allows users to create their own graphics and short video content
- Drag-and-drop feature enables just about anyone to create a design
- Free option is quite limited
Software for Small Business Management Guide
This software for small business management guide is designed to help you figure out what types of software might help you streamline your business operations.
What is small business management software?
Small business management software is any digital tool that allows a small business to enhance its day-to-day operations. This can encompass anything from a POS system that allows retailers to process transactions to financial management software that allows a company to ensure compliance with tax regulations.
While small business management software was once complicated, today’s best programs allow even the not-so-tech-savvy to take control of their business operations for greater productivity and lower costs. If you can use a web browser, you can probably use most of the tools mentioned here.
Common functionalities in small business management software
Here are some of the types of business management tools small business owners might find useful.
CRM (customer relationship management)
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is utilized to manage and foster a company's relationship with its customers. This can include organizing and tracking existing customer data, in addition to lead generation and outreach to potential customers. CRM software can help you manage your customer data and gather analytics to determine which marketing strategies are or aren't working to drive sales.
Bookkeeping and accounting are crucial parts of small business management. As many small businesses might not have the financial resources to outsource their accounting needs, accounting software allows entrepreneurs to seamlessly handle these tasks in-house. Accounting software enables small businesses to not only track sales and expenses but to prepare tax documents and financial forecasts. If you have employees, the best payroll software services can also help you manage your payroll.
The best inventory management software for small businesses allows you to manage your inventory levels with ease. This software helps keep track of what’s in stock and what needs to be ordered, including both live inventory and supplies. A company that properly manages its inventory ensures there’s consistency between what's being sold to the customer and what's actually in stock.
Team collaboration is a touchstone of many organizations, including a lot of small businesses. However, when deadlines aren't adhered to, or communication between team members falls short, projects can quickly become late or substandard in execution. Project management software allows teams to communicate easily and stay on top of due dates, task management and time tracking. While many new small businesses might not yet need such software in their arsenal, it can be invaluable as your company grows.
Marketing software can run the gamut from email marketing platforms that enable businesses to send mass emails to new and existing customers to digital marketing tools that allow companies to create and run their own social media campaigns. While there are endless ways to market your business, both online and off, there is also a vast array of software for small businesses that can help you achieve your marketing goals.
Contract management software allows companies to oversee active contracts to ensure both parties are compliant with the agreed-upon terms. Furthermore, this software can help in the creation of new contracts, including ensuring legal compliance and risk mitigation.
Human resources software allows organizations to ensure that their employees are paid on time, able to access important documents such as those pertaining to their employee benefits, and easily able to contact the appropriate parties should they have some sort of grievance or concern related to their employment. While larger companies are able to hire dedicated HR teams to oversee these tasks, human resources software allows even the smallest businesses to ensure that their valued team members receive the same fair treatment as their corporate counterparts.
The best small business management software incorporates tools that encourage easy collaboration between coworkers, from file sharing to messaging. Collaboration features enable colleagues to communicate information easily, preventing missed deadlines or other miscommunications. One popular example of software with built-in collaboration tools is Google Drive, which allows multiple people to read and contribute to a single document.
Analytics and reporting
While it might be the least fun aspect of running a small business, analytics and reporting are essential for companies that want to not only yield a profit but to grow. The best business management software for small businesses will almost always offer analytics and data reporting, allowing companies to track trends and determine what's working and what isn't. For example, marketing software employed to run email campaigns provide insight into the relative success of campaigns, and thus facilitate dropping efforts that were less effective in favor of those that yielded the best results.
How to choose a small business management software solution
Choosing the best software for small business management begins with assessing what your business needs to succeed. While a restaurant, say, might need accounting software to help the owners manage and fulfill payroll, a single-person enterprise likely only needs accounting software that ensures they remain tax compliant. That's why the best accounting software for a small business might differ for various types of businesses.
Beyond determining what your business needs are, factor in how much you can afford to spend on software at this stage in your business’s development. Some impressive software platforms for small businesses might be outside of your budget while you're still getting your enterprise off the ground. Pay special attention at the start to free options, since many platforms on this list offer free plans that may suffice for very small and emerging companies. However, also consider how well – including how affordably – the program may grow with your company. Ideally, you’ll find a platform that you won’t have to abandon, perhaps several times, as business expands. Those transitions can require relearning along with rebuilding integrations with other platforms you use.
Software for Small Business Management FAQ
What is the best accounting software for small business?
What is the best payroll software for small businesses?
As with most software for small businesses, the best payroll software for your company will depend on your needs. However, here are three popular choices:
QuickBooks Payroll: An ideal choice for companies already using QuickBooks products for their other accounting needs, as it integrates with the accounting software easily.
Paychex: QuickBooks Payroll: Popular for its ease of use, this software allows employees to log in to manage their hours, access relevant documents for tax purposes and dispute any discrepancies they may find on their paycheck.
Gusto: Gusto is a great choice for companies that only need to manage the payroll needs of a small team, thanks to its flexible pricing structure.
What is the best software to manage a small business?
How We Chose the Best Software For Small Business Management
To select the best software for small business management, we emphasized certain key aspects and functionalities. They are as follows:
- Price and value: We looked for software that’s affordable while still offering key tools and functionalities.
- Range of features: We sought programs that allow access to more specialized features that complement basic tools. We also prioritized software that easily integrates with other popular software and platforms.
- Relevance to a range of small businesses: We focused on software that would be helpful to small business owners in diverse industries. We also looked for programs with a shallower learning curve and that’s accessible to users of all levels of technical prowess.
- Customer reviews: User-friendliness and good customer support are especially important for small business owners because they may not have dedicated IT staff. That’s why we selected products that have positive user reviews for ease of use and customer support.