For every modern problem in business, there’s an app for it. But with so many out there offering to make your life better in every way, it can get a little overwhelming for small business owners.  

To help you cut through the noise and find the best for your small business, this guide will run through the must-have apps for small business owners, what they do, and where to get them by looking at the following areas:

  • Project management apps
  • Office software 
  • Phone system software
  • Videoconferencing and messaging apps
  • CRM software
  • Integration software
  • Accounting apps

Project management software

Project management software is a type of online collaborative program where employees can see what tasks they’re supposed to do and when. They also record their progress and time spent on those tasks and add relevant details, such as suggestions or issues. 

Project management apps let you measure the success of a project in real-time. People with the right permission can see what everyone else is doing and when. 

Software such as this will give you full visibility of the progress of a project. For example, are all the tasks on track to be completed on time? If one task is late, how does that affect the projected deadlines of other tasks? Is someone available to pick up an urgent task if they have to? 

When it comes to choosing a project management app for your business, you can’t do much better than ClickUp. It’s flexible, intuitive, and highly rated. 

There’s a basic version of ClickUp that’s free to use, or an “unlimited” option for £5 per user, per month. 

Office software app

Office software is the bread and butter of any business. It’s the main tool you’ll use to create word documents, PowerPoint presentations, and spreadsheets. 

Microsoft 365

In terms of quality, Microsoft Office’s package is still one of the best. It includes all the tools you’ll need like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Teams, Outlook, and OneDrive. Plus it’s compatible across most devices and operating systems. 

The main advantage of Microsoft is its popularity. Because most people use it already, it’s a format that most people are familiar with and works well with most devices and operating systems, so there won’t be as many compatibility issues. 

It is a little pricey compared to other office apps, the standard business subscription starts at £9.40 per month, but Microsoft has recently announced that Microsoft 365 will come free for any Windows 11 user.

Google Docs

As a free service, Google Docs is a great option. 

It’s user friendly, gives you loads of options for add-ons, and automatically saves any changes you make to documents in real-time. It’s also really easy to share work for collaboration, and you can do it all through your web browser. 

The main issue with Google Docs is formatting. Because files need to be converted across different applications, you might find your fonts, paragraphs, and headings might get a little warped as you move your work around. 

Phone system software apps

If your business involves a lot of phone time, phone system apps could make your life a whole lot easier and improve your customer service.

Compared to traditional phone lines, modern call systems are cloud-hosted, meaning they provide you with everything you need like messaging, video calls, and phone calls but with the benefit of working over the cloud. 

Working through the cloud means employees can log into the phone system from anywhere with almost any device, and accurate records of calls and messages will be available for review. 

Some of the top-rated phone system apps on the market are Ring Central and Go To Connect. You will need to request a quote for more information and pricing will usually be decided according to the size of your business and its needs. 

Videoconferencing and messaging

Now that remote working has become more common, the need for apps has increased dramatically. Videoconferencing and messaging apps are great tools that help keep teams connected and productive. 

What sets them apart is the number of options they give you for communication. You can call, video call, and message different groups and individuals easily. It’s more flexible and user-friendly than emails or normal phone calls, making communication quick and seamless. 

Slack is one of the most used and highly rated apps on the market

  • The Pro subscription, for smaller teams: £5.25 per person, per month, when billed yearly. £6.30 per person, per month, when billed monthly.
  • The Business Plus subscription: £9.75 per person, per month, when billed yearly. £11.70 per person, per month, when billed monthly.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software

CRM software is used to manage communication with both existing and potential customers. It helps build customer relationships and streamline processes to improve sales, customer service, and profitability.

If your business relies heavily on sales pipelines, and deals with frequent customer service enquiries, you could see a lot of benefits from CRM software apps like these:

  • Salesforce: Has a free demo, then pricing done on an individual basis. 
  • Monday: Has a free subscription for up to two users. After that, prices are set at £7, £9, and £14 per month, per user, then on a quote basis for the “Enterprise” subscription. 
  • Hubspot: You only pay for the number of contacts you store.

For more information on CRM apps, check out our article, “what’s the best CRM for a small business?

Financial integration software

Financial APIs (Application Programming Interface) are used to build payment portals for businesses. 

It can get a little confusing how this works, but a good financial API will allow quick and seamless payments to and from customers all over the world using different currencies. 

Financial APIs are a great option for businesses that deal mainly in online transactions or trade in multiple different countries. Rather than rely on traditional banking systems, which are often slow and costly, financial APIs offer a better payment service that gives your business the ability to scale securely and efficiently. 

Because financial APIs are still lesser-known, compared to other apps, there are a lot fewer reviews available. But some promising ones to look out for are Plaid and Modulr finance.

Plaid offers a free test run, but both apps are priced according to your specific business needs. 

Accounting software apps

Financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here.

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