The plethora of smart, cheap, and easy-to-use business apps and software services on the market mean there’s no longer any excuse for you to hand your accountant a shoebox full of receipts at tax time, nor any reason to make wild guesses about miles driven or make financial decisions on the road without consulting your real-time status. Here’s a roundup of apps and software for any small business owner who vows to start the new year off well-organized.
1. Mileage tracking apps. Miles traveled for business are typically tax deductible, and recording them is often an afterthought. Mile-tracking apps like TripLog, Milog, Mobile Mileage, and MileBug monitor your gas spend and miles travelled to ensure you get the best return at tax time. Check out this great roundup and review of the best mileage tracking apps from AppAdvice.
2. Mobile point of sale apps. My local organic farmer relies on the old-fashioned calculator-and-metal-cash-box system to make change for payments in her market, but even she was savvy enough to be an early adopter of the Square app to process credit cards with a mobile phone. Mobile credit card payment software can streamline your point of sale process and integrate easily with multiple accounting and invoicing applications. There are more than 30 mobile POS apps on the market, including 1stPayPOS, PayAnywhere, and QuickBooks GoPayment. The AppAdvice site reviews several more.
3. Sales tax management software. Paying the monthly or quarterly sales tax bill is a dreaded chore for many a business owner. To simplify the process, use software-as-a-service offerings such as Tax Jar or Taxify to automate and track your sales tax payments, and keep on top of regulations.
4. Inventory management software. Especially after the holiday rush, just what’s left in the warehouse, back room, or mail can be anybody’s guess. Stitch Labs, Fishbowl, and Lettuce are among the applications that help businesses manage inventory and synchronize financial data from any commerce channel to let you fulfill orders faster and capitalize on inventory deals. Also, see this 2013 Forbes roundup of inventory management apps.
5. Cloud accounting software. You’re not still storing all your accounting data on your desktop, are you? It’s time to move to the cloud. Cloud-based accounting systems such as Xero, Sage One, and FreshBooks will let you manage your business finances from anywhere you go on any device you bring. See CIO Magazine’s top 5 picks for small business cloud accounting software here.