As a business owner, time is our most valuable asset. When it comes to managing your business operations, why waste it by manually tracking receipts, transactions, miles, or minutes? Despite today’s advent of mobile apps & software intended to handle our every waking need, knowing what’s right for you can be downright overwhelming and time consuming. As someone who is in the business of increasing efficiencies (for clients and myself), I’ve compiled a handy little list of apps that can really lend a helping hand and save you time.

The key to truly leveling up your operational efficiency game is to use applications that not only meet your immediate needs, but also sync / integrate with one another so that you are inputting information into as few places as possible. This way your data moves from one system into the next like dominoes. My hope is to be able buy you some of that precious time back into your work day, allowing you to manage your business with more efficiency and ease. Enjoy!

  • HubDoc – Digital receipt tracker and digital document storage w/mobile app (so you can snap photos of docs & receipts from your phone). Syncs with Quickbooks Online & Xero allowing you to create an automated digital paper trail 🙂 Cost: $20/month
  • Receipt Bank – Does much of the same features as HubDoc, though I personally have never used this. Cost: $25-55/month

  • Xero – Cloud-based and does everything that Quickbooks Online does, but the UI is very intuitive and they are branded as “Beautiful Accounting Software.” Handles invoicing, accepts online payments, run financial reporting. Integrates with banks, credit cards and many other applications such as Shopify, Stripe, Square, etc. Cost: $9-30/month
  • Quickbooks Online – The industry standard. This cloud-based solution from Quickbooks is relatively new and the functions aren’t nearly as strong as their desktop version. Integrates with banks, credit cards and many other applications such as Shopify, Stripe, Square, etc. Cost: $20-30/month
  • Freshbooks – A good starter software with nice UI, but doesn’t allow for super complex accounting features. Integrates with banks and credit cards. Cost: $15-50/month
  • Mint – Not really intended for business accounting, but if you want to start tracking expenses and don’t want to spend the money, this is a great option. Does not include invoicing or financial reporting. Integrates with banks and credit cards. Cost: Free

  • Toggl – Alot of creatives use this. The UI and functionality are strong, but it does not integrate with Xero or Quickbooks Online, unfortunately (and for those who invoice clients based on time tracked). Cost: $9-49/month. Learn more about Toggl >
  • Harvest – The other most used time tracker by creatives. UI and functionality are great and this integrates with Xero and is budget conscious. Cost: $0-12/month
  • T-Sheets – I use this, but selfishly only because I was given a free account (because I run an accounting firm). UI isn’t the best, but it does integrate with Xero & Quickbooks. Cost: $25/month

  • MileIQ – This is the most widely known tracker that folks and clients I have use. UI is awesome and mobile app is super intuitive (i.e. it knows when you are in a moving vehicle and will automatically ask you if you are on a business or personal trip). I believe this integrates with Quickbooks & Xero. Cost: $0-$5.99/month
  • Everlance – I haven’t used this one, but listened to a podcast with the founders pitching for VC capital. UI seems nice and highly rated in the iTunes store. Cost: $0-8/month

  • Gusto – Quite possibly one of the best and easiest to use payroll providers for small business. Their UI is simple and they handle all of those pesky payroll taxes for you and your employees. You can also pay 1099s easily through them. Seamless integration with Quickbooks & Xero. Cost: Base rates begin at $39/mo base + $6/mo per person
  • ADP Run – Definitely the older payroll standard and good for small to large sized businesses. Their online portal to enter payroll could be better. Integration with Quickbooks and Xero is a bit more manual than Gusto. Cost: Sliding scale based on # of employees paid