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The Best Small Business Apps & Services for 2018

posted on January 1, 2018 in Technology

Hit your business goals with better business technologies

 

All of us have been burned by poor business processes propped up by worse tech. We’ve been on inefficient teams. We’ve been out of the email loop. We’ve wasted valuable work time figuring out bad project management platforms. We’ve had to start over from scratch when our work didn’t save. We’ve seen it all; and we all want an easier way.

For the past half century, Silicon Valley has worked to fix these business glitches. The tech community has built powerful, user-friendly apps, designed to solve and streamline the most common business problems. These apps fall into two main categories: apps that improve internal processes and apps that improve the user experience—because customer experience plays a huge role in customer retention (returning buyers = consistent sales). Here are a few of our favorite small business apps and services for 2018:

Best Small Business Apps & Services by Category

 

Accounting

QuickBooks

Not only is QuickBooks tried and true, it also has three plan levels to accommodate even the smallest of businesses: Self-Employed, Simple Start, Essentials, and Plus. At the most basic level, this popular platform lets you track income and expenses, create invoices, accept payments, and generate reports analyzing profits and losses—from your phone, tablet, or computer. The more advanced packages also let you track inventory and manage payroll.

But lots of other apps can do these things too. Even more impressive is QuickBooks’ reputation. They have been around long enough to work out bugs and refine the user experience.  For this reason, they partnered with other popular business and eCommerce apps, like PayPal, Square, Shopify, and TurboTax, for easy data exports.

Using our Online Banking app you can actually import transaction data directly from your Texas Citizens Bank account to QuickBooks. If you’re still using a personal account for business, you may want to explore Business Accounts  to weigh the benefits. QuickBooks lets you manually sort business expenses from a connected personal account, it just takes longer.

 

Taxes

Turbo Tax

As we mentioned in our Accounting pick, QuickBooks plays nicely with its tax software counterpart. This makes sense as they are both owned by Intuit. Sharing data with Turbo Tax is as easy as hitting the “Import” button. Once the data is uploaded, Turbo Tax walks you through your business tax forms line by line. It even helps you find industry-specific tax deductions.

If you don’t already have an accountant you trust to handle your business bookkeeping, it’s important you invest in tools like Turbo Tax. Time is money. And with quarterly taxes, filing can take a lot of time you’d probably rather spend improving your business.

 

Transactions

Square

A small business favorite, Square gets you paid. It’s a mobile Point of Sale (POS) system that allows you to accept credit, debit, and mobile pay using a phone or tablet in conjunction with one of Square’s many card readers.

The app and basic magstripe card reader are free. However, their more secure and sophisticated chip reader and smart register, “Square Register,” costs extra. Additionally, Square takes a transaction fee, which varies based on transaction type.

 

Deposits

Remote Deposit Capture

By now, you’re probably very familiar with Mobile Check Deposit. There’s a good chance you use it regularly to deposit personal checks. While Mobile Check Deposit is a wonderful tool when you’re only uploading a check here or there, it’s not ideal for business. If you’re a business collecting multiple checks a day, or even a week, it’s time to upgrade.

Businesses can scan multiple checks at once using Remote Deposit Capture. The scanning machine makes depositing hundreds of checks as easy as making hundreds of photocopies, with unlimited deposits available. Another great perk is the ability to save images for future reference.

We offer flexible payment plans for this device, including both leasing and buying options. Avoid trips to the bank and tedious 1:1 manual scans by switching to the latest, business-approved check deposit system.

 

Communication & Organization

Office 365

Microsoft has thought of everything: personal, small business, growing business, and enterprise. They even offer discounted bundles for industries like education and government.

If you’re just starting out and already have Office installed on your business desktops, you may want to consider Office 365 Business Essentials. While this basic business package doesn’t include any apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), it does offer all the same services as the Business Premium Package: Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Yammer.

Finally, OneDrive for Business (included) gives every user 1 TB of personal cloud storage. In contrast, your free Google Drive and Dropbox accounts give you 15 GB and 2 GB respectively. This hefty storage space combined with must-have communication platforms like Microsoft Exchange, Skype, and Microsoft Teams make it easier for teams to talk, exchange content, and brainstorm your business’s next great idea.

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