Small businesses have become big moneymakers for companies specializing in software which is designed for use in smaller enterprises. With so many options available, how do you decide which applications will be of genuine benefit to your business, and which will offer no advantages, and may even be a waste of resources? Below are five essential software solutions your business needs today.

1. Small business accounting software

Worth its weight in gold if you take advantage of all the options on offer. The best systems will integrate all your accounting functions and can read invoices and receipts, inputting data automatically without the need for any manual entries. You can also run many and various reports to help you identify trends in your business and spot areas that need attention or product lines that could be earning you more money.

2. Payroll software

Automating payroll functions will save you a lot of time and head-scratching, and relieves you and your staff of a tedious but essential task. If you only have a few employees, a full-scale package might be unnecessary, but there are options for even the smallest of operations, such as a checkstub maker that produces official pay advice notices for your staff.

3. Planning tools

Your business plan is a key document that should be referred to and updated regularly. However, you also need to be planning ahead for each quarter, deciding where you want the business to be and how you plan to achieve your targets over that time period. Planning tools that combine a calendar or diary with task lists, goal setting, and reflective practice enable you to keep a rolling schedule of work to be completed. It can be an invaluable way of keeping track of progress and reviewing what’s been achieved to inform future developments.

4. Collaborative working software

This is an example of a package that could be tremendously useful for many businesses, but not much value in others. If you frequently need to share documents and be able to view them and work on them with your team, collaborative software packages are perfect for enabling you to work interactively. They can be especially handy if you have staff who work remotely, as it’s much easier to keep in touch and stay on track with each task. On the other hand, if this kind of working model doesn’t have a place in your business, there’s no point in implementing collaborative working.

5. Time management software

If you think you’re making the most of every working minute, time management or productivity software will show you how true that belief is – or not. It tracks how you spend your time and can be individualized to each staff member, by assigning levels of importance and high or low productivity to every task. That means no more quick peeks at amusing animal videos without it being recorded as non-profitable time!

It’s easy to get sucked into believing marketing claims that aim to secure a sale, so it’s an important skill for business owners to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff and make shrewd decisions about what software is going to make a significant difference to productivity and profitability.

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