The world is constantly changing around us and so are the new and innovative apps and software available for SMEs and the accounting industry. ‘Change’ means improvement and 2020 delivered some apps that will booster your overall productivity in 2021. However, the trick is finding the right app to fit with your business.

We thought we’d list some high-performing business and accounting apps to use for your company, as well as some that will help your clients to kick off the year on the right foot as well!

Apps for your enterprise:

Microsoft Office – Microsoft Office 365 is a suite of cloud-based productivity and collaboration applications that integrates all Microsoft’s existing online applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Sway, and Access) into a cloud service, adding Microsoft Teams as the main communication and collaboration applications. Enterprises of all sizes are finding Office 365 collaboration to be increasingly popular due to its ability to drive productivity, ROI and corporate success.

Microsoft Teams – Microsoft has made Teams so convenient. You have a chat tool that also has all the other apps in it. You can make a video or audio call, work on files without leaving a chat, and schedule a meeting or share a task with people from a channel. The biggest advantage of Microsoft Teams is how great it connects with all the other Microsoft 365 collaboration apps and tools. You can use Teams as a central hub, utilizing the functionalities of multiple apps such as Planner, Outlook, and SharePoint without leaving the app’s interface. 

LastPass – This is the best way to securely share logins in your firm and with clients. Mac users may also want to check out 1Password, now that they have a sharing feature.

UpWork – If you need a contractor to help out with your social media, marketing, website, admin, etc, you can find some really good (and affordable) workers through this site. UpWork handles all payment processes — just enter your credit card number and you’re good to go. There’s a great feature where you can require your workers to be logged into UpWork’s time tracking, and UpWork will take screenshots periodically, which you can then view to ensure that the time you are being billed for is accurate.

Basecamp – This app is great for tracking personal milestones and internal project management. The new Basecamp 3 has some great client communication features, plus is really affordable. It might be worth a look for a small practice looking for something simple to manage both client and non-client work.

Karbon (formerly PracticeIQ) – Karbon provides a truly collaborative platform for accounting firms to manage workflows, communicate with teams and deliver exceptional client work — from anywhere.

PandaDoc – This is the new product from the company who created Quote Roller. It can combine a proposal, contract, and ACH authorisation into a single document with e-signature. If you are looking to start with something simpler (and included in Xero), check out Xero Quotes.

Practice Ignition — This app does a LOT: online proposals, digital signatures, contracts, invoicing, payments, scope changes, client re-engagements, and more. If you’re looking for a total client management solution on the sales side of your practice, look no further.

Zoom – Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems.

Apps for accountants and bookkeepers:

Xero – is well-designed and easy to use for both accountants and clients. You get unlimited users per organisation. In other apps that charge per user, you often have to share a single login among several people. This is a significant security risk. The add-on marketplace — Xero’s growing add-on ecosystem gives lots of opportunities to help increase productivity and decrease costs by integrating the front-end systems to run a businesses with the back-end accounting system.

Xero Payroll – Xero Payroll is included for no additional charge in the Xero Standard subscription for up to 5 employees. This makes Xero Payroll a great deal. If you’re going to use Xero Payroll you need to be aware that at this time Xero does NOT automatically process any payments or payroll tax filings.

Receipt Bank – Receipt Bank is a very simple way for clients to scan their receipts/supplier invoices for processing into Xero.

uCollect – syncs with your Xero invoices to automatically collect payments. It is great for both the use in your own firm’s billing and for setting up for your clients.

Hubdoc – securely connects to your bank accounts to download bank statements and check images automatically. It even extracts monthly PayPal CSV files for you without any effort on your part. The app also handles receipts, invoices, and bills. You can sync these documents into other accounting apps including Xero, QuickBooks, and Bill.com.

Harvest – Harvest is very popular time tracking and invoicing software. It integrates to sync invoices into Xero with the click of a button. It also has some great job costing and budgeting tools, such as Forecast. This one is a good solution for professional services firms.

MinuteDock – MinuteDock is a simple and elegant time tracking app that can use your time entries to generate invoices in Xero.

TSheets – TSheets is an easy-to-use but powerful app that does time tracking, scheduling, time sheets, and invoicing. One feature in particular to point out is the mobile time tracking — staff can track time from iPhone and Android (in addition to the web). You can require GPS tracking for mobile devices so you finally know where your employees are clocking in from. After time has been tracked, you can use that data to create invoices and send them from TSheets, or you can sync draft invoices to Xero via the excellent integration. Additionally, you can sync time sheets directly to Xero Payroll.

Spotlight Reporting – Spotlight hooks up to Xero (and QuickBooks) to generate really beautiful dashboards and visual reports for your clients. The updated Forecasting tool lets you do valuable cash flow projections for your clients. Spotlight can also consolidate up to 25 Xero files instantly, and the Multi tool can benchmark up to 500 organisations. It’s a great option for virtual CFOs.

Additional points to consider when choosing your next App:

1. What Features Do You Need?

Start by looking at how your business operates. Take stock of the different apps available on the market to see whether they’re a good fit.

2. Consider Cloud Applications

You might want to consider cloud-based software. Such a solution allows you to access your app from any location, as long as you have an internet connection. You also don’t need to invest in hardware to run them. You also don’t have to worry about securing your data.

3. Stick to Your Budget

Make a list of the features you need and shop around with these in mind. Make sure to pick an app that strikes a balance between your budget and requirements.

4. Pay Attention to the Add-ons

Can you extend the functionality of the software using add-ons? For instance, you should be able to integrate it with your CRM, accept payments, integrate e-commerce software, add remote access functionality, connect it to your tax software, and others.

Finally, find out what the limitations of each software are so you can pick one that can grow with your business.

If you’d like to learn more about how these apps can help your business’s productivity, please give us a call on 1300 860 676.