Financial Apps & Tools That Will Change Your Life (and Business)

Business.com / Technology / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Financial apps & tools are getting better, so if you’ve put off integrating one into your life or enterprise, now is a great time to do it.

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Keeping your finances in order may already seem like a drudgery. Add in a growing business, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially during tax season.

The good news is: There are some great tools available to help you.

Financial apps and tools are getting better and better, so if you’ve put off integrating one into your life or enterprise, now is a great time to dive in.

The most important thing to remember? Consistent use is more important than bells and whistles.

“Apps have made record keeping easier and more convenient,” says Michael Eckstein, a tax accountant and founder of EcksteinTaxServices.com. “But the best app is the one you use consistently. Try each of the popular record keeping apps and pick the one that you find the most straightforward and intuitive.”

Related Article: Building Your SBSS Score: Steps to Improving Your Business Credit

If you feel ready to make your financial life a little easier, below are some great apps and tools that will change your life and business:

Hands holding mobile phone with graphs/charts visible

Budgeting Apps

Whether you’re budgeting in your personal life or for your expanding business, getting spending in order with the help of an app is a great idea.

Careful planning of your budget will allow for savvier use of limited resources.

The financial pros at LoanMe turn to the following apps to keep them on budget.

“Having the money in the first place is step one, but once it’s in your pocket, you have to budget. There’s no way around it in business,” said Min Choi, Managing Director at LoanMe. 

Here are some of their top budgeting app recommendations: 

  • Mint: This app allows you to keep all of your financial information in one safe place. It provides an informative visual that helps users easily understand their spending habits.  You can then link all of the cards, bills and accounts that you’d like, allowing you to compare what you have and what you owe. You can also sync the due-dates of your bills, so you’ll never miss a payment.
  • Wallet: This free app keeps all of your expense records in one place by providing in-depth spending and income analytics. You can easily integrate it with your bank accounts and view financial summaries. This can help you determine where you might be spending too much.  
  • Level Money: Based on the budget you’ve set, this app guides you on how much to spend each day and throughout the month. The tools make it easier to plan ahead, set goals, and identify expenses that might not normally come to mind. It also sends spending projections for that month which can help you maintain budget control. Budgeting is important, and downloading any of these apps can help you get and stay on track.

Quickbooks 

Those running a business understand the importance of keeping the books in order. Quickbooks is widely used because it allows for fast invoicing and performance monitoring.

Sam McIntire is the founder of Deskbright, a resource dedicated to helping people find and succeed at jobs they love.

“We use a number of financial tools to help our business,” he says. “Quickbooks is far and away the most useful financial tool we use. It allows us to easily track and audit our financials and monitor top-line business performance over time through a cloud-based interface.”

Quickbooks allows business owners the chance to save time every month on invoicing and reconciling bank accounts.

McIntire also uses Expensify to track and file expenses.

“It's made tracking, approving, and reimbursing our expenses incredibly easy,” he says. “They've got a great app, so we no longer need to use desktop-based software to file expenses. We can do it on-the-go with receipt pictures taken on our mobile phones.”

LivePlan

Do you run a business without having ever written a business plan? Such a circumstance is more common than you think, and now, of course, there’s an app for that.

“One of the biggest challenges facing small to mid-sized businesses (SMB’S) is finding growth capital to expand their company,” says Joel Sparber, president of ClearGrowth1. “Lenders and investment banks need to see a clear, concise business plan along with relevant financials to make an investment decision. An online app called LivePlan solves the problem. With the app, you go online and follow the step-by-step process to create a business plan in the clear, concise format investors demand.”

LifePlan summarizes the business strategy, tactics and financials of your enterprise.

This tool also creates an infographic business plan summary, which can be reviewed online.

“Before apps like TurboTax, tax returns were done manually or by paid professionals; before apps like LivePlan, business plans were done manually or by highly paid professionals,” explains Sparber. “LivePlan saves time and money, and can help businesses get the growth capital they need to expand their business.”

Related Article: The Impact of Technology and Big Data on Business Funding

Freshbooks

For those looking at other options besides Quickbooks, Freshbooks is a good tool for business. Its cloud-based operation is intuitive and it offers a free trial if you’re interested in trying without committing right away.

“Our boutique public relations and marketing firm lives and dies by Freshbooks for its time-tracking function,” says Tracie Broom, partner at Flock and Rally. “It allows each of our team members to log billable and non-billable time by client, project and task, with notes; then, Freshbooks pulls this data for invoices as well as reporting for client-facing interactions. Finally, it becomes a tool for our accountant at tax time; because it has similarities to Quickbooks, CPAs are fine with logging in and using it.”

JustWorks

An outsourced HR technology solution is a huge headache eliminator for small business owners.

If you need help with payroll and benefits, but don’t have the operating budget to maintain a human resources department, JustWorks could be an effective app to try. 

Jordan Wan is founder and CEO of CloserIQ, a NYC-based technology enabled sales recruiting startup.

“As a small company we don't have our own HR department, so JustWorks has freed up my time in taking care of things like our payroll and benefits,” Was explains. “We are able to pay freelancers for free using ACH payments and manage employee benefits and workflows using their simple to use software.” 

Robinhood

If you buy and sell stock regularly, you’ll be interested in this easy-to-use trading app.

“Over the years I've gone through my fair share of financial apps. From budgeting to trading, I've tried them all,” says Leon Rbibo, president of The Pearl Source, one of the largest online pearl jewelry retailers and distributors in the United States. “However, I've found one tool particularly useful because it suits my busy, entrepreneurial, on-the-go lifestyle. Robinhood is probably my favorite, go-to trading app. They really cut out all the fat of a typical brokerage firm or tool.”

This app allows users to trade when and where they want for free. It's incredibly fast and incredibly secure.

“The stock market is a game of seconds, so I like the ease and user interface of the app,” explains Rbibo. “I can execute trades quickly. It's everything I want: quick, easy, efficient, cost effective and nimble.”

PayPal

We’ve all heard of PayPal.  It’s a very popular service and has established itself as a reliable alternative to using a credit card for e-commerce. 

"One of the most useful financial tools we've ever used is PayPal,” says David Ciccarelli, CEO and Founder of Voices.com, an online marketplace connecting businesses with professional voice talent. “We've been using it from the start to process transactions and create subscriptions for customers who subscribe to our membership-based website. Using PayPal means that we don't have to chase down renewals and allows us to serve customers all around the world.” 

Hand holding mobile phone with flight search app open

Travel Tools

Business owners routinely travel domestically and overseas. Any tool that makes these regular trips easier and more financially rewarding is worth a second look.

“My favorite financial app is Oanda,” says Suzanne Garber, CEO of Gauze, the world's largest database of proprietary information regarding hospitals outside the United States.

“It is an exchange rate converter that helps me determine fair market value for my money wherever I travel,” she explains. “As my business requires that I travel over 50% of my time, this app is invaluable to me in determining pricing for bids with prospects as well as estimating costs for my trips to visit providers and clients.”

Andy Constantine is head of strategy and analytics at DigishopGirl Media Group in Seattle.

Related Article: Power of Plastic: What to Look for in a Business Credit Card

He recommends TripIt to keep track of travel plans and monitor them for late and cancelled flights. It’s best two features?

Airfare monitoring and the ability to keep track of team’s travel plans in one spot. If the price of a fare goes down, it will notify you so you can claim a refund.

Whether your finances are simple or complex, the right app or tool can make all the difference.

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