Every small business wants to save money, and budgeting software can help. We look at four options to help you track expenses, forecast revenues, and even generate invoices on the go.
One of the best ways for any small business owner to save money is to develop and stick to a solid budget. That task is a lot easier when you have the right budgeting software. Fortunately, you have choices that range from lean-and-mean to feature-rich and scalable.
We picked four of the best budgeting software options from the current crop to help you fine-tune next year’s budget and to see where revenue opportunities or potential concerns exist.
PlanGuru wraps budgeting and forecasting into one easy-to-navigate package. Thinking long term? You can develop financial forecasts for as long as 10 years down the road. Granted, not everyone is in a position to look that far into the future, but it’s a helpful for business owners trying to develop multi-year growth plans or who need to forecast across projects over long time periods.
PlanGuru includes its own analytics format, and it supports a variety of reporting formats such as PDF, Excel and Word. Does your business already have data stored in Excel or QuickBooks? Import it directly into PlanGuru.
PlanGuru Startup costs $99 for single-user license. Higher price tiers offer additional features, including an option to install the software on a network server and a tool for business valuation. You can add advanced reporting and a powerful analytics for an additional cost. Businesses interested in a cloud-hosted solution can get that, too.
Quicken Home and Business gives small business owners the option to combine both their personal and their business information in one platform. If that scenario doesn’t work for your situation, then you can simply use it for business only.
Quicken Home and Business lets you look into the future in terms of revenues expected to flow in, as well as expenses scheduled to go out. This gives you the opportunity to spot potential problems and head them off before they become actual problems. A mobile app (iOS and Android compatible) keeps you connected when you’re away from the office; snap photos of receipts and send them right into the program. It’s also an easy way to see account activity on the go.
Quicken Home and Business goes beyond simple budgeting and includes a tool to seamlessly generate invoices and estimates. When tax time rolls around, you can export the data stored in Quicken Home and Business directly into TurboTax.
Pricing: $115 single-user license
QuickBooks Online lets you download transactions from your business bank account and credit cards straight into the program. This helps keep everything up to date, and it also makes reconciling new transactions a snap.
The streamlined interface reduces the number of screens you have to wade through to find the information you need. You can track even more detail in the balance sheet and profit-and-loss statements, just two of the handy reports built into the platform.
Applications for Android and iOS mobile devices help keep you up to speed on account balances and activity. You can also email invoices right from your smartphone or tablet—a time-saving feature when you’re working at a customer’s location.
QuickBooks Online offers features typically found in higher-priced tiers, such as forecasting future revenues and expenditures, or analyzing your sales activity against industry trends.
If your business relies on an outside financial professional for support, QuickBooks lets you assign up to two accountants to access your data rather than spending time exporting or copying everything they’ll need.
Pricing: $12.95 per month for one user
Powered by Excel, Business Planner offers small business owners a step up from the traditional spreadsheet without the learning curve that sometimes accompanies more complex software solutions. The result is a platform that’s easy-to-use without a lot of set-up time.
The program’s dashboard simplifies navigation by offering the most important information on a single screen. The sales forecasting tool also creates one place where you can see estimates of revenue activity for each of your business’s products. Profit-and-loss calculations allow comparisons of the current year against actual figures from prior years.
An array of templates includes invoices, time sheets, and purchase orders. Business Planner rounds out the budget function with payroll and expense-report tools, and it even provides an easy-to-use inventory template.
Pricing: $59.95 single-user license
Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from foodservice to insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractor magazine.
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