New technologies in bookkeeping come and go, so it may be confusing to keep track of what’s current and up-to-date. There are plenty of options that can dramatically improve how you manage billing, payroll, inventory management, or data entry. Here’s a list of super handy, cloud-based tools that will make bookkeeping a breeze.

Depending on the type of business, you may need a different set of tools to keep the cost of bookkeeping as low as possible, match your industry, the type of goods you’re selling, and the number of employees you have. If you appoint hourly-based contractors, you may focus on a time tracking tool, while if you’re selling goods, inventory management or POS systems would be a good fit.

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Here’s a selection of tools that cater to the needs of many small businesses. Most of them seamlessly integrate with accounting systems like QuickBooks.

1. Inventory management —

Who it’s for: retailers, wholesale distributors
Industry: eCommerce
How much it costs: from $79

TradeGecko is a robust solution for wholesale distributors and retailers selling to end-users combining inventory and order management with reporting and analytic tools.

TradeGecko includes stock and inventory tracking updated automatically based on sales, with multiple locations of warehouses and currencies supported. It also helps you deal with purchase orders which sync with your inventory, as well as supplier and customer data in real-time. With TradeGecko’s automated demand forecasting, you can optimise your orders to minimise the chance of stock availability issues.

For wholesale distributors, TradeGecko offers a private wholesale ordering platform tailored to emailing quotes and taking bulk orders in minutes.

2. Inventory management + POS —

Who it’s for: retailers, wholesale distributors, manufacturers
Industry: eCommerce, brick-and-mortar stores
How much it costs: from $150

What DEAR Systems does is similar to TradeGecko but different in that it also offers a Point of Sale (POS) solution useful to all brick-and-mortar locations. DEAR’s POS app works on iPads, Android devices, Macs and PCs and it’s accessible even if you’re temporarily offline (sales sync when you’re back online).

DEAR combines many features for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, helping them deal with stock availability, orders, invoicing, sales, and costs. The system monitors your inventory and places orders automatically to ensure you never face stock availability issues. It also syncs with multiple warehouse locations. Regarding sales management, DEAR helps you track batch and serial numbers, and expiry dates, as well as manage discounts and multiple pricing tiers.

3. Invoicing and payment processing —

Who it’s for: freelancers, small businesses
Industry: all industries
How much it costs: Free ($15 for the Pro package)

Invoicera is a handy, cloud-based invoicing solution that can be accessed from anywhere.

With Invoicera, you can create and email PDF invoices and quotes in seconds. Your invoices can be set up as one-off or for recurring transactions, and come in multiple languages and currencies. You can also customise them with your company logo. To make the process faster, Invoicera lets you save and manage clients, products, and services.

Invoicera also includes billing software that syncs with major payment gateways, such as PayPal, Skrill (Moneybookers), SagePay, and a lot more. It makes it possible to receive your money instantly from all customers regardless of where they’re based.

4. Data extraction —

Who it’s for: all businesses
Industry: accounting, bookkeeping
How much it costs: free

Available since mid-2017, arbitrue is the new kid on the block compared to other entries on this list, but it is already making waves. It won the QuickBooks #SmallBizHack 2017 in London where it was named the most useful and time-saving solution for small businesses.

arbitrue is a new bookkeeping assistant that helps you deal with the most time-consuming and mundane bookkeeping chore: manual data entry. All you have to do is upload your expense documents, such as receipts and invoices. The tool reads data from documents and extracts it into an editable form. Then, you can verify and export it directly to your QuickBooks account. How easy is that? Arbitrue also works as an invoice and receipt manager, helping you keep track of all documents and make sure you write off all the costs you’re entitled to.

While many data extraction services deluge you with extra features, arbitrue focuses on a single task: processing expense documents. The product is 100% free until June 2018.

5. Cash flow forecasting and financial reporting —

Who it’s for: all businesses
Industry: all industries
How much it costs: from $49.99

For your financial reporting and forecasting needs, you may want to consider a dedicated tool like (a.k.a. CrunchBoards). It’s great for creating customisable reports, including both financial and non-financial KPIs based on data imported either from accounting systems, such as Xero and Quickbooks, or manually from CSV files.

Futrli helps you control your business cash flows with its most prominent feature—cash flow forecasting. It comes with automatic calculations, tracking payment terms, and grouping cash inflows and outgoings. To present your findings in a digestible way, you can build custom dashboards and meeting-ready PDFs that empower data-driven decisions in your company.

6. Analysis, reporting and benchmarking —

Who it’s for: small businesses
Industry: all industries
How much it costs: from $39

For financial reporting, you may also consider Fathom. While it doesn’t include forecasting, it can still import your data and present it in customisable, meeting-ready reports.

Fathom is a financial monitoring and reporting tool that helps you track your company’s performance against KPIs (financial and non-financial), monitor trends, and identify opportunities for improvement. Fathom’s profitability analysis helps you quickly verify whether your business is maximising its return for shareholders. In addition, you can use the tool to monitor cash flows and benchmark how your business is performing compared to its peers.

7. Time tracking —

Who it’s for: businesses signing time-based contracts
Industry: all industries
How much it costs: from $4 per user

GetMyTime helps you learn what employees are currently working on. It sends reminders to make sure they log hours or start/stop timers from their smartphones. The set up can be completed in seconds based on data imported from QuickBooks related to jobs, employees, vendors, inventory, and a lot more.

Timesheets tracked in GetMyTime can be exported directly into your QuickBooks account so that you can bill your clients or run your payroll. There’s also a similar 1-click sync that helps you immediately post all expenses to your QuickBooks account.

8. Team management and time tracking —

Who it’s for: all businesses who hire employees and contractors
Industry: all industries
How much it costs: from $2 per user lets you finally move team management into the cloud, including scheduling, time tracking, communication, and assigning tasks.

Employee scheduling can be done from various areas and locations using a simple drag and drop interface. Employees get notifications via email, SMS, or push. They can also log their absences and unavailability so that you can act immediately. To streamline communication, you can use Deputy’s newsfeed, which works in the form of single employee messages, or group messages with an option to add comments.

Time and attendance monitored with syncs with payroll systems including QuickBooks, ADP, Xero, Gusto, WageEasy and MYOB. Other integrations include POS systems such as Clover, OrderMate and Vend.

9. Payroll app —

Who it’s for: all businesses who hire employees (primarily UK)
Industry: all industries
How much it costs: from £99

BrightPay helps you run multiple payment schedules for an unlimited number of employees or groups of employees. The pay can be organised on different dates and in varying periods (weekly, fortnightly, etc.) depending on employee contracts.

Among many other useful features, Brightpay helps you manage deductions, pension schemes, expenses, benefits, and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) payments, including Employment Allowance and Apprenticeship Levy. Regarding documentation, it generates and emails or prints payslips, as well as P45, P60, P30, and P32 forms (it’s focused primarily on the UK market).

Brightpay’s interface was built to make sure it’s as simple and clutter-free as possible, giving visual priority to the most common payroll tasks. Selected features are either hidden or shown when they become relevant.

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