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Find your next small business software — 22 tools for Accounting, HR, Payroll, and more

Find your next small business software — 22 tools for Accounting, HR, Payroll, and more

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Running a business, regardless of size, is no easy feat. On any given day, you may be sending invoices, bookkeeping, calling customers, or preparing products for shipment. 

You could hire additional helpers for all your umpteen tasks. However, this may not be feasible due to budget constraints. 

The next best thing is tapping into the wide array of online tools. There is a problem, though. A Google search for “best accounting software for small business” may yield dozens of results. Too much choice breeds confusion. 

Today —we’re helping you find the best accounting systems for small businesses, along with other tools for productivity, collaboration, HR, payroll, shipping, and other tasks.

 22 tools for Accounting, HR, Payroll, and more

 

Best Accounting Software for Small Business

 

1. XERO

Why is XERO the best accounting software for small businesses in the UK? XERO kicks off your membership with a 30-day trial. It supports direct HRMC filings for VAT returns online. Customers can connect various payment processors, including Stripe. Their contact management gives an overview of each customer or supplier. It similarly comes with a robust online filing system. 

Top features 

  • Inventory with stock management; 

  • Multi-currency accounting 

  • Purchase orders

  • Future cash flow and financial health metrics

  • Employee expense claims

Pricing 

Businesses can choose from three pricing packages at £12, £26, and £33. Optional add-ons may be accessed for a fee, including payroll, project tracking, and CIS returns. 

Website: https://www.xero.com/uk/

 

2. Intuit Quickbooks

As one of the better-known accounting software for small businesses, Quickbooks promises to offer simple and smart accounting features. It supports self-assessment and is HMRC-recognized. A UK-based team offers support through live chat, phone, and screen sharing. 

Top features 

  • Manage projects and track employee time

  • Connect bank, credit card, and PayPal

  • Income tax estimates

  • VAT error checker 

  • Facilitate payments in different currencies with automatic exchange rate

Pricing  

Quickbook offers introductory rates, but normal membership plans range from £12 to £30 per month, + 20% VAT. For an added charge, customers can add payroll support.

Website: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/uk/

 

3. Free Agent

Free Agent emerged as the best app for small business accounting in the 2020 Accounting Excellence Awards. It's specifically tailored for freelancers and small-business owners with a customer base of over 100,000 businesses. FreeAgent provides automatic tax forecasts, reminders, and receipt tracking. Users can snap and upload pictures of receipts. 

Top features 

  • Automation for repetitive admin tasks

  • File tax directly with HMRC

  • Double-entry accounting system

  • Quick and flexible reports

  • UK-based support accountants

Pricing 

Limited companies start with £14.50 per month for the first six months and pay £29.00 afterwards. Annual plans allow for up to 45% in savings. 

Website: https://www.freeagent.com/

 

4. Sage Accounting

Sage is one of the most used accounting systems for small businesses, with their website claiming that over 1 million businesses use their various apps. Users can send and track invoices, snap receipts with auto entry, and file taxes directly with the HMRC. 

Top features 

  • Cash flow forecasting 

  • Real-time accountant collaborations 

  • Bank reconciliation 

  • Quotes and estimates 

  • Manage inventory

Pricing 

Sage runs regular promotions. Currently, they’re offering the first five months for free. Regular pricing packages range from £12 to £30 per month. 

Website: https://www.sage.com/en-gb/

 

Payroll Software for Small Business UK

Payroll software can help prepare payslips or remit salaries to employees' bank accounts. It reduces confusion by helping track time and calculating final pay based on hourly wages. The software can help in making all the required deductions as well as calculating taxes to withhold. So let's look at the top contenders:

 

5. HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tools — Free

If your business has fewer than 10 employees, you can take advantage of the basic PAYE tools availed by the HMRC. Some key capabilities include calculating tax & National insurance, verifying new employee NVRs, and submitting the EPS and EYU. It's not suited for bookkeepers or agents with more than three customers. 

Website: https://www.gov.uk/basic-paye-tools

 

6. Payescape

It’s a pay-for and HMRC-tested payroll software for small businesses in the UK. While they serve eminent clients like McDonald's, they help small businesses as well. You access the platform features through their cloud-based portal. Anyone can use the tool without any professional accounting experience. 

Top features 

  • HR consultancy by CIPD qualified consultants

  • Time attendance hardware

  • Outsourcing payroll (available) 

Pricing 

The pricing varies depending on the number of employees and pay frequency. Users pay a base price of £50 with an additional fee of £3 per employee. One employee per month means paying £53.

Website: https://www.payescape.com/

 

7. BrightPay

It's clear why 250,000 businesses in the UK use BrightPay to manage their payroll. The desktop software comes with a full range of functionality. BrightPay provides automated cloud backup and employee mobile apps for digital payslip access. New customers can enjoy a 60-day trial.

Top features 

  • Tax, NIC, and student loan deductions 

  • Annual leave management

  • Powerful payment scheduling 

  • Support for pension schemes 

  • Employer set up with unlimited departments 

  • Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) 

Pricing 

The BrightPay standard license starts at £49 with one employer and multiple employees. 

Website: https://www.brightpay.co.uk/

 

Best Small Business Software CRM, Lead Management, & Sales

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is must-have small business software. It mitigates various problems such as messy and decentralised customer data management. You get to standardise your workflows, such as the process of qualifying leads. CRMs ensure better customer service with features such as ticketing.

 

8. Zoho

Zoho has won many hearts by offering a straightforward user interface that's not intimidating, unlike Salesforce. It has literally every feature small businesses may need, from bulk emailing to real-time web analytics. The platform has been striving to introduce automation to cut on repetitive tasks. 

Top features 

  • Omnichannel customer support

  • Meetings and webinars

  • Online file management for multiple users 

  • Website chat feature

  • Secure business mail

  • Online accounting through Zoho books 

Pricing 

Zoho has a wide range of plans with prices ranging from £12 to £45 per user.

Website: https://www.zoho.com/

 

9. Freshsales

Formerly FreshWorks CRM, Freshsales is an industry favourite and continues clinching various awards. The company believes in one app with all the functionality needed to help businesses support clients at all stages of their life cycle. As the name suggests, it's primarily driven to boost sales. 

Top features 

  • 360° view of customers

  • AI-powered chatbots

  • Predictive contact scoring 

  • AI-powered insights

  • Automated sales campaigns

Pricing 

Freshsales does not charge for their base plan that includes life cycle stages and account management features. Paid plans range from $15 to $69 per month billed annually. 

Website: https://www.freshworks.com/

 

10. Salesforce CRM

From large corporations to SMEs, Salesforce provides sales functionality for every business. It's more highly customisable and programmable than most systems. That coincidentally makes it quite intimidating for many ordinary users. If you're willing to invest the time to learn about its features, it's quite intuitive to use.

Top features 

  • Customer journey mapping

  • Customer 360

  • Workflow rules and automation

  • Highly-customisable reports and dashboards

Pricing 

Salesforce Small Business Solutions start at £20 per month for Sales and £20 for Service. We strongly recommend taking the Product tour before enrolling. 

Website: https://www.salesforce.com/uk/

 

Best HR Software for Small Businesses

Operating a small business often entails overseeing HR tasks. You perform recruitment, hiring, and onboarding. Once employees are on board, you carry out performance management and design employee benefit plans. Training employees is another must-do task. Using HR software for small businesses can ensure that you don't overlook any activity. Now, here are some HR platforms for your consideration:

 

11. BambooHR

Designed for small and medium enterprises, BambooHR does all the heavy lifting when it comes to employee management. It has an extensive set of features compared to similar competitors. You can use its capabilities during hiring, onboarding, and supporting employees throughout their time at the company.

Top features 

  • Employee records

  • Time-off management 

  • Applicant tracking system

  • Training tracking

  • Employee satisfaction scoring 

Pricing 

Bamboo HR requires customers to leave their details to receive quotes based on their needs. 

Website: https://www.bamboohr.com/

 

12. CitrusHR

CitrusHR is more personalised to the needs of small UK businesses. They offer HR support and HR software as separate services. Support services entail compliance document reviews, professional HR advice, safety, health, and legal updates. 

Top features 

  • Starter onboarding process

  • Performance management

  • Secure employee document storage

  • Attendance and absence management

Pricing 

CitrusHR charges a flat rate of £50 every month and £7 per employee for the HR support service and software. If you need the HR software separately, you’ll only pay £2.50 per employee with a minimum charge of £20. 

Website: https://citrushr.com/

 

eCommerce, Email-Marketing, Shipping & Analytics Tools for Small Businesses

If your business sells services or products online, you may need additional small business software. We have selected tools to help facilitate eCommerce sales, shipping, email marketing, social media marketing, and performance analytics.

 

13. Kissmetrics

Kissmetrics gives small business owners advanced product and market Analytics data beyond what they can get with Google Analytics. It's ideal for e-commerce websites stuck with figuring out how to increase new and repeat purchases. 

Top features 

  • Full visibility over the customer journey across devices

  • Life-time value metrics

  • Behavioural analytics 

  • Activity, funnel, and A/B test reports

Pricing 

Pricing varies depending on the tracked users and number of user seats, with plans starting at $299 per month. *If price is a factor, check out Heap.  

Website: https://www.kissmetrics.io/

 

14. Mailchimp

A search for the best email marketing platforms will always yield MailChimp. It allows you to build email subscriber lists and launch email campaigns. The company has made in-roads in introducing more features such as CRM, analytics, & marketing automation. 

Top features 

  • Customer journey builders 

  • Email templates 

  • Email segmentation 

  • Multivariate testing 

  • Behavioural targeting

Pricing 

The pricing depends on the number of contacts with the Essentials plan going for £7 per month based on 500 contacts. 

Website: https://mailchimp.com/

 

15. Zapier

One roadblock many small businesses face after using different online platforms is the lack of integrations. This problem necessities performing the same repetitive task across platforms. 

An event such as someone making a purchase may trigger the use of Gmail to send a welcome email and update the record in your CRM. 

Zapier provides app integrations without the need for custom coding and task automation. It helps customers save a lot of time by automating repetitive tasks across platforms.

Top features 

  • Over 3000 + integrations 

  • Easy-to-build workflows 

  • Ready-made templates 

  • Connections via webhooks

Pricing 

Zapier provides a free pricing package that supports 100 tasks per month. Paid plans range from £14.92 to £447.05. 

Website: https://zapier.com/

 

16. Hootsuite

Your social media pages need regular updates. However, posting the same thing on different platforms is repetitive and tedious. Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts across social networks and creates social content directly from the app.  

Top features 

  • Schedule social media posts in advance

  • Multiple-platform messages in one inbox

  • Assign roles to team members 

  • Post one message to multiple platforms at once

Pricing 

Hootsuite charges £39 per month for their professional single user plan and £99 for the team plan. 

Website: https://www.hootsuite.com/

 

17. WooCommerce

If you're building a new e-commerce store from the ground up, consider using the WooCommerce integration. It powers millions of stores globally, from luxury goods websites to gym sites. Once you have it installed, you can extend its functionalities by installing extensions. 

Top features 

  • Support extensions across 8 categories: payments, merchandising, shipping, etc. 

  • Ready-made industry-specific themes 

  • Easily customisable

  • Sell any product or service

Pricing 

You don't pay to install or continue using WooCommerce.  Some themes and extensions are paid-for. 

Website: https://woocommerce.com/

 

18. ShippyPro

Shipping is a big part of running an e-commerce website. While customers expect a hassle-free shipping process, the backside of things can be pretty hectic. ShippyPro serves as a complete shipping hub for business owners. It offers intuitive features such as seamless returns, label creator, tracking and tracing. 

Top features 

  • Integrates with UK Mail & DHL for parcel tracking and returns

  • Easily compare shipping rates 

  • Shipping notifications

  • Live checkout

  • Multiple sender addresses

Pricing 

ShippyPro offers two plans at €29 and €79 per month. 

Website: https://www.shippypro.com/

 

Small Business Management Software: Collaboration, Project Management, & Docs

Staying organised is a big part of running a successful business. You also need a way to communicate with your team members efficiently. Here are some top contenders for small business management software:

 

19. Clickup

ClickUp bills itself as the future of work. They created one app to replace all project and productive tools. You can assign tasks, track time, set reminders, use Kanban boards, and communicate with project participants. 

Top features 

  • Unlimited tasks 

  • Collaborative docs 

  • Kanban boards 

  • Resource management 

  • Custom views

Pricing 

ClickUp offers a free lifetime plan. Plans for small teams start at $5 per user. 

Website: https://clickup.com/

 

20. Slack

Slack brings your whole team together in company channels where you can send messages and collaborate effectively. It now boasts of over 10 million daily active users. The great thing is that you can effectively collaborate with a free account, and it supports a lot of integrations. 

Top features 

  • 1 to 1 voice and video calls 

  • Group video calls 

  • Integrations with popular apps

  • Individual member profiles and group channels 

Pricing 

You can get by with the free plan that includes access to 10,000 recent messages, 10 integrations, and 1 to 1 communications. Pro and Business+ plans go for £5.25 and £9.75 respectively. 

Website: https://slack.com/intl/en-gb/

 

21. Google Docs

Create documents and easily share them with Google Docs. It makes collaborating on projects easier. You can use it from the browser with no need for downloads. 

Top features 

  • Use templates for docs, presentations, etc. 

  • Free Google Drive storage 

  • Smart editing and styling tools

Pricing 

Google Docs is free. 

Website:
https://www.google.com/docs/about/

 

22. Zoom

Zoom became popular for its video conferencing features at the height of the pandemic. You can use the tool to make video calls, host meetings with multiple participants or even host live webinars. Another little-known feature is phone support with unlimited calling outside the country in select regions.  

Key features 

  • Zoom phone service

  • Events and webinars 

  • Chat 

  • Zoom app integrations

Pricing 

Personal meetings are free. The pro licenses for small teams go for £11.99 and £15.99. The Zoom phone packages range from £8 to £16 per month. 

Website: https://www.zoom.us/

From business accounting apps to productivity tools for small businesses, you now have a full list of apps to manage many aspects of your business. 

As you subscribe to any service, take time to check all its tools. There are some all-in-one platforms on this list, for instance, the top accounting programs provide payroll and HR features as add-ons. 

Remember to sign up for the trials or watch product tours to assess the suitability of each platform.

By GoSolo Better Business Banking