One of the biggest challenges of managing a business is knowing which software and tools to use. There are hundreds of different programs for one task, and it can be challenging to decide what to use. Whether you need tools for communication, hiring, or accounting, there will be a resource that fits your needs and expectations.
Team communication is at the core of any business, especially when it comes to communicating across multiple departments, telecommuters, and different office locations. Choosing the best communication and team management tool comes down to your company’s needs and size.
One popular option for communication is Skype for Business. Since its launch under the initial name of Office Communicator 2007, Microsoft’s team management tool has rooted itself in many companies of all sizes because it is included with other enterprise applications in MS Office 365. Managing a large employee base is more bearable because of Skype’s simple and clear user interface coupled with instant messaging, video calling, screen sharing, and even a media gallery (the latest version). To top it off, the ability for IT to manage user accounts and servers makes Skype an incredibly safe and secure tool especially for enterprises.
For smaller-sized teams that don’t require IT with separate communication servers, there are plenty of other great options. Slack – a newcomer in this space – includes a whole host of useful features that are not available in Skype. Along with the simple, minimalistic design, the user interface is also very straightforward and easy to learn. This cloud-based collaboration tool is especially useful when you use other software, such as Google Drive, Salesforce, OneDrive, and Github in your day-to-day tasks. Integrating other products helps to simplify and centralize collaborative efforts and can make remote work run much smoother.
Accounting and Bookkeeping
Managing finances is a crucial business discipline and responsibility. Even as a single, entrepreneur creating an e-commerce website, there are endless financial tasks to manage. The best type of accounting software has an easy-to-use interface, cloud-based data, and mobile functionality for apps.
Intuit’s QuickBooks Online is a good option when it comes to an all-around software package for either small or big businesses. QuickBooks has five service tiers from single user access from $10 per month to 25-user access of $150 per month. If you need help deciding what tier to purchase, you can also contact an account executive for recommendations. The general user interface and functionality, this software is extremely intuitive with a dashboard that gives you a clear overview of different information. A lot of tasks like recurring invoices, payments, reminders, and bank/card transactions can be automated, which saves time. To top it off, most accounting courses and degrees will cover QuickBooks Online as a foundation to accounting, so the software’s popularity and reach reduce the learning curve and training.
For even smaller businesses or microbusinesses, (talking to you freelancers and fresh e-commerce entrepreneurs) Zoho Books might be the way to go for your accounting needs. Pricing starts from $9, which is on par with similar services ($10 for QuickBooks), but you’ll get the bang for buck with Zoho Books. The basic plan includes adding up to 50 contacts in the system, tracking billable hours, and tracking inventory. While the program isn’t taught everywhere, many people say the application is incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. It employs most of the beneficial features that QuickBooks does like invoicing, automation, integration with third-party applications, and customer service. The only drawback would be the lack of payroll service.
Hiring & Human Resources
Choosing an HR or hiring platform is a similar process to deciding on accounting software. This largely depends on the number of employees and your hiring needs. Some small business might only need a simple spreadsheet and a filing cabinet but in reality, HR solutions are a holistic approach to managing workers and hiring for future growth. An effective HR solution will result in happier and more productive employees as well as a streamlined hiring process for you – it’s a win-win situation.
Zoho’s host of office suite also includes Zoho People and Zoho Recruit. If you’re thinking about using Zoho Books mentioned above, you can add these tools as they come in a single enterprise suite similar to Microsoft. Zoho People by itself provides a basic performance appraisal system in a clean, easy-to-read interface. The centralized database also provides a clear picture of the employee’s records, achievements, custom forms, and most notably, time management. Integrated with this software is Zoho Recruit which combines a career website, job boards, and applicant tracking system into one platform. Hiring and transferring employee data is simple and automatic because both tools use a single cloud server for your company. The biggest downside of Zoho’s HR solution is the lack of payroll software (available only in India) and integration with healthcare and insurance companies.
If you want a one-stop shop for HR management, have a look at BambooHR. As an all-in-one HR solution, you can pretty much get anything done within this application. From time management, performance reviews, workflows, applicant tracking system, to electronic signatures, BambooHR covers a wide scope of tasks and features at your disposal. Unlike Zoho’s integration system, BambooHR has a more flexible partner integration system including payroll, background checks, and benefits administration. Hiring is another strong point because the applicant tracking system and customized hiring process allows for a more in-depth and thorough look into each and every candidate.
A lot of great software and tools are available at your disposal. You’ll find that many of these services have “locked” features behind a paywall, but the basic versions should suffice for the smaller businesses that are looking to expand. Once you get the gears running for your company, you can automate a lot of tasks to save money and time, and eventually scale rapidly. Always remember that there are many options out there and it’s best to compare one service to another.