Looking for the best budgeting app for your small business? We get it. We’ve been there. One of the most challenging aspects of running a small business is all of the different hats you have to wear to do it—and you might not even like some of those hats.
You need a snazzy top hat for impressing new clients, a thinking cap for innovation, a hard hat for building new systems and processes, a baseball cap to create company culture, a strictly-business fedora for managing employees, one of those green visors that poker dealers wear in old-timey movies for the financial side of things…when really, the most comfortable hat is probably specific to whatever service you offer that inspired the business in the first place.
Much like hats, the best budgeting app for small businesses is whichever one fits the best. Let’s try a few on and see what you might like.
What’s the Best Budgeting App for Small Businesses?
The term “small business” encompasses a broad range of business types, from a sole proprietorship still in the side hustle phase to an insurance company with 1500 employees. Obviously, the needs of those two different companies would vary greatly.
Well, luckily for both, there are a whole lot of budgeting apps for small businesses to choose from.
Best Budget Apps for Small Businesses:
- Quickbooks Online: Best for a Business Owner with Inventory
- FreshBooks: Best for Basic Business Budgeting
- PlanGuru: Best Budgeting Software for Predicting the Future
- Mint: Best Budgeting Software for Businesses on a Budget
- YNAB: Best Budgeting Software for Future Billionaires (Who Are Also Exceptionally Intelligent and Attractive)
What to Consider When Choosing a Budgeting App for a Small Business?
To help narrow down your options, consider the following:
- Scalability: Ideally, you need a budget that can grow as your small business does. A budgeting app evolves into more than a list of costs—it becomes the way that your business budgets. It’s your reliable advisor for deciding if you can afford something, your source of truth when it comes to spending habits, and an honest archive of your business finances. Find a business budgeting method that you like and can see using as you hit new phases of growth.
- Accessibility: You won’t look at (or use) your budget if you can’t access it. Look for a budgeting app for your small business that’s available as a mobile app and on desktop devices, and across multiple devices and/or users in order to keep everyone on the same page in real time. Don’t forget that there’s more to budgeting than just creating a budget—sticking to that budget is what actually makes it work. Being able to compare the amount you’ve set aside to spend versus the amount you’ve already spent in each category is crucial to your ongoing success.
- User-Friendly: Business finances can be complicated, but you shouldn’t need a financial degree to manage the budget for a small business. When evaluating budgeting apps, check to see if the interface is intuitive. Also, find out what kind of support the company offers if you need help. Is it possible to chat with a representative? Are there resources such as blog posts, videos, or online forums to help you quickly if you encounter an issue?
- Trustworthy: A lot of budgeting apps for small businesses sync directly with your financial accounts, and even if they don’t, they’re entrusted with a lot of financial information about your business’ income and expenses. Is the software secure and encrypted? Does the company sell your data?
- Cost Effective: Of course, in all things budgeting, cost is important. However, so is value. A free budgeting app that doesn’t meet the needs of your business might not be such a bargain after all. Check out the free trials offered by various budgeting apps to see if the software’s features are going to eventually save you more than the service costs.
Top 5 Budgeting Apps for Small Businesses
So, we’ve done some research on the best budgeting apps for small businesses. (Market research activity or just more evidence of our company-wide obsession with budgeting? It’s hard to say.)
Admittedly, we’re a little biased but since we are a business that started off small with one budget-crazy guy with a spreadsheet that’s grown all the way up to a lot of budget-crazy people with far fewer spreadsheets, we also recognize that different businesses, people, and budgeting styles have different needs.
And that’s okay! We want you to have a budget even if it’s not our budget. Seriously. It’s 100% A-OK to absolutely crush our collective spirit by checking out the competition. Really. It’s fine.
Anyway, take a look at the following:
Quickbooks Online: Best for a Business Owner with Inventory
QuickBooks is a big name in small business software, and although it’s technically accounting software, features like cash flow forecasting and budget envelopes that serve as savings buckets make it possible to create a budget within the app as well.
Features vary depending on which plan you choose, but with options ranging from $20 to $60 per month (with discounts available for prepayment of three months upfront) it’s an accessible option for many small business owners. QuickBooks also has a 30-day free trial. One downside is that QuickBooks can be slightly more challenging for non-finance professionals to set up and use, however the QuickBooks forum also makes it possible to network with other users if you’re looking for community support.
FreshBooks: Best for Basic Business Budgeting
If you’re a small to medium-sized business and just need basic budgeting tools, FreshBooks is worth a look. Track expenses, create invoices, scan receipts, and access information via the mobile app.
Like QuickBooks Online, features vary based on the plan that you choose. For instance, although you can create estimates on the Lite plan, automated reminders or recurring plans are going to cost you with a Plus or Premium plan. You can send an unlimited number of invoices, but the number of clients you can send invoices to is based on the tier level of your plan; Lite can invoice five, Plus gets 15, and Premium can bill 500. The number of people you can share an account with is also limited by tier level.
Also, reports are not available on mobile devices, which may or may not be an issue depending on how you prefer to view your data. Freshbooks does have a free 30-day trial so you can try before you buy.
PlanGuru: Best Budgeting Software for Predicting the Future
If you like to play with numbers, experiment with different financial outcomes, and forecast into the future, PlanGuru is an excellent option. PlanGuru boasts the ability to experiment with more than 20 forecasting methods using a variety of analytics and forecasting tools that make it possible to budget or forecast for the next decade or so. It also integrates with Excel, QuickBooks, and Xero.
PlanGuru offers a cloud-based version and a desktop version, but there’s no remote access available for the desktop version. The desktop version offers more features but both versions cost $99 per month, with a discount offered if you prepay for the year. Additional users can be added for $29 per month or $299, if paid annually.
PlanGuru is a pricier option but scales easily as your business grows. A free 30-day trial is available, but the option to print or export reports is disabled.
Mint: Best Budgeting Software for Businesses on a Budget
Although Mint is technically a personal finance app that’s best for tracking expenses, its user-friendly interface (and awesome price point—free!) make it an attractive option for small businesses that want to create a budget without investing in software.
Mint allows you to directly link your bank accounts, customize budget categories to reflect your business needs, offers two-factor authentication, easy-to-read reports, and has mobile, iOS, and Android-friendly versions.
Common complaints include intrusive ads and an inability to reconcile your accounts—Mint relies on, and fully trusts, the automated transaction data from your bank.
YNAB: Best Budgeting Software for Future Billionaires (Who Are Also Exceptionally Intelligent and Attractive)
As you can tell from the title, this is a completely objective and unbiased review, so rest easy on that front.
Uh, alright, but you guys aren’t even specifically a business budgeting app, you might be saying.
Okay, do you want to write the list? Because yes, you are 100% correct. (Maybe you should be writing the list.)
YNAB was not designed to be a small business budget app. However, YNAB is a budgeting app that can be used to manage your small business, and more importantly, the Four Rules of YNAB were designed to change the way you think about spending and saving money.
YNAB is like a budgeting app that double majored in philosophy and finance; like the friend you turn to for wise, honest—and sometimes difficult—advice. The one you know will explain stuff in a fun way that you’ll understand, without making you feel dumb for not knowing, and who inspires you to be your best self.
You can manage your personal and business budget in YNAB, create multiple budgets, find support and advice in your chosen tone and medium, directly import transactions, trust we won’t ever sell your data (ever!), schedule transactions, create spending and savings targets, track expenses, run reports, and flag transactions in whatever way works for your business (for example, using different colors for paid, unpaid, tax deductible, reimbursable expense, office supplies you didn’t really need but felt good about buying…whatever you want)…all while learning how to think about and manage your money.
And you can try it for free for 34 days without giving us your credit card info upfront. We think you’ll like us, and if not, hey…budgeting software for super attractive and intelligent future billionaire business owners is a small niche. We understand. But no matter what, your business needs a budget.
While you’re researching the best app for small businesses, check out Beginning Balance, YNAB’s podcast for small business owners.