- Small business owners can be productive and informed 24/7 if they use mobile business apps.
- Skype, Slack, Trello and other apps help coordinate among team members working on projects in the office or remotely.
- Having important business data at your fingertips allows you to make informed decisions and perform critical tasks on the go.
- This article is for small business owners, especially those who travel or visit multiple locations.
Apps aren’t just for social media and gaming anymore. Small business owners, freelancers and side-hustlers rely on business apps to help them stay organized, productive and connected. We checked out some of the hottest new ones on the market, as well as some of our old favorites, to bring you our top 14 Android apps for work.
Did you know? According to App Annie, global consumers installed business and productivity apps 7.1 billion times in 2020, an increase of 35% from the previous year.
These apps include powerful add-ons, existing SaaS (software as a service) products and one-off applications that are free and easy to use. No matter your business size or needs, these 14 apps are worth a look.
If you don’t already use QuickBooks and you’re in the market for an affordable, user-friendly accounting solution, we recommend trying it out. You can use the app to access customer information, send invoices, save photos of receipts, manage late invoices, send email estimates, track expenses, and view reports.
The company offers a free 30-day trial, and even users with the entry-level Simple Start subscription ($12.50 per month) get full access to the mobile QuickBooks app.
Another outstanding Intuit app for SMBs, Gusto offers an all-in-one place to manage payroll, benefits, time tracking and human resources. Unlike other payroll solutions, Gusto was built specifically for small businesses, and the bright visual interface is easy to use even if you have no experience with payroll software.
The Core (entry-level) Gusto plan starts at $39 a month (plus $6 for each additional user), and the mobile app is included in that price. See why our review of Gusto Payroll named it the best payroll service for sole proprietors.
3. QuickBooks Time
QuickBooks Time is, you guessed it, also an Intuit solution, but that’s not why we included it on this list. QuickBooks Time is hands-down one of the best time-tracking software solutions out there for SMBs, and the app makes mobile access a breeze. With this SaaS and app combo, you can officially get rid of paper timesheets and manual time entry. If your business has lots of remote or field workers, you’ll love the GPS location tracking, which allows you to view employee location data, and the timeclock function, which uses facial recognition to confirm identity.
QuickBooks Time also makes it easy to create and disseminate employee schedules and integrate with any other Intuit products you use.
QuickBooks Time has a free 30-day trial. After the trial ends, the entry-level subscription is $20 a month for the first three months and $40 a month (and $10 for each additional user) after that. The app is included in the price.
Even the tiniest businesses can accept credit cards with Square. Once you download the free app, you can sign up to receive a credit card reader dongle in the mail. Once the dongle arrives, plug it directly into your Android device, and voila, you have a portable POS system at your disposal. While similar apps are out there, our Square review named it the best mobile credit card processor for small businesses because it’s easy to use and the flat-rate pricing (regardless of card type and whether you run a card as credit or debit) is ideal for small businesses.
One of the first major communication apps, Skype is still our favorite free small business app for hosting video conference calls and chatting in general. You can take Skype on the go with the Android app, which allows you to use the front-facing camera on your phone or tablet and stay connected with your team no matter where you (or they) are. One of Skype’s best features is the ability to call non-Skype users, and even international numbers, at a competitive rate through the Skype Credit program.
Slack is a free chat app (with optional paid tiers) that’s ideal for teams working on projects, especially if they are in different locations. You can create channels for different topics or members, send direct messages, host video calls without leaving the app, search archived conversations, and drag and drop files. With the paid versions, which start at $6.67 per month, you can even collaborate with people in other organizations. One major reason Slack is so popular with SMBs is that it can integrate with thousands of apps, including Salesforce, Dropbox, Google Drive, Concur, Asana and Trello.
7. Zoho One
Zoho makes lots of great business apps, and Zoho One offers business users access to all 40 of them for a flat rate ($37 per employee per month with an annual subscription). While this cost may seem high for an app bundle, Zoho’s products are packed with functionality and just as easy to use on a laptop or desktop as they are on a mobile device. While it’s difficult to cover every task Zoho One can handle, the outstanding tools include CRM software, reporting, a sales mail client, social media management, helpdesk ticketing, web conferencing, project management, presentation tools, inventory management, and payroll. Read our review of Zoho’s CRM software, Zoho Books accounting, or its remote PC access software, Zoho Assist.
Trello is a free app (with optional paid tiers) that’s a must-download for entrepreneurs, side-hustlers and professionals who want to stay organized at the office and at home. The lightweight project management features allow you to create workflows and invite other users to collaborate on projects. Users can assign tasks to themselves and others, comment on ongoing projects, attach relevant files from Google Drive or Dropbox, and upload photos and videos. There’s also a handy checklist for to-dos, boards to organize multiple projects side by side, and the ability to work offline.
Another organizational powerhouse, Evernote is one of the most popular free (with paid tiers) business-friendly apps out there. Evernote is ideal for organizing your personal and professional life side by side, thanks to the ability to create different notebooks, clip web articles, insert media (including videos), search old notes by keyword, share notebooks for collaboration while locking down private notes, create to-do lists and perform lightweight project management, scan documents with your camera, create and search handwritten notes, and access info across all your devices. Evernote is constantly adding functionality for team collaboration and third-party integrations, and the paid features are worth checking out.
This free app is simple compared to the others on our list, but it’s an invaluable tool for SMB owners, freelancers and contractors. CamScanner makes it easy to scan documents using the camera on your Android device. You can save those documents as PDFs and email or download them directly from the app. It also has OCR technology to convert scanned text into editable text. The interface takes a minute to get used to, but for a free scanning app, CamScanner is top-notch.
If you find yourself typing the same phrases or information over and over, Texpand can cut down on your typing time and make you more efficient. Just create shortcuts for your commonly used phrases and type those instead. The app will complete the entire phrase, making your texts, emails and other business communications quicker and error-free.
The app is free for up to 10 phrases; if you need more, it costs $6.99.
Business travel can be hectic, but TripIt makes it less stressful. Forward your trip confirmation emails to TripIt and the app puts together an integrated itinerary for you, alerting you when you need to leave, forwarding your itinerary to people who need to know it, giving you information about where to eat near your hotel, providing airport and terminal maps, and more.
TripIt is free, and TripIt Pro, which is $49 a year after the free trial, has extra features such as help finding alternate flights, real-time notices about delays and cancellations, and a rewards program tracker.
You can stop manually tracking the miles you drive for business when you use MileIQ. It automatically tracks your miles and logs them so that when tax time rolls around, all you need to do is export the log. It even uses the current IRS reimbursement rates so you know how much to write off. You can set it to only track miles during certain days and times so your personal driving doesn’t mix with your business mileage, or select individual drives and designate them as business or personal. You can set it up for your employees for mileage reimbursement and employee-tracking purposes as well.
The app is free for up to 40 drives per month. After that, the cost for one person is $6 per month or $60 annually. For teams, plans start at $50 per driver per year.
14. Solid Explorer
Solid Explorer makes it easier to find, archive and transfer files not just from your mobile device but also from Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and other cloud-based storage. It can also create encrypted ZIP files and extract ZIP and other compressed files and archives. Solid Explorer categorizes all of your files by type and lets you move, copy and delete files.
The app is free for a 14-day trial. After that, the cost is $3.
Tip: When choosing an app for a particular task (such as productivity, accounting or HR), look for one that easily integrates with your other business apps and tools that contain relevant data.
Benefits of accessing business apps from a mobile device
Mobile devices allow you to stay on top of your business operations wherever you are:
- Working from home
- At a client’s location
- Visiting one of your business locations
- On a business trip
- Selling at an event
These apps provide convenience and peace of mind when you can’t stop thinking about whether you remembered to send that file or need data to make an important decision while away from your office. Mobile access to your business’s information also allows you to answer customer questions on the go, improving your customer service.
Jennifer Dublino contributed to the writing and research in this article.