We could all use some expert advice when choosing the best technology for our business, right? Inc Magazine has compiled a very helpful list of "The Best Back Office Software for Running Your Business". Check out the article and let us know your favorite!
Never have there been more software choices for the small business. Considering all the information you need to manage, which ones do the best job? Should you use separate solutions for different functions, or should you buy an integrated suite that can manage many aspects of your business? It depends, say the experts we talked to about back office software on the market today for SMBs. In this guide we present what we hope is a good start for SMBs investigating the best back office software.
What is the difference between front-office and back-office software?
First, though, a bit of clarification. The definition of what constitutes back-office versus front-office software is open for debate.
“There's a lot of bleed between what used to be distinct categories, and that trend is being driven by organizations having [fewer] people doing more functions, and not wanting to purchase four apps when one or two can cover all bases,” says Andrew Baker, director of service operations for SWN Communications and expert on the Focus network.
To be clear, when we say “back office” software, we’re referring to the platforms and applications that don’t interface with customers but help you manage core functions such as accounting, human resources, or manufacturing. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a term that includes many back-office functions.
“Front office” software, which we covered in July as part of our focus on the best software for SMBs, is often related to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and is useful for managing sales, marketing, and other customer-facing data. We also include things like innovative social media tools, customer service solutions, and more as part of the "front office."
So, without further ado, we present what we hope is a good start for SMBs investigating their best back office software options.
It almost goes without saying that Intuit’s QuickBooks and Sage Peachtree should be on this list. In fact, according to the Massachusetts-based research group IDC Industry Insights, more than half of all small businesses use Intuit software. While Peachtree captures a smaller share of the SMB accounting market, it offers similar features and pricing—both range from around $200 at the entry level to $3,000 for an enterprise solution. QuickBooks also has an online version from $13 to $63 a month that stores all your financial data safely on the cloud.
They’re not the only players in the numbers game, however. For estimating taxes, try Outright. Mint is free and as such, very popular with businesses on a tight budget. Expensify is great at—you guessed it—expense tracking, as is Coupa.
FinancialForce is an immensely-popular SaaS tool because of its integration with Salesforce, a CRM tool we discussed in our front-office software story. It starts at $175 per user per month and like many of these apps, it’s available on the iPhone and iPad.
Head on over to Inc for the rest of this article!