Online tools and mobile apps make it easier than ever to ditch the pen and go digital. Here is our selection of the best free and paid small business apps for iOS and Android phones and tablets that can help you to manage all aspects of your small business more efficiently and effectively
Best apps for project management and to-do lists
A simple, visual project management tool that lets you quickly and easily see what everyone in your team is working on. It can be used to manage to-do lists, tasks and projects across your organisation. Superb functionality and intuitive interface make Monday.com the best planning app for businesses of all sizes.
Get things done with Google's plain but popular system for managing, capturing and editing your tasks. It integrates with Gmail and can be synchronised across all your devices, with free Apple and Android apps.
Never lose tracks of tasks, organise notes and improve productivity with this reliable cloud-based to-do-list app. Use the Task Manager to share lists with colleagues and colour-coded lists to distribute tasks. It’s one of the best online planners around, from a brand that you can trust.
You can prioritise, set reminders, collaborate with others and plan the best way to tackle tasks with this highly popular to-do-list app.
Take notes, grab a screenshot, record audio or copy a link with Evernote. The app captures all this information and then organises it, indexes it and makes it searchable - perfect for small businesses.
Omnifocus records and organises all your to-dos and syncs them so you can get an up-to-date state of play wherever you are. A business planning app powerhouse that's available for iPhone and iPad.
Trello aims to make project management fun and flexible, by organising projects into the boards, lists and cards. It’s a simple and intuitive system that offers a great deal of control and visibility for business owners.
Manage remote teams with detailed and accurate time tracking, GPS tracking to assist fleet management, proof of work and timesheet managment. You can also automate payments with payment integrations.
Slack is a popular business planning app for managing digital teams. It brings everything related to a project or team together in one place and gives you the ability to share files. There's also an app store where you can add a number of additional integrations. Slack also offers a free trial.
Top business finance apps
If you already subscribe to Quickbooks, you can download the free app to track income, expenses and tax payments on the go from your Android mobile, iPad or iPhone.
A record-keeping app to help small businesses, start-ups and the self-employed track business income and expenses. Subscriptions start at £19 a month for sole traders with a month-long free trial available.
Pleo makes keeping track of business spending simple. The company card solution allows you to monitor and manage expenditure, and integrates with all popular bookkeeping software packages.
Sage Business Cloud
Sage Business Cloud is aimed at freelances, self-employed people and SMEs. As well as all the accounting elements you could need, you can track payments, payroll and your people - just pick the functions you require. Enjoy a 30-day free trial of Sage Business Cloud Accounting Start, or get 50% off for three months.
Take photos of your receipts and manage business expenses on the go with this popular mobile app.
Manage your business on your iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone, including sending invoices, adding receipts and monitoring expenses. Enjoy a 30-day free trial.
As well as managing your accounts, Zoho Books allows you to create automated rules like sending out recurring invoices or chasing late payments. It's an app that can make managing money a little easier.
Business password apps
LastPass remembers your passwords and other information and stores it securely in a 'vault', which syncs with any device automatically, giving you access to your business passwords wherever you are.
NordPass remembers your passwords, notes and credit card details. It also auto-fills online forms and allows you access or generate secure.
Simple, easy to use and won't break the bank, this is a solid choice for the small business. Create and manage groups to give different permissions for different users.
Download this free, open-source password manager or install browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and a whole host of others to stay safe as you surf. Works on desktop, tablet and mobile.
This app lets you automatically generate and save new passwords, and you can store IDs, credit cards, and other business information for auto-filling on any website.
Best apps for business files
Dropbox allows you to sync business files online and across your computers and connected devices. Access your data from wherever you are and share your files and photos with others using the free Dropbox app.
Automatically syncs files and folders across multiple computers, allowing you to access business documents, photos and music wherever you are. SugarSync also offers automatic, continuous backup for all your files. Free 30-day trial.
A subscription-based online storage solution from Microsoft that securely stores all Microsoft 365 file formats. This intelligent files app works across desktop, tablet and mobile.
Google Drive allows you to view, share and edit Google business documents, including spreadsheets and PDFs from other computers or from your mobile phone.
Top parcel-tracking apps
This free global parcel-tracking app lets you follow the progress of packages from a whole host of global carriers, including USPS, Canada Post, Royal Mail, China Post and hundreds of others.
Follow the progress of your parcel from over 500 couriers across the world. Simply paste the tracking code into the app, and you'll see details of its whereabouts in seconds.
The FedEx app, available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, allows you to track business packages while they are in transit, as well as locating your nearest FedEx office.
Deliveries enables you to track packages from UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL, TNT, and more. You can also track business orders from Amazon and Apple, even before they even ship. See your package's location in Google Maps. Available for iPhone and iPad.
Business apps for organising your thoughts
A simple way to create sophisticated diagrams, flow charts and process maps. Share with colleagues and collaborate online.
Mind-mapping software that can help improve the way you brainstorm, capture and organise ideas and plan projects.
Organise your mind with this intuitive mind-mapping tool. Capture ideas and store them in the cloud, or forward to friends and colleagues when inspiration hits.
What are business planning apps?
Business planning apps are programs designed to work on your mobile phone or tablet that make the difficult process of running a business a little bit easier. Whether you need an accounting app, a note taking tool or password app to improve protection, there’s one for you – and you’ll find the best online planning apps in our round-up.
Why should I use business planning apps?
You should use business planning apps because they make your life simpler. The apps listed are all designed to help save you time and resource, because we know that’s what matters to you. The great thing about purpose-built apps is that they can be downloaded and installed within a few minutes and are configured to work with your device.
How do you select the best business apps?
At Donut HQ, it’s our job to find the latest and best technologies and put them through their paces. Our selection of the best planning apps includes business apps and online planners that we have personally tried and tested. In fact, many of the tools included here, we use ourselves.
The list is regularly updated and if we find a planning tool or app that performs better than those we already feature, we’ll replace it.
How can I download the business planning apps featured here?
The apps in our round-up can be downloaded to an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. You can either click the links above or search in the App Store or Google Play store for the app you want to download.
How much do business planning apps cost?
Many of the business apps in our round up are free, but in some cases, you may need to pay a small fee to download the app or pay a monthly subscription. Costs can vary, but nothing here is going to break the bank.
If you already have an existing account with a provider such as Microsoft Office 365, for example, then in most cases you won’t be charged an additional fee to download and use the app.
Will my information synchronise across multiple devices?
Yes. The seamless, and almost instantaneous, sharing of data across platforms is one of the best reasons to use mobile business apps.
If you share the same log in across multiple devices, then your data should be accessible across all platforms. Apps such as Dropbox are designed to share files across devices. Most apps in our test only function with access to a network connection (through your mobile phone provider or a WiFi network) and will automatically update the data held in the cloud without you needing to do a thing.