Starting a small business can be totally overwhelming.  You have so many to-do’s on your list…it’s hard to know where to start.  Technology available today should make this easier…but it can feel harder because there are so many options.  Here are some online apps and programs that I recommend when you are getting started.  

Accounting programs

Wave – Wave can be a good “starter” online accounting software for someone who doesn’t have a lot of transactions.  It’s free and offers basic accounting functions, including invoicing.

QuickBooks Online – QuickBooks is typically the “go-to” in the accounting program world.  It offers a variety of options and add-ons.

Xero – Xero is another popular accounting app.  Some benefits it may have over the other programs mentioned is more potential integrations with other apps, as well as better project profitability tracking.

Personal Budgeting programs

I’m often asked about personal budgeting programs.  The two that I recommend are and YNAB (You Need A Budget).  I have used Mint personally for many years; it is more than just a budgeting app.  It can track your net worth, investment performance, and more.

YNAB is a popular app that uses a zero-based budgeting system.  This involves allocating every dollar of income to a specific purposes (spending or saving). One of the downsides of YNAB is it does come with a monthly or annual subscription cost.


I typically recommend Gusto for a business with just an owner-employee or a few employees.  It is cost effective and has an easy to use online interface.

Mileage tracking

If you are self-employed or have a small business, you will want to keep track of the miles you drive for business so you can potentially claim auto related tax deductions.  I usually recommend MileIQ.  Several accounting programs (including QuickBooks) have a mileage tracker app add-on option as well. 

Retirement Saving/Brokerage DIY (Do It Yourself) 

If your new business is doing well and you need a place to sock away some of the extra cash, I like Vanguard for DIY brokerage accounts and self-employed retirement accounts.  Fidelity is another popular option.

Health Savings Account

A Health Savings Account is a tax-beneficial way to save money for medical expenses.  This type of account is utilized by many small business owners.  Lively is an HSA app that offers accounts with no fees and a user-friendly interface.

Password Management   

Cybersecurity should be a top priority for a small business.  Using a password manager to store passwords can help keep your customers’ data secure.  I like LastPass.

Meeting Scheduling 

Using a scheduling app for customer appointments can free up hours of time every week.  Calendly makes online scheduling easy and offers a free plan for those who only need basic scheduling.

Video recording and sharing 

Loom is an app that allows you to record, edit, and share videos using your device’s camera and/or screen recording.  You can then share the video via a link for the viewer to watch at their convenience.