Balancing the demands of a small business and full-time career is a full-time job by itself. I love my photography passion and can’t wait to shout it from the rooftop, and I equally love the excitement of my career as well, not to mention the lifelong friendships that I have formed with several coworkers. But with twenty-four hours in a day, last time I checked it was, it seems I always have a ball or two or even more in the air at any one time. Over the years, I have gathered some tools to help make the balancing act less daunting. I consider them my back office elves. Meet three of my favorite money-related apps.

  1. Need to keep track of your mileage for tax purposes? And separate personal trips from business?. Chances are you own a smartphone, right? Good! Assign that mundane but penny wise task to an app called Mile IQ. Mile IQ  runs in the background of your smartphone while it keeps track of your driving as you start and stop. It “automatically logs your drives and calculate their value” straight from the horse’s mouth, not me. All you need to do is categorize your trips into personal (slide to the left) or business (slide to the right). Mile IQ is available from the App Store or Google Play.  You can get more details from here. Cost: 59.99 annual, $5.99 monthly or Free for 40 drives per month.
  2. Then there’s the thing called bookkeeping. It’is supposed to be simple right? Money in is credit and money out is debit. Whatever is left, if any, is yours to keep. Well… yes and no. I learned there is this thing called chart of accounts that categorizes the dollars and cents for proper accounting and better reporting. Enter Waveapps the free, online, no frills, accounting and invoicing app with no accounting background required. Did I say Free? And it’s available online so there’s one more function for that smartphone of yours? What’s not to love. It comes complete with a tidy dashboard that provides an at a glance view of the health of your business. It even hooks up to most bank accounts to download transactions saving you from having to enter the transactions twice. You do have to categorize your transactions though. What’s more, it emails a weekly status. You can process credit card immediately without having to setup your very own gateway. Find out more here. Cost: Free
  3. And there are those tasks I term ‘ankle biters’ that plague every small business owner. They are those necessary part of running a business. In most small businesses an 'ankle biter' looks something like this: inquiry to quotes, negotiations, emails to calendar management, reminders to collaboration, invoice to payment, contact lists to to-do lists. And on and on it goes. Well, there’s an app for that! It’s called 17hats. Consider it a super sized Waveapps and that's what I currently use it. It does an excellent job of placing everything into a tidy box. From inquiry to paid! Well, almost everything! It does not yet serve my coffee. And from this horses’ mouth “We created 17hats specifically for “businesses of one” with a focus on simplicity and ease of use.” You can find out more here: Cost:  Approximately $13 per month

Why do I use (2) of these? Simple, it's accessible from my smartphone. I have since switched from Waveapps to 17hats. While I missed the 'free', my workflow has grown from basic invoicing and bookkeeping, hence it lacks all the features 17hats offered. Waveapps is still a great tool for someone just starting out or with a simpler workflow.

What financial app do you use? It'll be great if you could share what works for you and why.  Next week, I’ll share 3 of my productivity-related tools.

Next week, I’ll share 3 of my productivity-related tools.