Smarter, faster, better: Five of the best apps for small business

five best business apps

Source: Unsplash/Jud Mackrill.

In the same way that apps make finding a restaurant, checking the weather or personal banking a breeze, there are all sorts of apps that can completely transform how you do business. 

We’ve hand-picked these five innovative apps that specifically address the unique challenges and pain points of small businesses. 

Simplify shift work with Deputy

Deputy’s mission statement is to ‘simplify shift work’, and for small businesses that employ staff, it takes care of three important areas. The first is rostering, the second is making sure people are remunerated correctly, and the third is the wants and needs of your team. 

According to Deputy CEO and co-founder Ashik Ahmed, one in 10 shift workers in Australia uses this app — and 90% of them are mobile-only users. 

“Our fundamental thing is how easy our mobile app is to use,” Ahmed says. “Everything that you need to do for managing your team, managing your business, you can do straight out of your pocket.

“We call it Deputy because we see ourselves as your trusted second in charge — so you don’t have to worry about all the issues that come with employing a shift worker.” 

In other words, you can stop lying awake at night stressing about cancelled shifts or Fair Work audits. 

“Business is easy, people are hard,” Ahmed says. “Deputy will remove that mundane work for you.”

You can try Deputy on the Xero App Store here.

Iron-out inventory issues with DEAR Inventory

DEAR Inventory is an online inventory management tool that gives you instant, up-to-the-minute visibility on your stock levels and order statuses. 

Imagine using a barcode scanner to process inventory during product picks, reducing time and human error. Or managing extensive product lines, and operating from multiple locations, using drop shipping to sell items you don’t physically stock.

“We’re passionate about giving small businesses the tools they need to thrive,” says Doug LaBahn, CMO of DEAR Systems. “By cutting out a lot of the manual work that comes with inventory management, our customers are able to reallocate time into the value-adding work they enjoy most.”

Boost efficiency by syncing physical sales at your retail locations, so that every transaction is reflected in your inventory and the relevant accounting documents are generated automatically. There are also functions for stock adjustment, inventory write-off, stock transfers and tiered and custom pricing. 

“It’s more than just time-saving benefits — DEAR is allowing businesses to grow sales much faster as well,” LaBahn says. “In fact, 38% of our customers grew by 30% or more in the last 12 months, despite the pandemic.”

You can try Dear Inventory on the Xero App Store here.

Proposals made easy with Practice Ignition 

Practice Ignition eliminates friction — and hours of manual work every month — by sending clients a professional-looking, digital proposal that they can read, agree to and sign in one place. 

You can create these proposals in minutes by automatically generating your terms of service and engagement letter. And you can gather your clients’ payment details within them, so the app can automate payment collection and invoicing via its world-class integration with Xero. 

“We’re helping thousands of accountants and bookkeepers improve their client relationships by giving them a way to automate the manual tasks involved in client onboarding and collecting payments — and we’re just getting started,” says Ethan Cooney, senior partnerships manager at Practice Ignition.

Other fab features include invoice reconciliation, notifications telling you when your client opens their proposal, automated follow-ups, and dashboards and forecasts spitting out every metric you need. All designed to help you close more deals with less back-and-forth.

You can try Practice Ignition on the Xero App Store here.

Transform trade and services businesses with ServiceM8

ServiceM8 is job management software specifically designed for small trade and services businesses. 

“This is an app for tradies and service people to use in the field all day, every day, so it has to be really efficient and easy to use to actually provide value,” says Michael O’Neill, communications manager at ServiceM8. “We’re unapologetically simple.”

That said, ServiceM8 will have a huge impact on the day-to-day running of your business — streamlining everything from creating quotes and scheduling staff to client communications. 

Use it to complete electronic forms onsite, send invoices and take payments, document jobs with notes, photos and videos, and much, much more. 

“We try to help get the day-to-day running of business out of the business owner’s head and into the cloud in a really structured and automated way,” O’Neill says. “That can ultimately impact their productivity, their customer service and professionalism — and, in the end, the business owner’s lifestyle as well.”

You can try ServiceM8 on the Xero App Store here.

Take control of your digital presence with Oncord

Oncord is an all-in-one platform that provides all the tools you need to easily manage your website, communicate with your customers and do business online. 

Simply log in to manage your web presence, contact database, marketing campaigns and online store — it’s specifically designed to put you in the driver’s seat.

“As web designers, we felt the applications required to manage a website and online presence were just far too cumbersome for small business owners,” says Scott Mcnaught, director of Oncord. “It needs to be easy to update website pages, post blog articles and send email campaigns. 

“With Oncord, we provide total control over an online presence, with peace of mind that hosting, security, back-ups and updates are totally sorted.” 

Use it to build or modernise your existing website yourself, to give your customers a better purchasing experience, and to send them targeted messages. 

You can even improve your campaigns with insightful statistics, and see who clicked what on your beautiful emails — made by you, of course, and made easy with Oncord. 

You can try Oncord on the Xero App Store here.

No one starts a business to spend hours bogged down in back-end logistics. Apps like these are easy to use and sync seamlessly with Xero accounting software — taking even more tasks off your plate, so you can stay focussed on what you love.

We all use apps every day to help run our lives, try these apps to help run your business together with Xero. Check out the new Xero App Store at

NOW READ: Want to build a better, stronger business? There’s a suite of apps for that


Xero is a cloud-based accounting software platform for small businesses with over 3 million subscribers globally. Through Xero, small business owners and their advisors have access to real-time financial data any time, anywhere and on any device. Xero offers an ecosystem of over 1,000 third-party apps and 300 plus connections to banks and other financial partners.

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