Small Business Software

professional services software 2017Professional services software, especially small business types, bundle together several types of software that automates processes typically done by professional services. This is a major time and money saver, since hiring someone to do these services will be quite expensive. Generally, the services included in small business software include but are not limited to time tracking, project management, billing, and reporting. Similar services can often be found in accounting and CRM software, which makes these worthwhile possibilities for acquiring professional services software. However, choosing a software is not always easy due to the multiplicity of possibilities. We have prepared a guide to help you decide what to do.

Who Needs Professional Software?

Small business software is just that – targeted at small businesses. You may need professional services if you’re a small to mid-sized business which:

  • Needs employee time-tracking
  • Does many different projects
  • Does not have a full-time accountant

Accounting and time-tracking are major features of professional software. You as a small business owner are very busy and probably don’t have much time to do such services yourself. You also likely don’t have money to spend to hire a full-time professional to do them for you. Thus, professional services software is the best option. If you find yourself regularly overwhelmed by the tasks required of you, and you feel you need more robust software to compensate for this issue, you probably need professional services software.

Prices for Professional Software

Price is especially crucial for a small business, since there are fewer safety nets for them. With that in mind, most companies design their small business software to be cheaper. You’ll generally license the software, meaning you buy the rights to use it on a certain number of devices for a one-time fee. There is free open-source software too, which can be a great help, although this is often less full-featured. Occasionally you may find a subscription-style software that requires a lower monthly payment. Overall, the upper limit you should expect to pay for standard small business software is $300, and it will generally be lower than this depending on what you’re looking for.

Tech of Professional Services Automation Software

What kind of abilities and technologies can you generally expect from small business software? It really depends on what you’re looking for, but most professional services software will include some, if not all, of these tools:

  • Time tracking: Perhaps the simplest tool on the list, time tracking simply allows you to track when you and your employees are working, thus allowing for easier accounting and paying.
  • Billing: Many professional services software allow you to send bills to clients and customers with a few simple clicks. Forget messy formatting. You may even be able to do this with the same software that you track hours with, simplifying the process.
  • Project Management and Documentation: Particularly useful for business models such as IT and design that work in the form of projects rather than production, project management allows for easy documentation of everything that was done, as well as useful features like task assignment.
  • Reporting: Reporting allows you to access analytics and see how well your business is performing. It is, in essence, the statistical part of your software. Although it sounds dry, this is very important for monitoring productivity.

Choosing a Small Business Software

So you know a little bit about the tools and the procedures, but how can you make sure you’re choosing the right and the best business software? It’s a difficult question, so we’ve put together a step by step guide to help you figure it out.

  • Ask yourself what you need: The first step is always to decide what is most important to you and to budget accordingly. It’s hard to find the right software when you don’t know what “right” means for you yet, so sit down and consider first.
  • Read reviews: Word of mouth is still one of the most helpful ways to get product info. Always look at what other people have said before buying. Free trials can also be helpful, if they are available for a particular software.
  • Think about growth: Although you’re small, you’ll probably get bigger. Think of this like you would about buying clothes for a young child: is there room in it to grow? Consider what your business might be like in five years, and go with a software that can fit that, too.
  • Check the license: Before you buy, check and make sure that what you’re agreeing to works for you! It’s tedious to read all the fine print, but unfortunately, it’s very necessary.

Additional Professional Services Software Solutions

Are you getting the most of out of your professional services software? You should check for these additional features. You likely won’t need all of them, but for the ones you do, it’s much better to be aware of whether or not they’re there in advance.

  • Task Management
  • Resource Management
  • Scheduling
  • Team Collaboration
  • Mobile access
  • Integration between timesheets and project management
  • Integration between timesheets and billing
  • How specific timesheet tracking is – project, to within five minutes or one minute, etc?
  • Knowledge management
  • Inventory tracking and other related CRM features
  • Order management features
  • Payroll features integrated with billing or timesheets

Why Your Small Business Software Can Help

The economy is founded on entrepreneurship. Sure, large businesses are an important part of it, but without small businesses, the economy would fold. We need to make sure that our small businesses stay strong, and small business software can help with that. Tailored specifically for you, these types of software can fulfill the needs of your business and make you more efficient. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it can be with a little automated help!

If you need small business software, read these tips and see how much easier life can be with the right one!