Apps for Efficiency

Claire Van Holland



by: Claire Van Holland, the most fashionable & knowledgeable Financial Strategist you'll ever meet


As business owners, time is our most valuable asset. Why waste it by manually tracking receipts, transactions, miles, or minutes? Despite today’s advent of mobile apps and software designed to handle our every waking need, knowing what’s right for you can be overwhelming and time consuming. As someone who is in the business of increasing efficiencies (for clients and myself), I’ve compiled a handy list of apps that can really save you time.

The key to leveling up your operational efficiency game is to use applications that not only meet your immediate needs, but also sync / integrate with one another, so that you are inputting information into as few places as possible. This way, your data moves from one system into the next like dominoes. My hope is that these tools will buy you some precious time, allowing you to manage your business with more efficiency and ease. Enjoy!


  • HubDoc - Digital receipt tracker and digital document storage with mobile app (so you can snap photos of documents and receipts from your phone). Syncs with Quickbooks Online & Xero allowing you to create an automated digital paper trail. Cost: $20/month

  • Receipt Bank - Has many of the same features as HubDoc, though I have never used this personally. Cost: $25-55/month


  • Xero - Cloud-based and does everything that Quickbooks Online does, but the UI is very intuitive and they are branded as “Beautiful Accounting Software.” Handles invoicing, accepts online payments, runs financial reporting. Integrates with banks, credit cards, and many other applications such as Shopify, Stripe, Square, etc. Cost: $9-30/month

  • Quickbooks Online - The industry standard. This cloud-based solution from Quickbooks is relatively new and the functions aren't nearly as strong as their desktop version. Integrates with banks, credit cards, and many other applications such as Shopify, Stripe, Square, etc. Cost: $20-30/month

  • Freshbooks - A good starter software with nice UI, but doesn't allow for super complex accounting features. Integrates with banks and credit cards. Cost: $15-50/month

  • Mint - Not really intended for business accounting, but if you want to start tracking expenses and don't want to spend the money, this is a great option. Does not include invoicing or financial reporting. Integrates with banks and credit cards. Cost: Free


  • Toggl - A lot of creatives use this. The UI and functionality are strong, but it does not integrate with Xero or Quickbooks Online, which is unfortunate for those who invoice clients based on time tracked. Cost: $9-49/month

  • Get Harvest - The other most-used time tracker by creatives. UI and functionality are great, and this integrates with Xero and is budget conscious. Cost: $0-12/month

  • T-Sheets - I use this, but only because I was given a free account (because I run an accounting firm). UI isn't the best, but it does integrate with Xero & Quickbooks. Cost: $25/month


  • MileIQ - This is the tracker that most of my clients use. UI is awesome, and the mobile app is super intuitive (i.e. it knows when you are in a moving vehicle and will automatically ask you if you are on a business or personal trip). I believe this integrates with Quickbooks & Xero. Cost: $0-$5.99/month

  • Everlance - I haven't used this one, but I listened to a podcast with the founders pitching for VC capital. UI seems nice, and it is highly rated in the iTunes store. Cost: $0-8/month


  • Gusto - Quite possibly one of the best and easiest to use payroll providers for small business. Their UI is simple, and they handle all of those pesky payroll taxes for you and your employees. You can also pay 1099s easily through them. Seamless integration with Quickbooks & Xero. Cost: Base rates begin at $39/mo base + $6/mo per person

  • ADP Run - Definitely the older payroll standard and good for businesses of all sizes. Their online portal to enter payroll could be better. Integration with Quickbooks and Xero is a bit more manual than Gusto. Cost: Sliding scale based on the number of employees paid