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Business software for small businesses

Choose the best small business software including accounting, office, communications and web design packages – including the best free software for start ups and small businesses.

Starting a small business means you’ll need cheap or free business software that’s useful, timesaving and easy to use. You can cover many business activities with a few, carefully selected business software packages that will ensure you stay up-to-date with business accounts, office needs such as spreadsheets, and even web design tools to build a company website.

New businesses and start ups generally need a suite of software that cover small business basics including:

  • Accounts software – to track business earnings and outgoings, cashflow, expenses and tax, and create invoices for customers.
  • Office software – to write letters, build spreadsheets and create presentations to show your services to customers.
  • CRM software – short for Custom Relations Management, to keep track of customers and sales leads, and manage the sales process.
  • Project management software – to stay on top of client projects and activities, such as managing deadlines.
  • Web design software – to build a website so customers can find out more about your business and get in contact

What type of business software should I get?

First decide exactly what you need. Don’t be tempted to buy software that includes lots of features you won’t use. It’s better to start with a basic business package and upgrade to a more sophisticated version as your business grows.

Some software is available as an online service, usually for a monthly fee. Why not utilise some free trials? This can be a cheap way to test software as you can end the service at no charge if it is not suitable.

Best small business account software

KashFlow is an online accounting service that starts from just £5 per month, with a free two-week trial available. Designed for small companies, it can be accessed from a web browser. It excels at credit control showing you what you’re owed by who, and it creates estimates, invoices and quotes with ease. It also automates your VAT returns with HMRC so you can handle everything from within KashFlow.

Best small business office software

Office 365 Business Premium is great value at less than £8 per month. It includes all the standard Microsoft Office software that you’d expect, such as Word for word processing, Excel for spreadsheets and PowerPoint for creating presentations. Also included is Outlook for email and calendars, free business email and 1TB of online storage. Impressively, there’s both 24/7 web and phone support for critical issues, and Microsoft includes business HD Skype calls.

Best small business CRM software

Insightly lets you manage all your contacts, leads and customers from a single web-based interface. You can access it from any web browser, as well as Apple and Android smartphones. It creates reports about your business activity, and integrates well with other apps and services such as Office 365 Business and DropBox. You can add notes and comments, tag leads and create connections between customers. It’s free for two users with basic functionality, then starts at $12 per month.

Best small business project management software

Teamwork provides plenty of tools to manage projects, ideal if you’re a small business that focuses on clients – whether that’s in building services and construction, or freelancing in digital projects. It lets you set up projects, add milestones and co-workers, and view to-do lists that you can collaborate with others on. Prices start from $12 per month for five projects, and there’s a free 30-day trial so you can test it out.

Best small business web design software

WordPress is a brilliant, free program for building and running a website. It’s a content management system – allowing you to write articles and blogs – and post them onto the web. You can quickly set up a free website with WordPress, pay for a website with more features, or you can download WordPress and use your own internet host to create and upload your website as you want it. Many businesses use WordPress, and you can create a basic website for free in moments.


Learn with Start Up Loans and help get your business off the ground

Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.

Our free  Learn with Start Up Loans courses opens in new window include:

Plus free courses on finance and accounting, project management, and leadership.


Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

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