Powerful free or near free cloud tools
Five years ago, cloud-based tools had been introduced, but they largely lagged their PC installed counterparts. That gap has largely closed for applications used by SMBs. The momentum and enabling investments are clearly in the cloud now. I am sure others could compile a list of cloud-based applications in these same areas, but these are the ones I use. Small businesses can use best in class applications at very low cost to organize and execute their business strategy. I help companies select and implement an ecosystem that best fits their needs at costs that were unattainable only a few years ago.
Productivity – Office 365 (currently $8.25 a month with 1TB OneDrive per user)
Project Management with time tracking – Trello with Trello Plus (Free – I donated as I use it all day)
Bookkeeping and Payroll – QuickBooks Online with Payroll (integrated payroll is now painless)
Tax Preparation and Online filing – Intuit Tax Online (for your CPA – only pays for returns filed)
Free Simple Website – started with Google Sites but ultimately went with WIX (to use your domain and get rid of the ads its $10 per month.)
Server and Network Infrastructure – Amazon Web Services (everyone’s doing it)
One thought on cost. With cloud software, you have to buy it every month. That adds up. Some advisors believe the cost is too high. As a CPA, I get most software for free (I can also get client software at reduced prices.) Whether you buy the PC version or cloud one, remember to value your time. If you are a start-up or medium sized business doing the books yourself, what does it cost you to install upgrades and troubleshoot PC issues when you could be working on your business. One of the most frustrating times for me is working on the things that, “don’t add value.” Now that the functionality is there, I feel like the scale has tipped to the cloud. Just make sure you are getting it at the lowest price possible and only paying for what you need and use. There are so many great free tools out there, keep searching until you find the right one.