Did you know that small business owners spend one day per week doing paperwork? In fact, according to research by YourTradeBase, more than one out of two small business owners (51%) believe that paperwork is preventing business growth.
Interestingly, women business owners spend the most time on administrative paperwork (32% of women business owners spend more than 10 hours per week on paperwork). However, fewer female business owners (43%) than male business owners (53%) believe that paperwork is preventing business growth.
How to Cut Down on Paperwork
There are many ways to reduce the amount of paperwork you have to trudge through as a small business owner each week. Automation is one of the least expensive and most effective options. Here are some suggestions of free and inexpensive tools I’ve used (or come highly recommended to me) that can help you automate and streamline tasks. What tools do you recommend?
Accounting, Invoicing, Expense Tracking
Keep your financial records in order!
- Freshbooks: I currently use Freshbooks for estimates and invoicing. It’s easy to set up and use but for small businesses with a lot of clients, the pricing model leaves something to be desired. Freshbooks is reliable and integrates with so many other tools, so it’s very popular!
- Harvest: This is the less expensive yet equally attractive estimate and invoicing management tool than Freshbooks. I’m considering moving to Harvest after hearing so many other small business owners and freelancers rave about it. While Harvest doesn’t have all of the features that Freshbooks does, it’s pricing model is more attractive!
- Wave: If you need a free accounting tool that links with your bank accounts but isn’t as expensive or overwhelming as Quickbooks or Xero, Wave is a great choice. I used it successfully for many months.
- Expensify: This is one of the most recommended expense tracking tools. It offers receipt storage, scanning, and so much more. If managing expense reports is a nightmare for you, give Expensify a try.
Team Communications, Collaboration, and Project Management
Stop the email overload!
- Trello: If you hate project management tools but need to keep team communications and projects on track, Trello is for you. Traditional timelines and charts are replaced with visual boards, lists, and cards.
- Stack: Stack is growing in popularity with cool features like team chats integrated into the software. It’s definitely worth checking out if team communications and collaboration are a higher priority for you than traditional project management.
- Asana: Of the three tools on this list, Asana is most like a traditional project management tool, but it also integrates communications and collaborations features making it a great option for the linear thinkers among us.
Meetings and Appointments
Take yourself out of the process of scheduling appointments on your calendar and make it easy to bring people from around the world together.
- TimeTrade: This easy to use appointment scheduling tool offers a free account option!
- Timely: This tool isn’t free, but it has such a long list of features that it’s definitely worth checking out.
- Join.me: A seriously simple screensharing tool that you can use for free!
- WebEx: A free account gets you screensharing, VOIP audio connections, up to three people per meeting, document sharing, and more.
- FreeConferenceCall: If you need to get a bunch of people on the phone at the same time, FreeConferenceCall let’s you do it.
If you try no other tool on this list, you must take a look at Zapier. It integrates a long list of applications so you can automate a wide variety of tasks that you might not have even thought of! These aren’t all paperwork-related tasks, but any minute you can recoup from your day is a good thing when you’re a business owner!