A young woman sits at a table, working at a laptop with a thoughtful look on her face. She wears a white collared shirt and a black blazer. A chart and a pen sit next to the laptop on the table.
An effective budgeting tool will include cybersecurity technology along with the usual accounting offerings. — Getty Images/andreswd

Every small business owner needs to know how much money is coming in and going out. A strong grasp of your budget is important for prioritizing projects and goals based on return on investment (ROI) and value, especially if you're just starting out on a budget.

Fortunately, there are plenty of tech tools to help you streamline and manage your business budget. Here’s what to look for in a budgeting tool and five potential solutions to explore.

What to look for in budgeting tools

Learning how to create a budget — and manage it effectively — can be easier with certain capabilities built into budgeting tools. A few key features to consider when looking for the right software for your business include:

  • Automation: Budget tools with automation features often make it easier to create and monitor your budget. The integration of financial systems allows you to see the big picture of your finances without having to jump to different locations.
  • Forecasting: With real-time data analytics built into software, small business owners can have financial predictions at their fingertips. Forecasting can help pinpoint issues in your business model and create plans for future challenges.
  • Recurring payment tracking: Software that tracks your recurring expenses helps you ensure positive cash flow for your business. The feature can also potentially help you reduce expenses and avoid late fees.
  • Security: Amidst damaging (and costly) data breaches and cybersecurity threats, security within your budget tools can protect your business’s data-sensitive information. This feature can not only protect your business’s data, but your clients’ as well.
  • Expense categorization: Automatic categorization of all of your business expenses can be a great time-saver, splitting expenses into categories based on the payment description. Using this feature can be helpful when you need to cut costs but aren’t sure where to start.

[Read more: How to Use Accounting Software to Generate Accurate and Timely Financial Reports]

Tools to help manage your business budget effectively

There are numerous budget tools on the market today, but small business owners need to choose the right software for their business budgeting needs. Here are a few options to get you started.


Freshbooks’ cloud-based software is easy to use and affordable. Ideal for small businesses with 50 employees or fewer, the software has an intuitive interface that can help small business owners better manage and understand their finances in a single view. You can review your budget, conduct forecasting, categorize expenses, and more on-platform. Freshbooks even allows users to download and categorize bank statements for easier reporting.

With real-time data analytics built into software, small business owners can have financial predictions at their fingertips.


For businesses that want an all-in-one system, Scoro offers budgeting features combined with CRM and project management tools. Users can take advantage of budget planning, forecasting, invoicing, financial reporting, and data analysis. The software even has a financial KPI dashboard so you can see how your business is doing based on your strategic goals and make cuts to your budget where needed.


Marketed as spending “less time in the books,” Spendesk’s budgeting software empowers small businesses to take charge of their finances and create optimized budgets. Spendesk can automate expense management and data entry by allowing users to simply take a photo of an invoice or receipt. If you consider yourself good with your business but not great with finances, Spendesk helps you take the reins of bookkeeping and financial data.


Considered by many as one of the most popular accounting and budgeting tools for small businesses and entrepreneurs, Quickbooks is centered on expense management and efficient budgeting. In addition to offering a mobile app, Quickbooks is designed to help business owners handle banking, payments, payroll, and bookkeeping in one convenient place. With integration capabilities, you can understand the full scope of your finances by linking to your bank account, credit cards, and other apps. Quickbooks even offers online training and helpful tutorials to educate you on the software.


If your company is already equipped with Xero’s accounting software, you can take advantage of the platform’s basic budgeting tools to manage your finances. Alternatively, if you want to arm your small business with software like Xero that doubles as an accounting and budgeting tool, you can save yourself the trouble of adding another solution in the future. Xero allows you to track spending, create budget reports, and generate forecasts.

[Read more: 8 AI Tools to Improve Financial Planning for Your Business]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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