The Best Business Management Software: Top Nine Providers Reviewed and Ranked (2021)
Running a business is hard and it’s even harder when you don’t have the right tools.
From managing employees and inventory to accounting and marketing, there is just too much to do and too little time to do it without the help of software designed to help you manage your business.
Fortunately, there are some great software products out there to assist you. With the right program suite, you’ll be able to manage all aspects of your business in one place.
I’ve investigated the top 30 business management software services and here are my picks for the top 9:
1. My Top Pick: monday.com – 9.45/10 (Best Business Management Software)
Hands down, my top pick for best business management software is monday.com. This is a cloud-based, streamlined work management software that helps teams organize and optimize every minute of the workday.
This innovative business management tool is easy to use for both employees and managers. It comes with all of the features needed to streamline your business without an overwhelming amount of things you don’t need.
This powerful business management software offers collaboration tools and key features that allow multiple people to work together on projects without the need for a third-party software.
monday.com creates dashboards that give a high-level overview of what needs to be done, assigns tasks to employees, and tracks their progress.
It provides project management visual reports that help managers see how their team members are performing in real time thatcreates an environment where everyone knows what’s expected at all times.
This small business management software also has the most robust Kanban workflow enhancement on the market today. It allows users to prioritize projects, conduct resource planning ahead of time, and create a custom workflow with the least effort possible.
monday.com expertly implements Gantt charting that helps create plans for multiple projects simultaneously. By looking at this chart, you get an overview of the entire project, see at a glance who needs to be working on what, and how long it will take to accomplish certain tasks.
The Gantt chart also helps managers determine whether tasks are achievable given the amount of time and resources they have.
The software suite will store and manage all files associated with a given project that can be extremely beneficial when you need to track down a document, presentation, spreadsheet, or image later on.
These document management features and functions are critical for management across the entire business enterprise.
Because all the project management information is in one place, it is readily searchable and yet has an impressive security system that keeps data confidential.
This top business management tool also tracks time spent working on tasks regardless of where the employee is or what device they are using. The monday.com app works on both iOS and Android devices.
This is helpful because this tool doesn’t interrupt their workflow and gives managers a better idea of how long tasks actually take.
monday.com stores the files that your team uses in an easily searchable, central repository.
There is no further need for shared folders or archaic filing systems – simply search by name, tag, time, file type, or a myriad of other methods. This means version control issues, lost files, and wasted time are things of the past.
The software creates automation to make your team more efficient. There is no coding required to make processes computer-driven so you can end repetitive tasks for you and your employees.
Finally, this software suite integrates intrinsically with 40 common programs to make you even more efficient. With its native drag and drop Zapier integrations, the possibilities are nearly endless.
The pricing plans are straightforward, with a 14-day, free trial available so that you can test out this cloud-based, business management software for small businesses.
Even the best software suite comes with some negatives but, with monday.com, there are not many of them.
The platform limits functionality at the lower pricing tiers for things such as activity logs and file storage. However, this is not significantly different from competitors’ products.
The only other downside I can think of is that large, multinational corporations with global business management needs may find it too simple for their requirements. However, this really depends on your needs as a business owner.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use and complete business management software suite, monday.com is a great option.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a comprehensive, business management suite that’s easy to use, has robust automation features, and can easily integrate with almost any other software your business may be using, monday.com is the perfect option for you.
The Kanban and Gantt capabilities give users a holistic overview of their projects and the amount of time and money they should expect to spend on them.
Project and task management becomes simple with this resource planning and management tool.
With this one business management software, you’ve never had the ability to understand your business so well.
2. HubSpot – 7.85/10 (Best for CRM only)
HubSpot is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that also helps businesses manage marketing and sales. The software helps you identify opportunities through social monitoring and lead generation campaigns, then nurtures prospects into new business opportunities.
It also comes with content management capabilities that allow you to create, schedule, and share blog posts, landing pages, email campaigns, and videos for your audience.
HubSpot has a ton of CRM project management functionality that will appeal to any business working in the sales and marketing arena. Their underlying CRM database is powerful and integrates with all other parts of the software platform.
Hubspot will track email opens and clicks so that you can send either automated or personalized responses to new prospects. That email automation ensures that your team is only working with warm leads while the program tries to reel in the cold prospects.
The software will also help you use social media and its advertising function to drive engagement and sales. You can connect with the people important to your business and meaningful to your brand.
This management CRM does email marketing to drive lead generation and, eventually, sales.
The software will monitor social media for mentions of your business and will target ads to those who are most likely to drive a superior return on investment.
HubSpot comes with easy-to-use, drag and drop email, a chatbot facility, forms, and landing page generators that allow your team to market quickly – without the need for developers and IT. You can automate everything so that your team is only working on the most challenging projects – the automations are performing the basics.
The platform also gives you live chat and help desk capabilities to maximize your interaction with customers in real time. Furthermore, HubSpot will schedule your meetings and manage your leads and pipeline. All this is done with top-tier marketing analytics capability that provides reports for all your marketing channels.
HubSpot is certainly a fantastic email marketing and sales management software platform, but it is highly geared towards CRM and marketing automation. Sales and content management are optimized, but the business operations capabilities are newer and not as robust.
It does not bring projects together in the same way as monday.com – no Kanban or Gantt charts reside in the software suite. Although HubSpot does report generation, they are marketing-based reports rather than those you would need to manage the width and breadth of your business processes.
In summary, HubSpot is a great customer-relationship management and marketing automation suite, so if you want to increase your leads or improve customer service capabilities, then it may present a good option.
However, if you need a quick and comprehensive approach to managing all aspects of your business, monday.com represents the best solution available on the market today.
You can read a more detailed breakdown of their features in our HubSpot review, but if you just want to get started, head to HubSpot now.
3. FreshBooks – 7.3/10 (Best for accounting only)
FreshBooks software platform is designed for small businesses that need to manage their accounting operations. It excels at managing all of your accounting functions and then turns those into actionable, financial management items for the business owner.
FreshBooks is great at performing any bookkeeping and accounting operations you might need. From keeping your accounts payable and receivables in order to generating balance sheets and cash flow statements, FreshBooks can do it all in a way that is helpful to both the business owner and the accountant.
The software suite integrates fully with more than 100 different, commonly-used programs. E-commerce, client work, and marketing are all well-covered by FreshBooks. And the fact that it integrates with nearly any other payment-related or task management software is a big bonus for business owners.
FreshBooks excels in data tracking. The software tracks expenses, mileage, and time seamlessly that helps you make better, more-informed decisions. This capability makes recordkeeping a snap and invoice generation a cinch.
On top of everything else it does, FreshBooks helps you get paid for your time, goods, and services by allowing you to schedule automated, online payments directly from the software. FreshBooks also lets you manage your online payment account, PayPal, or Stripe with automatic payment integration with your books.
The program also helps you draft customized estimates and proposals, have them electronically signed, and then turn them into an invoice so that you can get paid quickly. It also manages those clients with contact management tools and client reports that improve communication and accurately describe their projects’ status.
The FreshBooks invoicing function is top-notch. Invoices can be created quickly, sent with a single click, and this process recurs automatically. The time tracking function connects directly to invoicing that then connects seamlessly to the payment system.
As you would expect from a top-tier accounting program, FreshBooks offers reports at your fingertips for revenue, profits, and expenses. With its deep analysis of time periods and clients, you will have all the data you need to make good business decisions.
It is obvious that FreshBooks is a powerful program, so why is it #3 on the list? The downside to FreshBooks is that it is truly an accounting tool rather than a fully-fledged, business management platform.
Because of its focus on the financial side of business operations, other functions are under-represented or entirely missing from the software suite. There are minimal collaborative communication tools for your employees to use and the project management options that do exist in FreshBooks are underpowered when compared with monday.com.
FreshBooks does not offer a Kanban system, nor do you get the power of Gantt chart visualization. Without these tools, you will have to perform project management outside of the FreshBooks platform which is not very efficient.
FreshBooks is an excellent tool for any business owner who needs help with their accounting functions. The software has such a large variety of functions that it will be of tremendous benefit for small businesses.
However, if you need a fully-featured, business management platform, FreshBooks will leave you wanting. You’ll be better served with monday.com for these functions, as the latter was designed specifically for business management with an eye toward project management and collaboration with multiple employees.
You can read more about their features in our Freshbooks Review.
4. StudioCloud – 7.1/10
StudioCloud is a business management software suite designed for service providers who cover invoicing, booking, marketing, branding, time tracking, and more. It truly has something for everyone who offers a service to clients.
If you’re looking for a business management platform that covers all aspects of your service provider business, StudioCloud could be perfect for you.
No matter how good it is at client management, it does have some business process shortcomings that you should be aware of. Although excellent for task managing a service-oriented business, it is less useful for project management in other types of industries.
For example, StudioCloud does not provide what most companies need for inventory control or inventory management. If your business deals in physical goods, you’ll likely need a different type of software.
The software also does not have useful CRM features such as lead or opportunity management that may limit its usefulness for your business.
The focused group of companies that are ideal for the StudioCloud platform is the major reason that monday.com has a better rating – the latter manages a wider range of businesses.
To read an in-depth breakdown of their features and services, check out our StudioCloud Review.
5. Sage Accounting – 6.8/10
Sage Accounting is an excellent option for small business owners who want an accounting suite of products that’s easy to use, has simple reporting, and can easily integrate with other business processes.
This business software is web-based, so there’s no need to download anything onto your computer. It can be accessed from anywhere that has an internet connection which is helpful for team members who routinely work remotely.
Although it is an adequate accounting program for small businesses, it does not do as well when companies grow larger and become more complex. The financial accounting capability is strong, but the managerial accounting functions are not as impressive.
This software may be good for small businesses that can make use of the simplified financials. However, if your business starts to grow, you will likely need the more advanced functionalities that are offered by other business software programs.
Of course, the main reason that this program rates lower than monday.com is because it is not a full-featured, business management solution.
If you are looking for the best business management software, an accounting program will simply not be enough for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about Sage, check out our Sage review.
6. Hive – 6.45/10
Hive is a business and project management software tool that helps project managers and team leaders stay on top of their tasks and projects.
Hive’s biggest advantage is its focus on simplicity: the software is easy to implement and use and provides a minimalistic approach to collaboration.
The platform has a great interface that allows you to view all your projects at a glance without having to sift through lots of different tabs and lists.
However, Hive is not higher on the list because it is not a true business management system. With this business software, you are still missing out on important management and analysis capabilities, such as high-level planning, supply chain management, and report generation.
Additionally, although Hive’s pricing plan is simple to understand, it relies heavily on a la carte add-ons which can dramatically increase the price.
If you want access to some of the communications and resourcing tools, enhanced security, or analytics appropriate for leadership, you will be paying individually for each.
monday.com rates above Hive because it links all its functionality with the pricing plans – no a la carte required.
Our full investigation into their services and features can be found in our Hive review.
7. Wrike 6.1/10
A good-quality business and project management software, Wrike provides most of the features users need to run their businesses.
Unfortunately, to get access to capabilities that are considered ‘advanced’ functionality, you have to pay extra. On top of that, although Wrike offers many useful add-ons, it doesn’t tell you how much you are going to have to pay for them until you decide you need them.
So, if you want integrations, advanced reporting, or resource management, you have to speak with a salesperson to find out how much you are going to pay.
This is why Wrike ranks as number seven on our list, despite its useful capabilities. With monday.com, you get a far more straightforward pricing schema.
Our Wrike review contains full details about their services.
8. Scoro – 5.9/10
Scoro is a quality, small business management software and project management software solution that contains many of the same capabilities that monday.com does – Gantt charts and a Kanban system, to name a couple.
However, Scoro falls short in some key features which is why it isn’t higher on the list. There are better options out there for those looking for pricing that is straightforward and easy to understand. It has multiple per-user plans and each one is organized in a way that seems to add unneeded complexity.
Scoro is a solid business management software, but there are better options for those looking for something just as good without the pricing confusion and extra cost for add-ons.
If you want to know more about their services, you can read about them in our Scoro Review.
9. Oracle NetSuite – 5.5/10
Let’s start with the fact that Oracle NetSuite is an extremely capable project management software platform. NetSuite is not bad at all, so why did they end up at the bottom of this ranking?
This boils down to three main reasons.
First, although they do inventory management and supply chain management well, their pricing plans are well out of the range of most competitor businesses. This limits their potential customer base to just the largest of corporations.
Second, their software isn’t as intuitive as the other top contenders.They are not nearly as easy to get your teeth into compared with other options on this list and their customer support is not particularly impressive.
Finally, although NetSuite has great capability as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, it is not a business management solution. Although you can manage parts of your enterprise, you do not have access to the Gantt and Kanban systems as with monday.com.
Our NetSuite review has more details if you want to dive deep.
The Bottom Line
After reviewing all nine of the above options, we truly have a clear and convincing winner – monday.com.
monday.com is the best business management software because of its plethora of capabilities, straightforward pricing plan, easy-to-use interface, and integration capability with other platforms you may already be using.
Suppose you’re looking for an all-inclusive solution that will allow your team to seamlessly communicate on any digital device while being able to access their data from anywhere in the world. In that case, monday.com has what you need.
It may not be quite enough if you run a multinational conglomerate. Still, for the vast majority of business owners, monday.com is the best business management software option out there today.
Don’t waste any more of your time on trying to find or deal with lesser cloud-based, business management software. Get the best out there and try monday.com today.
My method for selecting the best business management software involved a 7-stage process.
Stage 1: Business Management Software Provider List
The first thing I did was create a list of the major industry players. Given the emergence of software as a service in the B2B environment, the list was far too large to handle. So I analyzed the list and selected the top nine business management software providers. From this list, I would see who had the best business management system.
Stage 2: Online Feedback
I went online and read reviews on major review sites like Capterra, TrustPilot, TrustRadius, GetApp, Facebook, and others to assess each of those business management tools.
The goal was to examine the strengths and weaknesses of these software solutions. This helped me understand how each business management software was different from the others.
It also provided a method of seeing if they have mostly satisfied or unsatisfied customers or somewhere in between.
Stage 3: Product Analysis
For the business management software products, I created a set of key features and criteria that evaluated the products against one another.
The evaluation centered on the following:
- The software’s variety of top features
- Ease of signup and onboarding
- Availability of integrations
- Training resources availability
- Cloud-based nature of the product
- Ease of use
- Mobile capability
- Price point
- Free trial
- Customer service quality and quantity
Stage 4: Interviews With Real Customers
Once I had conducted this initial analysis, it was time to speak with people who actually use the business management software. These interviews allowed me to speak with the people who have experienced a particular piece of business management software on a one-on-one level.
I wanted to speak with people who would be able to provide insight into what they use the business management software for.
In the interviews, I asked them questions about their experience with the business management system – how did they use it and what did they think were the top features?
I asked about their experiences with customer support and major business process areas such as client management, resource management, team collaboration, financial management, file storage, and document management.
I also wanted to find out what they liked about the business software, as well as hear their complaints. It was important to understand both sides (buyer and retailer) so I could give an accurate assessment of each business management system.
Stage 5: Interviews with Business Management Software Providers
I went directly to each vendor’s website for these business management software products and browsed around it. I wanted to see if this business’s management software was able to stand out from its competitors and if the information on their website was clear and concise.
I used this opportunity to take note of any new features they may have added recently, ask how their online help desk is structured, and find out if their website is intuitive and easy to use.
Then I made contact with the sales teams of the software companies and asked them questions to get their perspective on what makes them different from the rest of the competition and why a buyer should choose their product.
I asked them to explain their top features and tell me how their product would better help me manage my business.
Stage 6: Test Drives
The next step in evaluating the business management software was to try it out myself. This product usability test allowed me to see what it was like using each business management system.
This process allowed me to understand what each product offered, to see if their self-reported features actually worked as advertised, and how I felt during actual usage of the business management software.
This way, I could examine the top features and see how well the cloud-based solution worked in real time.
Stage 7: Ratings
The final stage was differentiating each product based on its strengths and weaknesses. I took all of the research and information that I had gathered and compared each business management software product against one another based on their key features, pricing, and business management benefits.
This process involved rating each business management software based on the earlier listed criteria with a score between 0-10 (with 0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest).
Next, it was time to rank these business management tools in terms of which stood out the most. That ranking used an ordered list, with the best product listed at number one and the worst ranked last.
Best Business Management Software Summary
The review process for the business management software products was designed to provide you with a list of cloud-based tools that you can use for your own business.
The outcome of this process shows a clear leader – a product that was head and shoulders better than its competition.
The top business management software product on our list is monday.com. This product was chosen because it provides the most for your money – it is a highly inclusive business SaaS program that allows you to do everything you need to manage your business.
They not only provide a great product, but their customer service is also quite impressive and confirmed that they stand out from the rest. Customer support was quick to respond, knowledgeable, and could help with anything that was required.
monday.com provides the most comprehensive lineup of tools and facilitates the management of everything from your projects to your team. In an industry where the competition is fierce, it is great to see a product stand out from the pack and deserve this top ranking.
You always maintain an overarching view of your company while retaining the ability to get into the details. It is the best of all business intelligence worlds.
Whether you need help with project management, sales and customer relationship management, marketing, creative design, software development, task management, operations, HR and recruitment, or IT, monday.com can build, run, and scale workflows for you and your team.
It is fast to set up and allows everything to be managed from a single workstation. The user interface is clean and easy to use, the product features are intuitive, and would even work well for companies that utilize distributed teams.
With monday.com., you get the ability to automate your processes, integrate with other programs, and visualize your data from several viewpoints. You can see it your way, whether in calendar, timeline, Gantt, or Kanban forms.
If you are looking for the best business management software, try monday.com for your team with its 14-day free trial.