The Big List of Cloud-Based Tools For T&T Small Businesses

As the global pandemic halted travel, forced schools online, and shut down cities, business leaders became concerned with how their businesses would continue to survive in the new low touch economy. What they quickly discovered is times of crisis bring several opportunities for innovation and growth. Restricted with lockdowns and quarantine, many have embraced digital solutions to gain a competitive advantage.

If you’re looking for flexible digital solutions that reduce the cost of operations and increase productivity without hitting your wallet too hard, then you should consider cloud-based solutions. This way you tend to your emerging business needs while using the latest technology to make your business life easier.

We’ve done the heavy lifting by surveying some of these tools and list the ones that may be most applicable to you during this time.

What Are Financial Management Tools?

“Cloud-based financial management tools arm businesses and finance experts with the wherewithal to perform tasks such as manage accounts, manage budgets and create reports. Due to these tools being hosted online, you can access your data from anywhere and at any time.”

Here are a few of the standout tools we recommend; and be sure to check out each website for updated pricing:

Xero has been quickly gaining traction in the marketplace as a reliable and cost-effective option for financial management in small and medium businesses. As a piece of cloud-based accounting software, it was created to help bookkeepers and accountants do more than just create professional invoices. With this tool, you can reconcile bank and credit card statements, process purchase and sales orders, manage payroll, inventory and so much more. This comes with a minimal cost, but it may be worth checking into. Check out the Xero website for pricing, but plans start at USD$20 a month.

Suitable for: Small and medium businesses.

Known as a heavy lifter in the financial management category, QuickBooks has been trusted by businesses across the world. From cash flow to bill management, invoicing to mileage tracking and reporting, there’s very little left to be desired from this tool. Economically priced at USD$12.50 per month, users trust that their financial records are kept safe, secure and readily available.

Suitable for: Small, medium and large businesses.

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Business of all sizes can turn to RepublicOnline when they want to quickly and securely access their accounts. For those needing to reconcile accounts and quickly carry out many other financial transactions, RepublicOnline will allow a user to:

  • View account balances.
  • View transaction history.
  • View statements.
  • Transfer money between accounts.
  • Pay credit cards and utility bills and more.

This can help save you from trips to the bank and long lines. Republic Bank customers can easily sign-up for the service here.

Suitable for: Businesses of all sizes.

Project Management and Collaboration Tools

Cloud-based project management and collaboration tools help you plan, organise and deliver projects on time. The following selection of tools can take the pain out of project management and help you get through your day-to-day tasks with ease. They all feature mobile applications which can be useful for keeping employees connected while on the go. By switching to a cloud-based management and collaboration tool, you can improve the entire remote work experience for employees and executives while saving costs. These also give you a bird’s eye view of the activities and projects being worked on and can help you track them efficiently from start to completion.

Slack helps remote teams stay productive no matter where they’re working from.
We all know how overwhelmed a full inbox of unorganised messages can make us feel. Slack helps with that. Offering organised conversation threads for everything related to a project, topic r team, Slack can help you and your team stay organised for around $7.00 per month.

Suitable for: Medium to large enterprises.

Online meetings and chats have been keeping us connected during the coronavirus pandemic. However, if you’ve struggled to find a platform sufficiently robust to manage your team’s (large or small) communication needs, you can look to Microsoft Teams. This tool allows you to conduct online meetings and collaborate in one place.

If your business is not currently subscribed to Microsoft 365, you can still access Microsoft Teams for free. That’s right, it’s free. No commitments.

Suitable for: Businesses of all sizes.

ProofHub’s strength is in the fact it has all the tools a team needs in one place, making collaboration easy for those who now have to or have opted to work remotely. From custom workflows and roles to mentions, proofing, timesheets and reports, ProofHub is indeed one of the most expensive project management and collaboration tools available to growing businesses. Plans start at USD$45 per month depending on annual vs monthly plans.

Suitable for: Businesses of all sizes.

Missed e-mails are common in medium to large enterprises and can result in lost opportunities and overdue deadlines. With Asana, working together on a project means everyone can stay up to date with the tasks and deliverables. Asana provides workspaces where individual tasks can be created and messages, notes and other updates shared. There’s a free basic option, plus other plans starting at USD10.00.

Suitable for: Businesses of all sizes.

Storage Solutions

Cloud storage is not given as much credit as it requires. Not only does it provide users with a storage location for files, but it also improves productivity.

A company can do a quick assessment by answering these questions below:

  1. Are there documents in the “My documents folder” on your computer?
  2. Are these documents properly backed up or synced to a remote location?
  3. Is your organisation able to share and distribute these documents quickly and easily?
  4. Are you able to gain access to these files no matter where I am in the world?
  5. Are you able to collaborate with others on stored office documents?

Reflecting on these, if you’ve determined cloud storage is right for you, here are our recommended platforms for SMEs.

Users can store, access, and share any and every type of file in one secure place and have access to it from anywhere via both desktop and mobile devices. Within Drive, owners of the content, control how the files are shared and what level of access is granted to persons who have permissions to view the files. With a regular google accounts, users have 15GB of free storage, but if you need more, prices start at USD$1.99.

For Windows users, OneDrive is just another folder as it is integrated into Windows. Its unique selling point is that Microsoft OneDrive also works closely with Microsoft Office programmes such as Excel, Word and PowerPoint. If you’re a Windows user looking into storage solutions for yourself or your business, OneDrive is an excellent tool to consider. Pricing begins at USD$1.99 for a basic monthly plan or USD70.00 for an annual one.

Social Media Tools

This area has seen much traction in the last five-10 years. There are tools everywhere to help create awareness, market, and improve the overall customer experience.

This is a free social media tool by Google that allows your company to monitor notable happenings in the world, and then tailor campaigns towards current interests. Many professionals use it to discover and share information related to what’s most popular right now.

Another completely free tool from Google, the user is able to have a very data-driven approach to social media monitoring and reporting. You can use it to get a detailed view of your traffic sources, monitor digital campaign performance, track website performances by country, demographic etc.

Managing social media pages takes time and effort. What’s even more difficult is moving from platform to platform to post, manage and monitor content. Tools like Buffer can facilitate the management of social media pages all in one place. Buffer allows for scheduling in advance, community management by responding to posts and comments, and analysing activity across channels to make better decisions. You’ll have a few choices to consider, but basic plans start at USD$15 a month.

A simple tab on your company’s Facebook page is a powerful engine that can provide you with relevant data on your post and page engagements, likes and followers, post-performance, and even competitor data. Business can use it to determine if their organic and paid content are helping them achieve their marketing and communication goals.

The Final Verdict

Executives have a vital role to play in steering their organisation and teams to function effectively, using tools that are agile, encourage collaboration, keep teams and projects organised, and can be accessed from anywhere at any time. Cloud-based digital tools can offer solutions for every area of the business, from operational to financial.

With all that is taking place in our world today, there’s no better time for you as a leader to champion that shift toward digital solutions. The world is being reshaped, evolving from what we know; therefore, it is time to retool.

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