Managing a trades business in Australia can lead to pure chaos unless you can juggle dozens of important tasks all at once. Fortunately, there are many business management apps that support the different aspects of your daily operations, including accounting, project management, and more. Business management apps come in many forms, and some may not always be relevant to your business. To save you some time, we’ve compiled a list of the best business management apps for trades service organisations.
Business process mapping: Visio
Visio is a diagramming tool that’s typically used by tradies to draft floor plans, notes, and mind maps. However, Visio also offers various charts for mapping out your company’s workflow. Flowcharts can display the sequence of steps and decisions required to complete projects or administrative tasks, which is great for standardising business processes. Gantt charts can be used to set project timelines, create milestones, and track job progress. Meanwhile, org charts establish a company hierarchy and let employees know who they report to.
Human resources: BambooHR
BambooHR is designed to streamline the various processes involved in human resources and workforce management. It features an applicant tracking system that structures your hiring process and gives you all the information you need to thoroughly vet technicians. BambooHR also comes with an onboarding module that helps new hires quickly get up to speed on company policies, documentation, and training.
Additionally, BambooHR offers time tracking tools for calculating billable hours and automated payroll processing to ensure your technicians are well compensated for their efforts. It even has a self-service portal where employees can check company-wide updates and request time off.
Customer relationship management (CRM): Dynamics 365
Dynamics 365 CRM provides trades businesses with an effective way to manage sales pipelines, marketing strategies, and business relationships. For starters, Dynamics 365 automatically processes leads into your database when prospective clients contact your business through your website, email, phone call, or other marketing platforms. Afterwards, the CRM generates customer profiles and records previous interactions with a prospective client, so sales representatives can better understand their leads and close more deals.
Dynamics 365 also gives you access to marketing automation tools that can spearhead your email, social media, and online campaigns. For example, you can automate emails to send follow-up messages to leads who may have expressed interest in your services based on how they interacted with your website. Dynamics 365 can then analyse your marketing campaign performance, helping you make smarter decisions on how you promote your business.
Communication: Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams can serve as both an internal communication platform and business phone system. Teams features a simple interface where groups and departments can have separate conversations on different channels. In each channel, members have access to instant messaging, voice and video calling, and file-sharing functions.
With the phone system element of Microsoft Teams, users can essentially make and receive calls from anywhere with the company’s phone number. Your company can also enjoy a plethora of enterprise phone features like call forwarding, voicemail, automated attendant, and more. Teams even integrate with your company’s CRM, enabling your sales representatives to easily reference what your company knows about the customer during a call.
Financial management: Xero, QuickBooks, MYOB Online
Xero, QuickBooks, and MYOB Online take the guesswork out of bookkeeping. These cloud accounting platforms offer the basics like general ledger, expense tracking, project budgeting, and reporting tools, which help you stay on top of your company’s financial situation. You’ll know which projects are most profitable and which elements are driving up costs. In fact, these apps help you identify trends in your cash flow, which means you’ll be able to anticipate financial shortfalls and adjust your spending accordingly.
Beyond basic financial management and analyses, Xero, QuickBooks, and MYOB online also streamline quoting and invoicing processes. Since these apps record information on previous project budgets and expenses, you’ll be able to produce more accurate and advantageous bids that win jobs and maximise profits. Finally, when the job is done, the accounting apps can generate invoices on-site and send clients reminders so your company can get paid on time.
Inventory management: Sortly
Sortly is an inventory management system that keeps track of business supplies and equipment. The app provides comprehensive information on asset usage, location, and quantity, allowing you to better allocate your resources and anticipate supply shortages. Furthermore, Sortly lets field technicians check equipment in or out with a QR scanner — automatically updating your inventory database. This way, you’re always aware of which equipment is being used and what tools are available for field technicians.
Procurement: Kissflow Procurement Cloud
Kissflow Procurement Cloud enables you to generate purchase orders for materials on a recurring schedule or when stock is running slow. It also lets you create one-off purchase orders to meet the custom specifications of a job. Purchase orders are then instantly submitted to the appropriate managers for approval and issued to your preferred suppliers so the latter can organise the delivery process.
Vendor management is another function of Kissflow. The app makes it easy to screen vendors based on financial stability, past performance, and reputation. Once you’ve found and registered vendors in your system, you can contact them directly, set up payment processes, and get alerts on order details to ensure deliveries are always on time.
File storage: OneDrive for Business
OneDrive for Business is a cloud storage platform that allows your business to store and access files in a centralised database via the internet. The platform provides at least 1TB of storage per user for a flat monthly fee, but the storage limit can always be extended according to your company’s needs. OneDrive for Business automatically indexes documents so they can be easily retrieved with a simple search query. These features are particularly useful for archiving and sharing contract details, drawings, plans, material data, job forms, and other project-related documents across your company.
What’s more, OneDrive for Business protects your data under multiple layers of security. It uses advanced threat protection, encryption, and access controls to prevent unauthorised users from getting a hold of your classified documents.
Job management: WorkBuddy
WorkBuddy is a job management software that optimises every stage of a project’s life cycle. Here are WorkBuddy’s most notable features:
- Custom dashboard – view data trends and performance metrics that matter to your business
- Scheduling and dispatch – automatically assign jobs to the right technicians based on qualifications, location, and availability
- Job tracking – monitor the status of work orders, milestones, and tasks in real-time
- Compliance – ensure field technicians are following work health and safety protocols using job forms and checklists
- Contractor portals – share information and coordinate with your subcontractors through a direct channel
- Quoting and invoicing – leverage accounting integrations to produce accurate contract bids and instantly bill clients with a click of a button
If you need technology that can increase your business efficiency, WorkBuddy is the right choice for any trade service business. Book a free demo today to see the benefits of our leading job management software.