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Managing the office requires the right tools. Computers, printers and servers provide the necessary hardware, but what about software? All the fancy equipment in the world means nothing without the right programs to make it work. Applications administer the finances, keep the office organized and build the company’s online presence. Time tracking software monitors employee activity for payroll. Finding the best software is the key to survival in the business world.

Financial Applications
Follow the money. Every company needs a financial program to track cash flow, accounts receivable, vendor payments and payroll. Some programs integrate inventory supplies, invoicing and even customer management. When it comes down to it, the right accounting software is one of the most critical designs a company can make. Some of the mainstream applications on the market today include Quicken, Intuit QuickBooks and Peachtree.

When shopping for a program, consider what it should do. Many products have more features than some companies need, making them cumbersome and difficult to understand. Check with the bank prior to synchronizing the software with an account to see if there is a fee for the service.

Human Resources
Depending on the size of the business, a separate human resources program might come in handy. Systems like Recruiterbox will monitor applications, post job openings and search networking websites such as LinkedIn for candidates. If the business has just a few employees, consider just a payroll program or manage HR through the accounting or spreadsheet software instead.

Contact Management
Contact management programs are multidimensional. They seem like fancy phonebooks, but they do much more. A contact program is a database for customer lists, vendors and networking. Companies can use them to create marketing campaigns and prospect lists. Ideally, the software will integrate with an email client and document editor such as Word. One commonly found contact system is Sage Act! Pro.

Office Suite
Small businesses can look for a multitude of programs in one package. The basic office suite provides spreadsheets, word processing, an email client, database management, desktop publisher, note system and slide show designer. It is the quintessential group for most any company. The obvious choice is Microsoft Office, but that is not the only one. There are free services available, but for a business situation, Office is a professional package worth the added expense. From finances to time tracking software, the proper tools add efficiency to an office. Taking the time to find the best options will make for a smooth operation. Software is expensive – make choices wisely. Select business programs that make things better, not more complicated.

  • All image credits to Flickr Creative Commons.

Michele Filipkowski an elite writer who has contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites specializing in business and human resources. Follow her @micheleashley89