10 Small Business iPad Apps for Productivity, Finance & More

Updated February 2016

There’s no shortage of powerful iPad® small business apps out there and the right ones make you a more productive and effective owner. Here’s a short list.

iPad Apps for Sales & Finance

1. Square: Andrea Barnes of iCare Phone Repair, a mobile device repair business in Michigan, uses this handy app as a cash register replacement in the small kiosks where she does business. The app comes with an EMV-enabled credit card-reading dongle that plugs into the iPad’s headphone jack. “It's the best alternative for a POS system, especially for small retail spaces,” she says. “Every item is already saved in there so our employees are more efficient in helping customers.” Businesses with more room may prefer the Square Stand, which turns a Square-equipped iPad into a stylish checkout station. 

2. ShopKeep POSWhen customers place their orders at Rain or Shine Coffee House in Portland, OR, the baristas use this app to process sales. It does everything from ringing in orders to managing inventory and tracking employee hours. The software even works with a cash drawer and receipt printer when paired with the ShopKeep POS iPad cash register. ”It hardly takes up any counter space, and we like how easy it is to use and how quickly we are able to train our staff,” says co-owner Molly Boyl.

Learn more about start-up and small business point-of-sale systems.

3. QuickBooks®For keeping your finances in order and making accounting easier, “it's hard to beat QuickBooks Online,” asserts Julian Jacobsen, owner of J.J. Micro, a small business tech support company in Saint Charles, MO. “Running a small business almost always requires you to be on the go, and this app lets you keep up on bookkeeping while you have downtime here and there throughout the day. It can be used anywhere you have an Internet connection.” You can pull up customer information, send invoices, accept electronic signatures, track expenses and more.

4. Shoeboxed: This is one of the best iPad office apps, according to Brit Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO of MentorMe, a corporate mentor matching platform in Memphis. Shoeboxed makes it easier to wrangle receipts and track mileage –– important activities to maximize tax deductions. Snap a photo of your receipt and the app extracts crucial data and categorizes it into common tax categories. Track mileage using your iPad’s GPS, so it’s just a few clicks from start to stop. It even saves your route for additional documentation. All the data is stored in the cloud and exportable as IRS-accepted scans, reports and forms.

Get more advice on small business/start-up finance and accounting.


Apps for Staying Organized

5. Dropbox: This popular cloud-based service lets you store and access files and collaborate across users, locations and devices. “‘Most of the apps I pick, I pick because they have an interface with Dropbox,” says Linda Hoopes, president of Atlanta-based Resilience Alliance, a consultancy that helps organizations and individuals thrive in turbulent times. All the audio files, documents and data she creates on her iPad sync with and are backed up by Dropbox. And it’s all accessible from the Dropbox iPad app.

6. TripIt: A crucial tool for regular business travelers, this app creates a one-stop, central view of your travel itinerary so you don’t have to switch between multiple apps and docs to get from Point A to Point B. Just email your travel, hotel, car rental and other confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com. The app strips out all the ads and noncritical content, pulls the crucial information together and stores it in a central location accessible via the app.

7. Scanner Pro: The iPad’s big screen and excellent cameras make scanning and digitizing documents a snap. Use Scanner Pro to keep track of important documents, such as handwritten notes, contracts and more. Take a photo of the item and the app converts it into a PDF. Since it syncs with popular file-sharing and storage apps, you can save the scan seamlessly and access it wherever you need it.

Learn more about getting and staying organized!


For Staying Productive

8. Hootsuite: Tampa-based Casey Hewins uses this handy app to use social media activity more efficiently. Hootsuite allows you to manage one or more social media accounts, schedule posts, monitor feeds, and track keywords. That makes it one of the best productivity apps for the iPad. As the owner of Residential Acoustics, a small manufacturing business, Hewins uses the platform to manage and post content weekly “without having to log in every day. This allows me to focus on other things.”

9. Microsoft® Office Mobile: You don’t have to live without your favorite Microsoft Office apps just because you’re working on the iOS platform. The software suite is available in app form, enabling you to work on Excel®, Word or PowerPoint® files from your iPad. And you can organize it all in OneNote, Microsoft’s note-taking app.

10. Quick Wins: While you’re running your daily operations, look to handheld help to keep track of important trends and data. The Quick Wins app from Staples helps you keep tabs on your metrics across platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google Analytics (all in one place). Based on how your metrics are performing, Quick Wins will also suggest actions you can take to improve. Plus, there’s a whole community of small businesses like yours that use the app, and you can ask questions or share your own best ideas. 

These are just a handful of the apps that designed to help start-up and small business owners be more effective. 

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