Being an accountant, of course, this is top of my list.
Xero is a cloud-based accounting package that takes a lot of pain out of business accounting. It is a very user-friendly software that can be accessed anywhere that you have an internet connection. You can use the package to create invoices for your customers, easily complete your bank reconciliation and generate numerous performance reports. In addition, you can add your accountant as an adviser and they can have full access to the software to complete VAT returns and prepare year end accounts.
Xero offer a free 30 day trial period and I would suggest giving it a go if you are on the lookout for accounting software for your business. After that, they have a few different pricing levels ranging from $20 (approx €15) to $40 (approx €30) per month.
I am a certified advisor with Xero so if you have any questions about the software and its uses, drop me a mail and I'll help yu decide if it's the right package for you.
A lot of us will already be fairly familiar with Gmail. Google Apps is pretty much just an extension of Gmail for businesses. For a small monthly fee, you can set up your own personalised email address like mine (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org).
But it is more than just email, it offers loads of great tools for your business such as Google Drive, Calendar and other great 3rd party apps that can be added on. You might say that this is all available in the standard free Google account but with Google Apps, you can customise a lot more and bring a level of professionalism to your email address.
Most will also know Skype from calling their loved ones overseas who have emigrated over the last few years. However, it is fast becoming a very useful business communication tool too.
Many business meetings are now held over Skype calls and they also offer the option of purchasing a local land line number if you want to give your business a professional and local feel.
There are plenty of good online platforms allowing you to create your own website at a fairly low cost. I've tried a few of them and I've found that Weebly was the best, for me anyway. After spending a few hours playing around, you will be able to build you own basic website. It more than likely won't look as good as a site designed by a professional but, it's a good start to get yourself a presence on the web.
I designed this site on Weebly. Although the design of it might not be great, it's given me a presence on the web at a low cost at this early start of the business. I do have future plans to have a professionally designed site that, hopefully, will look much better.
There are a few others which deserve a quick mention but I couldn't provide enough detail on them as I have only used them very briefly.
Shopify allows you to create an online shop for selling your goods / services.
Receipt Bank is a good tool for capturing all those small business receipts and expenses.
Evernote is a useful app for taking notes on any ideas and projects that you may have ongoing.
If you have any other suggestions of useful business programmes or apps, let me know in the comments section below.