The Best Business Management Software in 2020

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Are you a small to medium-sized business that’s sick of managing operations on pen and paper? Do you desire to simplify your processes, improve communication and increase customer satisfaction? That last point can be quite the feat for a business operating the old-fashion way — the modern consumer typically expects an omnichannel experience that allows them to access your services with their smartphone – for example, to schedule appointments or make payments. If this is painting a familiar picture for you, we invite you to consider business software solutions that can help manage these expectations while simultaneously lightening your own workload: ERP software.

In this article, we’ll explain what exactly business management software is and provide a list of the top systems on the market now. You can use this information to assist and guide you in your own software selection process.

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Best Business Management Software

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What is Business Management Software?

Before we jump into our list of the best business management software, we’re going to lay down a foundation with some introductory information.

By definition, business software is any software or set of applications that’s used to perform business functions and manage business processes. This is pretty vague – therefore, business software includes a wide range of software categories. Read on for some common examples:

Enterprise Resource Planning Software (ERP)

ERP software is a suite of integrated modules or applications that are designed to manage most of the key aspects of a business. From back office processes like accounting or compliance to front office duties such as customer relationship management, ERP software handles a wide range of activities. This comprehensive business management software typically comes equipped with the following features:

To continue learning about ERP software, read our article: How Do ERP Systems Work?.

Professional Services Automation Software (PSA)

PSA software is similar to ERP software in that it aims to centralize a variety of disjointed business activities. Its main purpose is to automate processes and streamline operations for service-oriented businesses; this ranges from the planning of services to the billing of services. PSA software comes with the following features:

  • Project Management
  • Project Accounting
  • Resource Managemen
  • Billing
  • Time and Expense Management
  • Team Collaboration

More information on PSA software features can be found here.

Accounting Software

Accounting software is a little more self-explanatory – it allows business to look at how money moves throughout their company. A simple solution can manage all basic accounting tasks, while a more advanced system provides functionality that can offer greater insights into money movement. Here are some commonly found features in accounting software:

  • General Ledger
  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Payroll Automation
  • Project Accounting
  • Fixed Asset Management
  • Tax Management

Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)

CRM software is another system with a name that alludes to its purpose, which is to manage customer relationships and, ultimately, provide the optimal customer experience. This is accomplished mainly by leveraging customer data and automating routine tasks. A wide range of features get the job done:

  • Contact Management
  • Sales Team and Customer Opportunity Management
  • Lead management
  • Sales Data and Analytics
  • Mobile CRM
  • Sales Force Automation
  • Integrations
  • Workflow Management

There’s a lot to take in here – read our article, Top CRM Features and Functionality List, to dive deeper.

Human Resources Software (HR)

HR software represents a platform that provides end-to-end management of all HR duties at an organization. It serves as a central data repository for employee information, offers benefits programs, manages payroll, manages workforce scheduling, streamlines recruiting and onboarding and ensures compliance with tax and employment regulations. HR software typically contains the following modules:

  • Employee Information Management
  • Recruitment and Hiring
  • Talent Management
  • Benefits Management
  • Financial Management and Accounting
  • Time and Attendance Management
  • Learning and Professional Development

Project Management Software

Project management software is designed to help businesses plan projects, follow a budget, organize and track details and bolster collaboration and communication. These systems are used across a wide variety of industries. Below are some universal project management features:

  • Gantt Charts, Timelines and Task dependencies
  • Resource Management
  • Workflow Management
  • File Storage and File Storage Integration
  • Notifications
  • Reports
  • Dashboards

To further understand project management software, read our article Project Management Trends: PM Software in 2020 and Beyond.

Each of these systems are designed for different business activities, but all of them are intended to streamline operations and increase productivity. All of the systems consist of some level of financial functionality, and otherwise, the system may manage, for example, customer service or marketing. You can begin to determine which system your business will need by asking yourself what your goals are and identifying any pain points. The next step is to gather your requirements. In the meantime, read on to learn about business software history and application support, and familiarize yourself with the top systems.

Brief History of Business Management Software

Throughout recent decades, businesses have slowly moved from managing operations on pen and paper to relying on software. Within that digital transformation, we’ve seen monumental shifts – for example, we started with massive desktop computers and have now arrived at a virtually hardware-free, cloud-based environment.

Dating back to the 1950s, business software was originally designed to cut costs and reduce manual labor, and while that certainly holds true today, its capabilities surpass these objectives now. Other technological developments, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robot process automation (RPA), have expanded the reach of business software. These advanced capabilities allow businesses to optimize their processes as well as offer new services, such as an omnichannel shopping experience – a common expectation of the modern consumer. Following that last point, it’s become necessary for most businesses to implement business software in order to keep pace with the modern world.

Application Support

Before we reveal the top business management software, we’re going to cover one last introductory topic: application support. Otherwise known as customer support or IT support, application support represents your solution for system errors and issues. Considering that users depend on business software to keep their businesses up and running, it’s important to have a solid support plan. Here’s a couple of ways to make that happen:

  • Ask your business software vendor questions and ensure you have a clear, contractual agreement for customer support.
  • Ensure that all users know how and when to reach customer support.
  • Provide comprehensive training for all users and ensure users know how to access self-service training resources and documentation.

Best Business Management Software

Our research team analyzed all of the most popular business software and determined the following to be the top five:

SAP Business ByDesign

SAP Business ByDesign is a cloud-based integrated ERP software suite that’s suitable for mid-market businesses in industries such as professional services, manufacturing, wholesale distribution, public sector and more. The single, unified solution is designed to manage all of the essential needs and routine daily tasks of a business. It provides a real-time overview of the companies’ financial health and streamlines core accounting processes.

At the system’s core are applications for financial management, CRM, HR management, project management, procurement, SCM and compliance management. More advanced capabilities include access to 500+ standard reports, Excel integration and pre-built KPIs.

SAP Business ByDesign

SAP Business ByDesign Sales Orders

The software is designed to scale with new businesses as they grow into midsize enterprises — it offers a range of configurations, adaptations, extensions and integrations which can adapt and extend the solution. For example, SAP App Center is a marketplace for vendors and their partners to offer specialized applications that can extend the system’s functionality. In addition, SAP Business ByDesign studio can be used by partners and customers to produce custom applications, extensions and vertical solutions.

Customers have reviewed the system to be user-friendly and intuitive; for instance, the reporting feature can easily filter and generate the desired information views. Other attributes favored by customers include strong integration capabilities and a smooth implementation process. However, every software has its pitfalls: our research team detected that SAP Business ByDesign does not support a VSOE606 option for revenue recognition nor item-wise cost in the production feature under the SCM module. Another limitation is the system’s requirement for Excel to treat any output data.

SAP Business ByDesign manages hosting, maintenance and system upgrades. It’s available to deploy in the public cloud (SaaS) or on a private cloud.

Price: $$$$$

Company Size Suitability: S M L

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Next on our list of the best business management software is a scalable, flexible software that’s offered by Microsoft. The end-to-end business management solution leverages data to provide actionable insights and enables automating and streamlining business processes. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central manages all key business operations, including finance, manufacturing, sales, shipping, project management, services and more. The functionalities of CRM software and ERP software are combined to make up this system which is suitable for growing SMB’s. It can be deployed on the cloud, hybrid or on-premises.

System features include financial management, SCM, purchase management, sales management, service management, project management, fixed assets management, HR management and compliance management. Business intelligence capabilities provide tools to capture, analyze and share company data. Customers may add to these features with functionality that’s relevant to their region of operation and that is customized to support specialized industries. In addition, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers native mobile applications for Android and iOS devices – the app allows users to navigate through their business data, send reports to Excel or Office 365, view real-time charts and KPIs and much more.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

SAP Business Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Insights

Users have reviewed the system to have comprehensive functionality, especially in terms of financial processes. Sales teams have had an exceptional experience with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Still, the system has its pitfalls: it doesn’t support rearranging the order of graphics and bar charts displayed and it can’t share notes with others using the program. In addition, the project management module doesn’t facilitate milestone tracking.

Price: $$$$$

Company Size Suitability: S M L


Genbook is a cloud-based appointment scheduling software that’s designed specifically for small businesses in the personal services industry. The system’s main claims to fame are in automated, real-time appointment scheduling and SMS reminders for clients. Genbook is used by salons, barbers, beauty salons, massage clinics, wellness centers, photographers and more.

Appointment reminders, automated scheduling, online bookings and payments, client database and calendar synchronization are the key system features. It also comes with tools for CRM, white labeling, a performance dashboard and third-party integration. For example, with the review integration feature, Genbook automatically collects feedback from clients after their appointments and syncs reviews with the company website, Google search pages and others. Integrations with search sites such as Facebook, Bing, Citysearch, Instagram and more are available as well. A native mobile application for Android and iOS, Genbook Manager, enables users to leverage most of these features from their smartphone. In addition, Genbook partners with Google to provide Reserve with Google, a service that allows clients to book appointments directly from the Google search results page or the Google Map website.


Genbook Appointment Scheduling

Genbook customers have raved about the email and text appointment reminders as well as the improvements in communication across their businesses. Their clients echo the positive sentiment as well – Genbook customers have reported an increase in customer satisfaction. Despite this, there are still a couple of system limitations: Genbook lacks a client-to-business messaging platform and doesn’t authorize automatic refunds for customer cancellations. In addition, the mobile application doesn’t support drag and drop appointment scheduling.

Price: $$$$$

Company Size Suitability: S M L


Scoro is a cloud-based professional services solution that caters to small and midsize companies across professional and creative services. Scoro provides functionality for project management, work scheduling and tracking, financial management, CRM and quoting and more. The end-to-end solution enables managing time, projects and clients, sending invoices and keeping track of the business results.

Scoro stands out from the rest with convenient tools such as pre-built projects and sales templates, contact search and customization capabilities. For example, the system supports customized views to provide an overview of what each team is working on, with options to further customize and save the view. Another strength is within reporting – users are able to preview project profitability while the work is still in progress, and compare several budget scenarios to actual results. The system is rounded off with integrated time management tools, including team calendars, shared tasks, timesheets and automated time tracking and planning.


Scoro KPI Dashboard

Customers have applauded Scoro’s reliable customer support and comprehensive system functionality. Conversely, customers have reported issues with contacts coming up missing, as well as criticism of the lack of Gantt charts.

Price: $$$$$

Company Size Suitability: S M L


The final spot on our list is a SaaS-based CRM software for graphic designers, DJs, photographers, business coaches, web designers, consults, florists, caterers, health and wellness professionals, calligraphers, videographers and others. Designed specifically for creative small businesses, HoneyBook provides tools for project management, organization of files and documentation, streamlined client communication, management of booking and payments and more.

The HoneyBook Scheduling feature facilitates users, or the businesses, to set their availability and share a meeting link where clients can book appointments with them. A unified invoice, agreement and payment process is provided by a single location for customers to review, sign and pay. The system further simplifies business processes with pre-built templates for all communication, customizable workflow automation for routine tasks and a native mobile application for Android and iOS devices. It also enables white labeling, the option to activate gratuity/tipping and a client portal. Native integrations to QuickBooks, Zapier, Gmail and Google Calendar are available free of cost.


HoneyBook Task Management

With high ratings and glowing reviews, HoneyBook customers most often enjoy the easy-to-use platform and its positive impact on their customers’ experience. However, there have been complaints about the payment system, which only supports receiving payment through HoneyBook. This can lead to a disjointed user experience for businesses that plan on receiving payment through multiple platforms, such as Venmo or PayPal. Our analysts uncovered a couple of minor system flaws as well: HoneyBook can’t assign files to team members, client contact information doesn’t automatically update itself and users can’t search for client’s files by date.

Price: $$$$$

Company Size Suitability: S M L

Compare ERP Pricing & Costs with our Pricing Guide


This concludes our list of the best business software in 2020. We hope the information in this article will help you in your software selection process – you can start that journey now by gathering your requirements. If you’ve already passed that stage, you can use our comparison matrix or pricing guide to see how your top vendor choices stack up against each other.

Do you have any remaining questions about business software? Have you used a business software that you think is top-tier? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Madeline ReinboltThe Best Business Management Software in 2020

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