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30 Must-Have Software and Tools for Agencies (2024)

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Updated on:
February 2, 2024
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Figure 1 - Freepik

Agency software and tools aren’t optional in the agency environment.

The stats bear this out. According to Statista, the average business uses 130 different Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications as of 2022. That number has skyrocketed. In 2015, it was eight, with SaaS programs clearly establishing themselves as must-haves in the agency setting.

And these numbers don’t cover all of the non-SaaS apps your agency needs. Every platform that doesn’t come with a subscription adds to the pile. For some agencies, the sheer volume of software available can be overwhelming.

That’s where this article comes in.

It won’t tell you that your agency doesn’t need software. It does. A lot of it. But with this list of 30 apps – broken down into specific categories – you’ll see which are the must-have agency software and tools for 2024.

Why Do You Need Multiple Software to Run an Agency?

Before getting into the list, let’s answer a crucial question:

Why so many pieces of software?

After all, 130 seems like a considerable number of SaaS applications for the average agency. There has to be a reason why businesses can’t rely on a single software to handle everything. Isn’t all-in-one software one of the categories in this article?

It is, but the “all-in-one” moniker relates to agency management. And therein lies your answer – there’s so much happening in your agency that a single software can’t cover it all.

Think about the average web design project as an example.

That project requires designers who have tools like Photoshop and Figma to help them out. Behind the scenes, your coders use whatever apps they need to program. If you have a content team, that means you probably have SEO and grammar apps on the go. Plus, you’re tracking progress with clients, which also requires an app.

The point is that each piece of software in your agency ideally serves a specific need. You need all those apps – integrated into your processes – to streamline project delivery and maintain client relationships. Stripping any away could slow your people down, leading to delays that your clients won’t appreciate.

What Types of Software Do You Need for Your Agency

So, it’s clear that you need agency software and tools. A lot of them. The challenge is that there are literally millions of software available. Most of them aren’t relevant to your agency’s operations. But the following seven are all types of software you need to incorporate into your business:

All-In-One Agency Management Software

Think of this type of software as providing the overview of your entire agency.

Depending on the app you choose, an all-in-one software can help you manage your budget and your projects. It’ll keep you on track with financials, as well as serving as a useful data store about your clients.

What this type of software doesn’t do is help you with the nitty-gritty of completing tasks. For instance, you won’t use these types of agency software and tools to design websites. That’s for Photoshop and Figma. Instead, this software is basically your agency’s dashboard – it helps you manage your team and its projects.

Customer Relationship Management Software

Over three-quarters (77%) of your clients say an inefficient customer experience lowers their “quality of life.” That may sound dramatic, but the point is that your agency’s relationship with its clients is paramount. Too many wrong moves, and the client moves on.

All-in-one software can help with client relationship management (CRM) to an extent. But ideally, you’ll have software that’s dedicated to the client. Something that allows you to create unique client profiles and serves as a central repository for all materials relevant to the client. The best examples of these software encourage clients to be active participants in a project.

Client Portal Software

A client portal often goes hand-in-hand with a CRM.

The key difference?

A portal is a client-specific platform – often including the client’s branding – that’s dedicated to resource sharing. Agencies can use this software to create individual platforms for each client, giving them a secure way to share sensitive documents.

Project Management Software

Free photo close up of modern laptop with rate charts on display while man and woman working on business project design. computer screen with data chart information and finance analysis on desk.
Figure 2 - Freepik

Task scheduling, management, and tracking are the fundamental components of these agency software and tools. Project management software allows you to take a large project and break it down into smaller tasks.

Each of those tasks gets assigned to team members, with the software giving all involved access so they can see the project’s timeline. Think of it as an advanced checklist – this software helps you to stay on track with complex projects.

Time Tracking Software

How much time does each member of your project team require for a task? Most agency owners don’t know because only 17% of people actively track their time.

Time-tracking software solves that problem.

Beyond basic recording of when an employee clocks in and out, it allows people to log the time they spend on tasks. That’s great for your agency – you see how efficient your people are – as well as for ensuring your billing appropriate hours.

Billing Software

Speaking of billing, you need software for that, too.

These agency software and tools are accounting applications. They help you to build an invoicing process and take payments from your clients. Again, some of these functionalities may be built into your all-in-one agency management tools. However, dedicated billing software often allows your accounting team to generate reports that other software can’t provide.

These reports can then inform future pricing and agency projections.

Resource Management Software

Every project has resources that you need to assign. People. Money. Technology. Equipment. Your agency has limited amounts of all, with efficient management of these resources being key to successful delivery.

Resource management software helps you to essentially itemize your available resources, after which you can assign them. This software is all about balance – it ensures your agency isn’t stretching beyond its means.

The 30 Agency Software and Tools You Need

Now that you understand the purpose each type of software serves, it’s time to dig into some specific tools. The following 30 are broken down into categories – matching the seven software types above – to help you make the right choices.

Best All-In-One Agency Management Software

Let’s start with the best all-in-one platforms for overseeing your agency.

Bonsai

Figure 3 – Bonsai

Bonsai advertises itself as the only business management tool that combines almost everything. Project management, invoicing, payments, time tracking, and CRM all fall under its umbrella, making it extremely versatile.

One of its most impressive features is its white labeling. When you send an invoice or report using Bonsai, it isn’t generic. Instead, you get to fill it with your branding – improving professionalism while offering clients a customized experience.

But that’s just one of a litany of features. Bonsai’s CRM capabilities allow you to maintain a full client list, with each client having their own dedicated section. You also get access to dozens of templates – ranging from invoices to contracts – that you can use for your projects.

Roll all that into an all-in-one package that lets you track individual projects and budgets to get a powerful app. It’s cost-effective, too. Even the “Starter” package – which costs $21 per month – offers access to all templated and unlimited project creation.

Zoho

Figure 4 - Zoho

Like Bonsai, Zoho offers CRM functionality. That CRM comes with a straightforward interface, making it simple to navigate. Better yet, Zoho offers hundreds of integrations – including Slack and MailChimp – so you can customize that CRM to your needs.

So, why isn’t it in the CRM category?

Because Zoho builds a ton of other features into the app to make it an all-in-one solution. Desk is software designed to aid your helpdesk in providing support to your clients. With Books, you get an accounting platform that can generate reports and help you send timely invoices.

The only problem comes from the fact that you don’t get the whole experience with the base version.

It’s not until you upgrade to the Enterprise version of Zoho that you get access to the complete CRM. That may be fine for smaller agencies – many of its more complex features may not be needed. But for larger companies, these agency software and tools are essentials, making the paywall a big barrier.

Productive

Figure 5 - Productive

Productive sets out its stall by marketing itself as a tool specifically for agencies. Where other all-in-one platforms take a broader strokes approach, Productive is dedicated to you.

In practice, that means this tool combines resource and task management with some helpful financial tools. Its customizable dashboards allow you to tailor the metrics you see to specific projects and break down the financial aspects to track budgets for them.

It also comes with a client portal – similar to a CRM, though more dedicated to your clients. You can use this portal to share documents, though it’s now quite as strong as other apps for client tracking.

The downside to the enhanced customization is that Productive can feel overwhelming. There are so many options. Though the app tries to guide you through as many as possible, the learning curve is steep enough to dissuade some agencies. But if you climb that curve, you get an app available for desktop and mobile devices that automatically sync changes across your entire account.

Plutio

Figure 6 - Plutio

The sheer number of features it offers sets Plutio apart from other all-in-one agency software and tools. Beyond the standard CRM, there are tools for scheduling, writing proposals, and managing your finances. Plutio can also link to your email client – giving you an inbox inside the tool – and offers a ton of forms relevant to agency projects.

Glance to the right, and you’ll see the notification bar. That bar keeps you on time with any deadline tasks, as well as offers an easy way to check in with team members. It all fits together very nicely, giving you a simple portal that you can customize for your needs. Don’t want its Timesheets feature? That’s fine – just delete it from your toolbar.

Unfortunately, the tool fails in the customer service department. There’s no live support, so expect to deal with a lot of automated email responses if you encounter an issue.

Best Customer Relationship Management Software for Agencies

A staggering 91% of businesses with over 10 employees use CRM software. If you don’t, you’re behind the curve. But that’s okay – you can fix the problem with these five agency software and tools.

Bonsai CRM

Figure 7 - Bonsai

Within Bonsai, you’ll find dedicated customer relationship management software with an integrated client portal. On the basic level, the client management portion lets you keep a central data store for your clients. New leads can be added alongside existing clients, all featuring notes for your sales and project teams as needed.

Then, you dig down into the portal side.

Whenever you start a new project with a client, you can create a dedicated portal for them. Within that portal, you can share important documents – such as designs and content – as well as the project task list. Your client receives full transparency. The same goes for your team. And thanks to Bonsai CRM, you can work together to ensure a project is delivered fully.

In the spirit of fostering collaboration, the platform also makes it easy to invite teammates and clients to a project. Add them, set access rights, and you’re ready to go.

Freshsales

Figure 8 – Freshsales

Freshsales stands out because it’s ideal for smaller agencies.

Why?

Its Free tier allows you to sign up three users and as many clients as you need. The forever-free plan is perfect if you’re just starting. Plus, you can scale up as needed, with business growth being accompanied by software expansion – for a price.

On the CRM side, the free plan doesn’t come with reports, making it less useful than its paid version. Freshsales – as the name implies – is also focused predominantly on sales. All the leads you add receive a score generated by AI to tell you their strength. You can then use several communication features – such as built-in calling, emails, and live chats – to get in touch.

The downside is that it doesn’t offer many project management features. Think of it as a sales and marketing tool. If you want something more project-focused, Bonsai CRM may be a superior choice.

Pipedrive

Figure 9 – Pipedrive

Integrations are the main selling point for Pipedrive – over 350 apps can be integrated, all available via its built-in marketplace.

That means you can make the CRM as complex (or as simple) as you want. But taking Pipedrive alone reveals a CRM that’s focused on lead storage and follow-up above all else. Like Freshsales, it helps you to make sales. Sadly, it doesn’t feature AI for lead scoring. But it makes up for that with the ability to develop unlimited sales pipelines, each tailored to a specific type of lead.

Customization is enhanced with API access, giving your agency’s coders a chance to tweak behind the scenes. Pipedrive also can automate manual data entry and updating tasks despite not utilizing AI for its features.

Sadly, the customization takes a hit if you’re subscribed to one of its lower-cost plans. You’ll find that some of the app’s best reports are locked behind paywalls, along with some of its customization options. You only get phone support if you pay for the highest tier, too.

HubSpot

Figure 10 – HubSpot

“Free CRM Software” is the marketing spin offered by HubSpot, and it’s accurate…for the most part.

It’s true that you’ll get several handy features with the free version of this powerful tool. The CRM lets you build deal pipelines – ideal for handling new leads – and features pipeline management tools that help you track effectiveness. HubSpot can also reveal interesting insights into your company. How much are you spending per lead? What about per sale? That information (and more) can be found in the CRM’s reports. That makes it a handy tool for tracking basic budgets.

Plus, you get handy – and free – integrations with Gmail and Outlook, so you can use it to send emails out to your list. If you’re looking for a client portal, HubSpot isn’t the app for you. But as a free sales and marketing tool, its only real competition is Freshsales.

Salesforce

Figure 11 – Salesforce

Salesforce is the behemoth of the CRM world. It has 150,000 users and counting, likely making it the CRM of choice for larger agencies. But therein lies an issue – Salesforce is geared more toward larger agencies than boutique firms.

It has no free plan and is among the most expensive CRMs on this list. Its professional suite – which includes reporting and quoting – will set you back $80 per month. Add to that a fairly complex user interface, and you may wonder why it’s made our list of agency software and tools.

The answer’s simple:

Get to grips with Salesforce and it offers more than any other CRM. The platform’s position as the world’s most popular means it provides integration to over 1,000 apps. It has customization options leaking from every pore and excellent lead management and scoring systems.

A small agency may not be able to get the most out of these features. But for those with hundreds of clients, Salesforce is among the most versatile solutions.

Best Client Portal Software for Agencies

A CRM helps you track clients and – potentially – make sales. With a client portal, you get a project management tool designed to make it easier for you to collaborate with those clients. They’re massive timesavers in projects. Clients love that – the average customer will pay 19% more if you can save time for them.

Bonsai CRM

Figure 12 - Bonsai CRM

You read a little about Bonsai CRM’s client portal features in the previous section. That means you know it lets you build client-specific portals for each of your projects.

Let’s dig a little deeper.

When you create a portal for your client, you’re able to invite all relevant stakeholders into that portal. Each gets access rights – defined by you – meaning you govern what they can and can’t see. For instance, let’s say you’re sharing a sensitive document. The client’s lead on the project needs to see that document, but nobody else on their team should. Bonsai CRM lets you assign access rights, so only the lead sees the information.

On a wider scale, the platform lets you create to-do lists – again, visible to clients – and even manage payments. Think of it as a communication tool as much as a project management one.

Bonsai

Figure 13 – Bonsai

It may share the same branding as its CRM, but the Bonsai all-in-one platform is a slightly different beast on the client portal front.

Bonsai incorporates Bonsai CRM as one of several features. That means you get the lead and client management from the above app, along with its client portal. But you also get more. White labeling lets you brand the portals you create to make them even more relevant to your clients. Plus, Bonsai comes with stacks of templates. Proposals. Contracts. Invoices. You can find them all in this client portal and brand each one to your client.

The app also features a handy scheduling suite. Again, that’s in the Bonsai CRM tool, too. But in Bonsai as a whole, it expands to cover scheduling across all projects and potential meetings.

Zoho

Figure 14 - Zoho

Zoho’s client portal focuses more on the financial aspect of client management rather than project specifics.

That said, it does have some tools related to your project. Chief among these is its hour-logging system. You can log the hours you’ve worked on the project – billed and unbilled – so your client sees where your time is going. Those hours are linked to a project, with you and the client also being able to add comments.

However, it’s the financial arena in which Zoho’s portal stands out. The portal links to Zoho Invoice, meaning you get a notification as soon as a client views or pays an invoice you’ve uploaded. Speaking of invoices, they’re made available to the client in invoice format as soon as they’re ready.

Ultimately, you get a smoother payment process with a portal dedicated to a single client. Plus, the system lets you upload estimates – with a comments feature for negotiating – to eliminate time-costing back-and-forth.

Productive

Figure 15 – Productive

Productive’s client portal comes in the form of an invitation system built into each project you create on the platform. You invite a client. They only see the projects related to their company. The key difference between this and other agency software and tools is that you invite the client as an actual user.

Thankfully, that invite doesn’t come with strings attached – all clients can join for free. Productive also hides your team’s work time and financial information, ensuring clients can’t dispute your billing. Of course, some may argue this isn’t a great thing in terms of transparency. So, you must decide whether you want clients to see billed hours – in which case, another software is better – or not.

Once you’ve invited a client, you can create a dedicated task board for them. Tasks that are private to your agency stay private, with you having manual control over what your client sees. The same goes for documents shared, which also come with a comments feature where you can use notifications to alert relevant people.

Best Project Management Software for Agencies

Over a third (36%) of agencies name “functionality” as the top feature of project management software. So, the five agency software and tools listed here focus on the functional aspect.

Bonsai Project Management

Figure 16 – Bonsai

Bonsai excels again thanks to the project management features built into its all-in-one tool.

On the management side, you’re able to build client-specific projects, with each allowing you to enter project-specific tasks. Those tasks allow you to assign a team member to their completion. Plus, you can add a date for completion so that the appointed member knows when the task needs to be done.

The software also links to Bonsai’s CRM. For instance, you can add notes related to a project on a client’s specific entry. Those notes are only visible to you – the client won’t see them unless you want them to – and can prove vital when working on a project.

Custom links (such as Dropbox folders) can be added, along with any files or forms relevant to the project. All are shareable with your clients. You can also add proposals, forms, and contracts – Bonsai provides templates for all three.

Asana

Figure 17 - Asana

Asana makes the bold claim that more Fortune 100 companies choose it ahead of other project management software. As many as a staggering 80%, in fact, with the tool claiming Amazon, Dell, and several others among its client list.

That’s likely because its software is among the most versatile on the market. Users can do the basics – create projects and set tasks to which they assign people – as well as design custom fields for their projects. You can also build forms into the system, making it easier to capture project details. Due times and dates can be set, with each task also coming with an option to add attachments and links. The tool also uses the Gantt project management timeline to help you visualize the tasks you’ve created.

It’s worth noting that the tool can be a touch finicky for new users, though. It only allows you to assign one person to each task. While it’s great for ensuring task ownership, it’s not ideal if you need several people working on a single task. It also doesn’t have a checklist system, instead opting to allow agencies to create subtasks under main tasks. The system works like a checklist but adds a layer of complexity that doesn’t need to exist.

Monday

Figure 18 – Monday

Monday’s free plan is its standout feature. Ideal for smaller agencies, the plan lets you use its main boards for project management with a catch:

You’re only allowed to add 200 items to the board.

That’s fine for simple projects. But if you’re working on something complex, you’ll have to upgrade to the paid version of the software. Assuming you do that, Monday proves itself an excellent collaborative tool because all assigned users are able to edit the task lists you create. It also incorporates visuals to give you a project timeline, though this feature could use work. Switching to a Gantt chart format, for instance, would make that timeline easier to manage.

However, it makes up for that shortcoming with some interesting agency-specific features. For instance, graphic design teams can create boards that help them to split work. There are also real estate boards that help you list properties and monitor their leasing or sale status.

ClickUp

Figure 19 - ClickUp

If you’re looking for customizable project management software, Clickup is a superb choice. It offers about a dozen ways to view your project’s information and progress – ideal if its standard visuals don’t fit the bill.

A chat feature is built in – enhancing collaboration – with its Team View, making it easier to assign tasks. Just head into Team View, choose a member, and follow the instructions to give a task to them. Speaking of tasks, each can be assigned a completion date and urgency level. The latter feature is handy for prioritization, which is something for which many similar apps don’t account.

It also comes with a free version, which gives you access to Gantt charts and Kanban boards. The only catch is that you have a five-project limit – easily removable if you upgrade to the “Unlimited” tier. The only real downside is that the sheer wealth of options can be intimidating to agencies with limited project management software experience.

Trello

Figure 20 – Trello

Trello calls itself a “productivity powerhouse,” and it’s hard to argue. On the base level, its project boards let you split tasks into “to-do,” “doing,” and “done” lists – a simple and elegant way to track progress. Each of those tasks has a user assigned, with commenting and deadlines built in. It’s essentially the Kanban system built into an attractive tool.

The software also works in real-time. As soon as a user makes an update – such as marking a task as complete – Trello updates so all relevant users can see. In fact, notifications are Trello’s strongest feature. Every update comes with an email or phone notification, making it ideal for managers tracking high-priority tasks.

However, this simplicity may also be Trello’s downfall. The app doesn’t include time tracking or any reporting tools, limiting its use for larger agencies. However, it makes up for that with third-party integrations, though that may prove annoying to agencies that just want to have it all in one place.

So, choose Trello for simplicity. But look for more customizable agency software and tools if an interactive to-do list with notifications isn’t enough.

Best Time Tracking Software for Agencies

Finances Online says that companies collectively lose $7.4 billion per day to unrecorded work activities. In an agency setting, that usually translates to unbilled work done as favors for clients. Time tracking software helps you get a true picture of how much your people do (and how much you should charge clients).

Bonsai Time Tracking

Figure 21 - Bonsai Time Tracking

With its in-depth time reports, Bonsai Time Tracking helps you see how much time your project teams really spend on tasks. That’s great for optimizing internal processes – you can actively see when time is being wasted on a task. But it’s also helpful for determining when tasks take longer than anticipated for legitimate reasons. With that information, you can adjust pricing to ensure you’re getting proper compensation for the value delivered to clients.

The platform integrates with Bonsai’s financial and project management software. You’ll see this in the invoices you can send – they allow you to enter time spent to the second. The tool also automates invoice creation by using the hours you log to create the invoices you send to clients.

Bonsai Time Tracking also includes useful features for individuals.

Take its email notifications as an example. You can set them to be delivered whenever the time tracker detects that a task is taking longer than you’ve assigned to it. So, you can keep an eye on when you’re accidentally spending irrelevant hours on a project.

Toggl

Figure 22 – Toggl

Toggl claims that its users experience a 25% increase in billable hours when using the software.

That alone would be reason enough to use it. But the app’s user-friendliness helps it to stand out from the crowd. Toggl delivers helpful reports – using graphs and pie charts – to visually represent the time you’ve spent on a project. That means you get an at-a-glance view as well as being able to dig into the weeds with more in-depth statistics.

Toggl also features activity detection. You can open an “active window” in the app through which you complete work. That window tracks how long you spend on a task, automatically adding it to your timesheet when you close the window. It’s simple, effective, and can even be used offline for those rare instances when your internet is down. Integrations are another plus point – Toggl integrates with Salesforce, Asana, and over 100 other agency software and tools.

Harvest

Figure 23 – Harvest

Harvest delivers apps for Mac, Windows, and mobile devices – sadly, no Linux – making it a good choice due to its sheer versatility. No matter which device you use, Harvest can sync your time-tracking so you don’t get mismatches muddying your numbers.

Its custom reminders are a standout feature. You tell the app when you need to start a task, and it’ll let you know when that time comes. It’s simple to use – you get a notification and hit the timer on. The app then tracks your time until you switch the timer off. Then, the time gets logged. Plus, the app links invoicing to the time you track, meaning all your billable hours are built into the invoices you send.

Granted, it’s somewhat limited in its billing increments. Where an app like Bonsai Time Tracking lets you bill to the second, Harvest is limited to six-, 15-, 30-, and 60-minute increments. That lack of flexibility is the price you’ll pay for the app’s simplicity.

Clockify

Figure 24 – Clockify

Any agency owner loves something for free, and with Clockify, they receive just that in a simple tool for individuals to track their time. You only need to pay if you want to add multiple users to a single account.

The app includes the standard timekeeping features you’d expect. Beyond time tracking, you get timesheets and a calendar to build out schedules. It also lets you clock in and out with its Kiosk feature – perfect for tracking time on a specific task. There are even some useful management features. For instance, project leads can use the app to log PTO and handle project invoicing.

So, you get a lot for a free package.

Sadly, the Kiosk is more complicated than it needs to be. Plus, the app contains no way to fix time entry errors automatically – you have to do it all on your own.

Best Billing Software for Agencies

The billing software market of agency software and tools is anticipated to grow to $8.45 billion by 2029 for a reason:

These tools are ideal for ensuring you receive on-time (and accurate) payments for your agency’s work.

Bonsai Invoicing

Figure 25 - Bonsai Invoicing

Automation across the board is the main reason to check out Bonsai Invoicing. You can trust the app to do everything from creating and sending invoices to shooting reminders to you and your client. If your agency charges late fees, you can even incorporate those into your invoicing, too. Bonsai will add the cost to the invoice as soon as it applies.

Bonsai Invoicing allows you to create recurring payments, making it perfect for package deals. For instance, your agency may offer SEO at a set monthly rate. Bonsai ensures your invoices for those subscriptions go out weekly, monthly, or quarterly, depending on your contract.

Client payments are as simple as invoice creation. The client simply chooses a payment method – card, PayPal, and ACH are available – and the percentage of their outstanding bill to pay. The app even retains your client’s preferred payment method.

QuickBooks

Figure 26 – Quickbooks

QuickBooks leans more towards the introductory side of invoicing agency software and tools. On the plus side, that makes it extremely easy to use. For smaller agencies – which may not have accounting teams – you get solid reports and simple methods of billing clients.

On the invoicing side, you can create customized invoices that break costs down for your clients. QuickBooks features overdue alerts tied to the dates in your invoices and automatic reminders to chase when a payment is late. There are also basic CRM features with a customer database, making it easy to track invoices you’ve already sent.

However, it’s not the best app to choose for scale. Even its top package caps you at 25 years, meaning larger agencies may have to look elsewhere.

Wave

Figure 27 – Wave

Another invoicing app focused on smaller agencies, Wave separates itself by offering a solid free package. Invoicing doesn’t cost a cent, with the tool even allowing customization and sending automated reminders on your behalf. You also get a handful of accounting tools, including income and expense tracking and reports for overdue bills.

But there’s a catch:

You can’t take payments without paying a fee.

The fee varies depending on the form of payment, though it’s typically a percentage plus a set charge. For instance, credit card payments come with a $0.60 fee and a 2.9% charge. So, the more payments you accept, the more likely it is that a subscription invoicing software will be better for you.

Xero

Figure 28 – Zero

You’ll get unlimited users no matter which subscription tier you choose for Xero. That makes it a versatile choice for agencies of all sizes, as do the hundreds of integrations built into the tool. You’ll find these integrated agency software and tools in the Xero App Store.

Chief among those integrations is Hubdoc, which you can use to capture receipts and bills automatically. As for Xero itself, it offers most of what you’d expect from invoicing. Customization is present, as are multiple payment options (bolstered by the apps in Xero’s store). You can create your invoices in the desktop and mobile versions of the app. Plus – like the other software in this section – Xero sends out reminders for bill payments automatically.

FreshBooks

Figure 29 – FreshBooks

FreshBooks is another invoicing software that focuses on smaller agencies, and you’ll see that in its subscription tiers. For instance, its high-end “Select” plan only allows you to install two users – a severe limitation. Plus, the lower tiers have those same user limits in addition to restrictions on the number of billable clients you can have.

So, why is Freshbooks on this list?

Its simplicity is a major plus point. But it stands out because it incorporates some time-tracking features that help you create more accurate invoices. For some, this may be enough to overlook its limitations, especially if only one or two people in the agency handle invoices. However, for larger agencies, a more scalable invoicing software is recommended.

Best Resource Management Software for Agencies

The average project manager runs between three and 20 projects at any given time. They need to be able to split your agency’s resources across those projects to keep everything running on time and within budget. These agency software and tools help them do that:

Bonsai Budgeting

Figure 30 – Bonsai

Bonsai incorporates several tools that help agencies budget time, money, and human resources for projects.

Take its project tracking features as an example. Those allow you to create tasks – to which you assign people – and build timelines. The latter feature is especially beneficial for seeing whether you’re under or over-committing individuals to a single project.

On the monetary side, Bonsai Budgeting helps you stay on top of your agency’s financials. All expenses you incur can be imported, with the app even capable of automatically applying tax write-offs when you file. That’s ideal for stretching your budgets as far as they can go. Its accounting features take that a step further, with the ability to split your budget into subcategories for bills, projects, and more.

BigTime

Figure 31 – BigTime

BigTime meshes time-tracking software capabilities with a clever availability checker. Each member of your team is entered into the app, with the tasks you assign being added to their calendar. BigTime then delivers visual representations –using percentages – illustrating over or under-booking somebody’s schedule. A minus percentage tells you somebody is overallocated, meaning there’s room to add tasks, with a positive meaning they’re overbooked.

With those numbers, you get an at-a-glance view of how your agency uses its human resources. Combine that with its task-setting features and billable hours tracking and you can maximize your people’s time.

Financials are also incorporated.

Users can set project budgets, utilization plans, and billable hours for each team member. Combining that information, BigTime creates reports to forecast a project’s profitability – or otherwise – for you.

Scoro

Figure 32 – Scoro

Scoro has many of the features you’d expect to see from all-in-one agency software and tools. It helps with project management, for instance, by allowing users to track tasks using a Gantt chart. Those tasks can be linked to dependencies – i.e., some tasks can’t be started until others conclude. The software also generates detailed reports for users, telling them what tasks are assigned and how much time they have for completion.

Additionally, the app has a CRM – great for your sales team – as well as in-depth reporting and dashboards.

And it’s in the dashboards that you see its resource management features. Scoro features handy pie charts that let you track the percentage of a team’s work assigned to different tasks. You’ll also see how much that work costs in comparison to the project’s budget – perfect for ensuring projects don’t go over scope. Alongside all of that information are projections for the entire agency. So, you get a solid picture of your incomings to help you manage your expenses.

All of this means you can manage your resources based on human availability and cost. The downside is that you’re paying all-in-one software prices for an app that’s more focused on resource management. At the Essential level, you’ll pay $26 per user – not ideal for larger agencies with big headcounts.

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