We recently consulted with a local business that needed a project management and accounting solution. And we were so blown away by all the great (and occasionally free) products out there that we thought we’d share some of what we found.

This blog is for anyone looking for an affordable way to stay on top of ongoing projects, schedules, customer relations, or any of the other myriad daily processes involved with operating a business.

Cost: Free or paid $12 for basic package with unlimited projects.
Type: Cloud based web app
This app allows you to create projects, add tasks to the project, and then track expenses as each task is completed. Since it’s web based, team members can use the app to collaborate via any device that can run a web browser. This means that team members can access the app at remote sites via their mobiles devices. The app also comes with invoicing and time management tools, allowing you to schedule resources, track expenses, and invoice customers from the app. This app would be great productivity app for anyone. But I especially recommend it for the business owner who wants to spend their time managing their business, not learning an overly complicated software application.

Cost: $10-15 depending on how many projects you want to store.
Type: Cloud based web app.
This app has a steep learning curve, but is very comprehensive. It combines project tracking, budgeting, and human resource management tools. If you’re versed in using Microsoft Project, you’ll feel right at home. Otherwise the steep learning curve might discourage some users.

Cost: Free!
Type: Local installation.
This software application touts itself as a free open source alternative to Microsoft Office. As such it comes with many of the great features mentioned in the above listed Gantt Project App. It also features the same steep learning curve. It does feature mobile integration, so team members can check in and track projects from anywhere.

Cost: Free or paid
Type: Cloud based web app.
This is a nice, simple project tracking app.
Sub-contractors can access the app via their phones to receive project information and mark tasks and subtasks as completed.
The downside is that there doesn’t appear to be any budget tracking features.

Cost: Free or paid
Type: Cloud based web app.
This app has a number of great features for managing leads, customers, invoices, deals, and projects – in fact too many to mention. It even has video chat features right in the app. Another great feature is that it’s designed to integrate with facebook, which turns this app into a great tool for leveraging the power of social media. When I say that this app has too many features to mention, I’m not kidding. If you can’t find a given feature in this app, then you probably don’t need it to begin with. The downside is that the interface is distracting to the point of making it difficult to use. If you can get over that, however, this is a great tool. Especially in the realm of lead management and conversion.