Thanks to the development of slick, user-friendly budgeting apps, managing your event’s finances is easier than ever. This is good news for those who’d normally throw their head in their hands at the thought of tackling spreadsheets and money data – a less-than glamorous task that often winds up being one of the most painful parts of event planning.
Budgeting is key for any event, though – no matter how big or small it is. It’s the thing that keeps all of those spinning plates, well… spinning. The staff payroll, the travel costs, the venue hire, the equipment, the insurance and the contingency costs; they’re elements can soon get out of control when you don’t have a clear view of your event’s finances.
So, back to those user-friendly (life-saving?) apps that can turn all of this headache-inducing stuff into a walk in the park. We’ve rounded up what we think are the best on the market right now, focusing specifically on apps that don’t have that heavy, corporate-software feel, but offer a kinder, more accessible approach to money-management. The point being that you shouldn’t have to be a ‘finance’ person to use these apps – that would kind of defeat the object, right?
Let’s get started.
Mint markets itself as a great way to manage your money for free. It’s angled towards personal use, but there’s absolutely no reason it can’t be used for event planning – especially if you’re a sole trader or running a small-to-medium sized operation. The app lets you set up custom budgets and track your spending, and also monitors your subscriptions to help you find places to make savings.
We love its contemporary, clean feel – it’s really uncluttered and there’s zero jargon or off-putting processes to navigate.
The budget planner part of the tool is super-easy to use, letting you set up categories within your budgets and easily edit them without a spreadsheet in sight. It then automatically categorizes transactions for you, keeping things really accurate and your spending on-track. The subscription tracker element of Mint is also useful in helping you maintain full visibility over your finances – great if you subscribe to event industry tools or publications.
Quickbooks is one of the leading (and most heavily marketed) accountancy tools around. We reckon it’s probably so popular because it marries really robust features with a user-friendly interface. And it’s geared just as well towards sole traders and smaller businesses as it is to larger operations, providing a variety of subscription options to cater to these different sectors.
In terms of the features on offer, it’s hard to beat this platform, which may suit your needs better if you run a company with employees (as opposed to one of the apps that are geared to single-use).
With a Quickbooks Online Plus account, you can create budgets based on your accounting data. You can then review and edit these as you wish, and run financial reports to compare your actual sales and expenses with your budget.
We think this app is particularly useful for those who run events across the year as a business because it lets you set up monthly, quarterly or yearly budgets. You can easily copy budgets too, so you don’t have to set them up afresh each time.
Pricing: £6 – £15 per month depending on the size of your business.
Again, this app is marketed towards personal use, but its set of features make it perfect for event planning on a small-to-medium scale too. It lets you set up budgets and savings accounts, and track your income and expenses, all while offering a pretty unique and user-friendly approach to visualising your data. This involves what Toshl calls a ‘River Flow’ graph, which uses coloured bands to demonstrate how likely it is that money’s going to run out for specific budgets.
It also visualises monthly overviews really nicely, and let’s you compare your finances over a longer period of time too. Budgeting-wise, Toshl lets you set up categories, so you can tag expenses to different budgets or categories within budgets, which we think is pretty useful. Generally, this is a forward-thinking and innovative-feeling brand that lacks the fuss and complexity of bigger budgeting softwares. And that counts for a lot, in our book.
Pricing: Lots of different subscription options starting at $2.99 per month, going up to a one-off payment of $119.99 for 36 months.
Lola promises to help you ‘get in control with budgets’, and to save you a ton of time in the process. The app is totally focused on budgeting, making sure that every transaction you make is assigned to a specific budget. It also has a strong focus on travel, which can be useful if you run an event planning business – you can give employees their own Lola card to help keep all spending and expenses on-budget with minimal hassle.
It also offers automated expense reporting, and syncs up with other leading accountancy software like QuickBooks, Xero and Netsuite.
Pricing: Free plans available, as well as bespoke packages which are priced individually.
And that’s our round-up of the most user-friendly budgeting apps for events planners in 2021. Keeping tabs on your spending and making sure your events not only stay afloat – but thrive – is about to get a whole lot easier. Nice.