Friday Findings - Oct 21, 2011

This is a new series of blog posts where we highlight web-based tools we think are interesting and can help your small business.

Today’s topics: Xero, Instapaper & Insightly


Xero is a web-based accounting system that we’ve really enjoyed using to handle the books at RareStep. Why we like it:

  • Beautiful, user friendly software that almost makes accounting fun. Almost. We found it much more enjoyable to use than Quickbooks Online. 
  • It saves a bunch of time. Setting up things like automatic bank feeds and recurring invoices sped up boring bookkeeping tasks so we could focus on more important things.
  • It’s web-based so you can log in to check the health of your business from anywhere. They even have a great iPhone app.
  • The  Xero Help Center is really, really good.
  • Very affordable at $20 - $40 per month.


Instapaper is a “simple tool to save web pages for reading later.”

There’s so much great content to read on the web, but it can be hard to keep up without sitting in front of a computer all day. Instapaper lets you save web pages and articles to read later on your iPhone or iPad. It strips out everything other than the main content so you can read it like a book or magazine article.

We use it to save articles we come across and read them later when we have the time (such as waiting in line somewhere or at the doctor’s office).


Insightly is a refreshing simple CRM system that’s tightly integrated with Google Apps. We love it because:

  • Seriously simple, yet very effective. There are a lot of bloated CRM systems today but your business may not need all the extras. It’s nice to use a system that just does the basics really well.
  • Tight integration with Google Apps makes it easy to manage users, share documents and attach emails to CRM records.
  • Awesome relationship support. Insightly lets you easily track more than just employee/employer relationships. Keeping up with who knows whom and how you met different people is important for building solid connections that will help your business grow.
  • Free for up to three users, then jumps to $29/month.
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