PSA Software for Small Business buyers guide by Inspector Jones

We’ve reviewed 36 contenders for Professional Services Automation or PSA Software for small businesses. If you’re looking for a way to run your growing professional services business, including project management, accounting, sales, billing/invoicing and more, then review and compare the best here.

PSA Software for Small Businesses

Netsuite / Openair

Our independent review for Professional Services Automation software selected Netsuite and Openair as the best choice for small businesses. We chose Netsuite because of their wide range of features, specialising in small and medium business needs, and good track record with a large number of satisfied customers.

To help you, I’ve put together a shortlist of the 9 top solutions below. Be aware that the PSA software industry is very varied, so the best option for you will depend on your specific needs. I recommend you review, at a minimum, all 9 on our shortlist to see which is best for your unique business needs.

The PSA Software for Small Business Shortlist

We’ve reviewed dozens of different PSA software packages on the market, for small and medium Professional Services organisations. This shortlist is the best-of-the-best - enterprise-grade solutions that are proven, well-maintained, and being actively developed. Also, see the full list of PSA software…

What PSA Software can do for you

As a small and growing business, good quality PSA software should:

  • Improve your project success - delivering better quality projects, on-time and on-budget, through better project planning and management
  • Allow you to run closer to 100% capacity (not being overbooked or underbooked) with better planning and scheduling.
  • Save you time, by automating common tasks and reducing the number of errors
  • And possibly, help you make more sales - with a better sales process and sales pipeline

This type of software is usually quite broad - and depending on the solution, may cover finance, accounting, HR, project management, sales, CRM and more - but with rather simple functionality. It should work straight “out-of-the-box” with little or no customisation.

What Small Business PSA Software Won't Do

You’ll find that PSA software for small businesses is usually rather basic compared to large business ERP solutions. This will work well for organisations up to a few hundred employees. There is PSA software for larger businesses, which is much more complex and comprehensive.

Here are the things that smaller business PSA software won’t usually do:

  • Advanced HR functionality - like recruitment, performance management, talent management, analytics
  • ERP functionality - like inventory management, sales orders, warehouse, shipping, manufacturing and distribution
  • Global functionality to deal with multi-national organisations needs - multiple languages, currencies, and dealing with different regulations across borders
  • Complex risk, compliance or regulatory needs
  • Marketing automation (although some will include email marketing)
  • Industry-specific needs (many of the larger PSA vendors provide pre-configured installations, ready to suit your exact industry).

PSA Software Features to Look For

As a small and growing business, you need a way to better plan and manage your operations without all the hassle. Look for software that ‘just works’ and doesn’t require enormous amounts of customisation, and fits into your way of working. Plan to be up and running fast, for scheduling, project management and cost accounting.

I recommend using the following features as a starting point to shortlist, compare and select PSA software:

Standard PSA Software Features

I recommend you look for PSA software that does most, if not all of the following:
  • Project management - estimating/quoting, project accounting, tracking, status reporting, project portfolio management
  • Resource management - resource planning and scheduling, with a future calendar
  • Timesheets and Expense reports
  • Billing / invoicing your clients
  • Reporting / dashboards and business intelligence

Other features to look for

Beyond the basic features, I recommend you consider whether you need PSA software that includes:
  • Human resources & payroll
  • Financial / cost accounting
  • Sales - including Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and tracking sales leads
  • Some type of team collaboration (different software will do this very differently) - look for the ability to have an intranet, and document management functions

Fits your needs

All PSA software is different, and it's important to review how any software will fit your organisation. This varies from business-to-business, so make sure you understand your needs well. I recommend you look for:
  • Your workflow - you may need to adapt the way that you work to suit the software, or you may find software that suits your existing workflow. Expect some changes to your business processes.
  • Technology - especially what desktop computers (e.g. some PSA software might suit a Mac environment better) and mobile devices people use
  • Security / user management - can you set different permissions for different staff members? Are these granular enough to suit your needs?
  • Compliance / regulatory needs vary from industry to industry - make sure that your PSA software has the necessary audit and data security that you require
  • Integration with your email system
  • Access for staff who are out-of-the-office - on mobile devices or from home

PSA for IT Service Providers

All PSA Software

We’ve reviewed the following PSA software. While only some of them made the Inspector Jones shortlist, these are still great options. The following PSA systems are all enterprise-grade, and meet our listing criteria.