In June, the U.S. inflation rate hit a 40-year high of 9.1%, taking a big bite out of consumers buying power at the grocery store, the gas station, and everywhere in between. The Federal Reserve is aggressively hiking interest rates in an effort to combat this, which puts further pressure on household finances. This economic climate is crushing companies that rely on consumer spending to generate revenue, particularly in the technology sector.

Investors looking for alternatives might want to consider buying shares in companies that draw their revenue from other sources, like businesses. Those that sell software designed to improve a business's operating efficiency have some advantages because saving money and generating more sales is a top priority for companies right now.

Bill.com (BILL 2.59%) and Workiva (WK 1.52%) fit that description. Share prices in each company are down between 53% and 63% from their all-time highs, thanks largely to the broader market's souring on tech stocks in 2022. But here's why these two software stocks should be near the top of every investor's wish list at the moment.

1. Bill.com wants to eliminate the paper trail

Running a small business is complicated. Owners typically wear multiple hats, including operator, bookkeeper, and financial controller, so it's common for them to lose track of messy administrative tasks like managing paperwork. Bill.com aims to solve that problem with a portfolio of software services designed to bring payment workflows into the digital era -- from budgeting to accounts payable to accounts receivable.

Bill.com's flagship cloud-based platform allows businesses to receive or upload invoices to a single digital inbox, where they can pay with a single click and automatically sync the transactions with their bookkeeping software. And thanks to its acquisition of Invoice2go last year, business customers can also issue invoices and track incoming payments from customers.

By the end of fiscal 2022 (ended June 30), Bill.com counted more than 400,000 businesses as customers across all of its platforms. The company's revenue soared by 169% for the fiscal year to $642 million, and it expects to back that up with up to 52% growth in fiscal 2023, which could see sales top $973 million. It's a loss-making enterprise right now, but that shouldn't concern investors given how quickly it's growing.

Also, Bill.com's net retention rate sits at 131% at the moment, which means each new customer it acquires is very likely to be expanding its purchases in the following year. So investing in growth at the expense of profitability makes plenty of sense for Bill.com.

But it's the long term that should really excite investors. Bill.com estimates that its global opportunity could exceed $125 trillion in payment volume annually from more than 70 million small to mid-sized businesses. Since the company draws most of its revenue based on transaction volume on its platforms, capturing an increasing share of that market could mean its run of incredible growth will continue long into the future.

2. Workiva has the ESG revolution in its sights

What exactly is ESG? It stands for environmental, social, and governance, and it provides a framework designed to help organizations evaluate their operations in a way that looks beyond just financial results and shows their broader impact on the world around them. Workiva thinks helping companies comply with ESG guidelines is the next big growth opportunity for its business. It already helps companies manage their data, so moving into ESG monitoring and reporting feels like a natural progression.

Workiva's platform provides managers with visibility in the digital age. Companies are moving their operations online at an accelerating pace, which allows employees to collaborate through dozens of different applications -- no matter where in the world they're located. That's a nightmare for managers who need to monitor progress and aggregate results for reporting purposes.

Workiva can seamlessly pull data from applications like Salesforce, Microsoft Excel, and Snowflake into one simple dashboard. From there, managers can access hundreds of reporting templates, including for regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, for example. Since the information is being drawn directly from its sources, Workiva's platform can serve as a single source of information about a company's operations.

Workiva management estimates the company will generate $535 million in revenue for the whole of 2022, marking 20% growth from 2021. But the portion of its customers spending the most money is expanding at an even more impressive rate. In the second quarter of 2022 (ended June 30), those spending $300,000 or more annually with Workiva jumped 22% compared to the year-ago period, and those spending $150,000 or more grew by 28%.

Those figures highlight the need for Workiva's platform among large organizations, which are typically more complex. Tackling ESG metrics is the next frontier, and the company says it's investing heavily in improving its offering in that area. This could be a $5 billion annual market by 2025, so investing in this company certainly feels like a wise move.