In a relatively short period of time, the smartphone has become the must-have accessory in the world of business.
It was not long ago that a mobile phone was only capable of one primary task – enabling a user to send and receive calls. Today, the mobile phone has evolved into the smartphone, a device that can do everything from enabling a user to send and receive calls (how quaint), utilize instant messaging between users, record and capture high definition pictures and video, act as a GPS unit, search the web, and of course, play games. In many ways, the name “smartphone” is actually somewhat of a misnomer as most of the personal devices classified as smartphones are in actuality a powerful, pocket sized personal computer.
While many of the features mentioned above are meant to provide nothing more than entertainment to the average user, the smartphone has become an invaluable piece of necessary hardware for those in the business world. A smartphone can now be considered as a personal assistant of sorts. Its capable of helping you manage tasks that once would have meant being locked to a desk in an office and relying on the assistance of others. You can now manage and perform multiple tasks all with your phone, from sending and receiving faxes to taking care of the company payroll, to updating your personal calendar – you can take care of business anywhere at any time.
Smartphones continue to evolve and become even more versatile, but a smartphone will only be as smart as the person using it. The following business apps can bolster productivity and help you keep your business running smoothly no matter where you are.
If organization is not your strong suit, you can gain a helping hand from your Android. A useful app for organization can assist in productivity by keeping track of things so you never miss an appointment, lose a contact or forget anything pertinent to your day to day business needs.
Jorte for Android – This app will assist you in keeping many facets of your business in order. Jorte is capable of synching with Google Calendar, scheduling appointments and will assist you in making your to-do list. It also has a comprehensive calendar that provides an overview of any important dates in the near future.
Evernote for Android, iPhone and Blackberry – Extends beyond the notion of a virtual notebook by recording and managing information in a number of different ways. You can write notes to yourself, record sound bites, and even take pictures of things you need to remember. All of the information you note can be synched to your personal computer too.
Calendroid Pro for Android – More of an upgrade to the stock Android Calendar, Calendroid retains many of the features of Android’s built in calendar but also supplements them with a few new features such as a timeline slider that enables switching views without tabs. The slider can be adjusted to present between 1 day and two weeks. Tap an event on your calendar and a pop-up with a brief summary of the event appears without having to access the entire calendar, tap twice for a more complete and detailed view.
Faxing used to be a tedious process of sending and receiving via land lines and acres of curled, wasted paper. Welcome to the 21st century, where faxing can be completed via smartphone. Metro Fax mobile fax for Android and iPhone – With its innovative camera-to-fax ability you can take a picture with your smartphone camera and send it as a fax.
It’s as simple as choosing a recipient, snapping a picture, add an optional cover sheet if you choose and tap “Send Fax” – boom, done! A couple of years ago something like this was simply not possible, now you can send and receive vital information anywhere, anytime.
Payroll Guru for Android and iPhone – Calculate net pay, Medicare, Social Security, Federal and State withholding, disability insurance, paycheck amount distribution and much more. It’s fast, accurate and also capable of handling pre-tax and after tax deductions.
Surepayroll for Android and iPhone – Maintain and track payroll in two different ways. 3-Screen method; log in to your SurePayroll account, enter payroll information, preview and approve. Or, use the One-Click method instead; if your monthly payroll info doesn’t vary too much you can complete your entire payroll process with one click. (*Note: must already be an existing SurePayroll client to use the app).
Inventory Control and Management apps can assist you in a variety of ways, from checking if you carry an item in your inventory to verifying the accuracy of recorded inventory levels and actual stock on-hand. Anventory for Android – Track and manage inventory easily and from anywhere. Scan UPC, ISBN and EAN numbers, add item thumbnails, export data to xls, with cloud synching and full administration functionality coming soon this app is essentially an inventory managers assistant.
Cashbook Expense Tracker
Expense tracking can be a burden at the best of times, but having to rely on your personal home or office computer to complete entries is even more of a hindrance. Cashbook Expense Tracker for Android – Track and maintain expenses, income, mileage, sales, receipts, taxes, and most other book keeping related tasks. Choose from 27 of the most used currencies in the world; maintain company vehicle information all within a user extendable database.
Toshl for Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Nokia, Maemo and Windows Phone- The latest update (version 1.6) of this app includes some fantastic updates such as budget setting with auto reminders for when you are close to exceeding it. Budgets can be weekly, daily or monthly time spans. Also of particular use is the recurring expenses feature that can automatically add your monthly non-flexible expenses. Passcode locking and data exporting (to csv, pdf, excel, and Google docs) round off this update nicely.
VAT Calculator for Android – allows users to calculate VAT value and inclusive price in a converted exclusive price and vice versa. The app proposes European taxes and values are rounded to two decimals.
Sales Tax/Vat Calculator
Sales Tax/VAT calculator for Android – Displays Sales Tax/VAT and total, calculate discounts and deduct tax from a total price in real time as you enter values. Also includes a discount calculator so you’ll know the exact cost for discount items. Deduct tax from a total price, use the built in memory functions and even customize button, text and background if you wish.
The way we do business continues to change and evolve as business needs continue to grow and expand. Apps like the ones mentioned here will enable everybody from a local small business owner to a burgeoning global company to take care of business anywhere, anytime, in the most convenient way currently possible – from the palm of your hand and a tap of your smartphone.
Bill Zimmerman is a DIY small business entrepreneur from the pacific north west with over two decades of business management experience. With the whole world going online he feels it is time to catch up with the rest of the rat race, exploring new resources and sharing some that he’s found along the way.
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