Over the past five years, we’ve all become dependent on some mobile app or other, whether it’s the de rigeur standards of Facebook and Twitter, hobbyist obsessions like Pinterest and Words With Friends, or even addictive compulsions that defy reason, like the insidious Candy Crush. App-based business models have sprung to success in the most unpredictable ways and via unorthodox channels, to the point where names like Uber and Fitbit are gaining household recognition across the globe. But apps aren’t all about fun and time-wasting. In business terms, mobile applications have become a way of life.
Don’t Rule Out Old School Apps! NerdWallet.com includes well-known names among its top picks for Business Apps this year:
For financial management, QuickBooks continues to be a solid contender for the top accounting app. It helps you run your business and provides a full sense of your company’s financial health. You can use it to track your business’s sales and expenses, view financial statements, pay employees and vendors, receivables and much more. It connects to thousands of accounts — including your business bank account, credit cards, PayPal and Square — and uploads data from these sources seamlessly. It also makes doing your business taxes much easier, as it tracks your expenses and lets you upload photos of receipts with your phone.
With QuickBooks Online, you can access QuickBooks on your iPhone, iPad, Android phone or Android tablet. Plans range in cost from US$10 to $24 for the first six months and US$13 to $40 per month thereafter, plus a 30-day free trial. It’s free to download with your QuickBooks Online subscription.
Competitors have tried to knock Skype off its videoconferencing throne, but the app remains effective and popular, with more than 8 million reviews on Google Play. You can use it to transmit photos and files of any size, share your computer screen, call a group of up to 25 people and send text messages, all at a fraction of the cost of traditional telecoms.
The basic version of Skype is free. If you want to upgrade, Skype for Business starts at US$5 per user per month. It integrates with Microsoft Office and allows you to hold online video meetings and calls with up to 250 people. The app is free to download and works on all devices and operating systems.
For making and taking payments, PayPal continues to solidify its position among the most reliable methods of handling online transactions. The platform lets you link your credit, debit and other bank accounts to your PayPal account, making paying and getting paid quick and painless. PayPal’s standard merchant service plan is free and allows you to accept credit cards and PayPal on your site and in-store.
The Pro plan costs $30 per month and comes with added features, including the ability to host and customize online checkout. Both options charge 2.7% per swipe for mobile and in-store payments, 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually entered sales, and 2.9% plus 30 cents for online payments and invoicing.
Staying organised is the challenge for many organisations, ironically, and Nerdwallet.com says Evernote is “the app for syncing notes across mobile and desktop devices.” Evernote’s free version lets users upload up to 60 megabytes of data per month. The Plus version costs $34.99 per year but features monthly uploads of 1 gigabyte and allows you to access notes when you’re offline and save emails to the app.
The Premium version costs $69.99 per year and offers 10 GB of data per month and many other features. Evernote for business costs $12 per user per month and comes with added features.
In A League Of Their Own: The Business App Hall Of Fame
Dropbox Boasting 500 million users, Dropbox is the most popular platform on which to store and share files on the cloud. It’s especially useful for companies that need a reliable way to share information with telecommuters.
Dropbox offers a free, basic plan for individuals and a pro plan for $8.25 per user per month. Teams with more than five employees can buy the business plan for $12.50 per user per month. It also offers free trials and works on all devices and operating systems.
MailChimp This email marketing tool helps you build and manage your mailing lists, and easily create and send newsletters. You can also build and customize email templates and view performance reports about your emails. This information can help you send your customers more relevant emails.
MailChimp’s pricing depends on the number of subscribers you have. It’s free to send up to 12,000 emails per month if you have up to 2,000 subscribers.
Polaris Office Polaris Office is a reliable alternative to Apple’s iWork that lets you edit, create and sync Microsoft Office files from anywhere on your phone or device. The basic version is free, while the smart version costs $3.99 per month and the pro version costs $5.99 per month. The latest version of the app received a rating of four out of five stars on Google Play and was named 2015’s best app by the site.