Apple's iPhone has more than 200,000 applications in its library, and the list is growing. But with so many options, how do you decide which apps are relevant to your work? Obviously, no one has the time or money to download and review them all.
Nor does anyone plan to start working full-time on a cell phone, but these apps can provide adequate functionality, when necessary, and save the day in a pinch by helping you take work on an iPhone.
1. ProOnGo Expense -- Free (Optional ProOnGo Receipt Reader - Subscription fees based on number of scanned receipts)
Even if your company already has an online expense program, this free application could make your employees' lives much easier, not to mention fewer errors for accountants to deal with. You and your employees can organize and track personal or business expenses, mileage, and time.
Users can manage their expenses on the iPhone using the app's options and features, or export the data to QuickBooks, an Excel spreadsheet, a CSV file, or in XML format. Since CSV data is also ASCII text data--with the fields separated by commas--you can export an expense report to any text-based application on any platform. You can use predefined expenses or add your own; choose from expense, mileage, or time; then just add the data requested by the other fields, such as vendor, category, date, description, and then watch the running total. Touchscreen buttons provide options to sort, export, save, and restore backups.
The Receipt Reader service, which takes a scanned or photographed receipt, deciphers the text on that document, and sends it back to your iPhone. This optional feature is provided for a subscription fee. Check out the ProOnGo Web site for more information.
2. Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite -- $9.99
The primary advantage of this app is the capability to view, create, open, and edit Microsoft Office files on your iPhone. Three weeks ago, my friends and I went camping in the mountains for a week. One friend who manages a small business received an e-mail from her boss about a project that she had completed before we left. He was in a panic over changes that had to be made. She opened the files on her iPhone, made the changes, and e-mailed the new documents back to him--all in less than 10 minutes. Need I say more? Check out their Web site for information about additional options, features, and updates such as remote access, compatible file formats, and available language versions.
3. Bump for iPhone -- Free
This app is so unusual, it's almost funny; however, it is an excellent time saver for company execs and employees who deal with lots of people, in person, on a daily basis. All you have to do is ask potential clients if they have Bump on their iPhone. If yes, then simply "bump" hands, and the two phones exchange contact data. Ten years ago, that would have seemed like magic.
Setup is easy; just follow the application's prompts. When you meet another 'Bumper", both users must open the app on both devices; bump hands while holding the phones, abd then confirm the exchange. The application checks for duplicates, and it compares contact lists for shared entries. So, next time you're at an office function and see everyone bumping hands, you'll know why. See the vendor's Web site for more information.
4. Workday (iTunes account required to download, and organization must also have a subscription account with Workday)
With companies receiving 300 résumés for every job opening, this app could help streamline the hiring process--through the management tasks, at least. But, more importantly, it's loaded with features that generally address human resource tasks. All companies have some form of an HR department, but in smaller and mid-size organizations, such staff may be limited to one or two individuals.
Workday allows management to review, approve, and sign off on employees' expense reports, time sheets, and vacation requests. It also provides a quick method for HR and purchasing departments to secure approval for new hires, terminations, requisitions, purchase orders, and other such documents. Plus, it's a breeze for remote workers to secure approval on any document. Be aware, however, that although Workday for iPhone is free, the core application, Workday Solutions, is not. This program requires a subscription to Workday. Review the vendor's Web site for more information about this application and its benefits and limitations.
5. SurePayroll Mobile Payroll (Cost based on payroll frequency and number of employees)
If your company has an in-house accountant, then payroll may not be an issue. But if you use a firm, or contract out your payroll to another payroll management service, this application may save money and provide the convenience of working through your iPhone.
SurePayroll provides a long list of features, including calculating wages and deductions, managing payroll taxes, issuing checks or direct deposit funds to your employees, providing 24/7 online access to files, sending alerts, and providing labor law information. The service also includes tight security protocols, employee self-service options, HR tools and support, time clock options, and accounting software integration with programs such as QuickBooks, Peachtree, and MYOB. Check out the SurePayroll Web site for more options and features.
Many of the business applications I researched for this story were advertised as free, but were not really free. Maybe the app was free, but it was a useless, non-functioning waste of space unless you owned the sister application through direct purchase or a subscription-based service. In other words, the car was free, but the gas cost extra and, with gas--like subscription services--you have to keep buying it over and over again. So, be sure to read between the lines when you're downloading.