mobile apps mean paperless billingApps are wonderful – we know that. They can be fun, innovative, eye-catching and unexpected but many businesses don’t realise that apps can make an incredible difference when it comes to saving time and money, as well as increasing productivity and efficiency. We’ve rounded up a collection of some truly ground-breaking tools to change the way you work for the better.

Productivity-boosting apps

1. Time management: TimeDoctor

TimeDoctor is a time management software with advanced time, activity and productivity monitoring features. The software is designed not only as a tracker for total time worked by every person on your team, it also provides a breakdown on how much time is spent on projects (clients), and specific tasks. TimeDoctor also monitors Internet use during work hours. Notifications will pop up if you spend excessive amounts of time on social media channels like Facebook, YouTube, and other personal web browsing activity.

TimeDoctor is currently available as a web app, desktop app, and a mobile app.

2. Business cards and contact details: CamCard

With the CamCard app you’ll never lose a contact’s number again. The app converts business cards in 16 languages into digital contacts. Take a photo of a card and the app will transcribe it into a smartphone’s contacts list. You can share them digitally, organise the cards into groups, add notes and set reminders. Everything is stored securely in the cloud and you’ll be notified when a contact changes company or gets promoted.

The app is more than a filing service; it enhances the experience of working remotely and in a paperless environment. In addition to saving you time in filing paper cards (and manually searching for a single card), your e-cards go wherever your smart device goes. Say goodbye to your office desk and Rolodex and hello to making and exchanging contacts on the spot when you need those details most. Suddenly networking has become a great deal faster and more productive!

Cost: Free 30-day trial once users have created a company admin account. Team and Business plans cost £3 and £8/month per user respectively.

3. Time and resource management: Harvest

Designed for both individuals and teams wanting to look at how their time and resources are used, Harvest allows users to track, analyse and bill for their time. Visual reports show how business time is spent and the intuitive interface is better than a timesheet. You can create online invoices and receive payments quickly through PayPal, Stripe and other providers.

Instantly enjoy paperless expense tracking by snapping a photo of receipts and the app will log them with any details you include. Invoices take into account project hours and expenses and the app generates reports to keep business users abreast of how their time and money is being spent. It’s much easier to see where improvements can be made with such clear presentation, and the app does the work of several people who would normally be responsible for gathering these details and sending them off to clients or Accounts.

Cost: Free 30-day trial with Solo, Basic and Business accounts costing £8, £32 and £64 per month respectively. For iPhone and Android users.

4. Wi-Fi Finder

Speaking of mobile working – it all goes a bit pear-shaped when a Wi-Fi hotspot can’t be found! With this simple but effective app for iOS and Android, you can discover the nearest free and paid-access Wi-Fi locations (and directions to them). The Honeycomb version reveals an astonishing 550,000 locations in 144 countries.

You can also install the offline database if you’re not sure about where and when Wi-Fi will be available on a business trip. This means no productive time is wasted, whether you’re in a café waiting for your next meeting to start or sitting at a bus stop with 20 minutes free to file an expense report. Get it from Google Play or the iTunes Store and use it to Skype with colleagues when you’re on the go.

Cost: Free.

5. Eliminating clutter: Evernote

When it comes to keeping track of all the little things that clutter up our desks and really shouldn’t be overlooked, the Evernote app is the office pro. Sticky notes, business cards, to-do lists, reminders and new contact details – Evernote’s virtual notepad files everything, and it’s all searchable on Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

You won’t have to waste another moment looking for Bob Smith’s contact details and the date you’ve arranged to meet about Widget Express. It’s all there and waiting for you.

Cost: Free up to 60MB per month, with Plus and Premium accounts costing £19.99 and £34.99 per year respectively.

6. Teamwork without email: Asana

As a project management tool, this app has got things down to a fine art.  Its shared task list lets team members see what has been assigned to them while a manager is out of office. Meanwhile a manager can keep track of their progress and send files through Dropbox as the app syncs in real time with the web-based version.

Asana keeps everyone organised and productive even when working apart or without direct supervision. ‘Teamwork without email’ is its catchphrase, and it’s an interesting concept given the popularity of remote working and flexible office arrangements.

The app is available on iOS, Android and on the web for die-hard fans. Many businesses will find it helpful for workload and calendar management, creating to-do lists and organising the team calendar. In short, it will keep the details and the deadlines straight. It can also be connected to tools such as HipChat, Slack channels, Chrome, Google Drive and many more.

Cost: Free for a team of up to 15 people.

Money-saving apps

7. Expense reporting: Nexonia

This expense report app for iPhone and Android can put an end to needless haemorrhaging of funds during business trips as items can be approved on a case-by-case basis. No one likes filing crumpled receipts and filling out forms once a trip is over. But it’s been shown that the companies best able to control spending and meet policy compliance are the ones that use mobile apps to tackle their expense reports – a simple solution to a tedious problem is bound to be popular.

With the Nexonia app, users enter expenses (including photos of receipts) and submit them for approval, or work offline and submit later. The reports are synchronised to Nexonia’s cloud and are immediately available from the web interface, too.

Cost: Free 30-day trial once users have signed up for a Nexonia account. Download it from the Apple App Store, Google Play store and BlackBerry App World.

8. Travel accommodation: Roomer

All too often we hear of local hotels putting up their prices after a flight has been cancelled, or that the most conveniently located hotel to a professional convention is fully booked. Planning a business trip, tackling a last-minute meeting rescheduling or dealing with unplanned accommodation can mean a simple process turning into a complicated headache. But with this app for iOS and Android you can turn the reservations process to your advantage. Discover the prepaid hotel rooms no longer needed in locations handy for you and at very good prices.

You can also sell hotel reservations you no longer need by submitting the details and the price you’d like on the app, which will post them to the marketplace and you’ll be paid when your room is sold. You won’t have to worry if a business trip needs to be extended a day or two and your current hotel is sold out and finding a room won’t mean having to ring a number of hotels in the search for a vacancy and a reasonable rate.

Cost: Free.

9. File protection: My Secret Folder

Remember the old chestnut ‘A stitch in time saves nine’? For 79p you can save your business a huge amount of grief and possibly income lost to fraud with this little iOS app. Available in the iTunes Store, it protects your documents, data and phone if it gets stolen. One of its most talked-about features is taking a photo of any user who tried to log in with a wrong password. The photo, with the time, date and location it was taken, is emailed to you and whatever police force you wish. (Be sure not to confuse this app with Microsoft’s MySecretFolder program, though!)

With more and more employees carrying around sensitive (but not always secure) files on their smart devices, it makes sense to protect them – something all professional organisations owe to their customers and themselves.

Cost: 79p.

 

Who’d have thought businesses could get so much for so little? With most of these apps costing absolutely nothing there’s no reason not to try a few of them to test their savings benefits. You may see a big difference in the way a project is handled or a small number in the expenditure column at the end of the month, but whatever the result apps are here to stay and that’s something all companies should be excited about.

If you’re thinking of commissioning a mobile app to save time and money, or would like to see productivity and efficiency increase, give us a call on 020 3096 6199 or email us on contact@dcslsoftware.com. We can create an intuitive, fast, creative and interactive mobile app for your business on Android, iOS, Windows phones and tablets.

Note: Prices correct as at July 2015.

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