How to manage your finances on the move

Once upon a time mobile phones were only good for one thing: phone calls; and sometimes they weren't even any good at that. Now phones are so sophisticated you can run your company finances on them. Read on for our guide to mobile accounting.

Smartphones and accounting software have both evolved to the degree that entrepreneurs are able to keep their business' financial information up-to-date with a few taps of a touchscreen or qwerty keyboard. That would have sounded crazy just a few years ago.

Despite the pace of development in mobile software applications, however, phones are still essentially still constrained by their size (particularly their screen size) and by the fact that it is still easier to type on a full-size keyboard.

So when you pick mobile accounting software, consider how you will use it and be sure that it is designed properly with mobiles in mind. A trimmed down version of the full-fat version is not good enough; it needs to be specially designed to work on the go.

The growth of cloud computing in the last few years has led to a diverse range of cloud accounting systems, which let you access your finances online through any browser. A BlackBerry PlayBook is just the thing for bean counting. It's screen, which is much larger than any smartphone makes managing finances on the move much easier.

In many cases, mobile accounting software comes bundled up with standard desktop software, so it's important to research mobile versions when you buy the standard package. If you do need to pay for bolted-on mobile software, however, ask yourself if the benefit is worth the money, or consider switching to another brand.

Whether you're looking for combined or stand-alone software there are a few factors to consider, including:

  • How user friendly is the software?
  • Can you manage projects and documents?
  • What payment gateways is it compatible with?
  • Does it work with different currencies?
  • How easy is it to raise and send out an invoice?
  • Can you create and share reports trouble-free?
  • What support structure is in place?

The pros and cons of each of these will matter more to some businesses than others. It's a simple case of figuring out what works best for you. Spend some time on this task and you could find yourself figuring P&L on the bus in no time.

#MWW offer: share minutes with your colleagues

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