(BPT) - With all the buzz surrounding business use of 'cloud computing,' you might think the concept of conducting business anywhere - on the road, in the board room, on a soccer field or in the gym - was a new one. But small-business owners (SBOs) have been working on the go for decades. The arrival of mobile apps has just made things a little easier for them.
'A decade ago, an entrepreneur might have worked through her son's Little League game with a laptop balanced on her knees and then downloaded her completed work when she got back to the office,' says Michael Alter, president and CEO of SurePayroll, Inc., a Paychex company. 'Now, she can complete tasks such as running payroll or cutting paychecks on the spot, wherever she is, using the right mobile app and her smartphone.'
If you're a small-business owner looking to make your mobile devices even more useful for business, consider these types of apps that can help:
* Payroll/paycheck apps - SurePayroll users can download a payroll app for either their Apple or Android devices. The app allows SBOs to pay employees; track earnings, deductions, work hours, vacation, sick and personal time; set a check date; view payroll summary reports; access employee contact information; and run payroll with a single click. Taxes are paid and filed automatically. The Mobile Paycheck app allows employees to securely view current and past paychecks online from their Apple devices. Visit www.surepayroll.com/product/payroll/mobile-payroll.asp to learn more.
* Inventory tracking apps - Business moves quickly, and often, so does your inventory. A variety of apps can help you keep track of both products sold and materials needed. Can't keep a particular item in stock? An inventory tracker can send you a mobile alert when supplies are running low so you can reorder before you run out - and avoid disappointing customers eager to buy the product.
* Cash flow trackers - A variety of applications - some free, some fee-based with subscriptions to popular accounting software - can help you manage your cash flow on the go. Apps juggle receivables, accounts payable, bank balances, credit card ledgers and more to help give users the most up-to-date snapshot of their business's cash flow status at a moment's notice.
* Office apps - These apps make it possible to do from your mobile device whatever you do on your desktop, including word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. Designed to help boost productivity, office apps range in price from free to nominal fee to pricey. How much you pay will depend on how much you need your app to do.
* Voice software - Whether you need to give dictation while you're driving, dial a number without touching your phone or open a file while your hands are otherwise occupied, voice recognition apps can do that for you.
* Invoicing apps - Say you take a 30-minute phone call with a client while watching your daughter's soccer game. If you forget to record the call, that's billable time you've overlooked - and money lost. Invoicing apps can help by allowing you to enter and track billable hours from your mobile device. You can also track expenses and create invoices for your work. Some of these apps even allow you to send invoices digitally and generate reports on how much time a project has consumed.
'Thanks to apps like these, it's easier than ever for small-business owners to balance their work and personal lives,' Alter notes.