Business Accounting Goes Mobile
According to research firm Strategy Analytics, the number of active smartphones topped one billion in 2012, and they estimate that this number will double by 2015. Mobile devices are compact and convenient, and users increasingly rely on them for the majority of basic tasks, including professional usage. The most effective accounting software offers accessible, real-time reporting of employee work and related costs. But the definition of “accessible” is changing; soon it won’t be enough for users to access information only on company desktops. Information has to be available on-demand – by which I mean, on mobile devices.
Several top companies already offer mobile applications for smartphones and tablets. QuickBooks, the top accounting software solution among small businesses, offers QuickBooks Mobile for the iPad, iPhone, and Android. This application allows users to easily view customer information, send professional invoices, and mark invoices as paid. The data on Mobile QuickBooks syncs back with QuickBooks on the desktop, and visa versa.
So, how useful are these applications? First of all, it has become clear that mobile integration has its limitations. For example, Excel Mobile doesn’t support all of the functions of Microsoft Excel. Unsupported content cannot be displayed or edited, potentially limiting the application’s usability. There’s also the intrinsic limitations imposed by the smartphone’s smaller screen size, which makes viewing and editing large documents difficult and unwieldy.
To minimize these problems, companies can center their application building on the most popular features. Most users don’t need smartphones to do complex configurations of their accounting software. Instead, the vast majority of user activity is devoted to entering employee time, approving time entered, and running reports. These basic activities can be specifically tailored for smartphones.Continued on the next page