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Accountancy apps: December crop

13th Dec 2012
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In the countdown to Christmas and ultimately AccountingWEB's Gadget of the Year, we've compiled another tablet and smartphone accountancy app round-up for you. 

Our crop this month includes apps ranging from social media management, to solid accountancy and useful industry tools.

Have a look at our suggestions and come up with your own - they might even make it into next month's blog. 

Freshbooks Cloud Accounting - Free

This somewhat slick and brightly interfaced accounting app includes a range of features, including integrated information with an existing Freshbooks account. 

If you don't have one, you can still use some of the features, but it's free for those with under three clients and does include a free 30-day trial for those who don't. 

Upon opening the app, it'll tell you if you have any money outstanding, either in bills or expenses. 

Features include the ability to add invoices which can integrate with your Paypal account, enable you to view them as a PDF and see what amount you have collected or outstanding. 

You can add clients under the client button on the homepage, log expenses, add taxes to expenses, add projects including how much time and what they're costing, calculate estimates and track time, with a stopwatch function. 

Interestingly, you can generate reports, including profit and loss, balance sheets, tax summary and payments collected, although these are not in-app and do require internet access, which makes them slightly awkward to view. 

While the app has received complaints from other reviewers about crashing on the iPad, it has just launched an update to fix that bug and I can confirm that in time spent reviewing, it didn't crash once. 

I'd give it a hearty 7/10 but some may find the fact you have to manually add tax annoying or time consuming.

Companies House - Free

Recently launched, this app enables you to search the details of more than 2.7m companies in the UK registered with the government agency. 

It's currently only available for iPhone and iPad. An Android version is expected to be available next year. 

The search function is easy to use and details are clearly presented for each company searched, including annual accounts - i.e. when they were filed, when they're due to file next, company description, filing history and location on a map.

You can keep most viewed companies under the favourites tab, which allows you to have them on hand to view whenever. 

Statistics is another feature of this app, showing the number of incorporations and dissolutions in any certain period, in numbers and on a graph.

The app also includes a direct tab to Companies House Twitter feed. 

It's free and certainly a handy tool to have on your smartphone or tablet if you require access to that type of information. 

I'd give this app a 6/10.

Haines Watts UK Tax Rates - Free

Suggested by AccountingWEB member samjdavies35, this reference app definitely fits the bill. 

The most useful section is the tax rates tab. 

It provides information on various tax rates including income tax, company car benefits, CGT, NI, SDLT, VAT and income tax relief. 

Tapping on one of the above headings on the list brings up a non-interactive page giving the rates of each individual tax and footnotes. 

The other features are more related to the Haines Watts accountants specifically, including an 'about the firm' section, news feed and office location and contact.

While accountants would certainly find it a handy go-to tool for remembering tax rates, I think if it had a clearer interface as regards explaining taxes, it would appeal to me more. 

This app gets a 5/10 from me but others might raise the score further, depending on how much you use it. 

Dropbox - Free

In a recent Any Answers thread, AccountingWEB member FirstTab brought up the question of cloud storage facilities and asked: Dropbox or Google Drive?

I then wondered about the merits of the Dropbox app - is having 2GB of free storage space on your phone or tablet of benefit?

The answer is, most definitely. 

The app is very well developed and syncs with your device as soon as you log in, so you can save your photos or documents on your phone to Dropbox automatically. 

2GB of storage is also plenty, at least for me, as I have several large video files, PDFs and word documents saved in my account in many files and the storage space is still only at 85%. 

The alternative is paying £69.99 for 100GB of storage, which is quite pricey, so I think I will stick with the free 2GB. 

Having all your information and documents to hand on your phone in a very accessible, easy to use app is a very good idea - you never forget your phone (hopefully) so the days of a memory stick or SD card may be over.

Various apps have integration with Dropbox too, such as Nebulous Notes, as suggested by  member waltere.

I'd give this app a good 8/10 for sheer doing what it says on the tin and very well at that, too.

Buffer app - Free

With so much talk about the importance of social media for accountants nowadays, this app is one free alternative to multi-platform tools such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck that allow you to spend as little time on your social media as possible. 

I picked this app idea up in Heather Townsend's recent blog on AccountingWEB, in which she lauded the merits of the app for keeping Twitter feeds updates regularly.

It links up with your LinkedIn group page (or profile), Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter accounts to post updates scheduled by you throughout the day. 

It also provides a handy analytics option and you can post directly to Buffer from various other apps, such as WordPress, Safari and Instapaper. 

There are a few areas of improvement for this app, however. 

In the iPhone mobile version, it's hard to add multiple accounts. You can add them by logging into Buffer from Safari, but you should be able to do this in-app. 

Other than that, it does what it says, so I'll award it a 5/10 mark. 

 

What are your favourite apps? Would you recommend or contend any of the ones featured above? Let us know. 

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By alan.falcondale
14th Dec 2012 13:43

haines watts

The Haines Watts tax ref requires latest IPhone IOS so may be not suitable for all...oh the joy of jailbroken phones....I want my cake and I want to eat it...

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