These apps mean business
Use these apps to ensure that your business runs seamlessly even if you are away from your desk
With clients across the world and in different time zones, Delhi-based chartered accountant Shitij Bahl, who runs his own taxing and accounting firm, needs to keep a lot of information handy on his phone when he’s travelling. “You never know when I will get an urgent request from a client to see all their documents. The whole 30 MB of it,” says the 33-year-old. He relies on mobile apps to respond quickly and efficiently—Google Suite to organize team schedules and track projects; Zoho Invoice to send GST-integrated invoices quickly; and Dropbox, where he keeps all client data so it can be shared efficiently with just a link. If, like Bahl, you tend to travel on work, here are a few essential apps to keep handy.
Track your sales team in the field without giving them a call. Workmate uses MapmyIndia’s detailed maps to enable location-based tracking of your field workforce during working hours by using the GPS on their phones. “Through the web app, you will be able to see where all your field employees are on a given working day,” says Delhi-based Tarini Sundar, head of marketing, MapmyIndia. Using their phones, employees can mark location-based attendance. When offline, the app keeps collecting geo-data and syncs information the moment your employees are back online. It also has a built-in working hours tracking system so that it does not track an employee post working hours. If you have multiple vendors or clients in different cities, you can mark them on the map. This way, a new employee won’t have to call you up to find them. In addition you get handy data on how many customers he visited.
30-day free trial. Plans start at Rs350 per licence, per month. Web and Android. www.mapmyindia.com/workmate
Google Suite clubs together apps like Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive, Calendar and Hangouts into one group so that your team can effortlessly collaborate, edit docs, schedule appointments, communicate and even do video conferencing, while all of this is getting stored automatically on the cloud. You can manage user accounts, devices and data for all the users that are part of the Suite. Additionally, you get email addresses in your company’s name, over 30 GB of storage, and 24x7 customer care for any issue you might face.
Plans start at Rs150 per user, per month. Web, Android and iPhone. Gsuite.google.co.in
Track expenses of your sales team with Happay, an app by a Bengaluru-based start-up that provides corporate cards to all your employees (depending on the plan). As the owner, you can load the corporate card with as much credit as you want from a mobile or web app. Your employees use the cards, upload photos of bills and receipts, submit expense reports, check their card balance, track their expenses and submit advance requests for more balance for the card, all through the employee-facing app. “For you the app will show real-time feeds of all employee expenses,” says Anshul Rai, CEO and co-founder, adding you have the option to block a card if someone is misusing it.
Plans begin at Rs300 per user, per month. iPhone and Android. Happay.in
Small businesses may require expertise they might not have in-house, which is where Freelancer, a marketplace of freelancers with different skill sets, comes into play. So, if you are travelling and have an urgent project to be completed, need a brochure to be designed, a mobile app to be developed or some quick code to be written, you can find a freelancer. You post your project, get bids from across the world, chat live and select one. The app lets you track the workload and make payment when the task is complete. Freelancer charges a fee of 3% on any payment you make for a project.
Free on Android and iPhone. Freelancer.in
Tracking accounts can be a pain when you’re an individual running a small business. With QuickBooks you can outsource the task to an app. QuickBook lets you create GST-compliant invoices, sales receipts and estimates in minutes. Get GSTR-1 (sales return) and GSTR-2 (purchase return) reports, track sales, invoices, supplier bills and payments. In addition, you can track your cash flows and financial position through profit and loss statements and balance sheets. You can also create budgets and purchase orders. The app also tracks vendor bills and reminds you when they’re due. Since everything is up on a cloud, you can access your account, manage your business from anywhere. The latest addition to the app is that you can file your GST returns from it.
30-day free trial, full version at Rs4,999 per year. iPhone and Android. Quickbooks.in
A basic but useful app designed by Kozhikode-based neurophysician Mohan Leslie Noone, Courier Tracker lets you track multiple couriers you’ve sent out or are about to receive. All you need to do is select the courier company’s name and add in a tracking ID or scan its barcode. Then sit back and track your shipments from your phone. Since the app, which has been downloaded more than 170,000 times, is an Indian one, it includes data of smaller local courier companies and can track their numbers.
Free with ads on Android and iPhone. Ad-free version at Rs150. Sasyabook.com
Juggling your schedule to fit in everyone around you? Amy and Andrew, two AI personal assistants from X.ai, might be what you need. Open an account in the web app, connect your calendar and update your preferences. Then “cc” your AI in an email to your client about setting up a meeting. The AI will email the client and you with optional dates and times you’re available at. It will never share your schedule with a client. You can instruct your AI assistant to set up a meeting, reschedule one, or even find time in your calendar. The AI writes emails like a real assistant.
$17 (around Rs1,070 per month). Web app available at www.x.ai
Asana lets you assign tasks within a project to all individual members of your team and track them on its app. Meant for team collaboration, you can get updates, progress reports, see if deadlines are followed or missed and ping those who might not be completing tasks. In addition, Asana automatically prioritizes tasks due according to date so you know what deadline has arrived, even when you’re on leave. The app integrates well with Dropbox, Slack, Chrome, Okta and Google Drive.
Free for limited version. $9.99 per month for premium. iPhone and Android. Asana.com
In the middle of a purchase or closing a sale while on leave? Download DocuSign, an app which lets you sign on documents instantly and securely so that you don’t need to find a printer and scanner in the middle of a holiday. In DocuSign, you open a document, add people who need to sign it, add in fields like phone numbers and names that need to be filled and send the document to the people. They all sign within the mobile or web app and send it back to you. DocuSign is a legal and binding document and works internationally. A cheaper Indian option is Sign Desk (Signdesk.com, Rs500 for 25 signatures a month), which lets you e-sign a document using your Aadhaar number.
Plans start at $10 per month. Android, iOS, Windows Phone. Docusign.in
Acronym for Bharat Interface for Money, BHIM is a payment app that makes it easy to pay anyone, anytime through Unified Payments Interface or UPI. You can make direct bank payments using a person’s UPI ID, account number, Aadhaar number or scanning their QR code with the BHIM app. More importantly, you can request for payment to someone’s mobile phone, and receive payments from anyone, on the go without the hassle of giving all your bank details or waiting for them to add you as an approved payee. You can also see your transactions and the balance in your linked bank accounts using the app. It’s a useful app for tracking payments when on the move.
Free on Android and iPhone. Bhimupi.org.in