While many firm applications offer the ability to save and export documents as PDF files, there are still times when paper needs to be transformed into digital format. Vendors like Fujitsu and Canon offer a wide range of scanning devices compatible with multiple platforms. In fact, Fujitsu’s ScanSnap S1100 Color Mobile Scanner tucks away into almost any bag and is ideal for on-the-go professionals who need to scan receipts, contracts, plastic cards and more. The scanner offers instant ability to scan items as PDFs and Microsoft Word and Excel documents, or into popular cloud applications like Evernote and Google Docs.
Other essential mobile tools enable practitioners to be more effective in helping clients analyze their financial data. Many SaaS and mobile products function as collaborative tools, where the accountant and client can simultaneously work with transactions and data in a SaaS application, despite the long distances between the two parties. These tools provide users with the benefits of scalability and flexibility as well as the ability to monitor and control how each user works with the product. Clients who are overwhelmed by the many features within their software products are able to utilize mobile apps built and tailored specifically to their job functions, without fear of interfering with other areas of the system.
SaaS-based product Bill.com continues to improve its application to be device indiscriminate. Bill.com Mobile allows Android, iOS and BlackBerry users to pay and approve bills, as well as view outstanding and overdue invoices with its new Receivables module. The mobile application allows users to send invoices and payment reminders from any device, and the notes feature fosters ongoing communication between senders and recipients.
Xero.com, a web-based financial accounting system, has also extended its SaaS solution to the mobile platform, giving partners instant access to the partner dashboard with the opportunity to troubleshoot or analyze data from any device. Users are able to view bank and credit card account balances, prepare and issue invoices, and snap a photo of a receipt to prepare expense reports instantaneously (see image 1).
Concur Breeze, an easy-to-use online employee expense management tool, makes it possible for users to create, update, approve and pay expense reports using any Apple iOS or Google Android phone. As with Xero, receipts can be downloaded from your financial institution or scanned with your mobile device’s built-in camera. The information captured on the mobile application is automatically updated in the Concur website. There is no need to tape down and scan pages of thermal receipts, enter them into Excel, and then have another employee type them into your accounting software. With the Concur mobile app, the data is keyed in once, imported directly into accounting software, and can be filed in Breeze or exported to the company’s digital document management system as a PDF file.
Recent improvements to the Intuit Partner Platform (IPP) bring a more heavily populated Intuit App Center, which is a marketplace for third-party, on-demand add-ins for the popular QuickBooks small business accounting software. Business owners can find apps that work with QuickBooks and satisfy extended needs in their business beyond financial tasks provided in the accounting software. The Center provides a wide range of SaaS applications that extend QuickBooks to meet specialized needs such as expense reporting, e-Commerce, time tracking, cash flow management and marketing.
Another vendor in the SaaS accounting space is Intacct, which offers an accounting suite designed for medium-sized and public companies, as well as an accountant edition for tax and accounting firms. The Intacct financial management and accounting system provides a modularized suite of products to cover time and expenses, purchasing, inventory, revenue, project management, as well as the core general ledger. Mobile apps such as ExpenseCloud, eliminate the manual entering of expenses for reporting and immediately import credit card transactions, receipt images and clients directly into Intacct.
NetSuite also offers a robust line of SaaS-based accounting solutions to the mid-market, with Accounting/ERP, CRM, Inventory and Ecommerce applications. With the introduction of SuiteCloud, developers are able to create applications that provide additional mobile flexibility. And SuiteApp.com is a marketplace for exploring additional tools built for industry-specific needs.