Smart phones already a vital tool for many of us, and the default replacement cycle has become about two years. The reason for this is, of course, that to get discounted pricing on the devices, it’s necessary to lock into a two-year contract. Likewise, for iPhone users, the big changes from Apple come about every two years, with less dramatic changes each intervening year.
As far as tablet computers, the market is still new, Apple seems to be leading the field not only in technology with their iPad, but similarly to their iPhones, in establishing a one and two-year cycle. The initial iPad debuted in spring 2010, followed by the iPad 2 one year later (with mostly minor enhancements), and then this year, with the release of the latest generation iPad 3.
Apple is still by far the dominant force in the tablet field, and has many more apps than its chief competitors like the Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy and Toshiba Thrive. Therefore, for professional use and remotely accessing work PCs and other programs, the iPad is still the recommended tablet choice. This isn’t necessarily so for the smart phone market, where the Android platform has essentially caught up in terms of available apps for business and personal use. Blackberry has been making a renewed marketing effort recently, but its market share has dropped dramatically and many app developers are ignoring the platform.
[BOXOUT/SIDEBAR with company logo – We had a section like this on one of my columns from about a year ago.]
Accurately tracking travel and entertainment expenses has always been important, both because of the financial management and budgeting aspects, and because of tax deductions. For Schedule C small businesses, this is becoming even more critical, as the IRS is focusing more closely on these expenses. You can read more about the IRS’ Audit Compliance Initiatives Projects at www.CPAPracticeAdvisor.com/10645273.
For most business travelers, tracking these expenses while on the road invariably means returning home with a jumbled mass of receipts and notes documenting how much, what, when and where I spent the money. This is a requirement for both the self-employed and for those who hope to be reimbursed by their employers.
With the Concur online travel and expense management system (www.Concur.com), keeping up with these expenses has gotten a lot easier (and less cluttered) for road warriors and the intermittent business traveler, alike.
The web-based program can be used on regular computers, or via apps made for tablets and most smart phones, providing a single integrated tool for tracking and reporting expenses, from planning and booking travel, to digitizing paper receipts and notes. It even integrates with airlines, hotels, rail and car rental companies to retrieve exclusive e-receipts, with data from these and from credit card charges automatically populating into expense reports.
For business management, Concur allows administrators to create specific expense policies, such as spending limits on flight and hotel bookings, pre-travel request authorizations, supervisor sign-offs and employee location tools. The system includes detailed reporting and integration into QuickBooks, and SalesForce.com.