Maintaining a healthy balance between career and family is important for long-term success in both areas. While we can’t eliminate the need to access data outside the office, this month’s mobile applications ensure that you have the data at your fingertips so that you can provide excellent customer service and accept credit cards in payment for services rendered when away from your office.
QuickBooks Mobile is an app for iOS and Android phones which makes customer data in QuickBooks available from anywhere. Users can access either QuickBooks Online data (no additional charge) or 2011 and 2012 Windows desktop versions of QuickBooks with an optional subscription to QuickBooks Connect. The app is a companion to a compatible QuickBooks subscription (not a replacement), and the mobile software provides very limited capabilities for completing customer activities from a mobile device. There is no attempt to incorporate other functions such as bill payment, online banking, or general ledger functions. Users and clients might do well to think of this app as a QuickBooks mobile customer management app, which more accurately states the limited capabilities of this tool.
Although the application is not a replacement for a traditional web-based or on-premises business management software application like QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Pro, the ability to access customer information and create estimates and invoices from mobile devices with automatic synchronization into QuickBooks is compelling for many businesses.
CCH Tax News Highlights and CCH Mobile
CCH’s Mobile apps, CCH Mobile (for IntelliConnect subscribers) and CCH Tax News Highlights (free for anyone) are available for mobile devices running the iOS, Android, and BlackBerry operating systems.
The CCH Tax News Highlights (free) app provides users with five stories on the day’s federal and state tax headlines affecting practitioners, as chosen by the CCH/IntelliConnect editorial staff. The Highlights app does not allow for any customization, so every user receives the same headlines, regardless of their interests or their geographic location. This application is available for devices running all major mobile operating systems (iOS, Android, and BlackBerry).
CCH Mobile is an application for iOS and BlackBerry devices which provides IntelliConnect subscribers with mobile access to customized content from CCH’s tax research platform. Unlike the Tax News Highlights app, which provides the same stories for all users, CCH Mobile provides access to content based on user preferences through Tax Tracker News. Users can also access common databases and tools from their IntelliConnect subscription, including the Internal Revenue Code and Regulations, Tax Tools and Calculators, and SmartCharts. The application has recently been enhanced to provide better functionality within Intelliconnect on the Apple iPad platform, and some users report that they are using their iPads with SmartCharts for client discussions away from the office. Although an Android version of this app is not currently available (at press time), CCH has a history of adding support for additional platforms when customer and market demands require it. Given the increasing market share of Android smartphones and tablets, one would expect that CCH might expand support for this app to this leading platform at some point in the future.
Intuit Tax Online
Intuit Tax Online is a browser-based Software as a Service (SaaS) application which allows users to prepare tax returns on a personal computer running any compatible full-function web browser. This web-based application can be run on Windows, MacOS, Linux, or ChromeOS, and provides tax preparation functionality similar to that in the Intuit ProSeries Professional tax application. This application is particularly attractive to those who need to prepare ten or fewer tax returns, as there is no software to install, and users can obtain a practitioner-grade application without the fixed costs of many of the traditional pay per return plans.