How to use a phone to capture business expenses

We call them phones, but the mobiles in your pocket have evolved into full-blown business centres, constantly available and always up to date. If you’re in business, and you’re not getting the most from the inbuilt functionality offered by a Smartphone, then you’re missing out, as our blogging partner Stuart Pearcey explains…

Unless you’re a teenager or work in the mobile industry, you probably don’t understand all of the functions offered by your mobile phone.

And in that one sentence, I’ve shown just how out of touch I’m in danger of becoming, because I used the word ‘phone’.

The hard fact is that although we talk about the devices in our pocket as phones, actually calling people to have real conversations isn’t high on our collective agenda.

A survey commissioned by the mobile taxi app people Hailo discovered that it ranks well down in our priorities, after sending text messages, reading emails, taking selfies, or surfing the net. Even the humble alarm clock function is of more use, according to the survey. Goodness, you may even be reading this blog on a mobile device.

None of that can have been imagined by Marin Cooper, the Motorola employee credited with the invention of the mobile phone in the early 1970s. We laughed back then at the crazy notion that we would one day have computers in wristwatches. Nowadays we laugh at Cooper’s single-function ‘brick’, weighing in at a whopping, by today’s standards, 2kg. But Cooper unwittingly opened the door to a world of communication ‘on the move’. He had set us on the path to bridging the gap between the 2kg phone and the wristwatch computer.

Technological wizardry in your pocket
All of which leads me to saying that the mobile in your pocket or bag (notice how I didn’t say phone; I’m learning) is a computer, with as much power and flexibility as the desktop at home or work, or its smaller sibling the tablet.

And in business or in private life, failure to make the most of its capabilities is a lost opportunity; a failure to ring all the bells or blow all the whistles that may well have attracted you to buy it in the first place.

Money management appThe versatility lies in the huge range of apps now available, downloadable through the App Store or company web sites. Take the money you spend. The free-to-download Solo Expenses money management app makes it so easy to collect and collate receipts, so you aren’t forced to have pockets and purses full of those scruffy scraps of paper that you’re probably going to ignore anyway.

The app – designed for sole traders, but easily versatile enough for individual personal use – makes expenses easy. If offers three ways to record spending, by tapping in the detail using the keypad, snapping it with a picture, or even with a voice memo.

Organised in an instant
After that, the process of organising things into lists and generating reports really is child’s play, even for those amongst who are in danger of – ahem – letting technology slip us by.

Pay a small monthly fee, and Solo Expenses offers greater functionality, such as the ability to send reports direct to your accountant. Which is a huge added benefit. It will save him or her time, and no doubt do the same for you. And in the process, it’s very likely to make you richer, since it will eliminate missed expenses claims, and make sure you don’t pay more tax than you have to. On that basis, what’s not to like?

There’s no training necessary in its use, and it must be simple and intuitive to use – because I can do it. And if I can, so can you.