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article imageReview: Five fantastic apps to help you manage your business

There seems to be no limit to what can be done with mobile apps, including expertly organizing your finances. Many apps can assist you with budgeting, planning, and tracking what you do with your income, and in these harsh economic times almost everyone could benefit from a little help. That assistance is available free, or for a small price, in your app store.
Here’s a list of the top mobile finance apps on the market today.
FinanceIt
Platforms: iPad
Cost: Free
Major corporations have complete financing departments that arrange loans for their customers, but small- and medium-sized businesses often don’t have such a luxury. FinanceIt aims to solve this problem by giving SMBs a way to compete on that front by acting as a middleman between merchants and lending institutions. FinanceIt can set up an installment loan for a customer in under a minute. The merchant enters the customer info and purchase details, and the app quickly performs a credit check and determines the appropriate loan terms, using a streamlined, paperless process.
It also lets businesses choose marketing initiatives such as “no interest for a year”, or “don’t pay for a year.” FinanceIt gives small businesses an edge against large corporations they’re competing against, and makes it a little easier to attract customer attention.
Screenshot of the new FinanceIT app
Screenshot of the new FinanceIT app
Courtesy FinanceIT
Mint
Platforms: Android, iOS
Cost: Free
Mint has received a bevy of accolades since its app release. Time Magazine rated it one of the 50 best iPhone apps of 2011, it was a PC Magazine Editors Choice in 2011, and it was featured on CNN Money, The Wall Street Journal, and many other outlets. Mint allows you to sync your credit and debit cards with the “cloud,” so it’s always updated with your account activity. It tracks all your revenue, expenses, loans, and budgets all in one place, simplifying money management.
You might be worried about the risks associated with putting your financial info on the cloud, but Mint uses bank-level security with 128-bit SSL encryption, and verifies all data with VeriSign and TRUSTe. The data is read-only, so there is no way to move money in and out of accounts. To get the best results out of this app, combine it with a Mint.com account.
Money Lover
Platforms: Android, iOS,
Cost: Free, $4.99 (Money Lover Licensed)
For those who don’t want to connect to the cloud with their financial details, Money Lover can be a better choice. With this tool, cloud syncing is optional. It also comes with a vast range of features including debt management, budget planning, savings campaigns, and bill management. The cash book tool is where you enter all your transactions and it acts as a summary of your accounts. You can categorize transactions, and the statistics tool allows you to see how everything is distributed with line graphs and pie charts.
The one downside of this app is that it has so many tools and functions it may take you a while to learn what everything does, and how to navigate through the menus. Overall, it’s a versatile app that provides every add-on you might need to manage your money.
Expensify
Platforms: Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone
Cost: Free
For the business professional on the go, Expensify is incredibly handy. This app allows you to track all your expenses, mileage, and time so you can record what you’ve been doing and where you’ve been going. It comes with a smart-scan feature that allows you to scan receipts for proof. You get 10 free scans a month, but beyond that you have to pay $0.20/each, and the balance is billed to you at the end of the month. Expensify lets you compile reports, combining all your scanned receipts, mileage, and billable hours into one package to submit to your employer or client.
It’s a smart app that serves one purpose well, and isn’t bogged down with a million other functions and features. Expensify’s target audience is people who frequently take business trips, or for contractors who need to track their time and expenses.
Slice
Platforms: Andriod, iOS
Price: Free
Slice is still in the beta phase, but has already been getting some healthy buzz online. BusinessInsider.com named it one of the best iPhone Apps of 2011, and Lifehacker called it the best package tracker on the Web.
If you like to shop online, it might be a welcome addition to your smart phone. Slice tracks online purchases and shipping, keeping a log of what you buy so you can easily look back at your history. The package-tracking part of the app will also send you an alert when the package is about to arrive at your house. Another cool feature of Slice is that it alerts you about price drops on products you’ve bought. Say, for example, you bought a new jacket from Sears and they lower the price a week later. The app will send you a notification about the price drop, and all you need to do is ask for a refund. In most cases, it results in saving you money. Not a bad app for those with an affinity for online shopping.
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