7 Business Apps for Remote Offices

As more and more businesses rely on the ability to quickly become mobile, apps that can replace a work computer in a hurry are a necessity. Thankfully, there is an abundance of them available for the device of your choosing.

Here, we breakdown some of the best apps for working remotely.

1. Hotspot Shield VPN for iPhone and iPad (Free to download)

If you need a secure connection while working remotely, you need a VPN. With Hotspot Shield, you can secure your wifi connection with HTTPS encryption, mask your IP address, switch country servers, unblock blocked websites, and give unrestricted access to mobile VOIP services and messaging apps such as Skype. Although free to try, it is a premium service with monthly and yearly subscription plans.

2. Cloud Print Plus for Android (Free)

An old one but good one, the Cloud Print Plus app allows you to print files from your phone to any printer, once you’ve configured the printer. With this app you can print sms messages, contacts, material from facebook, dropbox, google drive, etc., mail, webpages…the list goes on.

3. Locqus for Android (Free to download)

If you need the ability to manage a fleet or field service remotely, Locqus is your app. With Locqus you can set up billing and invoices, take payments, create and schedule jobs, complete payroll or use as a mobile time clock, notify customers of an ETA when en route, and best of all – they have toll free customer support available to assist you.

4. OfficeTime for iPhone and iPad (Free to download)

OfficeTime is a mobile time and expense tracker that will sync with Windows or Mac, making it even easier to track your billable hours while working remotely. You can track by project and category, run multiple timers, and work offline with the basic (read: free) version. With the premium version, you can export to Excel or Numbers, report by custom dates, and track unlimited projects and categories.

5. Polaris Office + PDF for Android (Free)

This app allows you to create, open, and edit documents on your Android phone or tablet, and since you can save the files directly onto your device (with a backup saved in the cloud), you can work on them offline. Compatible with Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Adobe PDF, and, as an added bonus, Google Chromecast – which allows you to cast the document from your device to your Chromecast connected display (such as a TV screen or desktop monitor).

6. FileThis for iPhone and iPad (Free to download) 

FileThis is exactly what it sounds like – a filing app for your iPhone or iPad. You can connect accounts from companies like Amazon or AT&T, and have your statements delivered directly to the app, where you can then file them in “binders” you’ve created. Need to print an old invoice? No problem – you can search, view, print, and share your documents.

7. FreshBooks Cloud Accounting for iPhone and iPad (Free to download) 

Advertised as Accounting for the non-Accountant, FreshBooks creates invoices with your logo, which you can then send via email, download as a PDF, or print. You can also accept payment via the app, change the currency for different countries, send clients late payment reminders, and see when your invoice is viewed. It is free to try, but subscriptions range from $19.99 to $39.99 a month.

*IOU Financial does not endorse or receive payment for these products.

The True Cost Of Talent Recruitment

Employee recruitment is expensive business, whether you’re a small business or a large corporation. When you calculate the cost of job postings, the expense of adding a new employee, and when you consider the time spent sifting through applications and resumes, interviewing, and on boarding….well, you know the old adage: time is money.

Luckily for small business owners, there are ways to lessen the actual cost of recruiting:

Use Social Media 

If you have a company Twitter account (if not, you should!), you can tweet your job postings, and    cater to the talent you are searching for with hashtags. Likewise, post job openings on Facebook, Instagram, ‘Ello…or your social media platform of choice.

Word Of Mouth 

The old standby, word of mouth, is still one of the best recruiting tools out there. Have your employees submit referrals, ask friends and family if they would recommend anyone they know or at least spread the word that you’re looking. Post a Now Hiring sign on your door, or create flyers to hand out at the register. However you choose to do it, let your customers know that you’re looking to add to your staff, and let them do the footwork for you.

Colleges And Trade Schools 

Does your small business need a skilled laborer? Try recruiting at your local college and trade schools. Often, these schools have memo boards in the common areas where you can hang a job posting, or the schools will work with you to place a student in a job.

Unsure how costly recruiting actually is? The following infographic by the NFIB lays out the expenses in time and dollars.

How do you save money and time while recruiting top talent?

1-66435-Cost of Hiring

5 Things Small Business Owners Need To Know This Fall

Internet Security

The current hot topic in business at the moment, internet security tops the list of important things small business owners need to know this fall. As we discussed in Protecting Your Business and Customers From Data Breaches, taking stock of your current technology and upgrading to prevent breaches is a must. Add virus and malware protection, secure your wifi, make sure your cloud provider is secure, and encrypt your data. Consider hiring an internet security expert to make sure that your systems are completely secure before the busy holiday season hits.

Internet Sales Tax

Under current federal law, online, phone, and mail-order transactions are exempt from sales tax. However, Congress could act on legislation after the November elections that will force retailers to collect sales tax in states where they don’t have a store or physical location. Keep an eye on what’s happening in Washington during their winter lame duck session.

New Technology

With Apple Pay looming in the near future, the need for up to date technology is a must. Apple Pay uses near field communication (NFC) to enable contactless communication between compatible devices. In order to utilize this payment method, you will need a payment terminal that supports NFC transactions. In October 2015, all merchants will be required to support credit cards with EMV chips, and nearly all EMV enabled payment terminals can also handle NFC transactions. Save time and money by investing now in an EMV enabled payment terminal that can handle NFC transactions, instead of waiting until the last minute, when time is short and availability may be limited.

Health Insurance

If you have fewer than 25 employees and provide health insurance, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to 50% to offset the cost of your insurance; you can claim the enhanced credit for any two consecutive taxable years beginning in 2014. Businesses that have already filed and later find that they qualified in 2013 or an earlier year can still claim the credit by filing an amended return for the affected years.

Tax Deductions 

The Section 179 tax deduction, which allows small companies to deduct expenses for equipment such as computers, furniture, and vehicles in one tax year rather than depreciate the cost over time, has been set at $25,000 for 2014. As a comparison, the Section 179 deduction was $500,000 in 2013, a difference of $475,000. Small business owners need to be aware of the difference in the deduction amount, and that although the House has voted to set the deduction permanently at $500,000, it has stalled in the Senate.