The computer has over the past few decades become an increasingly indispensable business tool. With a myriad of software solutions to choose from, businesses have found crucial uses for it everywhere from their shop floors to back offices. More recently the advent of smartphones, many of which now have computing power which rivals that of some of the computers being used by businesses, has seen some of the software most commonly used by businesses being adapted for these devices. This means that nowadays, for an increasing number of business computing requirements, smartphones can actually replace computers. What follows here therefore are some mobile alternatives to the most commonly used desktop software applications in business today.

Word processors

Drafting documents is one of the most basic tasks that one can perform on a computer. Similarly in businesses, creating documents is one of the most common tasks which computers are used for. Smartphone users are not left out as many words are processing mobile apps which offer almost as much functionality as their desktop counterparts. In fact, some of the more popular desktop document processing suites such as WPS Office and Microsoft Office are also available for mobile devices. Granted, typing or squinting at smaller mobile screens is not as easy as we’d like it to be but these apps still offer a lot of convenience for those who want to be able to view or edit documents on the go and can even completely do away with the need for desktop versions for those people who use these applications less frequently.

Accounting apps

Many mobile accounting apps lack the full functionality provided by their web and desktop counterparts but they make up for that through the sheer convenience they provide especially to busy business people. These apps allow you to conduct some accounting tasks even when you are away from your desk or are travelling.  The functionality provided by the apps out there varies from app to app with some being very basic e.g. those primarily used to capture receipts while others are more sophisticated. Many of these apps are supposed to be companions to full-fledged desktop or web applications but there are one or two standalone ones. An example is QuickBooks which is currently the most popular Android accounting app.

Invoicing apps

Of all the types of business software which one can use on their smartphone, invoicing apps are probably some of the most suited for mobile devices especially for those users running small or freelance businesses. Since more and more business communication is being carried out through mobile phones and their various apps, it stands to reason that the creation of some of the more basic business paperwork like invoices should also be possible using these devices. Examples of such apps are Invoice 2GO, Billdu, Invoice Maker, Smart Invoice, Street Invoice and Zoho Invoice. These apps will definitely provide a lot of convenience and efficiency to the modern small business owner.

Payroll apps

Payroll software applications are used to manage, organize, calculate and automate the payment of employees. These applications are used by businesses of all sizes to track payments and maintain the relevant records. When it comes to mobile versions of these applications, many payroll service providers tend to only offer complimentary mobile apps for employees.  However, there still exist some payroll mobile apps which are targeted at employers like their desktop and web counterparts. Examples of these are Square Payroll and QuickBooks Payroll.

Project management

Project management software is used by organizations, companies and even individuals to help them plan, organize, manage and estimate the resource requirements of projects. The functionality and sophistication provided by these applications vary depending on the vendor, the target market and/or industry. There are already many desktop and cloud (browser) based implementations of these applications but there also exist some which are targeted at users on mobile devices. Examples of these applications which are also available for mobile users include the likes of Trello, Asana, ClickUp, Freedcamp, Paymo and Wrike.

POS applications

Points of sale (POS) applications are the most commonly used software in retail environments.  These systems are probably one of the major driving forces behind the wider adoption of computers by businesses. Many POS terminal software includes features such as inventory management and customer relationship management (CRM). Also, some of these POS applications are targeted at specific industries and sectors e.g. restaurants. Some of the most common mobile POS applications are Square and QuickBooks POS/Revel.

Communication tools

You probably already know that some of the most commonly used business communication tools such as Skype, Zoom, Slack and even good old email are also accessible via mobile devices. Those who communicate using these are therefore not shackled to their desktop computers. Also, as mobile internet speeds continue to improve, the convenience offered by the mobile phone versions of these tools—even the ones used for video communication—can not be overstated.