10 great iPhone apps for business users
InfoWorld presents a grab bag of handy productivity apps that can make your iPhone as useful as it can be
Scanner Pro is a very good way to capture the "I hope I remember that" images that are constantly cropping up on business trips, and it's a great way to grab images of receipts to accompany expense or activity reports. You learn that you have to carefully watch the iPhone's screen to make sure the camera's lens is parallel to the thing being scanned, but with a little practice the scans work well and are good enough to keep accounting off your back.
Price: $4.99 | iTunes link
FTP on the Go
I wasn't always a Webmaster, but maintaining a Web site has become part of my regular business life, as it has for thousands of people in countless large and small businesses. When you need to get an image from your iPhone's camera to a Web site, or quickly replace that file displaying an actionable typo, nothing works like FTP. There are several FTP clients for the iPhone, but FTP on the Go is a solid, no-fuss client that allows you to transfer files as well as create directories, delete files, and perform all the other server-based file management tasks we've come to expect from a personal computer FTP client.
FTP on the Go is simple to set up and use, but it also has a ton of advanced features, ranging from a text editor (handy if you need to quickly correct a Web page) to a wide variety of security options to the ability to let others use FTP and grab files from your iPhone.
Though FTP on the Go is superb for taking care of a basic business maintenance function, it is also a sophisticated piece of software that turns your iPhone into a serious tool for managing files and Web sites. If you maintain your own site or part of your job description includes site maintenance, the day will likely come when an FTP server is a job-saving tool. When that day arrives, FTP on the Go is a must-have application in the palm of your hand.
Price: $6.99 | iTunes link
Here's another confession: I hate doing expense reports, as does everyone I know. I'm not sure whether BizExpense makes doing expense reports any less onerous, but it does make it much easier to keep up with the process on the road so that I don't have to spend a day remembering what I ate on that last trip.
BizExpense allows you to keep records for multiple employers and many different expense types. A basic screen prompts you to enter details of the transaction, from expense type to payment method, in addition to amount and currency. There is also space for notes (who you took to dinner, for example) and for attaching a receipt, either by using the iPhone's camera from the BizExpense application or by attaching an existing photo from the camera roll.
You can look at a chart showing expense types and how much of the trip's cost has gone into each one, and when you're finished with the trip BizExpense will e-mail a completed report (in Excel spreadsheet format) to any address you choose. The report can be e-mailed via local service or an external SMTP server, but attached receipts can only be sent via the external server.
I found that expenses are easy to enter and reconcile, and the resulting spreadsheet is simple to copy and paste into other formats if accounting won't take the BizExpense file. There are a number of App Store applications that say they do expense reports, but BizExpense seems to have the best combination of features without requiring you to subscribe to an external service.
Price: $4.99 | iTunes link