Did your accountant thank your smartphone this year?

Now that tax season is in the rear view mirror, I’m sure a lot of you wished that it would have been a little easier to complete your taxes.  Fortunately, for many, it can be.  Your smartphone has the ability to make keeping track of business expenses a lot easier and more organized.  There are many apps available that can help you complete tasks such as filing business related expenses, tracking hours, tracking mileage and tracking invoices (paid and unpaid).  Having this information can make filing your end of the year financial information both a lot easier and more accurate.

Many times when people make New Year’s resolutions they are long forgotten about once May arrives.  What is worse is when people make resolutions to “make more money or “spend more time with their family” they don’t ever really make any changes to their regular life. They just set the goal that magically they will be more successful or have more free time than last year even though they are doing the exact same things.  We know what results last years actions will get. This is where the magic of mobile technology can come to the rescue.  Yes, there is a bit of a ramp up process where you have to change your behavior to do things differently. It takes time to get in the habit of instantly filing an expense on your phone, or to turn on your phone’s gps and use an app to track miles, but in the end, when you need all of this information, you will be very happy that you did.  The other benefit is that when you are tracking your information more carefully, it is much easier to see what progress you are making, and where you have opportunities to sharpen your game.

If you need more convincing, consider this- Most apps have the ability to have back up storage in their secured cloud. This means that even if you lose your phone, your reports/contacts/receipts etc. will all be backed up for you.  You can usually access the information from your laptop or desktop computer as well. What is your backup plan now if you lose a receipt or forget to log a deductible business expense? Most people do not have one.  This is basically throwing money out of your car window as you drive away from a client.  Most CPAs would not recommend that behavior.

Do the right thing for yourself. Start using your phone to keep up with your business costs.  You will thank yourself that you did. Your accountant will thank you too.

Problems with your smartphone?

Let’s face it, as great as technology is, it can be equally frustrating when it doesn’t work right.   I have given numerous presentations on mobile technology and how to use your smartphone to run your business and I always start with the same thing. The first thing that I try to teach people is what I call “A deep Yoga breath”.  People usually chuckle, because I say it with a humorous tone, but underneath the joke, I am totally serious. One of the main reasons why people consider me “an expert” in this field is because I KNOW that things are going to go wrong. Often.  The trick is to not let it stop you when you run into problems.  Here’s a tip to remember, everyone has problems with electronics at some point. The best thing that you can do when something goes wrong is start by taking a deep (Yoga) breath, let yourself calm down and then try to tackle the problem again.

Just like computers, sometimes powering your phone on and off can correct a problem.  Smartphones are just like regular computers. They have an operating system that helps keep everything running smoothly. However sometimes problems can be created when multiple programs are running for lengthy periods of time. It can confuse the device and certain paths of communication within the phone can get mis-routed.  Powering the device on and off can sometimes correct that.

If that does not work, start from scratch. Think when was the last time that you were able to do what you wanted. What has changed since then? Sometimes thinking back to different things you have done to your phone can help you isolate the problem.  Have you changed any passwords? Have you changed anything in the Settings that might affect the device? Are other apps not working or is it just this one? If it is just one app, check to see if there is an update for it in the App/Play Store.  If not, sometimes you can solve the problem by uninstalling and reinstalling the app. Just be careful of what information you might lose if you do that.  Most of the time important information or pictures etc. are stored in the cloud so uninstalling it should not create a problem, but make sure you remember you user name and password so that you will be able to log in again once you redownload it.

If that does not work, don’t worry, all is not lost. Open your web browser and do an internet search on the specific problem that you are having.  It is truly amazing the information that is available. Usually you can find a solution from someone who has had a similar issue.  Many times you can really luck out and find a video on youtube that will walk you through fixing it.

The last thing to remember is that it is a question of when not if you will eventually have a serious problem with your phone. It might fall and break, get wet or be misplaced or stolen.  It happens to the best of us. This is why it is extremely important to backup your important information, especially pictures.  You can always buy a new phone, but you can’t get back all the pictures and other memories that are stored on your phone if they aren’t backed up.  There are many easy ways to do this that we will discuss in a later post. Check back here on the website or follow Smarterphones on Facebook and Twitter to get updates for new blog posts or contact us below and we will respond to you directly.