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What is mobile accounting apps?

At first glance, "mobile accounting" sounds like an easy thing to define: accounting software that can be used on mobile devices such as phones and tablets. However, a fuller definition is more complex. Depending on the vendor, different mobile apps will provide different levels and types of functionality. Making things more complex, mobile accounting will likely be just one feature of your larger business accounting software suite, which you may or may not already be under contract for.

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What 5 key Mobile Accounting Apps features should I look for?

Database access

Check financial records and review transactions in real-time. Without the ability to access your home financial database, a mobile accounting system would not be of great use to you.

Core accounting functions

Perform basic financial tasks required to manage the accounting needs of your business, including: general ledger functionality, accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR), fixed assets and bank reconciliation.

Receipt and expense management

Scan and upload receipts while on the go. Some apps even allow you to turn receipts into instant expense reports, making it easier to track and manage expenses incurred on the road or otherwise away from the office.

Payroll management

Track and process employee payroll while away from the office. Access your core payroll system to compose and send paychecks, automatically withhold and pay government taxes and generate the necessary legal and tax reports on a regular basis.

Billing and invoicing

Automate the collection of payments from customers to enable timely and consistent collection with minimal human error. Most mobile apps will assist these functions by allowing you to accept online payments through PayPal, credit card, e-check etc.

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Showing 1 - 20 of 372 products
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Showing 1 - 20 of 372 products

NetSuite

With an integrated system that includes ERP, financials, commerce, inventory management, HR, PSA, supply chain management, CRM and more – NetSuite enables fast-growing businesses across all industries to work more effectively by a...Read more

29 recommendations

Sage Intacct

Sage Intacct is a provider of cloud-based financial management and accounting software. Sage Intacct's software solution is suitable for small to midsize accounting firms and can provide financial reporting and operational insight...Read more

24 recommendations

Striven

Striven is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution suitable for many industries and organizations of all sizes. It offers features for accounting, inventory management, human resources, customer relationship mana...Read more

4.79 (48 reviews)

23 recommendations

FreshBooks

FreshBooks takes billing out of your hands and puts it on autopilot. Set up automated invoicing, online payment options (ACH and Credit Card), and late payment reminders to get paid 2x faster. Next, boost team productivity with pr...Read more

22 recommendations

BQE Core Suite

BQE Core makes it easier and more profitable to run your business. It organizes information, automates repetitive tasks and allows your firm to spend more time providing service to your clients instead of managing internal process...Read more

15 recommendations

Pilot

Pilot is a cloud-based accounting solution that assists small to medium-sized businesses with financial reporting and cash flow analysis. Its key features include accounts payable/receivable, bookkeeping, data export, expense calc...Read more

4.93 (15 reviews)

15 recommendations

Budgyt

Budgyt is a new and improved way to budget, built to deliver the speed, precision, and flexibility today’s finance teams need. Take control when building & managing budgets for multiple departments and/or projects, and save up to ...Read more

4.86 (21 reviews)

11 recommendations

QuickBooks Online Advanced

QuickBooks Online Advanced is a cloud-based accounting solution that helps small to large enterprises manage expenses, projects, invoices and more. It comes with a centralized dashboard, which enables users to gain insights into b...Read more

8 recommendations

Aplos

Aplos is a cloud-based system designed specially to serve the needs of nonprofit and church organizations. The Aplos platform includes fund accounting, online donation management, reporting functionalities, fundraising tools, memb...Read more

8 recommendations

Adaptive Planning

Workday Adaptive Planning, founded in 2003, provides a web-based system for budgeting, forecasting and reporting. The solution is suitable for a wide variety of company sizes. Delivered over the Web in a software-as-a-service (Saa...Read more

7 recommendations

Software pricing tips

Read our Mobile Accounting Software Apps Buyers Guide

Subscription models

  • Per employee/per month: This model allows you to pay a monthly fee for each of your employees.
  • Per user/per month: Users pay a monthly fee for users—normally administrative users—rather than all employees.

Perpetual license

  • This involves paying an upfront sum for the license to own the software and use it indefinitely.
  • This is the more traditional model and is most common with on-premise applications and with larger businesses.

Rated best value for money

JD Edwards EnterpriseOne

Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne is an enterprise resource planning software with primary features such as real estate management, human capital management, environmental health and safety and commodity trading. What is JD...Read more

7 recommendations

AccuFund Accounting Suite

AccuFund is 100% focused on serving nonprofits and government entities. The complete fund accounting financial management solution, available online or onsite, consists of a strong core system and modules that allow you to expand ...Read more

4.33 (43 reviews)

7 recommendations

Emburse Certify Expense

Emburse Certify Expense effortlessly streamlines your operations through automation and superior customer service. Automatically create reports for employees, streamline approvals, and make reimbursement and reporting effortless f...Read more

6 recommendations

ExpensePoint

ExpensePoint is a cloud-based solution designed to help small to large businesses automate employee expense reporting. It enables users to generate, submit, approve and process reports for multiple expenses on a unified platform. ...Read more

6 recommendations

Fattmerchant

Fattmerchant is a cloud-based accounting solution suitable for businesses of all sizes across industries such as e-commerce, healthcare and retail. Key features of the solution include point of sale integration, mobile processing,...Read more

4.79 (19 reviews)

6 recommendations

OnPlan

OnPlan is a sales forecasting and budgeting solution that helps businesses create financial models using what-if scenarios and SaaS benchmarks. Features include rolling financial forecasts, template management, scenario planning, ...Read more

4.92 (12 reviews)

6 recommendations

Jedox

Jedox is a cloud-based Enterprise Performance Management software solution that delivers self-service budgeting, planning, and forecasting across finance, sales, HR, and other business functions. Companies of all sizes and industr...Read more

5 recommendations

Jirav

Jirav is a cloud-based financial planning and reporting solution that is designed to give businesses the proper tools to examine historical data and build accurate financial models and plans. With Jirav, users are able to accurate...Read more

4.83 (12 reviews)

5 recommendations

Emburse Nexonia Expenses

Nexonia is a configurable expense management solution that eliminates manual reporting, ensures compliance, and helps control your T&E spend. Customers choose Nexonia for tight integrations with ERP's and accounting systems, ...Read more

4 recommendations

Canopy

Canopy is a cloud-based practice management and tax resolution platform for accounting firms, tax professionals, tax attorneys, and enrolled agents. It provides an integrated suite with various tools to help enhance efficiency whi...Read more

4 recommendations

Popular Mobile Accounting Software Apps Comparisons

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: October 21, 2021

At first glance, "mobile accounting" sounds like an easy thing to define: accounting software that can be used on mobile devices such as phones and tablets.

However, a fuller definition is more complex. Depending on the vendor, different mobile apps will provide different levels and types of functionality. Making things more complex, mobile accounting will likely be just one feature of your larger business accounting software suite, which you may or may not already be under contract for.

This buyer’s guide will help you figure out which type of system best fits your mobile accounting needs so you can choose a software vendor with confidence!

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Mobile Accounting Software?
Common Features of Mobile Accounting Apps
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Benefits and Potential Issues
Market Trends to Understand

What Is Mobile Accounting Software?

Mobile accounting refers to general accounting software that can be accessed away from the office and/or desktop computer. This can be one of two kinds of systems:

  • Apps specifically made for mobile devices (which provide the best user experience and user interface)
  • General cloud-based accounting software that can be accessed through a mobile device

In this guide, we’re talking specifically about the first option listed above when we discussing mobile accounting apps.

Mobile accounting for businesses has lagged behind mobile apps for personal financial management. For years, banks have had mobile apps allowing individuals to view their balance, check their accounts and pay their bills while on the go, but providing the same features for large and small business needs has taken a bit longer.

Now, however, as mobile applications grow in popularity in all factors of life—personal and business—many accounting software vendors are offering companion mobile accounting apps (many of which are fully-featured) for iOS, Android and Windows devices. The number and types of features offered differs from vendor to vendor and from package to package within the offerings of particular vendors, allowing for a huge amount of variety and flexibility in terms of what "mobile accounting" actually represents for an individual business or firm.

Common Features of Mobile Accounting Apps

The most typical mobile accounting features are explained in the following table.

Database access Check financial records and review transactions in real-time. Without the ability to access your home financial database, a mobile accounting system would not be of great use to you.
Core accounting functions Perform basic financial tasks required to manage the accounting needs of your business, including: general ledger functionality, accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR), fixed assets and bank reconciliation.
Receipt and expense management Scan and upload receipts while on the go. Some apps even allow you to turn receipts into instant expense reports, making it easier to track and manage expenses incurred on the road or otherwise away from the office.
Payroll management Track and process employee payroll while away from the office. Access your core payroll system to compose and send paychecks, automatically withhold and pay government taxes and generate the necessary legal and tax reports on a regular basis.
Billing and invoicing Automate the collection of payments from customers to enable timely and consistent collection with minimal human error. Most mobile apps will assist these functions by allowing you to accept online payments through PayPal, credit card, e-check etc.
Inventory management Track inventory levels to maximize profit, avoid overspending and minimize costs associated with inventory depreciation. Some mobile vendors provide this functionality so, even on the go, managers can monitor inventory by tracking product levels as well as orders, sales and deliveries.
Calendar and time tracking Stay on top of deadlines and monitor the amount of time spent on particular tasks. Many mobile accounting systems help do this by providing a calendar that notifies you of important moments on your schedule and tracks how you spend your time.

Invoice creation in Freshbooks' mobile accounting app

 

Mobile invoice creation in the Freshbooks mobile app

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Most businesses require accounting software of some kind, and increasingly those businesses need mobile accounting as a part of their larger system. Thus, there are many different types of mobile accounting buyers; however, the majority of them will fall into one of the following three categories:

  • Growing small-business buyers. These are businesses that want to upgrade very simple or basic systems to more robust small business accounting systems that will support more sophisticated functions, including mobile accounting. This also includes those businesses that may already have a fairly robust system, but now want to add mobile functionality. These upgrades may be for any of a variety of reasons, though often they are the result of a small business growing to a certain size threshold and finding it necessary to implement new industry-specific functionality as well as specialized time-saving features (including availability of a mobile app).
  •  
  • Enterprise buyers. These buyers are businesses and organizations that need the functionality of a larger enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite. Usually, these systems will include robust, complex functionality (such as international finance and market considerations) that is only useful to large entities.

    Seamless integration may be more important to these buyers than specific features, but buyers should be ready and able to examine both. (For example, both SAP and Oracle, two of the largest ERP vendors, have some of the most feature-rich systems on the market.) Given the tremendous scope of these organizations, mobile functionality and accessibility is crucial so that the large number of company stakeholders in play will be able to access and update financial data whenever and wherever necessary.
  •  
  • Best-of-breed buyers. In contrast to the integration-focused enterprise buyers, these buyers are interested in very specific functionalities. Law firms, for example, may need accounting software that can perform trust accounting as a key feature, while nonprofit organizations will need software that can track fundraising data.

    Some best-of-breed buyers will thus require mobile accounting as a key functionality. These might include sales organizations with team members frequently on the road, smaller businesses that require the financial officer to multitask and one-person firms (such as realtors) where more than half of all business may be transacted away from the office.

Benefits and Potential Issues of Mobile Accounting Software

The greatest benefit of mobile accounting software is that users can access their company’s accounting system from anywhere. This helps surface costs and expenditures and encourages more financially responsible decision-making.

A specific benefit of mobile accounting relates to legal and tax compliance. When it comes to business transactions happening across the country, or even across the world, different localities will have different laws, regulations and taxes related to those transactions. Robust mobile accounting systems will take those local concerns into consideration when processing transactions.

However, businesses should be sure that they purchase mobile accounting software that fully suits their mobile needs. Though the mobile app will be synced with your licensed account, some apps will have limited functionality while others are fully featured (with a potential price differential as a result).

In addition, buyers in certain industries with business-specific needs (such as law firms, nonprofits, manufacturing companies etc.) should be sure they are purchasing accounting software (mobile or otherwise) that fits those specified functionalities.

Market Trends to Understand

Here are some market trends you should consider as you select a product:

Mobile functionality. Mobile accounting is one of the key trends in accounting software today. Many firms consider accounting software that doesn’t contain mobile functionality to be vastly out-of-date and not worth consideration.

Cloud-based software. Most mobile accounting apps are independent systems that link up with a company’s license for desktop software. However, some mobile accounting systems will integrate more directly with a core cloud-based desktop product at the home office. Cloud-based systems, which are increasingly popular, require less hardware than on-premises software. They also require less IT knowledge, have lower upfront costs and are more quickly implemented, making them a good choice for smaller firms and businesses, in particular.