Helpful Business Apps for Your iPad or iPhone

The iPad is not just for fun and games.


Everyone knows about Facebook, WordsWithFriends and Kindle apps for your iPhone and iPad.

In my previous column, I identified all the starter apps you need.

But the iPad is more than just fun and games. It’s a great tool to complement your business, whether you’re an independent professional or part of a large corporation.

Here are some apps to help you gain productivity as well as that competitive edge you need in today’s environment.

Would you like to accept credit card payments but find the fees to establish this service can be prohibitive? There are two free apps, Square and Intuit GoPayment, which provide you with a device that fits into the audio plug and allows you to scan credit cards. You pay a percentage per swipe (2.75 percent to Square and 2.7 percent to Intuit), both with higher fees if you key in the account number.  Both apps will generate an email invoice with each transaction and upload activity into a spreadsheet for use with other software. Square is a bit more straight-forward and their web site is easy to navigate. If you already use Quickbooks or have higher volumes, Intuit may be the way to go. These apps are supported on both the iPhone and iPad and on most Android devices.

Did you forget to bring a document to a meeting? Do you need to access documents on your primary computer while you’re in the field? There are a few apps that can help.

LogMeIn is a free app that allows you to remotely access your computer and will display that desktop on your iPad or iPhone. It’s as if you’re sitting in front of your computer. All the programs and files are accessible via your iPad or iPhone.  (The Android version is $29.99.)

Dropbox is a free app that allows you to store up to 2gb of documents in a ‘cloud’ and access these from your device. Need more storage? There are a variety of ways to obtain more storage from inviting friends to buying additional space. Check out the website for details. With both apps (LogMeIn and Dropbox), you’ll need to go to the website and download their app to your Windows or Apple computer. There’s also an Android mobile version.

Now you’ve got your document on your iPad and you need to edit it. There are a number of apps which you can use, but I’ve got a few favorites.

Documents To Go ($9.99) is easy to navigate for creating new Word or Excel documents or uploading ones from Dropbox, Google Docs or your email. If you need Power Point functionality, you’ll want to purchase the Premium version for $16.99. With Apple’s Pages, Numbers, and Keynote (each $9.99), you can edit and create documents and export to Word, Excel and PowerPoint formats.  Each app also comes with templates and allows you to use photos from your iPad, features that are lacking in Documents to Go.

Need to make a quick sketch or take notes? Penultimate (99 cents) is multi-purpose. You can sync documents with your Dropbox account and email what you create in PDF format. Use a stylus (less than $10) instead of your finger for more precise drawings or typing.

Do you utilize forms and contracts in your business? SignMyPad ($3.99) is a highly-rated app that you can use to fill in dates, text, checkboxes, radio buttons or signatures to specific areas of any PDF form. Once it’s completed, you can email it or upload it to your Dropbox account. Store all your forms in this app to have them handy when you need them. This app is also available in the Android Market.

If you take your business receipts, shove them in a drawer and pull them together about this time every year, Lemon Receipts Refreshed (free) is the app for you. Scan in your receipts and categorize the expense. Set up an online account on the Lemon website and you can have your email receipts incorporated too. Use the mobile app or online account to run reports and send in different formats (Excel, CSV, PDF). This app will help you stay organized and know where your money is going. There’s also an Android version.

Dragon Dictation (free) is a great app for your iPhone or iPad. Take dictation and translate it to text that you can email, put in a document or send via SMS.  Use VoiceNotes is a free app on your iPhone to take quick voice dictation after a meeting. Email it to yourself and listen later when you have time to transcribe your thoughts.  

And if you’re out having fun with your iPad but need to attend an online meeting, use Cisco’s WebEx (free) or the Citrix GoToMeeting (free).  

What apps have you downloaded that are integral to your business? Share your experiences in the comments. 

Jody Schwartz January 24, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Blair, just sent this article to my daughter who just got an iPad from her generous parents as a graduation gift and started a new job! Thanks!
janice goldblatt January 24, 2012 at 03:08 PM
all great ideas, thanks blair!
Alexis January 24, 2012 at 10:03 PM
You sure know your stuff :)
Justin Esgar January 25, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Hey Blair, thanks for mentioning SignMyPad in your article. We really appreciate it! Justin Esgar CEO Autriv, Inc


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