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Taking the accounting department mobile

According to a 2013 Bill.com survey, 66 percent of finance executives use mobile applications to approve bills and collect payments on some level.

Accounting professionals have been chained to their desktops for decades, but the increasing popularity of the cloud has allowed businesses to access critical information any time they have access to Wi-Fi. The increasing access creates an opportunity for managers to leverage today’s mobile technology and consider how it can help make accounting departments run more efficiently.

Many accounting functions are already automated.  Electronic invoicing and electronic transfer of funds are two examples of automation. While companies are embracing new technologies, many managers remain apprehensive about adopting mobile apps in their accounting department.

To help overcome any apprehension, consider the following:

Cut the chains

Mobile applications can help accounting professional’s be productive outside of the office. Many apps, such as the Bill.com app, allow users to perform critical collections processes and make important decisions with just a few clicks on a mobile device.

For example, a customer in Tokyo may be waiting on a credit approval, but because they are in a different time zone, the credit manager responsible for approving the application is not in the office. Now instead of keeping a customer waiting an additional business day, a credit manager can immediately pull the essential credit information on a smartphone or tablet, access the situation remotely and issue a credit decision.

Mobile applications can also be beneficial when a manager must be away from the office for a meeting or conference. While some tasks can certainly wait, mobile access gives  managers the flexibility to be available for urgent questions, timely applications or contracts, or in the case of a dispute that needs to be addressed quickly. Providing managers with a tablet can increase processing and keep things from getting bottlenecked.

Increase visibility

According to a 2013 Yast.com survey, employees waste an average of 74 minutes a day trying to get in contact with colleagues and customers. The time spent on cross-department calls has been found to significantly reduce productivity due to lack of information visibility.

Often times, the sales department will not have access to the system the credit department uses and sales representatives are forced to make frequent calls to credit for information updates on a current or potential client.

Mobile applications can increase visibility between departments by offering immediate, up-to-date account statuses, eliminating the need for time-consuming calls and emails. By allowing the sales department to open up the credit application on their phone or tablet, they can click on the customer-in-question and get a current status on their credit approval.

Minimize interruptions

Accounting professionals know personal interruptions all too well. It all starts with receiving a frantic call from the office because a potential client is tired of waiting to get an answer on how much credit can be extended. Being away from the computer, you have to wait for your subordinate to email multiple PDF applications and financial spreadsheets in order to expedite the decision. Advancements in smartphones and the advent of mobile accounting applications can help minimize these disruptions.

One new company called ZenCash.com has some great options that provide users the ability to manage invoices and collections, anywhere and anytime.

Companies that are still on the fence about using of mobile applications are typically concerned about a potential security threat. What many don’t realize is mobile apps are cloud-based and generally do not store sensitive or confidential information on the actual mobile device. Instead, a solution provider hosts the content and the user only allowed access from a mobile device after entering their private credentials.

Implementing any new technology or process can be challenging, but in most cases the benefits outweigh the costs. As mobile applications permeate nearly every aspect of our personal lives, more businesses are incorporating mobile solutions.