Small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy and despite tough economic conditions over the past few years, they are underpinning Britain's recovery. This is partly because small businesses inherently understand the importance of driving efficiency wherever possible, while boosting productivity and creating value in new ways.
One way businesses are doing this is by using business apps on mobile devices and computers to improve productivity. Recent research from EE shows that just 22% of small businesses provide apps for their employees to use at work. This is in spite of 37% of small business employees – equivalent to 5 million UK workers – believing they would be more productive if provided with apps tailored to their job.
Understanding which software can be most helpful to staff can be difficult, so we've put together a list of our top ten apps that can immediately boost small business productivity:
Sage One Accounts and Payroll are simple, clear and HMRC-recognised services for managing payroll, finances, create invoices and process VAT. Payroll is an RTI-ready online payroll service. Each service is specifically designed to help small businesses manage financial processes as easily and time-effectively as possible.
MozyPro is an online backup service that syncs files across smartphones, tablets, and computers, helping small businesses to store from 20GB to over 1TB of business-critical data in the cloud. It saves companies time, money and headaches, and allows them to focus on important things like growing their business.
Microsoft Office 365 provides familiar applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint via the cloud, so that businesses can access them from virtually anywhere and any device. This enables staff members to put their time to the best possible use by working on crucial documents from home or while on their commute and immediately share them with colleagues, customers and other contacts.
Receipt Bank gathers, stores and processes receipts and invoices directly from a user's smartphone or tablet when the document is scanned. This helps remove the administrative burden that bills, invoices and receipts place on small businesses.
Legal Manager provides businesses with legally compliant documents including sales agreements, property contracts and terms and conditions for websites at a fraction of the cost of employing a law firm.
Moonfruit is a website and webshop creator and editor specifically designed to help small businesses build websites for their brand without having to understand complex computer code to do so. It also automatically optimises sites for web, tablet and mobile devices.
Credit HQ provides tools and services that lower the chance of bad debt by credit checking potential customers, clearly set out credit terms, and get support on with debt recovery.
Zendesk provides small businesses with a powerful tool to track and manage customer service, customer support, and customer engagement.
Constant Contact is a small business marketing suite that enables companies to easily manage new business leads generated by email, events and social media.
Enables businesses to schedule and host meetings and web conferences from their mobile – allowing them to meet online, share documents, and collaborate with colleagues and customers wherever they are.
This is just a snapshot of the apps that can help small businesses boost productivity. To help small businesses make the most of the productivity gains apps offer, we've launched Business Apps, a handpicked suite of the very best apps for small businesses. To find out more about apps for business and how to make the most of them using a 4G connection, visit EE's small business hub: http://ee.co.uk/business/small.
The author Mike Tomlinson is director of small business at EE