How to use mobile apps to manage your business

December 5, 2023 | 7 minute readEn español

Work habits have fundamentally shifted in the past decade. More people than ever work from home or on the go, and they rely on mobile technology to get the job done.

 

This is especially true for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

 

As such, numerous mobile products and services have emerged to make business operations better than ever. And, while mobile businesses apps can’t do everything, they can do a lot, including reducing the time it takes for administrative tasks.

 

Accepting payments

The ability to accept card payments via phone is a small business revolution. Gone are the days of going to the farmer’s market and needing to remember to bring cash. Pop-up shops, restaurants, mom-and-pop stores, artists, creatives and freelancers of all types accept mobile payments.

 

The most popular mobile payment systems use a portable card reader and an app, instantly turning a phone into a mobile point of sale system that accepts credit cards and debit cards as well as popular mobile wallets like Apple Pay® and Google Pay™. Look for a solution that has cloud-based reporting so you can monitor and manage your business on the go.

 

Person-to-business, or P2B payments, have also become increasingly popular for small businesses. These payments allow the transfer of funds between two parties using their individual banking accounts or credit cards through an online or mobile app. Zelle® for your business is an example of a P2B and B2B (business-to-business) payment option that is a fast and easy way for eligible small business customers to send, request and receive money directly between eligible checking or savings accounts in the U.S.1. There are also no fees when using Zelle in Bank of America’s mobile app and online banking.

 

Whatever you choose, make sure the payment system is compatible with your smartphone’s operating system and your existing merchant services account. The mobile payment processing system you choose should also include encrypted reading and transmitting of customer financial data.

 

Expanded offerings

While writing and accepting checks is becoming rare, mobile check deposit tools allow you to quickly handle this task by letting you snap a photo of the front and back of an endorsed check and sending the images to your financial institution.

 

Fortunately, today’s mobile banking apps are about a lot more than simply depositing checks. A good digital banking app should offer you an array of business services, such as:

 

  • Paying bills
  • Checking balances
  • Transferring funds
  • Fraud alerts
  • Checking credit scores (personal and business)
  • Purchasing foreign currency
  • Creating a digital wallet

 

With security features like two-factor authentication - which can send a unique 6-digit authentication code to your smartphone to approve every transaction - you can be sure your mobile banking activity is safe and secure.

 

Mobile accounting

For accounting, many savvy entrepreneurs use their mobile devices. With the QuickBooks mobile app, for example, you can enter transactions, record expenses, invoice customers, and send reports anywhere. QuickBooks automatically backs up your data to the cloud and syncs across all your devices.

 

QuickBooks is the category leader, yet similar apps, such as NetSuite, FreshBooks and Sage are just as powerful, useful and intuitive. 

 

If you are specifically interested in cash flow management, Bank of America’s Cash Flow Monitor and Connected Apps are great tools to check out. Cash Flow Monitor allows you to visually track cash flow and balance trends, set thresholds and receive alerts. It is also seamlessly integrated into their small business online and mobile banking platform. With Connected Apps, you can also connect third-party apps to your app dashboard and view all of your key business metrics in one place.

 

Streamlined communication

Defined as a communication device for small business, a mobile phone is of course unmatched.

 

For connecting with employees, communicating with customers, or following up with prospects, the immediacy and intimacy afforded by texting is truly amazing. Other SMS options are very useful too and include WhatsAppFacebook Messenger and Slack.

 

Productively manage time

One of the biggest challenges of being a business owner is ensuring that your employees are doing what needs to be done in a timely fashion.

 

Cloud-based project management programs can serve as an all-in-one solution to this challenge by providing one location for your team to upload and share files, organize lists of deliverables and due dates, log work hours and even discuss projects in a confidential setting.

 

There are many project management apps to choose from; any of them will allow you to manage and track team members and projects more efficiently. A few to consider are:

 

  • Microsoft Office Mobile: Microsoft’s suite of ubiquitous tools like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint have been re-imagined for a smaller screen.
  • Trello’s boards, lists and cards are another good on-the-go productivity option. 
  • Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) has everything you need: Gmail, Docs, Google Drive, Calendar, Sheets, Chat, and much more. 

 

Mobile note-taking apps (like Evernote) are great for increasing personal productivity, as your notes become easily retrievable and searchable. Your notes can be augmented with the pictures you take — great for tradeshows and conventions — or web content. Look for a note-taking app that allows you to share content via email or by granting file access.

 

Sell with social

Social media marketing has become a key tool for small business owners to connect with customers. All the major platforms — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest — have tools to improve engagement, but consider a dashboard-style app to monitor activity and post content across multiple platforms.

 

A dashboard-style app allows you to track analytics about your social media posts, view replies and comments to those posts and easily send your own responses. The best social media marketing apps also generate reports to monitor your campaign performance over time and can recommend influential people or organizations to connect with to increase your reach.

 

Social media dashboard apps to consider include:

 

  • Podium: Collect Google and Facebook reviews of your business via text message
  • Buffer: Allows you to create and schedule posts across all social networks. The beauty of Buffer is you can schedule social media content to post at any time.
  • Hootsuite: Like Buffer, Hootsuite allows you to coordinate all social postings from a single hub. The Hootsuite calendar is an excellent tool for organizing and providing an overview of your social channels, conversations, engagement, content and more.
  • Sprout Social: Another excellent tool with a similar set of robust features.

 

Pro tips

Running a small business from a mobile device may take a little patience as you get used to managing this way, but once you do, expect to be hooked. As you go about integrating mobile business into your regular processes, here are three final tips:

 

Keep your set-up simple

Don’t install and try to master too many apps at once. Start with just a few, organize them clearly on your home screen and get to know them. Only then should you branch out and add more.

 

Utilize voice technology

Whether it is Siri or another voice assistant, using voice to respond to texts and emails saves time. Voice assistants are also great for managing your business accounts. Erica®, Bank of America’s artificial intelligence (AI)-driven virtual financial assistant, can help with core account functions like getting account and routing numbers, activating a card and transferring money.

 

Keep it secure

With a lot of critical data accessible through your phone, secure it with passwords or facial recognition technology. Make sure you can remotely lock your phone should it get misplaced or stolen.

1. To send or receive money with a small business, both parties must be enrolled with Zelle® directly through their financial institution’s online or mobile banking experience. Zelle® should only be used to send money to friends, family or others you trust. We recommend that you do not use Zelle® to send money to those you do not know. Transfers require enrollment in the service with a U.S. checking or savings account and must be made from an eligible Bank of America consumer or business deposit account. Transactions between enrolled users typically occur in minutes. We will send you an email alert with transaction details after you send money using Zelle®. Dollar and frequency limits apply. See the Online Banking Service Agreement at bankofamerica.com/serviceagreement for further details. Data connection required. Message and data rates may apply. Neither Bank of America nor Zelle® offers a protection program for any authorized payments made with Zelle®. Regular account fees apply. Zelle and the Zelle related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license.

Important Disclosures and Information

Zelle® should only be used to send money to friends, family or others you trust. We recommend that you do not use Zelle® to send money to those you do not know. Transfers require enrollment in the service with a U.S. checking or savings account and must be made from an eligible Bank of America consumer or business deposit account. Transactions between enrolled users typically occur in minutes. We will send you an email alert with transaction details after you send money using Zelle®. Dollar and frequency limits apply. See the Online Banking Service Agreement at bankofamerica.com/serviceagreement for further details. Data connection required. Message and data rates may apply. Neither Bank of America nor Zelle® offers a protection program for any authorized payments made with Zelle®. Regular account fees apply. To send or receive money with a small business, both parties must be enrolled with Zelle® directly through their financial institution’s online or mobile banking experience.

 

Zelle and the Zelle related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license.

 

Bank of America, Merrill, their affiliates and advisors do not provide legal, tax or accounting advice. Consult your own legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions. Any informational materials provided are for your discussion or review purposes only. The content on the Center for Business Empowerment (including, without limitations, third party and any Bank of America content) is provided “as is” and carries no express or implied warranties, or promise or guaranty of success. Bank of America does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, usefulness, non-infringement of intellectual property rights, or quality of any content, regardless of who originates that content, and disclaims the same to the extent allowable by law. All third party trademarks, service marks, trade names and logos referenced in this material are the property of their respective owners. Bank of America does not deliver and is not responsible for the products, services or performance of any third party.

 

Not all materials on the Center for Business Empowerment will be available in Spanish.

 

Certain links may direct you away from Bank of America to unaffiliated sites. Bank of America has not been involved in the preparation of the content supplied at unaffiliated sites and does not guarantee or assume any responsibility for their content. When you visit these sites, you are agreeing to all of their terms of use, including their privacy and security policies.

 

Credit cards, credit lines and loans are subject to credit approval and creditworthiness. Some restrictions may apply.

 

Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as “MLPF&S" or “Merrill") makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed or provided by companies that are affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp."). MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, Member SIPC, and a wholly owned subsidiary of BofA Corp.

 

Banking products are provided by Bank of America, N.A., and affiliated banks, Members FDIC, and wholly owned subsidiaries of BofA Corp.

 

“Bank of America” and “BofA Securities” are the marketing names used by the Global Banking and Global Markets division of Bank of America Corporation. Lending, derivatives, other commercial banking activities, and trading in certain financial instruments are performed globally by banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation, including Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC. Trading in securities and financial instruments, and strategic advisory, and other investment banking activities, are performed globally by investment banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“Investment Banking Affiliates”), including, in the United States, BofA Securities, Inc., which is a registered broker-dealer and Member of SIPC, and, in other jurisdictions, by locally registered entities. BofA Securities, Inc. is a registered futures commission merchant with the CFTC and a member of the NFA.

 

Investment products: