Cloud accounting developers add tablet, smartphone apps

FreshBooks is the latest player to add a mobile accounting application for the iPad, adding to the list of tablet and smartphone options for small-business owners.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

FreshBooks, which is making a rather controversial play to become better known as a cloud "accounting" software vendor (not just an invoicing app), is releasing a native iPad app that connects with its service.

The free application supports:

- Creation and management of invoices, estimates, expenses and projects
- The ability to attach images of expense receipts to specific invoices
- A feature for gauging receivables status
- A timer keeping track of billable service hours
- A timesheet view that can be filtered by specific projects
- The ability to work offline (changes will be synched to your cloud account the next time you log in)

A screenshot of the new FreshBooks app appears to the right. The mobile app requires a FreshBooks account, starting at $19.95 per month.

Given the amount of time that small-business owners spend on the road, many accounting software developers are focusing resources on better mobile apps for the space.

Aside from the FreshBooks option, here are three other mobile accounting apps for iPhone and Android tablets or smartphones that are worth your attention:

Xero Touch: Available on both iOS and Android, the company's accounting software is used by more than "100,000 paying customers." It handles many of the same things that are touted by FreshBooks including invoice creation and expense receipt management.  The software also integrates with the cloud service's customer contact details, so that small-business owners can resend invoices from a mobile device. Aside from working with Xero's service, which is priced starting at $19 per month, Xero integrates with other popular small-business applications including PayPal, FreshBooks, 37 Signals Highrise, and Magento.

Kashoo: This company's iPad edition is the App Store's most downloaded iPad accounting application. It was built as a full-featured accounting applications for small companies and freelancers seeking a basic way to manage income and expenses. The software allows you to generate reports (with charts and graphs), create invoices, record expenses and track payments. The app can be used in conjunction with the cloud service (free for people just getting organized) or starting at $20 per month for premium features such as data backup. Worth noting: you can import accounts and opening balances from Quickbooks.

Quickbooks Mobile: Tablets and smartphones are also a much sharper focus for the venerable small-business accounting software leader, Intuit. The software works across the range of iOS and Android options. If you're using a desktop version of the software, the data is synchronized via a secure connection. If you use Quickbooks Online for Windows, the information is automatically kept in synch. The service and app costs $9.95 per month after a 30-day free trial period.

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