Being Mobile: It’s the new black
A while back, when I started in the workforce, cellphones were a fairly new thing. I got my first phone when I got my first job in 1997 – an Ericsson T10. It was a lovely little device. It made calls – and that was about it. I could send SMS’s, but no one was doing that, and they were expensive anyway. It had a three line, 12 character display, so reading anything on it would have been quite a problem even if we did use messaging.
Jump forward 15 years and I have an iPhone 4. It’s essentially a computer with a cellular radio attached as if as an after thought. It has more RAM, storage and CPU than the £5,000 laptop I had in 2001. It fits into my pocket, and the battery lasts 2 days if I’m careful. Oh how times have changed.
In 1997, there were no cellular data networks – at least not in New Zealand, where I’m from. They wouldn’t come until around 2004, and even then only at glacial GPRS speeds (around 56k – modem speed).
But where is all this nostalgia taking us?
It used to be that you always had your business tethered to something. Your accounts were on your PC, and if you wanted to send them to your accountant, you did exactly that: put them onto something (floppy disk, ZIP drive, or worse, printed them out), and sent them to your accountant. An accountant in your town mattered.
With the ubiquity of the internet, that’s a thing of the past. Location doesn’t matter anymore. I have an accountant in the UK and one in New Zealand. One of them I’ve met once, the other I only met in person after using his services for nearly 18 months and even then it was only for lunch!
Last year, my wife and I took a trip back home, to New Zealand. In order to pay for the trip, I was working part time while we travelled. With my trusty Macbook Pro and my iPhone, I was able to work while on the move; do my accounts, talk to my accountant, pay my tax and VAT, and all the other things which would have previously required me to be in the UK for. All because of software like FreeAgent, Google Docs and Gmail, compact, powerful computers like laptops and iPhones, and the availability of fast, cheap mobile data services.
For small businesses, we are in an enabling era like nothing we’ve seen before; the ability to work and effectively run a business from any location on the planet. This, of course, brings me around to my iPhone app for FreeAgent, mobileAgent. The idea is to allow you to be as mobile as possible, and to record your most common tasks on a day to day basis – timesheets, expenses, receipts, mileage. The goal was to never get to the end of the month and think “how many days did I work this month? Where did I put that invoice? Did I remember to keep the receipt for that expense?”
If you haven’t tried mobileAgent, I have 5 copies to give away. Just comment below to be in with a chance ! And even if you don’t get in on time, remember it’s for business use, so you can expense it!
Now, go and start thinking about why you’re stuck somewhere you think you need to be, when you could be just as effective running and managing your business from somewhere you want to be.
A Guest Blog by Nic Wise of mobileAgent
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