Productivity

True blue Aussie apps for your business

Benedict Brook
Smarter Writer

Benedict Brook is a journalist and communications consultant with two decades' experience working in Australia and the UK

Benedict Brook
Smarter Writer

Benedict Brook is a journalist and communications consultant with two decades' experience working in Australia and the UK

It’s Australia Day and all over the country people are donning thongs featuring the flag, throwing a slab of home-grown steak on the barbie and celebrating what’s great about this sun baked land.

But how many of us support Australia when it comes to the business tools we use every day?

Smarter talks to the Aussie developers creating the apps that make small businesses tick. And we pick five of the best bonza apps to help you be more efficient.

Calendar with australian flag and party blowers

The aussie app that took on the world

If you’re searching for an Aussie app success story you need look no further than Invoice2Go.An essential tool for many small businesses, and the market leading invoicing app worldwide, the initial Invoie2Go software was created a decade ago by Chris Strode during his morning commute into Sydney’s CBD.A freelance software developer for Macquarie Bank, Chris was frustrated that the only invoicing programs available were complex, fully fledged accounting systems: “There was nothing that could help me. So I thought I’d do it myself.”However, the real breakthrough came with the advent of the iPhone: “A colleague showed me his new iPhone and within two minutes I knew it would change everything and we had to be on this thing.”It took just six months for Invoice2Go to transition from laptop to smartphone. 

Global appeal

From the get go Chris wanted to ensure the Invoice2Go app would have global appeal: “If you’re making an app just for Australians you have to have a really big market share to survive.“It made sense to have an app that could be used for everyone, not just Australians.”The company now has 60 staff, the app has been translated into 10 languages including Finnish and Thai and, last year, two venture capital firms pumped $35 million into the company.While Invoice2Go’s biggest market is the US, a quarter of its downloads come from Australia and, Chris says, the unique insight of his home-grown workforce benefits the company: “US developers are very US centric but Australians travel more and are more aware of different cultures so we have more of a global view.”

 

“A colleague showed me his iPhone and within two minutes I knew it would change everything and we had to be on this thing.” Chris Strode, founder, Invoice2Go

Solving a very Aussie issue

Business coach Yvonne Ralph developed an app to help with a very Australian problem – helping with the complexity of tax returns.

“My daughter was studying to become a nurse and she was ringing me up saying 'can I claim this as a tax deduction, can I do that?’

“I’m not an accountant and there was that frustration of not knowing what you could claim,” says Yvonne.

From that frustration came deductibles. Launched in 2014, the app lets you photograph your business receipts and then file them under the various ATO deduction categories.

While Yvonne is not ruling out expanding to other countries, the unique selling point of Deductibles is its specificity to Australian tax laws: “The idea was to keep it simple and allow the everyday Australian worker to use their phone to get the most back from the tax man – it’s a true blue Aussie app.”

1. Invoice2Go

Developed in Sydney Invoice2Go is a simple to use on-the-go invoicing tool. The app allows you to create accounts, send estimates, and invoice in minutes with domestic details like GST already set up. Its creators claim business owners save three hours a week on admin and get paid three days quicker on average.

Web app, iOS and Android

2. Deductibles

Deductibles was built specifically to tackle those two distinctly Aussie tax time traumas – crumpled or fading receipts and ATO anguish. Simply snap an image of the receipt, file it under the already installed ATO category and, at the end of the year, export all the data to save you time, maximise your tax return and put more in your pocket.

iOS, Android

3. iAuditor

Now the world’s most popular safety inspection checklist app, the origin of iAuditor lies in a small office in Townsville back in 2004. Today the app is used to conduct more than 25,000 safety inspections per day and is an essential tool for iconic Aussie brands such as Qantas and John Holland. iAuditor lets you build your own checklists and browse through 40,000 preinstalled inspection forms to enable everyone from tradespeople to major companies to work safer and smarter.

iOS, Android

4. Xero

Like pavlova, Xero is a trans-Tasman success story with substantial operations in both New Zealand and Australia. Staple software for small businesses everywhere, Xero allows you to easily invoice, keep track of cash flow, make employee and other payments and see all your bank balances, bills and expense claims at a glance. The Xero Touch app brings the best features of Xero onto your smartphone.

Web, iOS and Android

5. Shoeboxed

With Sydney-based Shoeboxed you scan and organise your receipts, invoices, business cards and documents. An Australian based team then verifies the accuracy of the data and securely stores it. Expense reports and data archives can then be downloaded in seconds.

iOS, Android

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