What apps do other businesses use regularly? What would they recommend to a business similar to theirs? Are these businesses 100% cloud-based, or do they use a mix of on-prem software and cloud apps?
Last month we put these questions to our mailing list in the form of a survey, 'What business apps do you use?' What we heard back was varied and interesting. While some results were expected (like the popularity of SuiteFiles and Office 365), others took us by surprise.
Below we look at the responses we received and present some app recommendations that you might find useful.
Note: Our mailing list is predominantly made up of SuiteFiles customers and partners. While we've tried to make this clear below, please keep this in mind as you read.
What business apps do you use?
A variety of apps in use
When it came to the apps businesses use day-to-day, accountants had by far the greatest variety, listing 78 different apps in total! This could be a reflection of the huge increase in cloud apps for the accounting market that we've seen in recent years.
Interestingly, the Financial Services and Bookkeeping sectors, while similar to accounting, listed far fewer apps (5 and 7 apps respectively).
IT/Technology had the second largest list of individual apps (22), followed by Professional Services (19) and Legal (16). It's important to note here that the number of apps used across an industry very much depended on how many responses we received, which were significantly fewer for industries outside of accounting.
Accounting and file management software
Likely because of SuiteFiles' integration with Xero, 82% of respondents said that they use Xero in their business. For accountants, this was even higher at 92%. What was surprising though is that 6.4% of accountants told us they also use more than one piece of accounting software, with a few using as many as three different accounting programmes.
Another surprise came when we looked at what document management systems businesses across different industries use. While SuiteFiles was used by 35% of respondents, many also used more than one app to manage their files.
What Xero add-ons do you use?
We also asked accountants who use Xero what add-ons they use in their business. Here are the Top 10:
What apps would you recommend to other businesses?
Respondents were pretty consistent when it came to the apps they recommend to other organisations like theirs, regardless of industry. You can see a breakdown of the top 4-5 apps by industry below. An attempt has been made to list the apps in order of popularity.
Are you 100% cloud-based as a business?
92% of respondents said that they would consider their business 100% cloud-based. While this leaves a pretty small percentage who said that they don't consider themselves cloud-based, their reasons for it were varied.
Common reasons why businesses aren't 100% cloud-based:
- Still have processes and/or programmes that rely on-premises services (e.g. don't have a cloud app or are easier to do on a server)
- Still save files to desktop
- Are in the process of moving to the cloud
- Security concerns about having sensitive data in the cloud or want to keep hard copies on a server
Food for thought
While we expected accountants, specifically accountants who use Xero and Xero Practice Manager/WorkflowMax, to be the main respondents to this survey, we were surprised that some use two or sometimes three other accounting packages at the same time.
We were also surprised at the number of businesses that use more than one document management system for their files.
We can only assume that there are times when a single piece of software can't do everything that a business needs. However we are wary of how using multiple apps can split up your data, with businesses running the risk of not knowing what is the source of truth for their business files and information. We'd be very interested to know why some businesses choose to use more than one document management system or accounting software.
We also noticed that some people listed old versions of Microsoft Office as apps they currently use. While this isn't a bad thing in itself, it indicates that some businesses may also be using older versions of the Windows operating system, which can cause security gaps in your business. Without regular updates (often delivered via the cloud today), you're not receiving the latest defence against malware. This leaves your systems, and ultimately your business, vulnerable to attack.
The results of this survey gave us food for thought. We hope it's given you some ideas for what business apps you could be using in your own business.
We'll be releasing the full list of apps used by each industry soon, so check back later for updates.
Is there a graph that you think is missing from this set? Let us know, or ask us you question about these survey results.