If you think of Flappy Bird and Facebook when someone mentions smartphone apps, it's time to think again.

More and more businesses are using apps to improve productivity and their connection with customers and clients.

The IRD has joined in, with the App4IR Challenge, hoping to find a mobile app to connect to the Government department with its 420,000 small-business customers.

The winner will get $10,000 for the design and an opportunity to collaborate on the development of the app, which will be funded by the IRD.


The best app ideas will be selected and presented to a panel of judges. IRD is collaborating with Creative HQ, the business startup incubator on the project, to encourage creative entrepreneurs to step forward.

Entries close on April 14.

Although there is only one winner, this will give the IRD a pool of options to consider for the future.

Small-business customers will benefit as they step up to embrace and familiarise themselves with apps that can streamline business processes.

The smartphone is fast becoming the mobile office. You can do your accounting, banking, access emails, arrange appointments, text, manage timesheet information and quotes, access the internet and, of course, make phone calls.

As mobile technology and connectivity improves, so too do the app options.

The construction industry is picking up app technology quickly and using app information to manage jobs and staff, as well as to speed up processes around costing and invoicing - a lot of this can be done on the spot with a smartphone or tablet.

Many sales reps now process orders from the road.


There's an estimated 1 billion mobile devices around the world and penetration is likely only to increase.

In May last year, 60 per cent of kiwis had smartphones, that's up from 33 per cent the year before. Faster internet and 4G rollout will increase smart device and app use.

If you haven't explored the options around apps for business and productivity your accountant and IT professionals can help.