The Best Finance App

The best finance app, in my opinion, is Mint.com’s mobile app. Here is a list of its features and finance app alternatives if you prefer to use an app other than Mint.com.

Mint.com (Free)

I have been using mint for a long time now and believe it is the best finance app. Intuit bought this web site a while back so it is very secure, using bank level encryption.

Mint gives you a quick overview of your finances, which you can put on one of your main screens in the form of a widget. The widget will show your current cash amount and your credit debt. It will also show you the last time your information was updated, so you can be sure that you are looking at the most recent information.

Once you set up a monthly budget, you can access it with the app to make sure you are staying on track for the month. Mint is very good at knowing how to categorize your transactions for budgeting purposes and it will let you know if it does not know how to categorize a transaction.

The app automatically gives you alerts for various things, which include the availability of large deposits, what bills will are due in the next few days, etc.

You can get a very general picture of you investments with this app. By that, I mean if you simply want to know the balance of you accounts, you will be happy with this app. If you want to get more information about the performance of specific investments, you will need to go to the website.

To set up this app, I would suggest you log on to the main website to input all of you account information and set your budget. Once that is completed, you simply download the app, log in, and all your accounts are ready to go.

Adaptu Wallet (Currently Free)

Adaptu Wallet has many unique features like tracking loyal programs and creating spending forecasts. The app also allows you to store photos of insurance and business cards, which will decrease the clutter inside your wallet. The app is currently free, but the word on the street is they will start charging for usage sometime in 2012.

Pageonce (Free or $4.99 for Gold version)

Pageonce arguably has the best interface of all the finance apps. Your key account balances are placed in thumbnails that appear on the home screen. Contrary to popular belief, this app does provide PayPal support even though many claim it doesn’t. Balance updates are not as fast as Mint.com or Adaptu, some transactions take days to update. The Gold version has the useful ability to pay bills directly from the app, and this is the only finance app that can do this. The gold version also removes all the ads from your app.

High Pay Still Found in Finance

Though the stock market remains wildly prone to fluctuations and the United States barely saved itself from veering off a fiscal cliff at the new year, the high pay of finance jobs has remained a steadfast thing. And the number of people seeking such jobs has, if anything, been on the rise-even as the amount of spots available moves the other direction on the number line.

“I’m looking to go into finance” is a common phrase among soon-to-graduate and recently graduated college students. But what exactly does “going into finance” look like? Finance is an industry, and the term blankets a lot of different positions. Finance jobs include everything from being an analyst to being a trader, from being a researcher to being a consultant. When most people think “finance,” investment banking, also called iBanking, is what first comes to mind. Specifically, bulge bracket banks like Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley come to mind. But these firms only comprise a small (if highly profitable and reputable) piece of the finance pie. Job-seekers can also break into the finance career bubble through sales and trading divisions, corporate finance, hedge funds (a harder point of entry for fresh BAs), consulting firms, (McKinsey & Co., Boston Consulting Group’s HOLT associates division), private wealth (Charles Schwab, PNC Wealth Management) management firms, and even ratings agencies (Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s). And within iBanking alone, there is further job breakdown into three types of groups: capital market, product, and industry groups. Basically, “finance” is deceptively simple-there are dozens of ways to wriggle into the finance sector.

The pay, of course, differs from position to position and from company to company. At a big investment bank, first-year analysts will typically make around $70k base salary plus a $10k signing bonus and $50k to $60k year-end bonus. At a hedge fund, the hiring salary can go up to $90-$100k base plus an even more significant year-end bonus-but generally only analysts with an MBA or prior iBanking experience will make this kind of money right off the bat.Entry-level private wealth management salaries can also be over $80,000. First-year traders bring in similar base salaries to analysts but usually expect less of a bonus-around $20K to $30K. Ratings or credit analysts tend to make slightly less than these other positions, around $55K base salary, but compared to the larger scope of American and international pay grades, that is still a more-than-respectable entry-level salary. And once someone is inside the finance worlds, his/her chances for mobility into different sectors and positions greatly increase.

Of course, no money comes free, and no one getting into the finance world can expect to get his/her salary without doing a lot of work-sometimes 100 hours a week of it. Analysts joke that analysts don’t have a life, and at times that joke rings all too true. But the applications for finance jobs keep coming and will keep coming. The bonuses may not be as extravagant as they once were, nor is the path to rise through the ranks of a firm as smooth and certain. Yet no other industry can promise pretty much across the board $50k plus entry-level salaries, especially after the recession. High pay has remained a stable fact for those who can say they are “in finance,” and in unstable times, that kind of stability is something for which many are willing to fight.

Top 5 iPad Finance Apps for Business

The past two years have been a whirlwind in mobile computing and people are embracing these new devices, like the iPad, at breakneck speeds. Apple’s Fourth Quarter revenues jumped 21 percent from a year ago, including the sale of over 11 million iPads. It’s clear that the huge advances in mobile devices are not only changing how we live our personal lives but also how we do business. For business, especially small business, some of the biggest advantages are coming from the app world. If you want to make your business finances a breeze, check out these apps:

1. Square: Credit card transactions have never been easier. The developers of this free app will send you an actual credit card reader that plugs into your iPad. It’s secure, easy, mobile, and even has built in analytics to track sales, collect tips and tax, and send electronic receipts via email or text. There is no need to delay the payment process anymore. Oh, and they only charge a 2.75% transaction fee: no contracts, fees, or merchant accounts necessary.

2. Expensify has the traveling business world in an uproar. The features of this app are impressive at the least: sync banking information to track purchases in real time, digitize receipts to reduce the chance of losing them (just snap a picture and the app will discern and note the necessary info), customize and email reports for approval, and be reimbursed to your checking account. You’ll be your accountant’s best friend with the organization and ease provided by this app.

3. Time Master + Billing: With a 4 star rating in the app store, this app sets the bar for time and expense tracking. The overall best feature is flexibility to be customized to fit how you work – rounding minutes, multiple running timers, billing rates, expenses, client project/tasks, and so many more options. There are even additional modules available to include invoicing, QuickBooks export, and wireless sync between mobile devices.

4. Intuit GoPayment Credit Card Terminal: Similar to Square but a little bit more involved. It’s also a free app, but you have to jump through a few more hoops (AKA a 15 minute application process) to be approved to use this service. However, if you’re looking for a proven brand name, this may be for you.

5. QuickBooks Connect: This is a great supplement to your QuickBooks Online subscription (QuickBooks 2011 users you’ll have to get a paid subscription to use this app past 30 days). Manage customer information and balances; create invoices and sales receipts; convert estimates to invoices; email estimates, invoices, and sales receipts and more with this handy app.

Mobile computing can make all the difference in the efficiency of your business. Look for the bottlenecks in your financial administration and ask yourself, is there an app for that?

Kristi Daeda is an online marketing strategist that works with companies nationwide to define and execute powerful online marketing strategies. Read more about her thoughts on online marketing at her website [http://www.powerhousestrategy.com] or as featured on Mobile Apps Designers.

Accounting, Engineering, and Computer Science Salaries on the Rise

In the Spring 2010 issue of Salary Survey, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) announced that starting salaries for accounting, finance, engineering and compute science majors are on the rise. This is in the face of decreases in starting salary offers for other recent graduates who majored in business administration, marketing, or liberal arts.

So what does this all mean for you? If you’re majoring in one of the following majors, or thinking about studying one of the following majors, here’s exactly how much extra money you can expect to have in your pocket after you sign that starting contract:

Accounting Salaries: Up.4 percent to $48,575
How to start an Accounting Career:
Accountants provide valuable services to individuals, independent businesses, and large corporations alike. An accounting degree will help teach you everything you need to know for this career, and prepare you to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam.

Computer Science Salaries: Up 4.7 percent to $60,426
How to Start a Computer Science Career:
If you spend any part of your day working on a computer, you know how invaluable computer science professionals are. As computers become more and more integral to our daily lives, the opportunities for this career path are endless.

Chemical Engineering Salaries: Up 1.6 percent to $66,437
How to Start a Chemical Engineering Career:
If you loved playing with your chemical set as a child, you might enjoy a career as a chemical engineer. These professionals combine physical sciences, such as chemistry, with life sciences and math to produce some of the most valuable materials and chemical processes of our time. To get started, you’ll need a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Visit our Bachelor’s degree programs page for information on Bachelor’s degree programs.

Civil Engineering Salaries: Up 1.3 percent to $52,443
How to Start a Civil Engineering Career:
Next time you drive over a bridge, pass under an underpass, or head to the airport, remember this: all of these structures are the work of civil engineers. A civil engineering degree will teach you how to study different environments and build structures that will survive the elements (and be completed on time and on budget).

Electrical Engineering Salaries: Up 3 percent to $59,326
How to Start an Electrical Engineering Career:
To become an electrical engineer, you’ll need to know how to build, test and develop the hottest new electronic items and devices. A Bachelor’s degree in engineering will get you on your way. Visit our Bachelor’s degree programs page for information on Bachelor’s degree programs.

Finance Salaries: Up 1.6 percent to $50,546
How to Start a Finance Career:
A finance degree can open the door to careers in financial analysis, financial auditing, and business. To find finance careers and degree programs, visit our financial analyst career profile.

Financial Planning Salaries

Financial planning is a lucrative job today. With more and more people earning more and more money, it is logical to assume that more and more people will look for advice in planning their financial activities. Basically, a financial planner is someone who helps a person to manage his or her finance in the optimum manner possible. The financial planner finds out suitable investment avenues for a person based on the person’s attitude towards risk and sources of income. Generally, people with MBAs or with some other degree in finance are considered for the job of financial planning. There are plenty of companies in the financial sector today other than the conventional banking institutions. They offer a variety of financial solutions. For example, one can invest in the stock markets of any country, not just in the one’s own country, through certain funds offered by these new-generation non-banking financial institutions. In such situations, a financial planner is inevitable. Also there are independent financial planners who work as consultants. A financial planner should be well versed in financial and taxation laws and should have a thorough understanding of the intricacies of the financial sector.

Financial planners are one of the highest paid executives in financial sector today. In a single year, there has been an increase of around 25% percent in the salary of financial planning professionals. But the industry is experiencing a brief lull at present because of the sub-prime crisis in United States and the plummeting stock-market indices all over the globe. The average annual salary of a senior financial planner has come down to less than $80000/-. It was around $64000/- a year ago and touched $81000/- in January this year.

In the financial planning sector, there are many posts. Examples are given below (average salaries in United States in entry level are given in brackets): certified financial planner ($59000), personal financial advisor ($46000), financial planner ($47000), associate financial planner ($40000), administrative assistant ($30000), administrative manager ($37000), and executive assistant ($40000). As you can see, the salary varies significantly with the nature of the job. A fresher in the financial planning industry is likely to get a salary of around $37000 to $40000 in United States. Naturally, the salary will increase as the financial panning professional gains experience. The general trend is that there will not be a substantial increase in salary in the first four years. But once the person passes that four year mark and gains some experience, the salary hike shifts to top gear.

However, there has been criticism about the increasing salaries of financial planners. The financial sector has been undergoing a mini crisis in the last few months. But most financial planning executives are still drawing high salary. Some financial columnists are arguing that even at the time of crisis, the bank balance of the financial planners in fattening up, while bank balances of their customers are drying up.