Are you thinking, "Another article about technology? We get it already!" As an accountant or bookkeeper, your comfort level with technology is most likely greater than most other people. However, the role of mobile technology in your clients' businesses is increasing dramatically, and you need to be prepared to meet them where they are. Do you truly have a mobile-friendly, modern practice?
Summary of Mobile Usage in 2021
App Annie analyzed app usage over 2021 and compared that data to similar surveys in previous years. The general data shows that app usage is increasing year over year.
A significant statistic is the amount of time users spend on mobile apps each day. Across all countries analyzed, the average user spent 4.8 hours per day, roughly a third of waking hours. In the United States, users were on mobile apps 4.2 hours per day, and users spent 4.4 hours per day on mobile apps in Canada.
What does increased app usage mean for accountants and bookkeepers?
Your clients are increasingly living in a mobile world, both personally and professionally. In the past, you might have needed to consider your clients' comfort level with using apps on their cell phones. Now, that isn't the case. Now, your clients turn to their cell phones regularly and most likely consider those cell phones as one of their most valuable business tools.
If you haven't already transitioned to a practice built on mobile technology, this is the time to do it. Most, if not all, of your communication, document sharing, approval processes, etc. can be managed through mobile apps provided by the accounting software and integrated apps you are already using. Creating processes for your clients and teaching them how to use the apps will allow them to work with you in the way they probably already want.
Here is are a few more data points from the State of Mobile 2022 report.
App Usage by Category
As expected, social and communication apps consumed the most hours worldwide, with 42% of the hours spent in mobile apps in this category. The next most common usage of mobile apps is for photos and videos, with 25% of the usage. Games and entertainment take up 11% of app usage, leaving 22% spent on other types of apps.
When you look at the most searched iOS App Store Keywords in 2021, it becomes more clear that apps for business are critically important.
In the United States, the top 10 searched keywords in order were - Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Indeed, teams, Microsoft Authenticator, Duo mobile, LinkedIn, Google Meet, the Aoom app for Iphone, and scanner app. In Canada, the most searched keywords were job, Zoom, LinkedIn, Indeed, teams, Canada Post, Microsoft Teams, chat, Google Meet, and services.
When considering business and finance app usage by age, millennials were more likely to use mobile apps than Gen X, Baby Boomers, or Gen Z. Gen Z represents those aged 16 -24; Millennials represent those aged 25-44; Gen X and Baby Boomers represent those aged 45+.
The 30% increase in hours spent using mobile apps over the past two years and 5% increase in downloads over 2020 is reflected in the fact that app usage is up across all categories. There are two categories worth pointing out.
Finance App Usage
In 2021, there were 5.9 Billion downloads of Finance Apps worldwide, an increase of 28% over 2020. Traditional banking apps are widely used by all generations, but Gen Z users are more likely to use cryptocurrency trading apps and other apps allowing them to use their mobiles as a form of payment instead of cash.
Retail App Usage
Time spent using mobile apps for shopping consumed over 100 Billion hours globally. This reflected an 18% increase over 2020, with fashion, social shopping (where the experience is shared with a social network), and big-box retailers.