‘Appy New Year

ech-expert Tim Stackpool gives lowdown on the must-have apps for EAs in 2018  

As a high-level PA, the expectations upon you are as varied as the apps on your smartphone. Assuming e-mail, LinkedIn, Google and Evernote already feature prominently on your home screen, here’s the definitive list of must-have apps to propel you into 2018 – all have versions for both iPhone and Android, and a quick Google search will take you to the download location in either the Google or Apple app store.

To organise
24me could have been designed for PAs. This is a smart and automatic task handler that centralises your calendar, to-do lists, personal accounts and notes into the one place. Your day-to-day errands can also be completed with a single tap. Receive billing, event and birthday reminders – or have the app pay your bills and send gifts to colleagues or clients. It’ll even let you know what time you should leave for your meeting based on current traffic – and it’s free!

To collaborate
The jury remains out when it comes to this category, as much depends on the project, the various facets and the type of people involved. But consider taking a look at Slack, which the team can use to access the messages, files, decisions and milestones to meet within the project. Alternatively, Facebook’s internal collaboration tool is now available. Called Workplace, getting started is a bit easier than with others, as most people already know how to navigate within Facebook. Workplace uses similar features with added tools to make it more productive within business teams.

For expenses
All PAs know that entering expenses data can be tedious and time-consuming – the Expensify mobile app provides fully-automated processing by importing expenses and receipts directly from credit cards. Alternatively, it can take a photo on your mobile phone, submit expense reports via email and reimburse online, either by using your preferred accounting software or by direct deposit. It’s free to individuals but a small monthly fee applies per employee – however, this is waived if no report is generated that month.

For travel
You’re probably already using lots of apps assist with booking travel or checking flight details but what if the flight is delayed or overbooked? Airhelp determines whether certain disrupted flights are eligible to pay compensation at no cost. Laws vary by region and country but if Airhelp makes a successful claim, the app takes 25 per cent of the compensation and pays you the remainder. Many EAs may not have spare time to complete the paperwork required to make a claim but this app takes the bureaucratic pain away.

To negotiate time zones
If you have colleagues working on common projects across various time zones, Circa depicts an easy-to-read image of the time in your chosen cities – at a glance, you can see the time in your current or home city compared to cites anywhere in the world. But that’s not all – Circa will overlap the hours that are appropriate for video or telephone conferencing. Simply add your cities and they’ll materialise on the screen as concentric time arcs – ideal for arrivals, departures and office opening hours, too.

For learning
Knowledge is the currency of success and exercising your brain by practising skills that are helpful but not directly associated with your role can open your mind to opportunities and work prospects you may otherwise overlook. Fancy learning a new language? It’s easier than ever to practice and master with Babbel and Duolingo. Each will walk you through the basics of as many as 20 languages then uniquely customise ongoing lessons depending on how well you master the previous exercises.