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Best iPhone apps for work of 2011

by Dan Kricke

With the increase in mobile tech over the past years, businesses and individual teleworkers now have even more opportunity to accomplish just as much out of the office as they do sitting at their desk. Here are 2011’s five best apps geared towards the mobile entrepreneur.

Instant Customer ($2.99)

If you’re running fundraising campaigns or managing donations for any size company, Instant Customer is a handy way to make sure your eggs are falling in the correct baskets. The app lets you take pictures of business cards you receive, where the information on the card is then transcribed and inserted into the app.

From there, you can create “campaigns” and put the business cards within the appropriate listing, so you’ll know who to go to when you’re working on specific projects. Instant Customer also boasts that it will perform the follow-up with the contact automatically. Not a bad way to get a leg up in the business game.

SamCard Pro ($5.99)

If you’re looking to simply keep tabs of your business cards without adding them into specific individualized listings, SamCard Pro makes for a good place to start. SamCard Pro lets you take a picture of your business cards where the information is quickly translated into digital text.

Once the card has been entered into the app, you can edit the listing if any errors are present. Soon you’ll have an easy to read listing of all of your business contacts without the need to haul a Rolodex around.

Related: The best iPhone apps for freelancers in 2011

CalculateRetro ($1.99)

Any calculator app can give you basic or scientific calculations. At this point, that’s old hat. CalculateRetro does offer a feature I’ve been looking for ages, however, by providing users the scratch paper that went into their arithmetic. CalculateRetro tracks the keystrokes you enter so that when you’re wondering why the answer looks different than you thought it might, you can find out exactly why.

As a bonus, you can add text to the scratch paper to explain what certain figures refer to, and then email or print out your work right from the app. As someone who works on the go often, there’s something to be said about using a calculator app without having to make absolutely sure you’ve entered in every single number correctly.

MerchantCircle (Free)

MerchantCircle is best thought of as something like Facebook for businesses. Business owners can create a profile for their business and then post deals on the app to drive traffic to their endeavor. Users can also connect with other businesses and manage their contacts within the business world right from the app.

Consumer interaction is also a focus of MerchantCircle, as customers have the ability to instantly give feedback to the business owners in the app and offer suggestions, help or even complaints as the need arises. For forward-thinking business owners, this app is a must-own.

Phone Swipe – Credit Card Terminal (Free)

Small business owners that often operate on-the-go should find a lot to love with Phone Swipe. The app, along with a free credit card reader, allows users to take in credit card payments right through their iPhone.

Fashion designers who want to be compensated more quickly for their handiwork can note the inventory sold and create a live transaction right on the spot without waiting to hear back on an invoice sent out weeks later. The app also provides access to numerous merchant reports to track sales, receipts and other alerts.

Create a list of your favorite apps for work here.