By Jeremy Mugridge, Marketing Director, Instinct Studios

When growing a business it’s important to have access to the right financial information and this is becoming easier thanks to the rise of smartphones and tablets. Technological change has accelerated people’s hunger to interact with financial services digitally and companies are beginning to react to this.

Smartphones and tablets are enabling financial services companies to turn an intangible service into something people can actually touch and feel. Users today have become more savvy and comfortable with digital technologies and experiences, and there is a direct relationship between the increased use of digital services and the expectations of today’s users.
People have different preferences when it comes to absorbing information. Some learn visually, others like tactile experiences, or there are those people who just prefer to listen. Customers want to consume information how they want, at the pace they’re comfortable with and then delve deeper where they choose.

It’s encouraging that the financial services sector is beginning to evolve customer experiences in-line with changing customer needs, for example by developing apps, although it’s interesting to see that many of the best financial apps in the market, have been developed independently of the established financial services brands. There’s now a plethora of decent financial apps available and the list is growing each week – here are five of our favourite personal budgeting apps.

1. Budgt
iPhone: £1.49
This app has a beautiful flat design which makes it feel very modern. Users add monthly income and regular expenses and can then set a daily budget with the remaining money. Budgt produces nice pie charts and there are no fixed currencies, so users can easily use it when they are abroad.

2. Bills Forecast
iPhone & iPad: £1.49
A really nice app with a clean user interface. Users enter regular bills via the calendar and the app then provides push notifications to remind them when bills are due. When all outgoings have been entered, it provides a financial forecast for the year ahead.

iPhone: free
The clean design and useful features make this app extremely usable. Users can easily add expenses and access a detailed breakdown of their financial position. A couple of the features we particularly like include the ability to scan a receipt and categorise expenses.

4. Dollarbird
iPhone and Android: £2.99 monthly fee
Dollarbird uses a calendar as the format for displaying the user’s transactions. The app produces line graphs and statistics each month and allows users to set budgets for different criteria such as shopping, travel etc. It has a nice flat contemporary design.

5. Account Tracker
iPhone & iPad: £1.99
The user interface is basic but extremely usable and intuitive – we like the sync to cloud feature. Other features include the ability to track multiple accounts, set budgets for different criteria and set-up recurring bills or payments.