IT Innovation

Finance, Charge, and Touch

Explore gadgets and mobile apps, and test your tech knowledge.

March/April 2016

Apps: Financial Management


For many governments worldwide, March and April are the months that make up the tax season—the time to report on earnings and settle the tax score for the previous year. These apps can keep you on top of finances year-round.

Level Money
This personal finance app lets you create a budget and keep track of how much you spend daily, weekly, and monthly. Using 128-bit SSL and AES encryption, the app can read data from your financial accounts to provide a consolidated view of all bank and credit card transactions. The app analyzes your month-over-month spending to predict the next month’s shortfall or overage, and lets you track spending habits by merchant and category. Free (Android, iOS).

Mint: Money Manager, Budget & Personal Finance
This free app from Intuit (makers of TurboTax and Quicken) consolidates bank accounts, credit cards, and investments to help you track spending and get your finances organized. Create a budget, get notified about bills that are due, check your credit score, and more. The app uses 128-bit encryption and bank-level security. See trends over time for credit cards, cash, spending, income, and net worth. In conjunction with, the app provides customized tips for reducing fees and saving money. Free (Android, iOS).


The Wally app treats each expense as an “experience,” by capturing the metadata—the who, what, where, when, and why—associated with it. These details are put to use by the app’s machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to give you insight into where your money goes. The app can also use your phone’s location services to identify and categorize each expense venue in real time. Free (Android, iOS).


Internal revenue agencies within each government may offer their own mobile apps to check refund status, get helpful tax tips, find free tax preparation assistance, and so on. If your government’s taxing agency has an online presence, it likely provides mobile apps or is working on creating them. For US tax filers, the Internal Revenue Service provides the IRS2Go app. Free (Android, iOS).
For Canadian tax filers, there’s the MyCRA (Canada Revenue Agency) mobile app. Free.


Neonode AirBar

The AirBar brings touch functionality to nontouch Windows PCs and Chromebooks. It’s a slim sensor that magnetically latches onto the bottom of the laptop display and connects to one of the laptop’s USB ports. The device requires no special drivers or other software. It uses Neonode’s optical interactive sensing technology, casting an invisible field of light just above the display surface that makes the display responsive to pinch, zoom, swipe, scroll, and other touch actions. In addition, the AirBar lets you use paintbrushes or other implements to interact with the display, so you can now actually “paint” directly onscreen rather than needing an additional interface.


HeLi-on Solar Charger

Weighing 105 grams (less than 4 ounces) and smaller than most mobile phones, the HeLi-on Solar Charger is a unique solar panel and battery combination you can take anywhere. Made by infinityPV using its own printed photovoltaic technology, the flexible solar panel unrolls from the cylindrical case as a continuous narrow sheet. The solar cells are a mere 2 micrometers thick but are sheathed in protective foil for a total thickness of just under 1 millimeter, so the sheet is flexible but durable. The HeLi-on can recharge any device capable of being charged through a USB port, including mobile phones, cameras, portable game consoles, and walkie-talkies. Use the solar cell when the sun’s out or the internal battery when it’s not. The onboard battery is kept charged by plugging the HeLi-on into a USB power source, such as a laptop.


Transparency Understood but Underused
A global survey of public financial management finds digital tools still underused.

In a survey of more than 275 public financial management leaders, only 75 percent of those surveyed say their organizations are using websites to increase transparency, despite some government sites—including that of the White House in the US—dating back to 1994. Other regions, such as Africa, with more mobile phone than computer connectivity, are focusing on pushing things out via cell phone. India has already done this, according to the survey respondents—focusing on mobile governance, or “m-governance.”

Which digital communication channels are you using to increase transparency for your citizens?


Grant Thornton and International Consortium on Governmental Financial Management Global Financial Management Leaders Survey 2015

1. The text flag 1/ identifies the start of a _________.
a. sequential concatenation
b. Twitterstorm
c. tweetstorm
d. packet storm

2. Which of the following is a permissionless distributed database that maintains a growing list of transactional data records hardened against tampering and revision??
a. block cipher
b. blockchain
c. block party
d. toolchain

3. Which of the following is not considered part of a software development toolchain?
a. manifest
b. compiler
c. linker
d. libraries



Photography byhreaw,Unsplash