Software types: a glossary

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There’s a huge array of software available to run a business, including some specifically for therapists.
We’ve just added a list of software to the members’ area of our website, split into separate categories. If you’re new to certain types of software, here’s a short glossary to help explain some of those categories.
Practice Management Software (PMS)
Practice Management Software is used in the daily running of a practice and allows you to schedule appointments, manage your contacts, bill clients, and more. With Practice Management Software you can cut down on paperwork, save time and make every aspect of running your practice more efficient. Read more about it here.
Applications (Apps)
An app is a piece of software which can be downloaded on to any smartphone or tablet (such as an iPhone, iPad or Android device). Apps for businesses are usually created to help you complete tasks, save time and be more productive. Apps can be downloaded for free or for a fee from Google Play or the iTunes store. For example, a therapist may want to download a scheduling app onto their iPhone so that their customers can book online appointments which will sync with their phone calendar. Or, they may want to download an app that reminds their client to complete exercises in-between sessions. You can read more about these sorts of apps here.
Accounting software
Accounting is the process of managing and organising the financial accounts of your business. This includes invoices, receipts, expenses, and financial reports. Accounting software automates these functions.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software uses technology to manage the relationship that your practice has with its clients (and also suppliers, partners and so on). CRM methods track and evaluate emails and phone calls to keep all contact information in the same place. Read more about CRM software and how a therapist might use it here.
Spreadsheets
A spreadsheet is an interactive document which allows its user to store data into categorised rows and columns. Formulas can then be used to manipulate the data and make calculations for the user automatically. Spreadsheets can therefore be used to store, manage and organise both numerical and textual data. Microsoft Excel is a well known spreadsheet program, but there are others.
Anti Virus software
Anti Virus Software is used to defend and destroy potential threats to a computer and its software, such as Malware and phishing emails. Therapists in private practice will also want to use this type of software to protect the client data that they have stored online and on their hard-drive.
Encryption Software
If you’re sending an email that you wish to keep private, particularly if it contains client information, Encryption Software will keep it protected, making it safe both to store and send. Find out more about Encryption Software here.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search Engine Optimisation is a process which companies use in order to raise their online website ranking on search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo, in the hope of attracting more customers to their website and services that they offer. This can often be achieved by informing directory services of their website and improving the content and accessibility of their website. SEO software can offer users guidance, HTML analysis and keyword suggestion in order to improve the visibility of a company’s website online.
Marketing software
Marketing entails all of the activities which you would use to attract clients. This can include advertising, getting a website, sending emails, and market research through customer surveys. If you wish to attract a large number of clients (for example if you sell products), marketing software can be useful.
Administration software
Administration covers almost every task involved in the daily running of your practice. Administrative software may include digital client notes, to do lists, and diaries.
Social Media 
Social Media denotes the largely free, interactive web based platforms which are made for people to communicate, share and generate their own content. Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are just some examples. Therapists can use sites such as Facebook and Linkedin to promote their services. Software is available that helps businesses plan and carry out their social media activity (and find out how effective it is).
Website Creation software
Website development entails the whole process of creating a website including design and creating original content. Other work may include maintenance of the website and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Website creation software (or website builders) can be used to guide therapists through creating a website.
Graphics software
Graphics includes the creation of pictures, diagrams, logos and videos which can be used for commercial purposes. Graphics software can help you create logos, leaflets, diagrams and presentations.