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Most Useful Apps for Accountants
by Stuart Black, member, IFAC SMP Committee, and Paul Thompson, Director, SMP & SME Affairs, IFAC | May 14, 2014 | 1
In a few short years, smartphone applications have gone from margin to mainstream. Many accountants now regularly use them to make work and life simpler and less costly. Today there are countless apps available to help improve productivity and access to information. These apps help us arrange business travel, network with clients and colleagues, store and share information, and more. There are reckoned to be over a million iOS apps in Apple’s App Store and possibly even more Android apps in Google Play. So we are spoilt for choice—but left wondering which apps to choose.
So what apps should we use? SMP Committee members helped us compile the following list of apps for accountants. It’s worth noting that their usefulness may depend upon where you are located. And most can be used for both business and pleasure. We’d be interested to know your views including what other apps you’d recommend to fellow accountants.
- Wi-Fi Finder—to help you find the nearest and cheapest Wi-Fi network (iOS and Android)
- Evernote—to help you take memo notes without pen, paper, or Post-it (iOS and Android)
- Feedly—to help you browse and share your favorite news sites and feeds (iOS and Android)
- Dropbox—to help you store and share files (iOS and Android)
- Keeper—to help securely manage passwords (iOS and Android)
- TripIt—to help organize your travel plans (iOS and Android)
- XE Currency—to help convert from one currency to another (iOS and Android)
- Uber—to help get a pick-up from airport, client, or hotel (iOS and Android)
Other apps worth a mention, though these carry a small sticker price, include PrintCentral (to print from smartphone or tablet to printer—iOS), The World Clock (to determine times across different time zones—iOS and Android), HP12C (to make financial calculations—iOS and Android), and AirServer (to stream content or mirror your display from your iOS devices).
If you wish to read more about which apps might prove useful to you, check out the AICPA’s “5 Apps for CPAs” (Journal of Accountancy, April 2014), and for file management apps, in particular, see “6 File Manager Apps for iOS and Android” (Business News Daily, April 2014).
There are some that argue that accounting practices should develop their own apps. Such proponents stress that apps can help realize business opportunities—helping firms engage with their clients and develop closer working relationships, in so doing, offering a new channel to deliver key services and helping turn clients into business advocates.
Interested in developing one yourself? The AICPA provides useful best practices and guidance in its article “How to Develop and Publish a Mobile App” (Journal of Accountancy, February 2012), including a series of steps firms can follow to avoid the various pitfalls on the road to development. The article stresses that firms “should not pursue the creation of a mobile application without a clear and compelling reason to do so.”
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