The typical modern workday is a combination of work at your desk, work on the phone, work on the run, work from remote locations, work at client offices, keeping up with the news - all while juggling your own personal life and staying connected with the lives of friends and family. Almost everyone has a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, or some combination thereof — devices that can come with you and, more importantly, keep up with you as you move from one project to the next.
It’s likely you have familiarity with apps - those little programs, applications, that tie a virtual string around your finger, help you find your way when you get lost, remember your favorite songs, and point out the best restaurants. You might have your favorites, the apps you feel like you can’t live without, or you might be looking for that magic app that’s going to change (rule) your life.
After a poll of the CPA Practice Advisor thought leaders to find out which apps have made a difference in their work lives, here are the most popular apps that they recommend, along with some of their comments.
Evernote (iOS - Android)
Hands down, the favorite app of our thought leaders is Evernote. According to the manufacturers, Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for notetaking and archiving. A note can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten note. Notes can also have file attachments.
Rick Richardson, CEO of Richardson Media & Technologies, LLC, is an Evernote fan. “It is the focus of all my research, storage and organization. It’s the way I’m going almost paperless. Don’t know what I’d do without it.”
If that’s not enough of an endorsement, here’s what Tom Hood, CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs and the Business Learning Institute has to say: “Evernote is truly my second brain and I definitely need one of those! It runs across all devices – iPhone, iPad, and Mac laptop – and it collects and organizes almost all of my information in an easy to search, context rich environment. For example, while I am at a conference, when I take a photo of the agenda – it pops into Evernote with the date, time, and location stamp.”
“It not only saves the picture of the document but can search on the text (via Optical Character Recognition - OCR),” Hood added. “Like the feel of pen and paper? Evernote reads your writing and can search on your written notes just as easily. I use my Field Notes to take notes and snap pics every day so I always have all of my notes with me (plus the location where I was when I snapped it). Business cards are the same thing, plus Evernote converts cards into text, adds to contacts, and even offers to connect on LinkedIn. I can email documents to it, clip from websites, voice memo to it and, even tweet to it.”
TripIt (iOS - Android)
Many of our thought leaders listed TripIt as one of their favorites. TripIt, by Concur (which was recently acquired by SAP), organizes travel plans into an itinerary that has all of your trip details in one place.
Donny Shimamoto, founder and senior member of the IntrapriseTechKnowlogies LLC’s (ITK) consulting and management team, says that TripIt, “Is a must for any frequent traveler. Forward your air, hotel, or car rental confirmations to it and it puts it all together into one itinerary, including inserting maps between the airport and hotel, meeting to meeting, etc. I signed up for the Pro account which also provides me with flight status, baggage claim, and other up to the minute updates.”
John Higgins, co-founder of CPA Crossings, LLC, concurs (no pun intended!). “This is a travel itinerary app that populates every aspect of a trip automatically by simply forwarding the confirmation emails (airline, rental car, etc.) to TripIt and my office manager fills in the rest (meeting locations, etc.). The best part is when I get in the rental car, TripIt integrates directly to my navigation app on the phone, so no more getting lost!”
Uber (iOS - Android)
Uber is one of the new wave of ridesharing services available in large cities. According to the company website, you can, “Get a taxi, private car, or rideshare from your mobile phone. Uber connects you with a driver in minutes. Use our app in cities around the world.”
Jim Boomer, CIO of Boomer Consulting, and Mark Koziel, vice president of firm services and global alliances at the AICPA, are frequent travelers and enjoy the ease of using Uber for on-demand transportation. “When your flight is delayed and you arrive at 2:30am, there aren’t many cabs. Uber is a convenient and quick tool to get you where you need to go without the long waits you experience with taxi companies.” said Boomer.
Tallie (iOS - Android)
“Tallie has reduced my expense reporting time by at least one hour per week and integrates directly with Bill.com and QBOL, said L. Gary Boomer, CEO of Boomer Consulting, Inc. “It has also reduced others’ time in the processing and integration of expense reports with Bill.com. The workflow is built into the app and the support is excellent.”
Tallie, an accounting solution for expense reports, is also a 2014 winner of a CPA Practice Advisor Innovation Award.
Dropbox (iOS - Android)
Dropbox is a free file sharing service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily with others. Several of our thought leaders use Dropbox regularly.
Leslie Shiner, owner of The ShinerGroup, uses Dropbox for access to often-used files. Futurist, author, and speaker Rebecca Ryan of Next Generation Consulting, uses Dropbox for sharing files with her team while she is on the road.
AroundMe (iOS - Android)
AroundMe is an app that allows users to quickly find nearby Points Of Interest (POI) such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, parking, hospitals and much more.
Dr. Bob Spencer, owner of Twenty Seconds in the Future and associate at K2 Enterprises, said that AroundMe “is a great app when traveling and looking a place to eat, restaurant, movie theater, mall, gas station and so forth near to you.”
Flipboard (iOS - Android)
According to the company website, Flipboard is your personal magazine. It’s a single place to discover, collect and share the news you care about. Add your favorite social networks, publications, and blogs to stay connected to the topics and people closest to you.
Brian Tankersley, director of strategic relationships for K2 Enterprises and owner of Brian F. Tankersley, Consulting and Professional Development, says that Flipboard “is a great visual news reader with seamless social sharing on all major platforms.”
Google Maps (iOS - Android)
Google Maps is a desktop and mobile web mapping service app provided by Google. It offers satellite imagery, streetmaps, and Street View perspectives, and also functions such as a route planner for traveling by vehicle or by foot.
Chris Frederiksen, chairman of 2020 Group USA, said he uses Google Maps “so I never get lost!”
Starbucks (iOS - Android)
And finally, we take a look at the Starbucks app. According to the folks at Starbucks, this app links to your registered Starbucks card so you can pay for purchases and earn Stars through your phone. You can also reload your card balance, find your nearest store, and even leave a digital tip for your barista.
Jennifer Wilson, partner and co-founder of ConvergenceCoaching, LLC, relies on her Starbucks app to help her find Starbucks locations when she travels.