iPad accountant: Best apps for professional services

iPad with on display keyboard
Image via Wikipedia

Its been some 3 months+ since my last post on using the iPad for accountancy work so where am I up to?

Firstly, I’m pleased to say that my iPad has not been consigned to the technology grave-yard cupboard. In fact, I am using the iPad more and more – largely due to the increased variety and improvement of applications or ‘apps’ for the iPad which get better and better.

Here are is an update of my latest favourite iPad apps for professional work:

iThoughtsHD (£4.99) – this is a fantastic mind mapping tool which is both intuitive to use and creates clear mind maps that can be exported to email PDF quickly and easily. For someone like me who loves using mindmaps but frequently gets frustrated with the neatness and look of my handwritten scrawls this is a great addition to the iPad. I use this on a daily basis for planning and brainstorming.

Note Taker HD ($4.99) – this app is a relatively new addition for me so I’m still getting to grips with it yet this app looks the best I’ve seen so far for making notes on the iPad. Again, my uptake has been slightly hindered by my messy handwriting yet the investment of a stylus may help (!?)

Dragon Dictation (free) – this app delivers (accurate!) dictated notes on the go which can quickly and easily be exported to email. There are certain issues over privacy of client data at this stage (as I understand the info is sent up into the cloud – not sure how secure? – before being transcribed on your iPad) but this is still a useful tool for quick recordings e.g. to-do lists, ideas etc. Fab for free!

Keynote (£4.99) – Although we currently use Microsoft Powerpoint in the office, Apple’s Keynote seems to cope well with importing Powerpoint slides. Slides can also be updated on the go using Keynote. Where this app really excels is in allowing for generic update slide packs to be carried around in your iPad ready to be fired up in seconds should the need or opportunity arise – after all, ideas can normally be better expressed using visual imagery and presentations simply look fantastic on the high-res iPad screen compared to in paper form.

Other recent uses for the iPad have included the ability to access realtime data on the go. I use it for Xero and for accessing LexisNexis (tax legislation, case-law and commentary) when I’m out and about (via 3G or wireless, if available).

My current thinking is that although the laptop will continue to be the central hub of productivity for the majority of professionals in the short-medium term, the iPad gives us a glimpse of the potential for having a mobile device capable of capturing and sharing ideas as well as providing a new level of creativity for those wishing to experiment and push the envelope.

How are you using the iPad in your accounting or other professional work?

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