iPad for accountants

Having promised myself that I would await version 2 of the iPad before succumbing, I found myself in the Apple store on launch day handing over my credit card with the following internal mind wrestle – my head saying “you don’t need this” and my heart laughing: “yes you do, look at it…it’s beautiful”! (Result: Apple win yet again!)

So what are my first impressions one week into owning an iPad?

Firstly, I should caveat the fact that this is my first ‘proper’ week of playing with it as I spent most of last week with my iPad largely out of action (see Getting Started with iPad tips below).

It is a quite brilliant device for consuming media such as video, books and online articles as the screen is unbelievably high res and responsive to touch. Zooming in and out on photos is amazing. I am just getting started with the 1,000s of apps.

Using an iPad for work in accountancy

Explaining difficult concepts in easy to follow and ideally entertaining ways is the key to building relationships with clients and identifying new opportunities. There is little doubt that the iPad will make a stunning tool for flicking through presentations alongside a client or prospect or as a light-weight note-taking tool for meetings etc.

The jury is still out as to how useful the iPad might be for day-to-day work in the office given most PSFs’ ongoing reliance on Excel, Word and the other usual Microsoft Office suspects. Dennis Howlett has already provided a good summary of the shortcomings of Apple’s Numbers yet seems equally enamoured with the device as a new business tool. Richard Messik also seems pretty smitten.

Lawyers are already busy experimenting with iPad applications for work practises (Peninsulawyer has some good summaries of latest experiences and tips, as does Jason Plant) and the overall consensus (hope?) so far seems to be that we have a fair way to go before it transforms the way we work today but that – with enough prompting and feedback – iPad applications will evolve to meet the needs of users and get us closer to a potential game-changer.

Given this, accountants, lawyers and other professionals need to be experimenting with the iPad and feeding practical business needs into the app development community so that the relevant apps can be built. Likewise, our clients will expect us to be adopting latest working practises and business tools, as will the bright young Gen Ys entering into our profession.

Seth Godin is already banging the drum for the ipad applications that he would like to see developed – his requested Fixing Meetings iPad app already gets my vote!

Post script – iPad teething problems and solutions:

Gettting started with iPad
Tip No.1: Never buy an iPad then disappear on holiday (like I did) without first ensuring you have your Macbook or pc with iTunes preinstalled and a wireless network to hand. Why? Because you need to sync your brand-spanking-new iPad with iTunes before it will activate. iTunes also needs to be connected to the Internet to sync. I happened to have my MacBook but no Internet connection – so I had to trudge around sunny Rhosneigr looking for a wireless connection. It literally takes 30 seconds to activate once you get connected – it was just the preceding 3 hours of locating a wireless hotspot that was the hindrance!

Tip No. 2: You also need to be online to active the 3G card (if you have a 3G model). I had activated my ipad via iTunes but had then disconnected before the option to download the “carrier” information had flashed up. This meant that every time I tried to get online via 3G it kept coming up with a “cellular network” error. Grrrr. Lesson learnt.