Accounting and Auditing ,
Livescribe: Note taking magic. Here’s an overview of how auditors are making their lives easier using the Livescribe pen.
Have you ever interviewed a client, feverishly taking notes, and straight away forgot critical facts? You wish you had a recording of the conversation. Better yet, you wish you could touch a particular word in your notes and hear the words that were being spoken at that moment. What if I told you, “you can”?
Think about what you could record with such a tool:
- CPE class lectures
- Walkthroughs of transaction cycles
- Board or committee or partnership meetings
- Fraud interviews
Livescribe: Note Taking Magic
What is Livescribe? It’s an electronic pen/recorder. As you write on special coded paper, you simultaneously record the conversation (the recorder is built into the pen). Once done, you touch a particular letter in a word (with the tip of your pen) and you hear–from the pen–the words spoken at that moment. No more forgetting and not being able to retrieve what was said. And it’s efficient since you can go to any particular part of the conversation using your notes as signposts.
To start a recording, you press the tip of the pen to the “record” icon at the bottom of the page.
To stop the recording you press the “stop” icon above.
Once the recording is complete, you simply touch the tip of the pen to any letter and the audio recording will start playing–from the pen–at that point.
You can upload the pen notes and the audio to your computer desktop Livescribe software using a USB cord that connects to the pen. (See below.)
You can also play back notes from your uploaded desktop copy just as you can with your pen. Click a letter with your mouse and the recording will play.
I was surprised by the clarity of the sound from the pen and the audio capacity–200 hours (for the Echo version that you see below).
There are different versions of the pen. I bought the Echo version due to the lower price. You can review the available pens on Amazon. I also bought additional Livescribe notebooks (they come in packs of four) and a portfolio (binder) to hold the notebook and pen.
My Experience with Livescribe
I have used a Livescribe pen for four years. After using to it to record hundreds of hours of audio, I consider my Livescribe pen to be one of my best audit tools. I recommend it.
What if you don’t desire to shell out the $155 for the pen? Consider using the Notability app.
If you have an iPad, you can buy the Notability app for $9.99 and record conversations with your notes (with play-back similar to Livescribe). You will need a stylus (I use an Apple pen) to take notes since you write on your iPad screen. See my article about using Notability.
One More Thought
If you are performing a walkthrough of a complex transaction cycle, consider using your phone to take pictures of what you are seeing (e.g., computer screens, documents). I use the Scanbot app. Between your notes (with audio) and your pictures, you will have a good understanding of what you have seen and heard.
You might also be interested in my article Four Keys to Better Client Interviews.