iPad Apps for CPAs: The Tried and True

By Charles Hall | Technology

Jun 17

Here is a list of iPad apps for CPAs. You’ll find each one helpful in your daily work.

iPad Apps for CPAs

Checkpoint – A library of accounting and auditing publications by Thomson Reuters. You must pay for the books, but Checkpoint provides powerful search capabilities.

Notability – The best app I’ve found for taking notes. You can also record audio as you take notes and then quickly return to a specific part of the conversation by touching a written word with your iPad Pencil. I use this almost daily.

OmniFocusA high-end to-do list. It provides contextual listings, including a hotlist (to help me remember the most important things). You can add, for instance, a to-do item for a particular client or a trip to the hardware store. This app takes some time to understand, but very powerful. Consider taking David Sparks online OmniFocus class. I found it helpful.

Box – A secure file storage system in the cloud. Very powerful. I started using Box about six months ago. There’s a learning curve, but it’s worth it. It’s pricey. I use this storage system for business files.

Dropbox – Cheaper than Box. A cloud-based storage system in the cloud. Dropbox is easy to use. I tend to use Dropbox for personal data. Dropbox seems to integrate more easily with other apps than Box does. I store large video or audio files here (rather than Evernote). This app feels like a large electronic sandbox.

Evernote – Storage app. I create “notes” inside Evernote and store whatever I desire. Evernote is my electronic library. I have saved thousands of articles and research. Apply several tags to each note, so you can quickly find the information you need.

Keynote – A slide presentation app. I use Keynote more than Powerpoint. The Keynote background slides are the best. I find it easier to create slide decks with my iPad than with my desktop.

Weather – Weather app. I start my day by checking the weather, and, when I’m going out of town, I check my destination’s weather before I leave.

Outlook – Email app. I tried Gmail for a while but returned to Outlook. It’s just easier to use. And it integrates with Office 365.

Scanbot – I take pictures of multiple pages, and the scan automatically loads to a specified Box folder.

Holy Bible – You Version Bible app. I start each day with this app. You Version is free and provides several different translations.

Explain Everything – Want your clients to see what you are drawing while you are online with them? Pull up a PDF and write on it with your iPad Pencil. Instantly your client sees what you are doing. Record the presentation (including sound) and store it. Then share the conversation with anyone. Crazy. 

Audible – Audible book app. I listen to books while I’m on the road (or when I am exercising). 

iThoughts – Want to brainstorm visually? iThoughts is your app. Create color-coded maps of your ideas. Watch their video example here

Pocket – An easy-to-use use app to capture internet articles as you see them. Don’t have time to read an article? Save the piece with Pocket with one click. The app shares the captured articles across platforms.

Documents – Write on PDFs or annotate them in other ways (like adding a red box to highlight an area). I don’t take paper copies of agendas or additional information to meetings. They are all here in Documents. It’s a great file manager that connects to file storage systems such as Dropbox. Documents works with all types of files, including Excel, Adobe Acrobat, Word, video files, images. 

Apple Pencil – While not an app, consider using an Apple Pencil. Mine cost about $100. I use it daily to write on electronic documents. See my demonstration here. (If you’ve tried other styluses and they’ve not worked. Try this one. I had almost given up on electronic writing instruments. Then the Apple Pencil came along.)

Your Thoughts?

What apps do you find most helpful?

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About the Author

Charles Hall is a practicing CPA and Certified Fraud Examiner. For the last thirty years, he has primarily audited governments, nonprofits, and small businesses.He is the author of The Little Book of Local Government Fraud Prevention and Preparation of Financial Statements & Compilation Engagements. He frequently speaks at continuing education events.Charles is the quality control partner for McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co. where he provides daily audit and accounting assistance to over 65 CPAs. In addition, he consults with other CPA firms, assisting them with auditing and accounting issues.

  • Eva, glad to provide information about 1Password. I am definitely a fan, and you guys keep making it better. Thanks for the good work.

  • Hi Charles,

    My name is Eva and I work for AgileBits, the folks who make 1Password. I wanted to write in and thank you for including 1Password in your list of most used iPad apps.

    Keep on being awesome!

    Cheers!
    Eva Schweber
    Good Witch of the Pacific Northwest @ AgileBits
    support.1password.com

  • Allen, I will check out Todoist–always love seeing new apps. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the kind comments. Have a great day!

  • Charles Hall says:

    I agree Chuck. The mobile devices are now a necessity (but hey, I enjoy gadgets–so that’s good thing).

  • Allen says:

    Thanks for the list – it’s always interesting to see what others are using and there are a couple on there that I’m going to have to look into.

    If you haven’t already done so, there’s another app that I’d recommend looking at – Todoist. It’s a task management / to-do list app. The free version works well, but I purchased the premium version ($29/yr) almost immediately.

    By the way, I really appreciate all the postings you do. They’ve helped immensely (especially the SSARS 21 related).

  • chuck strand says:

    Years ago I was attending classes on possible uses of the ipad for business use, at break out sessions at the PCPS conference perhaps 10-20 people attended. How quickly it became necessary. The last PCPS conference I was at 850+ participants everyone carried an I-phone I pad or a similar devise. The seminar notes and classes are all on pdf, which you can make notes on , highlight and search. I will look at some of the apps you use that I do not certainly my calculator program is not the best. But my kindle app – the Wiley Books on Audit, Government and non profits such a low price and so much content. And if you do not want to buy them every year they still have a lot of relevance until the AU-c’s become AU’s or until the non profit rules change. But now electronic devises are indispensable tools and not simply personal devises

  • Charles Hall says:

    Allen, I bought the annual license for todoist. This is really nice. Thanks for suggesting.

  • Glad to be of some use.

  • Allen, I continue to use Todoist and like it more every day. I love how it fits into Outlook.

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