5 apps young CPAs should know about 

The right apps can make life easier and improve your efficiency at work. 
by Lucinda Harper 
Published October 20, 2015

5 apps young CPAs should know aboutYoung accountants are under increasing pressure to keep costs low, market their services, and stay in touch no matter where they may be. CPAs who are not as mobile and multitask-oriented as their clients may run the risk of appearing unconnected or even unprofessional.

The right apps can help by making life easier and improving your efficiency at work. Setting aside some of the extremely popular apps, such as LinkedIn, here are five lesser known apps every young CPA should consider checking out.

1. DisplayLink (operating systems: Android, Mac, Ubuntu, Windows): Having two (or more) monitors on your desk is now the norm. So when you’re trying to compute on the road, the lack of multiple displays can feel like a performance killer. DisplayLink gives you the ability to use your tablet as a second monitor—an option far more practical than carrying around a monitor. A USB docking station or a USB adapter is needed. Prices vary, but a Dell docking station retails for around $170 and a Dell adapter is about $75.

“I always use this app when working remotely,” said Rod K. Dooley Jr., CPA/PFS/CFF, a partner at Dooley & Co. LLC and a graduate of the AICPA Leadership Academy. “Today, I was at a school district in the middle of nowhere, and I was able to quickly scan comparisons between their database and mine. It increases efficiency and keeps bills down.”

For iPhone and iPad users, second screen app options include Duet Display and Air Display.

2. IFTTT (free; “IF” version for iPad and iPhone, “DO” version for Android, iPad, and iPhone): This app’s name is an acronym for “if this, then that.” That’s because every time you use your device to perform a given task, you can have IFTTT automatically perform a related task—for example, every time you post a photo on Instagram, IFTTT will save it to Dropbox. You can trigger a to-do list just by forwarding an email, or automatically receive an email if someone posts an accounting résumé on Craigslist in your area, or enter your timesheet based on when you arrive and leave a location. 

The automation processes are just the tip of the iceberg, Dooley said. For instance, using it in your car alongside the Automatic app and adapter provides you with a seamless mileage tracker function.

3. Podcast Addict (free; Android): Podcasts help CPAs to stay up-to-date on changes in the profession. “Podcast Addict is one of the best podcast apps,” said Nathaniel Goldman, CPA, tax senior associate in the private company services department at PwC and a Leadership Academy graduate. It can be personalized to a listener’s preference and includes speed control, which can save much-needed time by speeding up the pace of a recording. Also, its simple user interface improves on some of the more popular podcast apps. Podcast apps for iPhone and iPad users include Stitcher and PodCruncher.

4. Wunderlist (free; web, Android, Kindle Fire, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows): This app is a task list manager that Louis Griego, CPA, business manager for the Defense Systems and Assessments Program Management Unit at Sandia National Laboratories and a graduate of the AICPA Leadership Academy, called his “go-to productivity tool.” Griego uses the app to help him implement the “Getting Things Done” strategy, a system for completing tasks and staying organized.

Griego likes that Wunderlist is cross-platform; it works on iOS for his work phone, Android for his personal phone, and via the web on any computer. The app’s sharing and commenting functionality makes it great for small teams.

5. Waze (free; Android, iPad, iPhone, Windows): Accidents, detours…no problem. Jason Hardy, CPA, a manager in assurance and advisory services for Grossman Yanak & Ford LLP, said his colleagues like this app for navigation. It lets users report police activity, accidents, or traffic and updates its maps accordingly. Hardy, a Leadership Academy graduate, said navigation apps like this one are imperative to doing good business. “I need to locate my clients and arrive on time,” he said.

Lucinda Harper is a freelance writer based in Durham, N.C.

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