You can use the iPad app Notability to create written notes and audio files. Here’s a demonstration of Notability on an iPad.
A cell phone is an auditor’s Swiss knife. And with all the options, I am constantly looking for another way to use mine. So I’m sharing my ideas with the hope that you will likewise share yours. While I use an iPhone, I realize there are plenty of other nifty cell phones; my comments below are directed not at a particular phone but how I use mine as an auditor.
Below you will see a screenshot of my cell phone home screen and then information concerning how I use various apps.
I use this iPhone app to capture pictures of documents as I perform internal control walkthroughs. I embed these pictures in my walkthrough documentation. A picture says a thousand words. If the person explaining the accounting system creates pictures on a whiteboard, I take pictures of the drawings.
Sometimes I need a copy of a page from a hardback book (e.g., research); rather than using the copy machine, I take a picture of the page and email it.
Keynote is Apple’s version of Powerpoint. I build the Keynote slide deck for presentations and use my phone to present. If you use iCloud, the slide deck you build on your iPad will automatically appear on your iPhone (if your settings are right).
You can also present a Keynote slide deck using your iPad as the presentation device and your iPhone as a remote. Your iPhone moves the slides of the iPad slide deck as you stand at a distance. Both devices (iPad and iPhone) must be on the same wifi for the remote feature to work.
I buy most of my books using the one-click option in Amazon. Most books are 50% less in price (or more) than physical books. You can highlight books you read and then create a summary of those highlights (which I then place in my searchable Evernote account–see below); you can copy and paste these highlights to Word or other software.
I love Evernote! It is my personal cloud storage, and at $70 per year for the premium version, it provides me with tremendous power. All the research I have performed and stored is available everywhere I go. All the articles I have stored are at my fingertips. (And it is so easy to store information in this application.) At present, I have thousands of screenshots, websites, articles, presentations, conversations, books, pictures, and answered research issues. It’s my personal knowledge library.
You can use this app to record conversations that are automatically loaded into Evernote.
I also use Dropbox to store some documents. There are many apps that connect well with this cloud storage space. I find Dropbox somewhat easier to use than Evernote since it has fewer features. I like the simplicity.
I store all my passwords in 1Password. No more wondering how I’m going to get into my own computer with a password I’ve forgotten–again (I know this never happens to you).
I text my audit team members to see how things are going. Messaging is much more efficient than calling if the communication is short. (You can also take a picture of anything with Camera and message the picture. If your audit team member needs to see something on your computer screen, take a picture of it and message the shot to them with comments.)
Don’t want to type the message? Just say it out loud and the app will record your words for sending.
I use Google maps to get to new audit locations.
I use the Weather Channel’s app to check the weather before I leave for trips so I can dress appropriately.
Mozart or U2 makes my audit day go by much better. If you prefer music without ads, you can pay Pandora $3.99 a month. I love the variety.
Sharefile is my go-to app for sending sensitive client data. With hackers everywhere, I don’t risk sending sensitive client data in emails.
Looking for a nice easy-to-use calculator. I recommend Digits. You can add numbers, make notations beside particular numbers, and email the calculator tape with a couple of clicks.
My Fantastical calendar app syncs with my Outlook calendar, so regardless of where I am, I can check my appointments and schedule the same. I can also add reminders in Fantastical, so I don’t forget the milk.
Do I keep a to-do list? Yes, in my ToDoist app. This app integrates with Outlook.
When I am driving I listen to books using Audible. If you’re on the road a lot, this is a great way to redeem your time.
I read the Wall Street Journal to keep abreast of current events. This WSJ app provides me access to one of the best newspapers in America (and there aren’t many these days).
While not an app, I push the button on my iPhone and Siri asks me what I want to do. This is how I make phone calls by simply saying, “call my wife,” for example. I also send texts (or emails) the same way by saying “send text to C.S. Lewis”; then I tell Siri what I want to say–works amazingly well; she even understands my southern accent (and that, my friends, is truly amazing).
What About You?
How do you use your cell phone at work? I would love to hear from you.
My iPad allows me to add plenty of apps, but only a few are on my main screen. Here is my present screen.
Skitch – A screen capture app. It allows me to capture whatever is on my screen and edit what I capture. I can add annotations such as arrows, boxes, and text.
Digits – A calculator with big numbers. The app allows me to maintain a running tape of the numbers I have keyed in; this tape can be emailed to others. I can also type text next to a particular number.
Checkpoint – A library of accounting and auditing publications. You must pay for the publications, but Checkpoint provides powerful search capabilities.
Keynote – A slide presentation app. I use Keynote more than Powerpoint. The Keynote background slides are the best. Presentations can be saved to iCloud.
Twitter – A social communication tool. I use it to make short (less than 140 character) posts about my day, usually related to accounting and auditing. My handle: @ChasBHall.
Pandora – Music app. I can pick a channel and listen to whatever type of music I desire. There is a free version, but I pay around $5 per month for the add-free version.
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.
Gmail – Email app. I use this app for most of my email.
Slack – Group email app. I use this app to communicate with my teams. I mainly use this app to chat with my Quality Control team member. The communications are stored by category (and I can set up whatever categories I like — e.g., XYZ Audit). The basic package that I use is free.
Kindle – Amazon’s book reading app. I buy most of my books from Amazon and read them here. I can highlight phrases in my books that are accessible in my Amazon account–and the highlighted information–for all my books–is searchable and can be copied and pasted.
Holy Bible – You Version Bible app. I start each day with this app. You Version is free and provides several different translations.
Evernote – Storage app. I create “notes” inside Evernote and store whatever I desire. This is my electronic library. I have saved thousands of articles and research. Several different tags can be applied to each note, so you can quickly find the information you need.
1Password – Password storage app. I store almost all of my passwords here (presently over 150). Security experts tell us to use strong, unique passwords. This app allows me to do so.
Reminders – Reminder app. I may need this app the most (especially as I get older). I place to-do items here with time and date–a notification pops up when it’s time to act.
Basecamp – Project management app. I can see all of my current projects with all the steps necessary to complete each one. I can see what my project management teams (e.g., audit teams) have completed.
Stitcher – Podcast app. I listen to podcasts as I walk each morning, gaining valuable insights. My favorite podcast: Michael Hyatt’s This is Your Life.
Audible – Audible book app. I listen to books while I’m on the road (or when I am exercising). I have a monthly plan (about $15 per month) that allows me to get one book per month.
GetResponse – Social media contact app. GetResponse is a paid app that allows me to see who has subscribed to my blog. It also provides statistical information about responses to my weekly RSS emails that I send to my blog subscribers. Subscribe below.
Zoom – Online meeting app. I can host online meetings and share information from my screen. Those in the meeting can see me as I talk with them.
Canva – Social media creation app. I use this app to create pictures and slides for sharing in my blog or presentations. I pay about $1 for each picture download, but this is a powerful app that allows your creative side to shine.
What apps do you find most helpful?
In this post, I provide an example of a CPA’s Office Setup.
So, what’s the best way for a CPA to set up his or her office?
I am constantly tinkering with how my office is laid out and what is in it. Should I use three computer screens or four? Where should I place my scanner? Do I need a coffee maker in my office (to avoid the long trek to the office kitchen)? What kind of aesthetics do I want?
Here are a few pictures of my office. I share these in the hopes you might find one thing beneficial to you. The most helpful additions–at least for me–have been:
- Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 Instant PDF Sheet-Fed Scanner for PC
- Three computer screens (the larger the better)
- Printer (so I don’t have to walk to the community printer)
- Adjustable stand-up desk (good for your health; I do often stand while I work)
- Keurig coffee maker
What would you do differently?