Monday, 12 March 2012


As this article runs through the types of tasks the iPad handles well, you'll notice the critical role played by a number of applications and accessories.The key accessory is a wireless keyboard case, such as the Logitech Keyboard Case by ZAGG. The keyboard case houses the tablet while also providing a keyboard to users who are not comfortable typing directly on the iPad screen.

Numerous apps can add to the iPad experience. Apple reports that there are more than 100,000 apps for the iPad alone, and that doesn't count the more than 425,000 apps for the iPhone -- most of which will work on the iPad because the devices use the same operating system. So how do you sort through all the apps to find the ones you need? This section on what the iPad does well touches on numerous key apps. Also, you'll find a list in Exhibit 1.

Let's take a look at the strengths of the iPad. Note: The details in this article are based on the iPad 2.

The iPad travels well. Even with a keyboard case, an iPad can fit easily into a briefcase for a quick jaunt to a client meeting or sit comfortably on your lap as you are reading on a plane.

"I can just throw it in my bag and take it with me," said N. Mark Freedman, CPA, who has been practicing for more than 40 years and uses an iPad 2.

A user of Citrix, which makes his desktop files available remotely, he uses the free Citrix Receiver app, which allows him to view his entire desktop on his iPad.

"Which allows me, in turn, to get into tax returns, tax return preparation, all my PDF files, Excel, Word," he said. "Everything that I would have in my office on my desktop is available now on the iPad when I'm out in the field, so long as I have a Wi-Fi connection."

The iPad is great for meetings. Client meetings are a huge reason Lou Grassi, CPA, swears by his iPad. As managing partner of Grassi & Co., a 160-employee firm based in Jericho, N.Y., Grassi spends much of his time meeting with clients and going over information with them.

Grassi has downloaded all of his clients' notes, in secure files, directly onto his iPad. The iPad has remote-wipe capabilities -- which means that users can erase all the files remotely if they lose the device. Gras-si's assistant backs up his files daily on the firm's servers.

Having all of the notes on his iPad allowed Grassi to respond quickly to an urgent client call recently.

"So last week I get a call at 5 o'clock in the afternoon where a client says to me, 'Lou, I need to see you,'" Grassi said. "So on the way to the meeting, I'm looking at all the information that I already have on file. I'm looking at the financial statement to refresh my memory. I went right into the guy's office. I was totally updated on everything that I needed to be. And it was a very, very great, productive meeting.

"You know what, it's just the only way to go. I don't walk around with a briefcase anymore. I walk around with my iPad to everything I go to."

The iPad's design also helps to improve the dynamics of face-to-face client meetings. "Because of its lay-flat attributes, you immediately eliminate what would be the barrier, the screen if you will, between you and the client," Johnston said.

Apple increased the capabilities of the original iPad by adding front and back cameras with the iPad 2. This allows for the use of video-calling applications such as Apple's FaceTime or Skype. FaceTime makes video calls with other Apple products, such as iPhones and Macs, while Skype also can connect to PCs and non-Apple smartphones. For CPAs, video calling allows for face-to-face meetings no matter how far away the client or colleague is.

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