Where does the iPad fit into a CPA firm? Question explored at The iPad Decision, by Jeff Drew in the Journal of Accountancy.
The iPad happens to be the dominant device at the moment, but that could change by the end of the year. Or maybe next week. I think the discussion applies to all tablets.
The article ratified my decision that buying an iPad or any other tablet is not in my immediate future.
Key idea: the iPad is an appliance, not a computer. It is one tool we can use but not a replacement for your laptop. Mr. Drew points out
…the iPad and other tablets are designed for consuming content, not creating it.
It is great to read documents and surf the web. Not so great for working on spreadsheets and documents. Figure out which capability you need and you know what to buy.
The article discusses strengths of the iPad and some places it’s not so strong.
Some strengths mentioned by Mr. Drew are that it travels well, is great for meetings, can be used as a second monitor, and is great for taking notes.
Some places it’s not so strong are security, lack of a mouse, no Flash, and few accounting applications. That would make it a bit difficult to do a lot of the things we CPAs do all day long.
Here’s my summary of the article: currently the iPad (or any other tablet) is great for partner level work in larger firms and going to meetings, not so great for doing the heavy lifting in audit and tax work.
Remember a tablet is one tool in your bag of tricks. It is not yet your main work computer.
Check out the article.