Expanding your app-titude

A monthly look at mobile apps that can make the CPA’s job and life better


GroceryIQGroceryIQ, produced by Coupons.com, is designed to be a grocery list manager, but it also offers several features to make your life easier when shopping. If, like me, you’ve been asked to “stop at the grocery store on your way home” and upon arrival stood in a tax-season-induced stupor, trying to remember at least one thing you were supposed to get, GroceryIQ can simplify your life.

The app starts being helpful when you add items to your shopping list. They are added by typing (with prompts as you type), by scanning bar codes, or by voice. GroceryIQ includes a huge database of items, so it’s unusual not to find that an item is already there. You then modify the details of an item to change quantities, add a description, and assign a department so you can locate it in the store. The app automatically groups like items into categories such as “bakery,” “meat & seafood,” “dairy, eggs & cheese,” “canned goods & soups,” and “fruits & vegetables.” You can then arrange the categories to match the order in which you encounter them in your favorite grocery stores. If a store changes its layout, it’s relatively easy to adjust the category order. (I initially thought this feature was dumb. It’s not! Trust me.)

We use GroceryIQ (that’s right—my spouse and I share and sync our account because it’s cross-platform and multiuser) to add items on the fly as we notice they need to be purchased. Either of us can simply snap a picture of a bar code, and the item is automatically added. Then, when it’s time to go grocery shopping, our list is ready to go. Shopping is a breeze because GroceryIQ organizes the list by department and organizes the departments based on the store floor plan. You can check off the items that you are buying. After checkout, items on your list that weren’t purchased stay on your list for next time. GroceryIQ makes me more efficient when time is at a premium. As CPAs, we regularly advise clients on work flow efficiencies—maybe it’s time to apply those principles to our personal lives.

  • Website: GroceryIQ.com
  • Cost: Free
  • Operating Systems: iOS, Android, Web



Personal CapitalThese two personal finance apps are very much the same and very much different. It’s just a matter of perspective. Both endeavor to track personal expenses and investments. And, interestingly, both have Intuit connections. Personal Capital was founded in 2010 by former Intuit and PayPal CEO Bill Harris. It shines on the investment analysis and allocation front. Mint was created in 2006 by then 20-something entrepreneur Aaron Patzer and sold to Intuit three years later for $170 million. Mint excels at expense tracking and seems targeted directly to the Millennial and Gen Z crowd.

Since the two platforms boast more than 11 million users, there’s an excellent chance that your clients are already using at least one of them. And as a trusted business adviser, you’ll undoubtedly soon be having conversations based on data reported by one (or both) of these platforms. The products function similarly—users input their banking, investment, and credit card account information to facilitate “linking.” After that, the platform regularly retrieves transaction and balance information from each account and then aggregates and analyzes the data.


Personal Capital easily tops Mint on investment analysis and management. Harris describes Personal Capital’s target market as being “the mass affluent,” with the average user having a net worth of between $500,000 and $750,000. On the other hand, Mint’s business model is ad-supported, so users can expect to see “offers” based loosely on their individual spending habits. For example, if you’ve just paid a car insurance premium, you may well see information on “how to save money on car insurance.” This explains Mint’s emphasis, and frankly its expertise, on the “expenditure” half of the platform.

Mint is a wonderful tool for helping a young couple budget expenses. Personal Capital (I call it “Mint for adults”) is unparalleled in asset aggregation and analysis. If you’re interested in how much you spent at Starbucks last month, then Mint is your tool. However, if you’re more interested in how your Starbucks stock is performing this month, then Personal Capital might be a better fit.

  • Websites: Mint.com; PersonalCapital.com
  • Cost: Free
  • Operating Systems: Mint—iOS, Android, Web, Windows 8.1; Personal Capital—iOS, Android, Web

Greg LaFollette
(greg.lafollette@hq.cpa.com) is a strategic adviser with CPA.com, the commercial subsidiary of the AICPA.


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