Expanding your app-titude

A monthly look at mobile apps that can make the CPA's job and life better.
By Greg LaFollette, CPA/CITP, CGMA

As a CPA, I understand the value of time and the value of lifelong learning. I also am among the 30% of people classified as "auditory learners," or those who learn best through hearing things. Our selections this month focus on apps that assist busy professionals in gathering and consuming content in an "auditory" format.

ITUNES U OFFERS HUGE CATALOG OF FREE COLLEGE-LEVEL COURSES

ITunes U provides college- and university-level courses at no charge to anyone who wants to take them. Thousands of colleges, universities, and other organizations from across the globe provide content to iTunes U in every conceivable area of study. You can browse selections by school or organization, subject, or popularity. The content is then delivered via podcast (some courses also include optional video or PDFs) to your device, where you have complete control to listen whenever you wish. You can learn at your own pace and on your schedule. My first foray was with Loyola Marymount University's Center for Accounting Ethics, Governance, and the Public Interest and consisted of eight very compelling 30- to 60-minute lectures. They were so good I devoured them in just a few days. You'll be amazed at the selection and the quality in the course catalog.


AGOGO ALLOWS YOU TO LISTEN TO MUSIC, NEWS, AND PODCASTS YOU CARE ABOUT

The AGOGO app has been called the "Swiss Army knife of listening apps," a moniker I believe it deserves. It pulls music, news, and podcasts all together. It's a huge benefit to have AGOGO curate channels of books, business, interviews, politics, etc. You personalize the channels in which you're interested, and the platform streams the content continuously.

AGOGO also includes content that is not typically on audio, such as text articles and television programs. The interface is deliciously clean and simple. I set up my personalized AGOGO feed in just minutes. I particularly enjoy the way AGOGO blends constantly updated content with saved content via the GO channel and the Listen Later channel.

  • Website: agogo.com
  • Cost: Free
  • Operating Systems: iOS only (Android to come)


ACCESS AUDIOBOOKS VIA AMAZON'S AUDIBLE

Audible is to books what iTunes U is to college courses and AGOGO is to podcasts. Listening to books is a rich, almost immersive experience. Although the Audible app is free, you do have to pay for content through audible.com, which is owned by Amazon. The app quickly downloads books onto your device and synchronizes with your overall library. One feature syncs an ebook device such as a Kindle and your Audible account. If you own both the Kindle version and Audible version of a book, you can go back and forth between the two formats and always be in the right place on both.

Audible books can be purchased one at a time, or you can buy a monthly membership that includes monthly "credits." The number of credits varies based on the membership level. (Most books are one credit, and you can use the credit regardless of the book's price.) Note that there are no "in app" purchases, so you actually buy books on the Audible/Amazon website. This saves Audible the 30% fee charged by Apple for in-app purchases.

  • Website: audible.com
  • Cost: Free
  • Operating systems: iOS, Android(content is sold separately)

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

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