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

The central purpose of this column every month is to provide readers a glimpse into various genres of apps available and to point out ways in which these tools might make life a bit easier for them and their clients. The apps are not "reviewed" in the traditional sense of the word, but rather simply covered as a horizon expander in hopes that CPAs will become aware of solutions that just may meet a current or future need. Not every product will apply to every CPA or client, but the general awareness of an app's availability will most certainly add to your toolkit. I invite you to consider the following as a part of your tool-sharpening process. This month's column looks at a couple of products in the organization, planning, and time optimization genre. Enjoy.

MAKE MEETING PLANNING EASIER WITH DOODLE

Doodle simplifies the formerly arduous process of scheduling events involving multiple participants. Setting up a free account on Doodle.com is stupid simple, and you can schedule an event immediately. Doodle's only purpose is to make it easy for a group of people to choose a time to meet. Remember the dozens of emails and iCal invitations required to arrange a multiperson, multiple-time-zone conference call? Poof! Gone.

Start by suggesting a few time slots—from two on up. I've used as many as 15 or 20 date/time choices for some larger calls. Then list the email addresses of each invitee (Doodle can connect directly to your contact list if you give it permission), and Doodle sends a link to each participant. Once clicked, the link shows a list of all invited attendees on a grid, allowing them to quickly and easily indicate their availability for each slot. Once everyone has replied, the organizer can see at a glance which slot(s) provide the widest common availability. It's simple, fast, and quickly growing in popularity. You'll like this one—I promise!

  • Website: doodle.com
  • Cost: Free for individuals; Private for professionals, $39/year; and Business for teams, starting at $69/year for one user
  • Operating systems: iOS, Android, web

WANT TO SCHEDULE AHEAD WITH UBER? TRY TIMETRAVEL

Several months ago, we covered the now wildly popular Uber app. A shortcoming of that app is the continuing inability to schedule a car in advance. An independent developer recently released a potential solution in an app called TimeTravel. It claims to provide advance scheduling for Uber cars. Need a car tomorrow at 10 a.m.? Schedule it today, and TimeTravel arranges it via an automated interface into Uber. The Uber user community has been clamoring for this feature for some time now, so perhaps this independent, unrelated app will get some early adoption.

Reviews have been mixed, but the service worked as advertised for me on a recent trip to San José, Calif. I ordered the car one night using TimeTravel, putting in the place, time, and destination I needed. The next morning, about four minutes before the designated time, I got a notification saying the car was on its way. It was on time, and the driver said he got the order just like every other order.

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

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