Quick answers to 4 technology FAQs

By J. Carlton Collins, CPA

I frequently receive the following four questions concerning technology, and, briefly, here are my standard replies.

1. Apple or Windows? Either is fine, but Windows is by far the more dominant platform according to Statista, with a commanding 75.47% market share in January 2019 compared with 12.33% for Mac OS X. While I do own a few current Apple computers, I prefer my Windows computers because they generally cost less, are less proprietary, are very fast, and are highly reliable.

2. Desktop or laptop? I've owned and used many desktops and laptops, and it's no contest — I'm far more productive on my desktop, and I only use my laptops when I am forced to do so due to travel. Desktops are also typically faster and less expensive. Desktops have larger keyboards that are easier to use, larger monitors that are easier to view, and typically involve more comfortable ergonomic work environments that make it easier to work longer and get more done. If you have a choice, I'd recommend a desktop — but having both is probably the right solution for most CPAs.

3. Mouse or touchpad? At the risk of showing my bias and perhaps my age, here goes. I believe a mouse is by far the better input tool compared with a touchpad or finger joystick. I find it painful to watch others use touchpads with their computers. In my opinion, an optical scroll wheel mouse is a must-have input device for all computers — desktop and laptops. I find that those who disagree have only toted water upstairs; they've never actually tried using the bathtub spigot.

4. Email or phone call? My phone number has been published on the web for decades, which means most of the spammers in the world have already harvested it. I receive so many spam robocalls a day, I'd be eligible for the "Robocall Hall of Fame" if there were such a thing. Every day that passes, I'm more likely to answer my calls with a snarky greeting such as, "No, I don't need a new warranty, new credit card rate, or new braces for my dog." Additionally, the number of robocalls I receive from spammers is so egregious that I no longer bother to set up my voicemail. If you need to reach me, you'll have to send me an email or a text message. These methods have added advantages in that I can respond at my convenience, I can ponder my thoughts and perhaps do a little research before responding, and I end up with written records of what both parties said. Therefore, until all spam calls can be ­eliminated, I recommend email over phone calls.

About the author

J. Carlton Collins, CPA, (carlton@asaresearch.com) is a technology consultant, a conference presenter, and a JofA contributing editor.

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