We’re all pretty accustomed to Googling when we need answers. But is that the best source of information? Where do you go when you have questions? This month we are sharing our favorite reference apps with the CPA Practice Advisor readers. Some members of our community weighed in with some of their favorite reference apps, and I’ve added several of my own (and, alas, Google helped me round out the list).
Dawn Brolin, CPA, CFE, Powerful Accounting, told us, “I love using the Tax Book Web Library for tax questions. It has an easy to use research tool and is at a reasonable cost.”
Garrett Wagner, CPA.CITP, founder/CEO of C3 Evolution Group, said, “While this app isn’t new Wikipedia is still the spot I go to anytime I’m on my device looking for answers. If I’m doing a voice search then it is Alexa all the way. If I’m looking to get fancy with my words, I turn to Power Thesaurus, for a simple and clean tool for looking things up on the fly.”
Chris Frederiksen, CPA, co-founder of Frederiksen-Crawford CPAs, is on board with Google: “I find the FAQ for most apps is completely inadequate and usually written from the point of view of the developer rather than the customer. So I use Google all the time when I am stuck; Google seldom fails.”
Rick Richardson, CPA.CITP, CGMA, managing partner at Richardson Media & Technologies, said, “Here’s the one I go to most often: ProWritingAid.” This app provides grammar checking, style editing, and writing mentoring. A free trial is available for this fee-based app.
Caleb Jenkins, EA, CQP, business and accounting leader at RLJ Financial Services, replied to our inquiry with, “I know this isn’t necessarily a ‘reference app’ but I utilize Twitter quite a bit to begin my research on something. I love the search capabilities and the opportunity to start a conversation on any topic with lots of people at any time.”
Leslie Shiner, owner of The ShinerGroup, is another Twitter fan: “I know Twitter has its down side, but I get a lot of really good info from #taxtwitter on Twitter. Especially with all the law changes and rule changes and information around the PPP, ERTC, etc – it’s been a crazy year.”
My personal favorites are the apps that focus on specific types of information. For example, Night Sky tells me about the constellations and planets I’m seeing when I point my phone in a certain direction. It also identifies galaxies, satellites, and the International Space Station.
Garden Answers helps me identify flowers and plants that I see when I’m walking or exploring. The IMDB app lets me explore background information on movies, actors, directors, and other film crew members. I’m a fan of WebMD for research about health issues.
When it comes to genealogy reference apps, I recommend Ancestry, LDS Family History, Find A Grave, and Ellis Island Search.
I turn to Wikipedia frequently, but there are also apps for Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Farlex (includes science, technology, history, and more, and is updated regularly), and WikiArt is dedicated to art reference, as is Art Authority. Geography of the World provides maps along with detailed information on all countries. For How-To apps, there is WikiHow where you can read about how to do just about anything, and of course YouTube, where you can watch how to do just about anything.
Popular dictionary apps include Merriam-Webster Dictionaries, Oxford Dictionary of English, and Dictionary.com. And you can use Pocket Thesaurus and Power Thesaurus to find just the right synonym or antonym. And don’t forget Grammarly if you are struggling with sentence construction.
If you need help with computations, check out WolframAlpha or MathRef, and if it’s science you need to know about, consider Wolfram General Chemstry, iSearch Science, and BioDigital Human – 3D Body. Side note – I live in Cicada Brood X territory, so I’ve been using Cicada Safari app this year to track the emersion of the bugs!
See inside June 2021
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