AccountingWEB student scholarship winning essay: There's an app for that

By Steven W. Garner, junior, accounting student at Pennsylvania College of Technology
The accounting profession, among all the professions in the career world, continues to evolve with advancements in information technology. Specifically, the accounting profession continues to evolve with access to handheld application technology, including tools, interactive applications, and reference resources obtained via cellular phones, music players, and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and other similar electronic handheld devices. With handheld devices, professionals can access legal reference resources, organize financial information, and make computations ranging from simple arithmetic to intricate time-value money calculations. Handheld application technology offers such capabilities under a single operating system, like an integrated desktop computer. With handheld applications accountants have the versatility to work outside the traditional office.
The success of handheld application technology through widespread acceptance and implementation by consumers is attributable to application designers' responsiveness to the specific needs of consumers, including career professionals. Specific to accounting professionals, designers have developed applications such as BNA Quick Tax Reference, Law in a Flash: Federal Income Tax, and the Oxford Dictionary of Accounting, which are reference applications used to access reference information formerly buried inside large volumes. Additional applications such as DataViz On-The-Go, Google Voice, QuickBooks Online, and PWN Document Scanner, among others, facilitate clerical job tasks such as organizing financial data, making routine calculations, and consulting with clientele through voice and text communication.
With such capabilities at the fingertips of today's accounting professionals, one trend in the accounting profession is the usage of handheld application technology for faster-paced, more responsive decision making. Primarily, usage of handheld applications enables accountants to more efficiently organize and complete projects, with portability of access outside the traditional office, and to communicate with coworkers and clientele on research findings and work completed. With preparation of financial information to interested parties the capability to prepare information on a more timely and accurate basis with handheld applications is a definite advantage to accountants. This fact also facilities a more responsive decision-making process for interested parties. Therefore, continued development and implementation of handheld applications will continue to benefit those in the accounting profession who are embracing change.
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