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David Cieslak
Top technology gifts for the CPA

These items are sure to bring holiday joy to the accountants on your shopping list.

November 25, 2013
by David Cieslak, CPA/CITP

The holiday season is here, and your loved ones are probably trying to figure out what gift to get their favorite CPA. Or maybe you’re trying to think of the perfect present for a colleague. Either way, you don’t want to be stuck wrapping (or unwrapping) the same old, same old this year.

If you’re looking for something fresh and different, there’s a wealth of technology possibilities. Home PCs, smart watches, and a host of other tech toys can make your life easier, more productive, and more fun. Of course, not all technologies are a good buy, and it can be overwhelming to try to sort through all the possibilities.

To help you with that task, here’s a holiday grab bag with 10 cool technology gift possibilities this holiday season. These items are the best of the best on the market, and cover a range of purposes and price points. 

The capsule profiles below provide a price range, website, and brief description for each product. Prices are as of Nov. 15, 2013, unless otherwise specified, and subject to change.

Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC (Website)

Price: Starting at $1,199

Lenovo bills the IdeaCentre Horizon as “the multi-user PC that reinvents together time.” The IdeaCentre Horizon can be used as both a traditional countertop PC, offering multiple viewing angles with a built-in kickstand—or you can lay it flat and use it in table mode. The PC’s Aura software interface and 27-inch touchscreen allow multiple users to play games or interact with multimedia at the same time on the same device. Weighing in at 18.95 pounds and designed for use while plugged in, the IdeaCentre Horizon is not a mobile device though it is more portable than a traditional PC. Although the notion of “all in one” PCs is not new, the IdeaCentre Horizon delivers the experience in a whole new way.

Dell S2340T (Website)

Price: $569.98 (on Dell.com)

Perfect for Windows 8, the Dell S2340T 23-inch touchscreen display provides 10-point multitouch capability and additional connectivity via multiple USB ports in base, Ethernet, and even an integrated webcam. Don’t limit your use of Windows 8—make certain your monitor(s) support 10-point touch!

Leap Motion (Website)

Price: $79.99

In addition to mouse, keyboard, and touch interaction, users can now use hand gestures to interface with their computer using the Leap Motion Controller. The controller senses how users move their hands, so they can point, wave, reach, and grab, even pick something up and put it down.

Amped Wireless (Website)

Prices: $59.99 to $189.99

Frustrated with spotty Wi-Fi connectivity and looking to maximize your wireless coverage area? Check out the Amped Wireless family of products. All Amped Wireless products feature high power amplifiers, antennas, and the latest Wi-Fi technology to boost Wi-Fi performance—and comes with a guarantee.

My WD Cloud (Website)

Prices: $149.99 to $249.99

My Cloud is a line of external 2 terabyte (TB), 3TB, and 4TB hard drives poised to challenge both traditional network-attached storage (NAS) and cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive. WD drives that employ My Cloud offer file server and storage capabilities, while apps let you access your drive remotely via PCs, smartphones, and tablets, as you can with Dropbox and Google Drive. If you’re looking for a hybrid cloud solution, offering both high-capacity local storage and backup as well as remote access to all of your critical files, then a WD My Cloud drive should be on your short list to consider.

HoverCam Mini 5 (Website)

Price: $249

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, this little gem lets you scan documents, business cards, and receipts; conduct web conferences; and demonstrate desktop content—all in an incredibly portable form. A must for every computer bag.

Pebble watch (Website)

Price: $150

2014 may very well be the “year of the smart watch,” and there are already lots of products to choose from—Galaxy Gear, Sony SmartWatch, I’m Watch, and, of course, the Pebble watch. Pebble works with any iOS or Android-based smartphone and brings just the right amount of content to the user’s wrist. See caller ID for incoming calls, start or stop audio tracks, view contents of text messages and emails—all without ever having to fish for your cellphone. Of all the smart watches competing for a user’s wrist, Pebble is the perfect combination of form, function, and price.

Google Chromecast (Website)

Price: $35.

Chromecast bills itself as the “easiest way to enjoy online video and music on your TV.” And the price point ($35) makes this gadget virtually impossible to resist. Chromecast enables users to wirelessly transmit YouTube, Netflix, Google Play, and Chrome content from any iOS-, Android-, or Google Chrome-compatible devices from the small screen to your HD TV.

Cocoon Grid-IT! (Website)

Prices: $14.99 to $49.99

Looking for a way to organize the growing collection of cords and cables in your briefcase or computer bag? Grid-It! organizers use woven rubberized elastic straps to firmly hold objects in place. Never again spend time untangling the snarl of cords, cables, and devices in your bag.

iGrill (Website)

Price: $39.99

If you enjoy the taste of almost everything grilled but find yourself challenged when you have spatula in hand, then technology can help transform you into a grill-master in no time! The iGrill Bluetooth-enabled meat thermometer pairs with iOS and Android devices, allowing you to monitor food temperatures up to 200 feet away. With iGrill you can multitask between socializing with family and friends while keeping tabs on what’s on the grill. When your food is cooked to the target temperature, you’re alerted via your iOS or Android device—just in time to serve the perfect meal. Go from grill-chump to grill-hero at your next barbecue!

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David Cieslak, CPA/CITP, GSEC, is a speaker on accounting technology topics and a principal in computer consulting firm Arxis Technology Inc. Learn more about the company and its services at arxistechnology.com.