• Marc Staut, Shareholder, Chief Innovation & Technology Officer

What’s In My Bag?

I travel for work and fun. A lot. It’s not unusual for me to run into people I know at airports, hotels, conference centers or randomly on the street. More often than not, the conversation inevitably goes something like, “Hey Marc! Good to see you! What’s in your bag? Anything new?”

It makes me smile. :)

For more than ten years now, I have been doing a presentation that is titled The Mobile CPA, but features a very popular segment, called “What’s in my Bag?”

Everything I share in these presentations has to meet a few basic requirements:

  • Available now. I wanted it to be about practical technology that you could get NOW, not fanciful gadgets that are interesting but not worth carrying around or that might never end up getting released for sale. On occasion, I do point out some of the things that are coming down the pipe, but that is as much for planning purposes as anything. No one wants to buy something and find out a new version is coming out a few weeks later.

  • Weight counts! When I started doing this, I struggled to find the best gear for travelers – it had to be flexible and durable, but most importantly it had to be light enough to make it worth carrying across the country and back several dozen times.

  • Technology should be an enabler. I wanted to respond to the people who were frustrated with their technology solutions being problematic or burdensome. I truly believe that technology can overwhelm us if we let it, but when applied properly it can open up a whole new world of opportunities.

There are other reasons, of course. I am a Gadget Junkie. I might have both a Bag Addiction (it’s hard to find the perfect computer bag for every scenario!), and I’ve got a known Kickstarter Problem (I’d rather spend money on the items I wish people would make than settle for something that is almost right).

I recently gave an updated presentation of The Mobile CPA / What’s in my Bag at the AICPA Engage conference in Las Vegas. Some of the most popular items from this year’s session include:

  • Ottim Apple Watch Charger. A longtime staple in my bag, this portable charger includes a battery bank for charging an Apple Watch on the go! Great for a night when your watch didn’t charge, or long travel days when your battery is getting low, and you still have miles to go! It connects with a standard mini-USB cable, so no need to bring the proprietary charging cable with you on the road.

  • Bagsmart Electronic Organizer. I have a LOT of cables. Part of my job requires that I can connect to nearly anything, and I tend to be the guy that people ask for those extra cables when they forgot theirs. I also switch bags a fair amount. So keeping everything together and easily transferable between setups is critical for me. I looked at some nice expensive leather options for cable organizers but ultimately went with the extremely practical Bagsmart option. It has plenty of spots for cables, and I especially like the mesh zipper pocket that keeps all of the really small stuff organized too.

  • Powerbeats Pro. One of the things I really appreciate is when a single gadget can replace several others, and the Powerbeats Pro solve that issue for me! I loved the ease of use and portability of the Apple Airpods, but they didn’t fit me very well, and I had to use Earhoox with them. They are also rated for heavy workouts, and I like to run when I am on the road, so I was carrying an extra pair of headphones just for exercise. Now the Powerbeats Pro is my one and only for travel, exercise and even Video Conferencing! The case is huge and unwieldy, but with a nine-hour battery life and the “5 Minute Fast Fuel” option that gives another 1.5 hours for every five charging, I am content to leave the case in my bag. It’s also nice that they have physical controls on them to adjust the volume or answer/end phone calls from either side.

  • Airfly Connect. You love your truly wireless headphones, but what’s the major drawback for a road warrior? You guessed it: the seatback entertainment system is wired only. With the Airfly, you plug it in, click one button and you can use your own headset! It has an eight-hour battery life, but can also charge directly from the entertainment system. If your kids (or you!) have a Nintendo Switch, this works great with it too!

Some new items I’ve been playing with since then:

  • Rocketbook Everlast, Executive Size. Rocketbooks have been around for a while, but they were limited in how many times you could reuse them. Now they’ve got a new level! The software is excellent and integrates with many cloud storage systems or can go directly to email. This has become one of my favorite ways to take running notes throughout the day, and digitizing them means I always have access to them and can easily share them with others as needed. Gone is the need to microwave the book (hard to do on the road sometimes), and a simple damp cloth can wipe your pages and make them look like new again.

  • Innergie USB-C Charger. Sadly, I have to look for a replacement for my long-time computer charger, The Dart as they seem to have closed up shop. Frankly, this item is just “ok,” and makes the grade for right now. I miss having the additional USB charging port, and the foldable plug looked like a nice feature upgrade, but it is too sticky to extend and too loose when it plugs in. It’s more bothersome than helpful as a feature.

Along with that, we finally made a dream of mine come true! We launched The Mobile CPA website! All of the products that were new this year were included with pictures and links to purchase them. This is going to be a big timesaver for me and the people I run into! Now instead of having to email a recap of our conversation, I can point them to the website! boomer.com/mobile-cpa

As I mentioned above, checking out the latest and greatest travel gadgets is a passion of mine, and I hope that some of these items will make your own travels more enjoyable.

Want to see everything that's in my bag?

Interested in my latest and greatest finds to make your travel easier? Visit the Mobile CPA website at boomer.com/mobile-cpa! If you have or know of a product that I should check out and think is worth including in my bag, please don’t hesitate to say hello in an airport or at a conference!

You can also email me at MobileCPA@Boomer.com

Marc Staut, Chief Innovation & Information Officer at Boomer Consulting, Inc., helps meet the growing needs of CPA firms by leveraging his experience to provide strategic technology assessments, planning, visioning and coaching. He feels that “technology should be an enabler – something that’s approachable, aligned with and integral to the success of each firm.”

Marc is a regular speaker, author and panelist on technology in the accounting profession, cloud computing, mobile technology, leadership and vision.

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