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Ipad or small laptop

With the advent of RTI reporting for PAye I was contemplating purchasing an IPAd or Small laptop to deal with my payroll clients if I was not in my office  Using Payroll Manager as my software I was wondering which is the best and most reliable option as I am a sole practitioner and need a reliable means of transmitting the information weekly


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08th Feb 2013 16:20

App available

If there is an App or a web-based way to get at and work with the data, an iPad will bring more pleasure into your life generally than a boring old laptop.  Why not also consider an 11 inch Macbook Air, not much bigger than an ipad but more conventional.

Sorry, for me personally, I would search hard for a Mac solution before going down the Dark Side...

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08th Feb 2013 16:47


I end up carting around loads of useless devices. I have found that neither the ipad or macbook air are terribly reliable for connecting to the interweb, but the Ipad is definitely the worse of the two. Spent days with Apple trying to resolve, reloading software, upgrading etc. I think that they are overly sensitive to my travelling all over the place it upsets them. So I might be tempted to go for one of the new non-Apple tablets with keyboards. I find the 11" macbook air has a tiny screen and won't balance on flip down thing on some trains, so if you went Apple go for a bigger one. I team mine with an android phone when the ipad fails.

Another bugbear is the lack of a forward delete key on some Apple stuff.

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By Glennzy
08th Feb 2013 17:01

IPAD is Great But

there are a lot of compatabilty issues with other software. As stated above if you could get a payroll app for it would be fine but if you want to run traditional software which most accounting software is you would have to have get a mac book with a duel boot facility. Printing from an IPAD can also be problematic as only newish printers seem to be compatible.

I go through a standard laptop every 2 years as they are not very robust and seem to slow down rapidly once software and data builds up. if they go wrong you never seem to be able get them fixed, although as the price has dropped so low they are easilty replaced. An apple computer will last 3 times longer than PC based stuff from my experience. If you were looking at cloud based software I would defo seond the extra few quid and get a Mac Book.

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08th Feb 2013 23:01


Slightly off topic, but was rooting around local Curry's/PC World tonight and they had a 15inch Macbook Pro with retina display.  £2299.  WOW.  I love Apple but that is absolutely staggering.  For that kind of money I would want the office that the laptop will be used in, plus a good secretary.  Come on Apple, you can't justify that, surely?

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By Glennzy
09th Feb 2013 09:38

That is crazy
Money for a laptop when a decent PC based one is £500

Was it diamond encrusted

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09th Feb 2013 09:45

Mug market

I think Apple concentrate on the mug market.

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09th Feb 2013 09:46

You get what you pay for

I too find myself wincing when I see the prices of Apple laptops.  Yet here I am typing this on my Macbook Pro that's over 4 years old, and has experienced daily use (and, more often, abuse) from the family, including my 5 year-old son, who first started dropping when he was a toddler.

No, it's no longer perfect - one of the ISB ports has failed, but it's still going strong.  I look at my Lenovo laptop that I use for work, which I also like, and ask myself: in another 3 years, will I still be using this?  And honestly, I probably won't.

I've started looking at Apple hardware in a cost-per-year way.  If you do this, it's usually at least on a par with the cheaper Windows boxes that don't last anywhere near as long (or give as much pleasure to use.)

It's a bit like the old arguments we see so often, with Digita vs IRIS etc.  Everyone wants slightly different things, and has different priorities.  It's horses for courses.

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09th Feb 2013 10:08

My preference

I prefer to go for PCs that are easier and cheaper to upgrade. You also have more flexibility in terms of software.

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09th Feb 2013 12:17

Laptop or iPad ...

Have both - for business use definately choose laptop. If opting for an iPad would certainly go for iPad Mini over iPad anyway

The real issue is the software keyboard which is really a non-starter for business use & only just about ok in other circumstances

Also - considering the backup scenario - using iCloud is helpful, but in a business situation it's back to 'proper backups' (DP Act etc.) and not inadvertently backing up data that really should be secure. The only benefits with iCloud are shared (& independant) devices plus (big plus), particularly when Apple screws up (IOS 6.1 upgrade) and trashes your iPad, then you can easily retrieve your data via iCloud once a new install of IOS has wiped your iPad to install itself

iPad's are very useful for recreation and light-weight uses where they are read-only, driven by other input (proper server web/client/server based input), but otherwise any data input on these devices will drive you mad

Also they are solely wireless & whilst most use this all the time, I actually prefer wired whenever possible - gets around so many other connectivity issues - but wired is not easily available on the iPad

Absolutely laptop - flavour (Mac/PC) is up to you, but Apples seem to be getting it wrong too often at the moment for my liking; also cost.

As was said on another posting (para phrase):

'.. Apple customers just spend a LOT more on devices and apps.  If it's a drug, then they are pushers galore!! ..'

'.. As you quite rightly say '.. a drug ..' and their customers have to get their periodic fix ..'

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10th Feb 2013 20:59

laptop or ipad

I would  like to thank you all for your time and responses which I have found most helpful  and and appreciate your expertise which I hope to put to good use over the next few weeks

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By Old Greying Accountant
10th Feb 2013 22:07

If, like me ...

... the feel of your fingers on a touch sreen gives you a large dollop of the heebie jeebies, then go for something with a keyboard, not a tablet!

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By baynem
14th Feb 2013 10:58


As JC mentioned above, Data Protection is very important here when you are dealing with employees' data.

The iPad can be remotely killed if lost, but is probably a more desirable target  for theft and the backup to iCloud needs to be encrypted. A cheap laptop will have nothing in terms of security and encryption unless you install it.

The Information Commissioner seems to be mentioned weekly in the news dishing out fines, so take it seriously.

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By Robjoy
14th Feb 2013 11:00

PCs don't get rheumatism

A properly set up Windows laptop, used with proper care and with a little well-defined regular housekeeping should not get slow or problematic. The problem is that they are not set up 'out of the box' to continue working well - or, arguably, even safely.

Get it out of your heads that PCs are like washing machines - don't just buy one, use it without any maintenance until it breaks, then buy a new one. They are more like cars, but much more complex, they need servicing. But they've become so cheap that people compare the cost of an expert setup and annual service with the cost of replacement. That's fine until they stop you working. Many of our clients are still happy with eight (or more) year old PCs running their businesses, because we set them up properly and have given them detailed guidance on keeping them that way. Our clients get the benefit of constant dependable computing, rather than a progressively degrading experience until they throw away perfectly good hardware because the software (=setup) is broken.

There are plenty of computer maintenance companies about who could do the same, but unfortunately they don't necessarily do it.

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14th Feb 2013 11:46

Thank to eveyone who took the time and effort to reply It is much appreciated

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14th Feb 2013 12:24

surface pro

Has anyone tried the surface RT or surface pro. 


I've been thinking about getting one as they seem to be the perfect hybrid tablet/laptop solution

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14th Feb 2013 12:40

Have we missed the point?

The question was about doing payroll on the move, and Payroll manager was mentioned. If by that you mean Moneysoft then you will need a laptop. And yes, you could run it on one of those mac things, but hell, why waste the money when decent Win 7 laptops can be had for well under £500. A decent 10" netbook can be had for less than £250. In my experience Moneysoft works brilliantly under these circumstances, and you can keep your payroll files synchronised between machines by using Wuala, which is free and is one of the more secure cloud offerings.

If you want a tablet then by all means have one, but you will really be restricted to cloud based payroll. I recommend the Nexus 7 or Nexus 10. iPads of any kind are crippled by Apple's "we know better than you do" attitude and are grossly overpriced.


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14th Feb 2013 12:47

You should be able to use moneysoft using the surface pro on the go

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15th Feb 2013 00:37

I use both
All of my program are hosted on the cloud by Hosted Accountants, who provide an excellent service. So i can (and do) access my Moneysoft Payroll by either laptop or ipad (using iTap RDP). All you need then is a reliable internet connection wherever you are. I can usually find a secure wifi connection but I do have a TMoble Wireless Pointer that has saved my bacon a few times (being at a client's when their network has crashed and you're the only there using the internet does carry a certain kudos).
I find the ipad to be just another gadget and not really suitable on two counts: printing is always a faff and the keyboard is too annoying (i added a Logitech ultrathin keyboard which does the job). The biggest bugbear with the iPad however is that you cannot add a mouse or cursor. Trust me, this is a serious drawback when using the Payroll Manager (or any other programs come to that). For that reason alone I'm sorry I didn't buy an Android/Google offering and that's why I mainly use the laptop

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