of the Month: CPAnet
for CPAnet (www.cpanet.com)
is “the place to start,” and this web portal is
certainly a good place to begin an Internet search. CPAnet
is a prime example of one approach to organizing and presenting
a large amount of information in a way that is both attractive
and user friendly. The variety of content should appeal to
practicing accountants, as well as to educators and students.
Susan B. Anders
a web portal, CPAnet provides links to an extensive selection
of accounting news, books and articles, software, websites,
and other resources. Access to the links and other materials
is free, but this is a commercial website with a fair number
of advertisements. Considering the large assortment of items,
CPAnet is fairly well organized, but new users will probably
need to spend a little time becoming familiar with the site.
Additionally, the navigation varies depending on the destination
of the links.
main pages of CPAnet present menus in a consistent format,
which should help new users acquaint themselves with available
resources and navigation modes. The major menus are arranged
horizontally at the top and bottom of the main pages. The
left side of the page is devoted to a vertical site index,
which provides an alternative means to navigate the site.
The center sections of the main pages are devoted to indexes
of hyperlinks, efficiently grouped by category.
myriad elements on this portal are organized in layers of
webpages, with hyperlinks for main topics, general subtopics,
and more specific subtopics. The format of the subsidiary
webpages is consistent throughout the site and includes
an index similar to a reference book. The types of resources
available range from webpages to articles to software downloads,
sheer volume of materials can seem a bit overwhelming at
first, but the pages are well organized and most of the
links can be reached from multiple locations. Random tests
of the final hyperlinks revealed that most are in working
order. The site does include some old or out-of-date materials
and discussion questions, which should be removed.
center section of CPAnet’s homepage provides a good
format to discuss some of the site’s major features.
The materials are organized under the major headings of
Disciplines, Resources, Information, and Community.
Disciplines collection presents a hyperlinked listing of
resources covering accounting, assurance, audit, consulting,
finance, financial planning, and tax and law. These headings
bring up a subsidiary webpage with a listing of categories
related to the major topic. For example, on the accounting
page, the subtopics include accounting organizations, financial
reporting, government and nonprofit accounting, international
accounting, and accounting software. Clicking on a subtopic
hyperlink connects to another webpage of links that are
generally the end of the search trail.
Resources group includes some of the real gems of this website
under the major headings of your career, the CPA exam, CPA
bookstore, CPA toolbox, your practice, and CPE and education.
CPA toolbox is a handy collection of general resources,
such as reference and library, data and statistics, and
essential downloads. Reference and library includes reference
portals; data and statistics provides access to economic,
international, and market data. Essential downloads presents
readers with antivirus, firewall, and browser software.
of the elements on CPAnet can be accessed via multiple search
routes, particularly the news items and the discussion groups.
Accounting, industry, and international news coverage is
found under the hyperlinks in the major horizontal indexes
at the top of the main web+pages, as well as under the Information
group. Discussion forums links are also found in the top
horizontal menus and in the Community section.
B. Anders, PhD, CPA, is an associate professor of
accounting at St. Bonaventure University.