Website of the Month: CPAnet

By Susan B. Anders

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The motto for CPAnet ( 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.

As 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.

Organization and Navigation

The 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.

The 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, among others.

The 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 The site does include some old or out-of-date materials and discussion questions, which should be removed.

Major Features

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Most 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.

Susan B. Anders, PhD, CPA, is an associate professor of accounting at St. Bonaventure University.





















The CPA Journal is broadly recognized as an outstanding, technical-refereed publication aimed at public practitioners, management, educators, and other accounting professionals. It is edited by CPAs for CPAs. Our goal is to provide CPAs and other accounting professionals with the information and news to enable them to be successful accountants, managers, and executives in today's practice environments.

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