of the Month: AIAP Online
Susan B. Anders
is the website of the Association of Independent Accounting
Professionals, and is designed as an electronic marketplace
for products and services that are important to independent
practitioners. Many resources are free; access to restricted
resources requires that one sign up for a free membership.
The accounting-related resources offered by AIAP online are
geared toward independent accountants, but many practitioners
as well as educators and students, will find this website
online is simply organized and easy to navigate, with a
common left-hand vertical index on all of the main webpages.
Additionally, “administrative” hyperlinks appear
at the top and bottom of the main webpages. Most links worked
seamlessly and quickly, and an e-mail to the AIAP staff
concerning links that did not connect received an immediate
response and correction.
main menu is divided into “channels” and “links.”
Channels connects to the third-party products and services
promoted by AIAP online. These are grouped into categories:
practice management, client acquisition, technology, marketplace,
B2B, revenue center, education, and community. The channels
product and service offerings are presented with the advertiser’s
logo, a book cover, or other graphic, brief text, and a
link to further information. Some channels offer articles
on the topic in printable HTML format.
practice management webpage, for example, offers links to
companies that provide accounting practice financing, budgeting
software, telecommunication services, and personnel recruitment
services. The education webpage is a bit eclectic, offering
an Internet job search resource, a resume-posting service,
and articles aimed at job seekers and students.
detailed information on each product or service is provided
via subsidiary webpages or a direct link to the advertiser’s
website. Member registration is required to connect to the
detailed resource descriptions. In addition to product information,
the subsidiary pages offer forms and documents, free software
downloads or CDs, and other resources.
the website is generally well organized, some offerings
are duplicated under multiple channels, and some resources
appear in odd places; for example, a book on International
Accounting Standards (IAS) is available on the education
webpage, and an article on personal estate planning is located
under the client acquisitions channel. Additionally, some
channel names, including education, and community, which
addresses charitable contributions, do not fit the resources
online offers quick access to a variety of stock market
information, but hides it in some strange places. A “stock
market” hyperlink can be found in a small box labeled
“AIAP Specials” in the upper right-hand corner
of the client acquisition webpage. Similarly, “track
your stocks” and “market overview” links
can be found on the community webpage. A “stock quotes”
index of some major stock links is available on the B2B
webpage. All of the stock links connect to the same index
of market information provided by Barchart.com, Inc., which
includes market indices, advancers, decliners, foreign exchange
rates, and specific stock searches.
bottom half of AIAP online’s main vertical index provides
a small but practical collection of links to other websites,
including the IRS, GAO, FASB, and IASB. “Consumer
info” connects to the Federal Citizen Information
Center. “Consumer reports” links to ConsumersUnion.org.
and students will also find these links helpful, but will
be particularly interested in the state accounting boards
and state accounting associations. AIAP online provides
subsidiary webpages for these with hyperlinks. The state
accounting board webpage also includes street addresses
and telephone numbers.
B. Anders, PhD, CPA, is an associate professor at
St. Bonaventure University, N.Y.