Website of the Month: Yahoo Finance

By Susan B. Anders

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SEPTEMBER 2005 - Yahoo Finance is part of the Yahoo family of online products and
services and can be accessed from www.yahoo.com or finance.yahoo.com. Yahoo Finance is a consumer website that offers basic financial information, services, and useful tools gathered from subsidiary Yahoo sites. Tax materials will not be addressed here because this column reviewed the Yahoo Tax Center in January 2004.

Although designed to assist consumers in managing their own finances, Yahoo Finance has many resources that will interest CPAs, educators, and students. The introductory material may be helpful in understanding new concepts or explaining them to others. In addition to several resources, the website provides good examples of user-friendly navigation, materials in HTML format, and multiple routes to access particular resources.

Most of the webpages are busy in appearance, packed with information content as well as with advertising. The organization within the specific subject groupings is generally easy to comprehend, but the overall arrangement of the hyperlink index on the homepage seems haphazard. The menu buttons at the top of the homepage are categories that may be popular with consumers, but some of its best resources cannot be found there.

The homepage is organized around late-breaking investment news listed in the center of the page. The left side of most of the main pages is the key navigation tool, presenting an index of hyperlinks. The horizontal menu bar at the top of the homepage presents a few of the major categories of resources, and replicates some of the hyperlinks in the left-side index. CPAs will probably want to start with the left-side index, while consumers will find the horizontal menu most useful. The right side of the homepage, and many other pages, are dedicated to advertisements.

Many subsidiary pages are similar in appearance, with a left-side index specific to each group and the center of the page devoted to hyperlinks. Generally, navigating between different subsidiary groups requires returning to the homepage.

Investing

Yahoo Finance provides a substantial amount of resources in its investing section. “Today’s markets” offers a variety of resources, such as current market and financial news, real-time quotes and research reports, and exchange rates. “Stock research” presents resources such as company earnings and reports, analyst research, and historical and real-time quotes. Other major investment categories include “mutual funds,” “exchange-traded funds,” “bonds,” “options,” and “international finance.” Stock quotes, market statistics, and charts can be found throughout the website.

Personal Finance

The personal finance section includes several categories: “bill pay,” “banking,” “loans,” “insurance,” “planning,” and “taxes.” This section offers a fairly comprehensive selection of the topics generally addressed in a financial plan. Credit reports can be accessed under several categories.

The “education center” is one of the excellent pages on the Yahoo Finance site. The hyperlink is buried in the middle of the “investing” index, but it should be placed more prominently, as it provides a comprehensive look at financial matters beyond investing. The educational material includes several primers on investing and personal finance topics, including beginning investing, and a financial glossary. Practitioners that assist clients with financial planning will be interested in the “Choosing a Financial Advisor” article, available under “beginning investing.”


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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