Website of the Month: WebCPA

By Susan B. Anders

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OCTOBER 2006 - WebCPA’s banner proclaims that it offers “tools and resources for the electronic accountant.” That is a good general description, but the website (www.webcpa.com) offers such a wealth of resources that the banner may be a bit understated. If “electronic accountant” sounds familiar, that is because WebCPA was originally www.electronicaccountant.com, which The CPA Journal reviewed in November 2000.

Taxes and financial planning appear to be the bulk of WebCPA materials. Subscribers to any of the related SourceMedia publications will find many additional tools on the website that increase the value of their print publications.

Except for subscriptions to the print publications, the materials provided on WebCPA are free, covered by advertisements and sponsored links. Although the ads are prevalent, they are generally not mixed in with other content. The keyword search function is an excellent resource for CPAs looking for items they vaguely remember and for students looking for articles on current events.

WebCPA’s homepage and main pages are organized with two horizontal menu bars. The top bar on the homepage, and some main pages, provides links to “Home,” “News,” “Inside Views,” “Financial Planning,” “CareerZone,” “Marketplace,” and “Subscribe.” The second menu bar connects with “Online Expo Center,” “eBook Supplements,” “Web Seminars,” and “eNewsletters.” The center of the homepage is dedicated to the current “eBook Supplement,” “News,” “Inside Views,” and “Features.” The subsidiary pages also display the two top menu bars, but are not consistent in the links provided or in the names given to the links.

The left side of the homepage promotes some of the website’s main resources. “WebCPA Exclusives” offers the Financial Planning Channel and Online Expo Center. “Publications” presents links to the current issues and archives of Accounting Today, Accounting Technology, Practical Accountant, and CPA Wealth Provider. In eNewsletters, users can subscribe to e-mails for different WebCPA alerts, digests, and publication updates.

Publications

The current issues for WebCPA’s related publications, as well as archives going back to February 2002, can be reached in several ways. In addition to the left-side menu bar, Accounting Technology can be accessed under “Features” in the center of the homepage. The Financial Planning Channel also connects to Practical Accountant. CPA Wealth Provider and Accounting Today are most easily accessed via the left-side menu. The website offers several excellent features pertaining to its publications. Upon accessing a specific article, four functions appear—return to issue, e-mail this article, printer-friendly, and related articles—that provide the user with richer reading options. The return-to-issue and the related articles functions can provide context for an article, as well as an extensive list of other article resources. Another good feature is the ability to personalize an issue by checking off the particular articles the user desires. Overall, www.webcpa.com makes it extraordinarily easy to search for, locate, and access articles in the related SourceMedia publications.

Other Features

The eBook Supplements and Web Seminars provide interesting information on practice-related issues. Both are free, but Web Seminars require advance registration. CareerZone connects to a CareerBank feature inside the WebCPA site. Some hidden gems are found under Marketplace. The Marketplace main page includes a handy collection of hyperlinks, including IRS E-file, state CPA societies, state boards of accountancy, state tax agencies, and others.

The page’s “Quick Links” presents several choices, including continuing professional education/CPA exam review, and tax resources. “Web Star of the Week” provides brief descriptions and links to approximately 100 websites.


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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