Website of the Month: AccountantsWorld

By Susan B. Anders

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JULY 2008 - Many new resources have been added to AccountantsWorld (www.accountantsworld.com) since this column reviewed it in March 2001, and reviewed its tax center in January 2005. AccountantsWorld promotes its commercial products and services, but the site also offers free resources of interest to practicing accountants, educators, and students. Some materials are accessible to the general public, while others require free registration.

The top of the home and main pages presents a menu of the major commercial areas of the website: “products & services,” “practice development,” and “training,” as well as links to “home,” “my AccountantsWorld,” and “company.” The keyword search and “find an accountant” features are also located in the top banner.

Commercial Offerings

AccountantsWorld products are promoted via direct links from the homepage, and are also tied into resources throughout the website. Beneath the homepage’s top menu are secondary bars for “products & services,” “training & education,” and “additional resources.” “Products & services” links to specific products, such as Accounting Relief and CyberCabinet. “Training & education” links to webinars, tutorials, tips, and articles. “Additional resources” links to Taxsites.com, Abacus magazine, and a directory of accounting professionals.

Many resources available under “products & services” and “training & education” are free. For example, several products offer free online demonstrations, sample client presentations, and free trials. At the time of this review, three live webinars—offered on multiple dates—were available. The webinars are free to registered members and provide CPE credit. Several free online tutorial videos are available as well, covering topics such as blogging and website best practices. The free tips address practice management topics. The directory of accounting professionals is free to users seeking an accounting firm; however, there is an annual fee for accountants to be listed.

Free Materials

The center of the homepage has several free resources, as well as some commercial products. The main groupings are “headline news,” “stories and articles,” “discussion groups Q&A,” “comprehensive research & resources,” “tools of the trade,” “training & education: upcoming webinars,” and Abacus.

AccountantsWorld provides tax and accounting-related news, including recent articles from CCH, RIA, and other sources. Each category on the news main page has top daily news stories from a variety of sources, and links to archives, tips, discussion groups, and related resources on AccountantsWorld and other websites. Stories are also archived and grouped by topic.

The site’s discussion forums can be accessed by anyone; however, free membership is required to participate. Forums cover the seven major topics, plus others such as “ethics & fraud” and “fixed assets.”

The site also has links to more than 1,600 websites, organized by the seven major topics and then subcategorized. For example, “accounting/audit” includes accounting firm networks, accounting software, and accounting publications. “Taxation” includes almost 500 websites under headings such as state tax departments, tax research, and tax software.

AccountantsWorld offers a variety of useful tools and calculators to registered members, accessible under “tools of the trade” on the homepage. Sample engagement letters cover audit, review, and compilation services, as well as several types of tax returns. Additional tax resources, such as IRS documents, are offered. The website provides more than a dozen calculators, from the amount of income needed to retire, to net paychecks for employees, to estate and gift tax liabilities.


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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