Users who have not visited the AICPA website lately will be surprised at the site’s new look. The significantly improved, user-friendly site covers a plethora of topics, making it a wonderful tool for the small practitioner. Users need go no further than www.aicpa.org to access the latest information on hot topics, legislative initiatives, tax-saving techniques, and updates on the ever-widening range of issues, perils, pitfalls, and opportunities facing the profession. Take an hour or so to become familiar with this wonderfully comprehensive site and to explore the vast field of current relevant information that’s available.
The home page features 11 lead tabs, direct links to the CPA Letter Daily and all the articles therein, and easy access to featured news, upcoming events, and many other articles of potential interest to the tax practitioner. The following paragraphs highlight the information found through the lead tab dropdowns.
The Membership tab delineates the various benefits available to all AICPA members and information about joining. Links allow users to pay their dues, renew their membership, and easily update their profiles. Information pertaining to section memberships is found here as well. Note that the benefits available to all Tax Section members include Tax Practice Guides and Checklists (updated annually), subscriptions to biweekly e-alerts, and, for $30, a subscription to The Tax Adviser. Another benefit for Tax Section members is access to “Tax Section member only” content on the website.
The Tax Section membership page discusses Tax Section appointed committee membership and provides a link to the AICPA’s “volunteer central” website. The AICPA’s very active committee process gives members the opportunity to interact and network with each other as they brainstorm, share ideas, and advocate for the highest professional standards and practice guidelines. Committee members work together to prepare the necessary tools for CPAs to remain the ultimate tax advisers, enabling all to be the best educated, most qualified professional tax experts.
The AICPA News tab gives access to the AICPA’s press center, featured news, and highlights of AICPA activities, and also links to the AICPA’s social media sites, Journal of Accountancy tax and accounting news, and conference videos.
In addition to the online versions of The Tax Adviser and Journal of Accountancy, the Publications tab has direct links to various professional publications sorted by the topics listed.
CPE and Conferences
The new AICPA Learning Center can be found under the CPE & Conferences tab, where users can quickly launch AICPA on-demand CPE courses, web events, and virtual conferences—and easily access certificates of completion and transcripts. There are also links to free career path competency tools with recommended learning resources. Links are included to:
- CPE self-study;
- On-site training;
- CPE requirements;
- Live web events; and
- Public seminars.
The Interest Areas tab includes links to the main pages for various AICPA member sections (including the Tax Section), as well as links to publications, articles, and other miscellaneous items directly related to the subjects listed.
Under the Research tab, users can access AICPA white papers, briefs, special topics, and the technical hotline. When the AICPA creates special websites to consolidate information about a hot topic, such as health care reform or small business relief, they appear under the Research tab.
The Research tab also provides direct links to the other accounting-related websites (under External Links) in the following categories:
- Accounting and Audit
- Accounting Associations
- Associations—State CPA
- Banks—Federal Reserve
- Government—States—Attorneys General
- Government—States—Department of Labor
- Government—States—Secretaries of State
- Securities Exchanges
- State Boards of Accountancy
- Taxes—States—Departments of Revenue
- Taxes—States—Legislation Highlights, Newsletters, etc.
- Taxes—States—Regs, Rulings, Procedures, Bulletins, etc.
- Taxes—States—Sales Tax
- Taxes—States—Tax Cases
- Taxes—States—Tax Code
- Taxes—States—Tax Forms
- Taxes—U.S. Federal Government
- U.S. Government—Executive Branch
- U.S. Government—Independent Agencies
- U.S. Government—Judicial Branch
- U.S. Government—Legislative Branch
- U.S. Government—Other Links
The Career tab provides information for CPAs and those exploring the possibility of a career in accounting. It includes salary guidance and statistics on all types of jobs available for CPAs, and links to AICPA sites designed for students and young CPAs.
Other Lead Tabs
The remaining lead tabs are equally easy to use:
- Become a CPA: Contains information on scholarships, licensure, the CPA exam, diversity initiatives, career paths, and salary.
- Advocacy: How the AICPA represents the profession with respect to legal, tax, political, state, and federal issues.
- For the Public: The AICPA helps its members provide services to the public. Links contain information on audit committee effectiveness, disciplinary actions, financial literacy, finding a CPA, and peer review.
- AICPA Store: Provides access to an array of products (CPE, conferences, publications, web events, online learning) on a wide variety of topics.
Before finishing the exploration and exiting the site, return to the home page. Note the RSS feeds in the upper left corner. By subscribing to any of these topic-specific feeds, users can receive relevant story headlines and brief descriptions as items are published to the site; each headline links directly to the full story on AICPA.org.
The new AICPA website contains a wealth of information not only for practicing CPAs but also for educators, aspiring CPAs, and the general public. To reap its full benefits, CPAs should become familiar with the site and what it has to offer.
Steven Holub is a partner in Cherry Bekaert & Holland, LLP, in Tampa, FL, and is former chair of the AICPA Tax Division’s Tax Practice Management Committee. Mary Cathryn Green is with Marcum, LLP, in Bala Cynwyd, PA, and is chair of the Tax Practice Improvement Committee. Jill Gansler is CFO of Regional Management Inc. in Baltimore, MD, and is a member of the Tax Practice Improvement Committee.