Smart Stops on the Web


Understand Where the Money Goes
The Alliance for Investor Education Web site gives investors as well as brokers and CPAs in personal financial planning information on bonds, futures, mutual funds and stocks, and online calculators and quizzes.

E-School’s in Session
For beginners “with small dollar amounts to invest at any one time,” this free home-study course, Investing for Your Future, has lesson plans on how to find money to work with by reducing expenses, access online resources and avoid fraud. There are review questions for each section and a glossary of investment terms.

For the Educated Investor
Investment brokers and novice and seasoned investors can find answers for questions such as “How do I resolve disputes with a financial professional?” and “How do I spot and avoid scams?” at the Investor Protection Trust site. Users also can link to state securities agencies’ sites and others with investment resources. Visitors can preview an antifraud video, “Investment Scams: What Con Artists Don’t Want You to Know,” for free in RealPlayer format.

A Socially Conscious Site
Blue Marble Investments (BMI) devotes a section of its site to information on making socially responsible investment choices. Visitors can read articles such as “Tax Free Investments” and find information on college savings plans. Users also can register for a free e-mail newsletter as well as access online financial calculators.

Protect Your Investment
Investors should do their homework when choosing a brokerage firm. The Securities Investor Protection Corp. site, created by Congress in 1970, offers advice on how to screen brokerage firms before investors commit to one. The Avoiding Investment Fraud section includes links to sites such as the National Fraud Information Center ( ) and the Securities Industry Association ( ). Users also can take the online investor survival quiz to gauge their preparedness in times of fiscal crisis.

The REIT Stuff
For CPAs who dole out investment advice and individual investors, this site offers information on real estate investment trusts (REITs) in its lengthy frequently asked questions section. Topics include “How does a company qualify to be a REIT?” “How are REITs different from limited partnerships?” and “What real estate fundamentals should one consider before investing?”

Whom Do You Trust?
A hot topic in business is professional ethics—for CPAs and anybody else entrusted with making financial decisions for their clients. Sharon Stoerger, MBA, has compiled this Web site for the study of business ethics that includes links to articles such as “Business Schools Add Ethics in Wake of Corporate Scandals” as well as links to case studies, online publications, professional organizations and associations.

Be There When the Kids Are
Stacey Perez, a work-at-home mother of two, hopes her site will inspire other parents to opt for her choice. She provides a free e-mail newsletter and links to inspirational stories on the work-at-home experience, articles with home-business-marketing tips and information on homeschooling.

“Wherever You’re Going, Start Here”
The Business Traveler Web site wants you to arrive at your destination well informed, offering links to international airports from A through Z, as well as Trip Manager, its own system for booking flights, hotel rooms and car rentals. You also can subscribe to its weekly e-mail newsletter. The site’s city guide links to detailed articles about North American cities with information on getting around and hotel and restaurant reviews.

Take a Tip From an Expert
Lisa Kanarek, author of books such as 101 Home Office Success Secrets and Everything’s Organized, imparts her wisdom on topics including customer service, marketing your home-based business, public relations and making the most of technology at this Web site. Kanarek also offers archived home office tips as well as a resource section with links to small-business-support sites.

A Very Specific Search Engine
This site forgoes the frills of usual search engine home pages—ads, comics, horoscopes and news headlines—and gets right to the point, offering users business topics to browse. These include accounting, advertising and marketing, computers and software, financial services, government and trade, human resources, small business and telecommunications.


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.