Smart Stops on the Web


Competency Assessment Sites

How Do You Measure Up?

Current and future CPAs can evaluate their proficiency levels with the AICPA’s competency self-assessment tool (CAT) at this section of the Institute’s Web site. All competency models—including ones for audit, business valuation, forensics and litigation services, ElderCare/PrimePlus and fraud—generate personalized analyses that suggest appropriate education resources.

A Historical Perspective

Michael Roberts, Joe Lane Professor of Accounting at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, wrote the paper “Prioritizing the Core Competencies”—at the American Accounting Association’s e-stop—in response to the AICPA’s Core Competency Framework for Entry Into the Accounting Profession ( ). Roberts’ paper, which CPAs can view here for free, provides detailed summaries of required competencies.

Education Assessments

CPAs with an interest in competencies for educators can read discussion threads at Bob Jensen’s Web site. Jensen is Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Users can click on links to accountability resources such as teacher assessment and management tools. The site also has categories such as Onsite Versus Online Education.

HR Competencies

Visitors here can find survey results on, for example, the focus of current human resources competencies and measurements of their effectiveness. Users also can tap into best practices and the latest trends in HR asset management, as well as read the article “Applying Technology to Maximize Human Assets.”

The Human Equation

This Web site offers CPAs who have employees white papers on topics such as implementing competency-based performance systems and HR competencies for the new century, to name a few. Other white paper subjects include applying technology to maximize human assets, career planning, hiring and selection.

Assess Yourself

CPAs who double as seminar leaders, meeting facilitators or trainers can find current and archived issues of the e-zine Master Facilitator Journal at this Web site. They also can use tools such as the “master facilitator competency self-assessment,” which includes checklists on intervention and presenting skills.


From Uncle Sam

CPAs can find state and federal benefits programs, including those of the Employment and Training Administration, the Federal Insurance Administration and the Risk Management Agency, for their clients by clicking on Locate Federal Benefits on the home page. Users can access a category, such as economic injury disaster loans, and read its description and general eligibility criteria.

The Next Step

If you’re interested in a loan from one of the benefits programs at, come to this Web stop to see whether you have all the qualifications. For an economic injury disaster loan, for example—accessible from the home page’s link to Business Loans—you will get comparisons of similar programs’ maximum loan amounts, interest rates and prepayment penalties.

Student Resources

Accounting students looking for things such as study aids and links to career opportunities will want to bookmark this Web site. The home page organizes these resources into categories including accounting standards, accounting jobs and financial accounting. Each category offers dozens of resources—for example, users who click on accounting studies will find links to gratis study guides and CPA exam information.

For Female Small Business Owners

The Women Impacting Public Policy Web site offers statistics on women and minority small business owners. Users can access current and archived articles from the press section—for example, they can read “Key Facts About Women Business Owners and Their Enterprises” and “Top 10 Reasons to Love Small Business.”

Payroll Resources

CPAs handling their own payroll, as well as firm employees, can register for free and use a number of personal calculators at this Web stop, including ones to tabulate take-home pay, determine gross pretax wages and find tax rates for bonuses and employee stock options. Users can take advantage of free downloads, software developer tools and a glossary of payroll terms as well.


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.