Smart Stops on the Web



The NASD has answered the calls of investors looking for background information on potential financial service providers. The organization’s BrokerCheck Program lets users research current or formerly registered securities firms, individual brokers and regulated Investment Adviser firms. It also provides a comprehensive 10-year business and licensure history and list of disclosure events, including criminal actions, customer complaints and disciplinary actions by regulators against the firm or broker. Investors receive an electronic disclosure report as well as access to other educational services, including the Professional Designation Database and state disclosure programs.


Whether you’re living on a student’s budget or a CFO’s salary, Free Money Finance has innovative ideas for increasing net worth, budgeting and maximizing retirement savings that you can immediately put into practice. On Mondays, check out “Star Money Articles,” a posting of news and tips from several of the Web’s popular personal finance sites. Take a few minutes on Fridays to read “One Year Ago,” popular posts from the prior year, to jump-start a frugal weekend.


Visit this Smart Stop for the latest tax news and information affecting the employee plans community. CPAs can search for resources on employee plans (EP) examinations and enforcement, retirement plans, benefit audits and correcting EP errors. Click on the “EP/Forms/Pubs/Products” link for access to PDF versions of EP forms and publications, plus in-depth instructions for form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan , and form 5330, Return of Excise Taxes Related to Employee Benefit Plans.


Visit Chicago-area attorney Joel Schoenmeyer’s Web site to brush up on topics straddling the lines between law, accounting and wealth management. Death and Taxes—The Blog offers estate planning and administration news and commentary, plus coverage of legal issues about real estate, gift and income taxes, trusts and charitable giving.



Author Penelope Trunk’s site offers “advice at the intersection of work and life.” Her how-tos on self-management, fulfillment, networking and office politics are targeted at young professionals, but the topics are useful to CPAs at any career level. Browse archived career advancement posts, which cover the art of promoting yourself, mentoring and managing up; or watch Bruce Tulgan’s video blogs on management practices. The site also features weekly “Coachology” opportunities, where Trunk matches a top career or business consultant with a reader, and excerpts from her book, Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success.


Since its first appearance here in June 2003, the SCORE Association site has expanded its e-mail counseling service to include 1,300 volunteer counselors, ready and willing to give unbiased and confidential business advice to small-firm CPAs and sole practitioners. Click on “Ask SCORE” to receive Web-based advice or type in your ZIP code to find a local office. For general business questions, browse for quick answers on the “Top 5 Tips” or “60 Second Guides” pages.


This Smart Stop provides a daily dose of tax news, papers and court judgments. Professor Paul Caron of the University of Cincinnati College of Law updates the site frequently with a balance of academic and practical items, ranging from IRS reports to details on upcoming tax conferences. CPAs can use the topical archive to find posts by subject tag. Caron’s site is part of the Law Professor Blogs Network (see “ Smart Stops on the Web ,” JofA , Oct. 06, page 27), which hosts a variety of academic blogs on securities, banking, nonprofits and trusts.


Billed as “The Tax Show for the Tax Pro,” this IRS-sponsored site hosts live programs featuring tax experts and professionals on the second Tuesday of the month, with video, podcasts and transcripts of programs available from the previous 12 months. Visit the “Program Resources” tab before airtime for links to workshops, forums and online tools on the month’s tax topic. CPAs can earn one CPE credit hour for every program watched or listened to (live or archived) as long as their state board accepts NASBA-sponsored programs—so it would be wise to check with your state board before buying credits.


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.