Smart Stops on the Web

BY MEGAN PINKSTON

  

 
 
 
PERSONAL FINANCIAL PLANNING

CENTER IN ON PFP SERVICES
http://pfp.aicpa.org

Want to offer financial planning services to your clients? Visit the AICPA’s Personal Financial Planning Center for PFP resources to get you started. Click the “Events” tab to register for Web seminars, including “The Mathematics of Estate Planning” on Jan. 16, or research the requirements and application process for the Personal Financial Specialist credential. In the upcoming months, the section’s Executive Committee will roll out a suite of updated practice guides on various PFP technical and practice management topics, available to PFP Section members and PFS credential holders at no cost.

STRAIGHT FROM THE SOURCE
www.treasurydirect.gov

Individuals and financial institutions can buy and redeem Treasury securities, including bills, notes, TIPS and series I and EE savings bonds, directly from the U.S. Treasury at this Smart Stop. Not confident enough to invest yet? Enter the “Individuals” or “Institutions” sections, and then use the “Research Center” to access a glossary of terms and in-depth coverage of auctions and products or to take a guided tour of the site. There is also a calendar of upcoming Treasury auctions, as well as auction regulations and recent results.

STAY DEBT-FREE
www.moneycrashers.com

At this “Guide to Financial Fitness,” author Erik Folgate chronicles his experience with getting into and out of debt, providing recent graduates and young professionals with the education needed to be financially successful. Follow the “11 Principles” series, which includes tips on saving money for the unexpected and creative ways to boost your income, or read articles on financial planning, such as “Don’t Let Your Fears Stand in the Way of Investing” and “Stay Positive When Paying Off Debt.”

 
GENERAL INTEREST

ERISA EDUCATION
www.dol.gov/elaws/ERISA/Fiduciary.htm

Developed by the Employee Benefits Security Administration, this site’s fiduciary adviser provides an overview of the basic fiduciary responsibilities applicable to private-sector retirement plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Designed for accountants and other third-party service providers, the adviser uses a series of questions to determine whether a retirement plan falls under ERISA requirements, and if so, what they are. This Smart Stop also has a comprehensive listing of ERISA resources at www.dol.gov/elaws/ebsa/fiduciary/resources.htm.

FLY HAPPY
www.yapta.com

Whether you’re planning a vacation months in advance or jetting off for a last-minute business trip, use Yapta as “Your Amazing Personal Travel Assistant.” Registered users tag their desired or frequently traveled flights, then are alerted by e-mail when the prices of those routes drop. Already bought a ticket? If you booked through an airline’s Web site, submit your confirmation code or forward Yapta your confirmation e-mail. If the ticket price drops below what you paid, the site will let you know whom to call and what to say to receive a refund for the difference or a travel voucher.

STUDENT INSIDERS
http://njscpa.typepad.com/examcram

What does it take to become a CPA these days? Follow a few New Jersey Society of CPAs student members, who are chronicling their trials, tribulations and triumphs on the society’s Exam Cram blog. Browse the archives to read Scott Sandford’s journey as he studied for and took the CPA Exam while working at Deloitte, or join the NJSCPA’s new student recruit, Priscilla Jenkins of Merrill Lynch & Co. in Pennington, N.J., as she sits for part of the exam in February. Also take some time to read Tomorrow’s CPA, a monthly e-newsletter for accounting students, written by accounting students, on the NJSCPA’s Students and Educators site (www.njscpa.org/students).

GO GLOBAL
www.jimhamiltonblog.blogspot.com

Jim Hamilton, a principal analyst at Wolters Kluwer Law & Business and a leading contributor to the CCH Federal Securities Law Reporter , emphasizes SEC rulemaking, international, federal and state regulations, and industry trends on his “World of Securities Regulation” blog. Under “Tools,” click “Posts by Topic” for a complete listing of the blog’s auditing, financial reporting, Sarbanes-Oxley and PCAOB coverage, or look for new posts on principles-based regulations, the mortgage lending market and international issues.

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