Smart Stops on the Web





This Smart Stop is part of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy’s, which offers “tools for accountancy compliance.” CPAs can search CPE course providers, the National Registry of CPE Sponsor courses and quality assurance service courses, plus click on “Pilot Test CPE Courses” to try out courses for free. There’s also access to instructor resumes and in-house course providers. Click on the state you’re licensed in to find updated information on mandated continuing education requirements and links to your state’s board of accountancy.


Check this site for free CPE podcasts, available as streaming audio or downloadable to your computer or audio player. Click on “Course Catalog” to download available podcasts and their supplementary PDFs, including a study guide and final exam questions. When you’re ready to take the exam, enroll and purchase the credits—your exam grading and certification is available immediately. Be sure to check if your state’s board of accountancy accepts these CCH self-study courses by clicking the “CPE Accreditation” link.


Just starting your continuing education requirements? Test your skills and training needs with the site’s “Competency Self-Assessment Tool,” free for AICPA members, then search CPE courses by topic, level, job area or format, including CD-ROM and DVD. Check back often to see the month’s top sellers and new releases or to download catalogs for the “CPE Direct” program and “Staff Training Series.”


Can’t keep up with your CPE hours? Launched in 2006, this site keeps accounting professionals and firms up-to-date on CPE hours and compliance. Registered users can record CPE credits, which are then compared to the requirements from each state’s board of accountancy and regulatory agencies. The service also provides status reports by jurisdiction and reporting period, as well as access to all of your CPE records in one location.



The SEC’s Office of the Chief Accountant (OCA) recently updated its guidance on auditor independence rules. The compilation of answers to frequently asked questions is divided into 10 categories, including partner rotation, audit committee communications, fee disclosures, and prohibited and non-audit services. However, the OCA advises that they not be taken as rules, regulations or official statements by the SEC. The site also provides contact information if you want to submit additional questions. Further guidance on the SEC’s auditor independence rules can be found on the Center for Audit Quality’s “Resources” page at


Small firm and sole practitioners can find marketing trends and ideas for small companies, where, according to the site’s author, Patrick Schaber, “resources are thinner and time is at a premium.” With marketing experience at both small and large organizations, Schaber addresses the current hot topics in marketing—such as social marketing and search engine optimization. But you can also pick up tips for business-to-business marketing, branding, lead generation and online marketing, or read interviews with successful small businesses in the “Small Business Marketing in Action” series.


At this Smart Stop from the Social Security Administration, CPAs and enrolled agents can file W-2s on behalf of their clients and verify their employees’ names and Social Security numbers. Using this service, your clients will no longer need to sign a W-3 or mail in Copy A of paper W-2s. New to this paperless process? Follow the “Checklist for W-2 Filing.” You will need to register for a PIN and password but will not need separate login information for each of your clients. There are also tips on avoiding IRS and SSA reconciliation errors. 


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.