Accounting is a critical part of the US economy and becoming increasingly important as new technologies and regulations emerge. Fortunately, for accounting professions and students, there is a wealth of resources on the web to support them. This article provides an overview of the best blogs, journals, educational resources, professional organizations, and apps that support students and CPAs working in a range of areas.
Each country will have its own resources, but one of the best ones for those working in the US is the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- US Securities and Exchange Commission – the SEC is the US government’s body dedicated to regulating markets and investments. It requires public companies to disclose information as required by law. They oversee brokers, investors, markets, advisors, and funds. Their website includes forms, regulations, news, and information for investors and those involved in litigation.
There are blogs focused on nearly every aspect of accounting. Here are some of the best sites and what they do.
- Axiom CPA – Axiom is a small accounting firm based in Florida and focusing mainly on small businesses. Their blog focuses on lessons for effectively running businesses, meetings, and interacting with clients.
- Brumley’s Blog – Scott Brumley is a CPA who works with individuals on preparing tax returns and on audits. His blog provides concise and helpful information on tax laws, requirements, and deadlines along with suggestions.
- CPA Blogger – This blog covers a wide range of accounting issues. They have posts focused on students and education, including resources to help learn accounting. They also blog about audits, firms, finance, and taxes. The authors participate in many community-oriented projects, and they feature updates about these projects on the blog as well.
- Don’t Mess With Taxes – Written by Kay Bell, a professional journalist focused on taxes and finance, this blog takes a journalistic perspective on finance. She presents accessible and often humorous posts about taxes and their relationship to current issues. The blog has won awards for its presentation.
- Empower Your Business – Written by a CPA, this blog focuses on advice to small and medium sized businesses regarding taxes and finance.
- Fraud Files Blog – This blog, updated daily, focuses on those who have violated tax law. It discusses court cases, fraud, scandals, and scams. In addition to the overview of current news related to these topics, the blog discusses ways that companies get themselves into this kind of trouble. For example, they explain how pyramid schemes or fraudulent accounting practices are implemented.
- Golden Practices Blog – This blog offers advice to CPAs, financial advisors, consultants, and lawyers about the best practices they can use to building good relationships with clients and growing their businesses. The topics frequently focus on marketing, but are geared specifically to those working in financial services.
- Leadership Notebook – Mary Werner, who helped found an organization called CPA Consultants’ Alliance, writes this blog. Its main concern is with leadership and building effective relationships, and it has a focus on accountants and their relationships with clients.
- It’s Taxing – Bond Beebe, Accountants & Advisors maintain this blog. They are based in the Washington, DC area, and offer advice for individuals and small businesses about current issues in tax laws, accounting, and finance.
- Phil Hogan’s Blog – Phil Hogan is a chartered accountant with Hutcheson and Co. based in Canada and operating in the US and Canada. His blog frequently takes questions from users on Twitter, and answers them. Those generally focus on personal tax advice, often for people who live and work both in the US and Canada.
- Accounting Coach – This blog tries to teach accounting through a question and answer format. Mosts post titles are formatted as questions and the posts are concise responses designed to teach the tax law behind them.
- Small Business Blog – Cherry, Bekaert & Holland is a well established CPA firm representing businesses. They blog largely about updates to laws that might affect small businesses.
- Social CPAs – This site is geared toward CPAs. It discusses social media and how CPAs can leverage it to improve brand recognition and increase revenue.
- Tick Marks – Austin Peay State University faculty member David Meyer writes this blog. It discusses taxes and accounting, and often presents this in the context of government news.
Journals and Magazines
For those interested in peer reviewed content, particularly focused on theory and research, there are a number of journals available with a variety of foci.
- Journal of Accountancy – This journal is published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. They publish articles on a broad range of topics, including financial reporting, auditing, taxes, accounting, financial planning, ethics, legal issues, and other topics. It has over 386,000 subscribers.
- International Journal of Accounting – A mix of academic and professional authors and audience members, this journal aims to increase the understanding of accounting theory and practice for these audiences. They cover a range of issues with a particular interest in the role of accounting issues in an increasing globalized economy.
- CPA Journal Online – The CPA Journal is published by the New York State Society of CPAs. Geared toward accounting professionals, it prints accessible articles on a wide range of accounting practices and related issues.
- International Journal of Accounting and Finance – IJAF is directed not just to practitioners, but also academics, policy makers, and regulators. It publishes new research along with news and commentary. Topics of focus include international and financial accounting, taxes, education, auditing, and ethics.
- The Accounting Review – Accounting Review is the Journal of the American Accounting Association. It has a largely academic focus, publishing new research with an emphasis on research methodology. The target audience includes academics, graduate students, and other professionals interested in research.
- Journal of Accounting Research – JAR is another academically focused journal, published by the Accounting Research Center based at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. It publishes empirical research, experiments, and field studies in accounting. Topics include accounting theory, taxes, auditing, and application areas, such as environmental accounting.
- Journal of Accounting and Economics – This journal focuses on the application of theory to accounting problems. They consider articles about the role of accounting in organizations, accounting standards, theory, and regulation.
- Accounting Today – This online magazine for the accounting industry offers late-breaking business news, tax information, commentary, and resources. The site includes text articles and podcasts. With a free membership, readers can receive updates via email.
Accounting students are lucky in that the web offers a lot of sites to supplement their formal education. Here are a few of the best sites to look at for accounting education help.
- Middle City Accounting Tutorials – The free tutorials provided on this site are designed to supplement the lessons that would standardly be covered in college accounting courses. It includes lessons on financial statements, accruals and deferrals, merchandising, assets and depreciation, equity, liabilities, and cash flows to make a few. Some of the tutorials include videos, quizzes to test your knowledge, and important keywords.
- Bean Counter Accounting – The Bean Counter site is designed to teach readers the basics of bookkeeping. Topics include property rights, debits and credits, recording transactions, how to keep a general ledger and journal, and financial statements. Lessons include quizzes and games along with skill tests.
- Simple Studies Intro to Accounting – This professional and well-maintained site has a mix of free and paid access tutorials on accounting. The have lessons on both financial and managerial accounting, with many topics in each area. Students can sign up for free supplemental information. The lessons themselves are well organized and clearly presented.
- Wanna Learn Accounting Tutorial – This site is a collection of pointers to other online resources, tutorials, and books on accounting.
Societies and Professional Organizations
Professional groups help build the culture around a profession. Because accounting is international and has so many sub-areas, there are a number of large, well established, and standard setting organizations.
- American Accounting Organization – Originally founded in 1916, this organization is for individuals interested in accounting education and research.
- American Institute of CPAs – AICPA is a world wide organization of accounting professionals, with over 386,000 members in 128 countries. They are the world’s largest accounting organization. They have several publications. They also set ethical standards for the industry and define auditing standards for all market sectors.
- The Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals – Known more concisely as IMA, this group is a professional organization for accountants around the world working in business. They offer a Certified Management Accountant credential and support networking and professional development among their members.
- International Accounting Standards Board – This board maintains the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation, which sets the standards for financial reporting around the world. They monitor the acceptance and compliance with these standards, with an eye toward the unique needs of emerging markets.
- Financial Accounting Standards Board – This group sets the standards for financial accounting among non-governmental organizations. Their standards are recognized by the Securities and Exchange commission and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
- Institute of Internal Auditors – This professional organization of internal auditors brings together accountants who work on risk management, governance, education, security, and internal auditing.
Smart phone apps are a way to bring professional or educational support with you wherever you go. These are some of the best apps for CPAs and students.
- Accounting Today – This iPhone app brings content from the popular accounting magazine to your phone or iPad. It includes news from the magazine, a searchable archive of magazine issues, audio and video features, and social sharing features.
- Accounting Principals – This app connects people with a comprehensive list of accounting jobs in North America. It is created and maintained by its namesake organization, Accounting Principals, which is a recruiting firm focused on finance and accounting professionals.
- Becker’s CPA Mobile Flashcards – For students, this app is a must have. It provides a large set of terms that students need to memorize for the CPA exam. It lets users sort and filter cards to create exercises, and allows them to track their progress as they learn.
- Accounting Terms – When working in a field as technical and jargon filled as accounting, it can often be difficult to explain information to non-professionals. This app is designed to improve communication between accounting professionals and their clients. It is useful for students to learn better communication techniques and for professionals who want to improve their interview skills and interactions with customers.
- CPA Exam Aid – This is a comprehensive guide for students preparing for the CPA exam. It includes information on the FAR, AUD, BEC and REG tests. Provided by the AICPA, it features fourteen hours of exercises, progress tracking, and information, along with features to support interaction with other users.
- 2012 Tax Reference Info – A great reference for students and professionals, this app provides fast access to information for the current tax year, including tax rates, contribution limits, deductions, gifts, and more.