Five Obvious Sources You Should be Using That You’re Probably Overlooking

When I first started in public accounting, for whatever reason I made things really complicated. I was so used to asking questions, that I would forget, many of the answers could be easily found online. I am not going to pretend that I don’t still harass my co-workers with excessive questions, because I do. However, I have found the following sources to be very helpful in completing my daily work.

  1. The most obvious source that I use regularly is the Irs.gov website. For tax professionals, many of your questions can be answered there. I work mainly on non-profit clients and I used to struggle with the various form 990 checklist questions. If you are trying to complete an IRS form and reach a speed bump, read over the form’s instructions. It may take a few extra minutes but will likely save you a review note.

2. Another great resource is Checkpoint by Thomas Reuters. If your company has Checkpoint, it is a trusted research tool for both audit and tax. I find this especially helpful when dealing with clients who file in multiple states, all with different filing requirements.

3. If you work for a mid to large size firm- your company probably has an intranet. There are usually discussion forums for employees to ask each other questions. This is a great way to find the answers to some of your questions. It is likely that someone has already asked the same question and received an answer in the forum. If you don’t have something like this at your company, your state society of CPA’s may also have a forum that you can join. These are great because you are getting answers from other accounting professionals and not just random people.

4. In college, professors often preached that Google was not a reliable source. I beg to differ. So many of the answers to your questions are easily found through a simple Google search. So if you are doing the fixed assets for a company and see that they added a 9620RX Tractor but you aren’t quite certain what this is or why it was $430,000- you can Google it.

5. My favorite source to use is YouTube. I find YouTube to be the most helpful for Excel tips. If you are trying to do a V-lookup, but you exaggerated your Excel skills on your resume, no worries- YouTube it. YouTube is also a great resource to help with your soft skills. If you have to give a big presentation and you are terrified of public speaking, there are some great videos on YouTube that can help with this.

What are some helpful resources that you all are using that I missed?

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