Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Online Services in Okla. Put Financial Advice at Your Fingertips

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Online Services in Okla. Put Financial Advice at Your Fingertips

Article excerpt

Starting a new small business, establishing an IRA or filing income taxes can bring up a number of unknowns.

For people who aren't ready to call an accountant or financial adviser, there's a growing trend in town - asking financial questions online.

The Oklahoma Society of CPAs offers an "Ask a CPA" function at knowwhatcounts.org, and a new online business, BidaWiz.com, provides financial answers as well.

Sometimes people can get their questions answered with a few keystrokes; other times, they are referred to an accountant or financial adviser. But the medium is proving to be a popular and quick way that people can ask a question that is bogging them down.

"We get about two questions a week, but two a day during tax season," said Amy Welch, director of communications for the Oklahoma Society of CPAs. "If it's something our members can answer, they will. But if it's something where a person needs to sit down with someone and share all their information, then we'll refer them to a financial adviser."

Welch receives the e-mailed questions and sends them out to the society's accountants, who volunteer their time to answer. She may send a question to one person who specializes in a certain area, or to many of the 60 accountants who are on the rotation. The society's service is free.

Asking a financial question online has a way of giving people the bravado they need when money is a difficult subject, she said.

"I think people do feel better asking questions online - you don't have to worry as much about whether it's a stupid question or it's something you should already know," Welch said. "People think money is a dirty thing, but none of us is born knowing how it works."

Joe Sparks, audit manager of Koch Siedhoff, answers questions for the society as a way to give back to people who need a little direction. …

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