Accountants Are Thriving on the Web, Says Survey
Almost two decades after the introduction of PC-based electronic spreadsheets, accountants' enthusiasm for technology continues to grow. The profession's focus has broadened, however, from stand-alone computing to the wide array of resources available on the Internet. As evidence of this latest trend, a new survey says accountants' use of the Web has soared in the last four years.
"Accountants now get more professional information from the Internet than from any other source," said Charles Ter Bush, a federal tax manager at CCH, Inc., which commissioned the survey, titled Accountants on the Internet 2000. "In contrast" he added, "the last time we conducted the survey--in 1996--accountants saw the Internet as a relatively experimental medium."
Almost all accountants (96%) have access to the Web, the survey found, as opposed to only 51% in 1996. More than half of the respondents also said they log on every day (see graph).
But is the Web's much-touted convenience the only reason for its popularity as an information source? Not according to survey participants, 85% of whom gave the information available on the Web high ratings for timeliness, relevance, accuracy and the reputability of its source. "They trust that information because it has proven to be reliable," Ter Bush said.
Respondents were more likely to access tax-related material, such as tax forms, the Internal Revenue Code, tax advice and state tax law, than any other type of online professional information. They obtained most of it from the Web sites of federal government agencies, state revenue agencies, professional associations and financial services providers.
Further, respondents said the Internet did more than just make it easier for them to do their jobs--it also served as a good source of information for career advancement. …