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Answering tough accounting questions often involves pinning down moving targets:  contexts differ, regulations change, technologies evolve, and best practices get refined.  In fact, the Big Four firms alone generate over one hundred billion dollars of annual revenue simply by helping companies cut through the confusion and solve their accounting issues.

But if your company is a small businesses, you probably handle the majority of your accounting in-house.  That’s significant because your ability to identify the right answers to your accounting questions will heavily influence such fundamental business outcomes as:

  • The size of your tax burden,
  • The degree to which you can fully capture costs for billing,
  • The quality of your financial data for making planning decisions,
  • And, even overall profitability.

Given the importance of sourcing the right accounting answers, let me pose a relevant question: Do you have a reliable, go-to resource for instances when you need to conduct critical accounting research?

If your answer is no, it doesn’t have to be.  There’s actually a resource you can access at any time that’s easy-to-use, unbiased, and carefully vetted by experts.   Better yet, it’s free.

Online Library Resource Guides: Putting an Unexpected Resource to Work for You

Online library research guides dedicated to the subject of accounting can be tremendously useful to small business owners, financial executives, and accounting professionals.

What is an online library research guide?  Essentially, a library research guide is a collection of topical resources curated by subject librarians at higher education institutions designed to help researchers source authoritative information.

Library guides are publicly accessible via the internet and not at all hard to find.  While they are designed with the intention of assisting students (a portion of the resources often require student registration to access them), the bottom-line is that they are a great asset for professionals, as well.  Consider some of the web resources collected in accounting library resource guides which are openly available to professionals:   standards organizations, trade associations, influential journals, software and CPA directories, tutorials, and governmental tax publications.

Why Give Online Library Guides a Try? Here’s 5 Reasons

Google may always be your first stop for a quick search.  But if sourcing an answer to an accounting question is turning out to be trickier than expected or you just need to focus in on the most credible results, it’s worth giving online library research guides a try.

The reasons accounting subject guides work well for students are the same reasons they provide value to the professional.  In the words of the professionals who compile the guides, these resource collections are:

1.  Reliable and quick.

“A good library guide will save a user time by organizing the key resources, by directing the user to the best sources right off the bat, and by they telling a user (or implying to a user) which sources are most reliable.”  Tom Ottaviano, Cornell University

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About Adam Bluemner

Adam Bluemner is the Project Specialist Manager for Find Accounting Software, a service providing free software selection assistance. Over the last decade Adam has spoken with over 10,000 companies, helping them achieve business success through intelligent software investment. Adam writes extensively on ERP and business software.

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