For years, consumers with simple tax returns have sought the help of off-the-shelf programs like TurboTax and Quicken, much to the chagrin of the CPA and accounting professional who believes they can become a value-added resource to these programs. Now, the next generation of self-help, via the Intenet, may be threatening the bastions of tried and true accounting services.
It's already happening over the Web and is touching many professional services' industries, including legal and banking.
In the accounting arena, companies can outsource their payroll function via the Web, and statistics show that in 1999, more than 360,000 taxpayers went second generation with their returns, processing them on the Intuit site.
It is recommended that accountants of all types get on the Web and conduct business in cyberspace if the profession is to keep up with the virtual marketplace. Although already prevalent throughout mainstream accounting firms, many smaller firms are hesitant to sink the dollars into E-Business because they have not yet determined what profits this will derive.