February 2003

Website of the Month: Thomson RIA

By Susan B. Anders, PhD, CPA, St. Bonaventure University

Thomson RIA’s website, www.RIA home.com, is well designed and easy to use, providing RIA’s customers with quick access to its products. Two of its best features, however, are focused on tax practitioners that are not already familiar with RIA’s products: free trial offers and website demos. The website also offers some useful free downloads and sample articles from RIA’s journals. Multiple paths are available to access most of the content, so users do not have to spend time learning how to use the website.

Readers are probably familiar with much of the merger activity that has taken place in the areas of tax compliance and research software and services. RIA is no exception, and its website now offers access to tax compliance, research, and software products previously available under the RIA, CLR, and WG&L names. Potential customers can shop the website via a keyword search, conduct a catalog search by product code, order catalogs, request information, or contact sales personnel. Current customers can also directly access RIA’s web-based tax compliance and research products.

Demos and Free Trials

Demos and free trials can be accessed via products, tools, or special offers on the left-side index, and individually under each product graphic on the home page. Demos are available on compliance and research products. They are easy to follow, fun to watch, and move quickly. Current RIA product users might want their new hires to try out the demos to familiarize them with the software. Free trials are offered on many of the same products. The acknowledgement e-mails with a user name and password are processed rapidly, and software can be tried out within minutes of the request.

Free Publications and Tools

Recent accounting and tax legislative news can be accessed via the News button on the home page, which offers “SEC/GAAP watch” and “tax watch” on a drop-down menu. Selected articles published in RIA’s Federal Taxes Weekly Alert are also available through the website on the same drop-down menu. Users that want to examine RIA’s journal publications can choose sample journal articles under Products and then “test drive.”

RIAhome.com offers free access to the Applicable Federal Rates (AFR) for the current IRS interest rates. The website also offers a free trial of the downloadable Handy Tax software for Palm handhelds. RIA product users can register for CPE training on RIA products, some of which is free, in formats ranging from real-time workshops to online session and CD-ROM self-study.

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