Accounting firms and jurors have something in common. Judges are now instructing jurors not to go on the Internet to research any aspect of the case. This direction is made necessary because many deliberating jurors, when they go home at night, are improperly looking up on the Internet definitions of legal terms, reading the text of the applicable law, researching cases, and searching for information about parties to the case. This urge to go on the Internet is quite natural and expected, but can result in a mistrial. With so much information easily accessible, it is an almost automatic reaction to go to the Internet when a question pops up in one’s head.

It’s no different with regard to accounting firms. Job applicants, as well as possible clients, go to a firm’s Web site, and also conduct searches to find out as much they can about a firm. Similarly, firms seek out information about job applicants, especially from social networking and alumni sites. And to find more on possible clients, firms gravitate to sites that specialize in compiling financial information on companies.

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