Day-to-day, there are a lot of no-brainers when it comes to deciding what I'll cover in terms of editorial content.
Major tax laws, pretty much anything having to do with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, new software releases, polls purporting to have a thread on a new trend in the profession, other regulatory and standards changes, the absurd tales of tax fraud and/or negligence. Without a doubt, some days, what makes the list is a little more cut and dry than others. But just as surely as some days the bulk of things is hard news, other days, the site’s news section can look a little fluffy.
I purport to know what the readers want, but there’s no doubt that sometimes I’m a bit surprised to see exactly what readers actually read. Looking at the top 20 most-visited stories on WebCPA though 2006, there are several that unquestionably merit interest. Coming in at No. 11 is “Jury Finds Lay, Skilling Guilty,” at No.7 is “Rosenberg Survey: Good Time to Be a CPA,” and at No. 2 is “Drive Containing AICPA Member Info Goes Missing.” At No. 1 is the more recent, “Tax Court: 'TurboTax' Defense Still a No-Go.”
More than two-thirds of the list is filled out by similar headlines, plus stories tackling topics such as pension reform, congressional failure to extend tax breaks, information from the IRS on phone tax refunds and the regular question and answers features with industry leaders.
But at the same time, on occasion, an article will really capture the fancy of readers. Looking at those top 20 stories, I’m reminded of a newspaper article from a few years back discussing the seeming reliance of “Saturday Night Live’s” skits on celebrity parody for inspiration, as opposed to the ostensibly more respectable political satire of seasons past.
At the end of the article, now former SNL head writer Tina Fey admitted that while she was glad to have staved off her deadline anxiety for another week, she felt a slight pang of regret for having written a skit sending up the women of “The View,” and hostess Star Jones in particular. Describing the decision of what to offer up, Fey said: "You feel like, should I eat these cheese curls or should I eat a plate of lean protein and vegetables? All right, cheese curls for everybody."
And to a certain extent, that same sentiment is also recorded for posterity in the past year’s Top 20 -- at No. 17, “Accountants Rank No. 2 on 'Germiest' List,” at No. 8, “Snipes' Prosecutor: No Deal in Place for Star,” and, No. 5, “IRS Memo Says No Deduction for Gender Reassignment.”
So while I fully understand that what some CPAs tell me they want to read isn’t always as cut and dry as it’s made out to sound, I’m always interested in hearing from readers more often about what they find useful on the site.
Right now, you have a couple of choices. Readers can opt-in to the 2006 WebCPA User Survey, accessible at www.litchfieldresearch.com/surveys/images/WCPASite.htm. The survey’s designed to be completed in about 10 minutes, and in addition to providing insight about you and your business, aims at getting a fuller look at what we could be doing better in getting you the information you need. But beyond that, you can always drop me an email, to firstname.lastname@example.org, with feedback -- either good, or bad. Vegetable or cheese puff. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to serve up as balanced a meal as I can find.
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