|Introduction After spending many hours searching and evaluating federal government websites, I have discovered what I think are a lot of useful government websites where management accountants can quickly find needed information. As a result of this searching and evaluating process, I have found it is helpful for me to categorize useful federal government websites into five broad categories. These are:
1. Laws and Rules Websites;
2. Statistics and Data Websites;
3. Business Enhancement and Promotion Websites;
4. Taxation Websites; and
5. Searching and Finding Websites.
The rest of this article will discuss each of these categories and identify the federal government websites that, I think, are useful for management accountants.
1. Laws and Rules Websites A major US government function is law making. Often the management accountant needs to know that decisions and tasks that he or she is pursuing is in compliance with the rules, policies, and regulations resulting from federal government laws. Many federal government websites can provide information assistance for determining compliance with rules, policies, and regulations. I found the following federal government departments and agencies to have information on their websites that management accountants could turn to for compliance assurances:
a. Department of Labor (DOL). Management accountants often need to know certain employee working condition and benefit program requirements in carrying out their duties. The DOLís Employment Standards Administration website http://www.doleta.gov/ provides compliance information on workers rights laws. One such law is the Family and Medical Leave Act (http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/benefits-leave/fmla.htm). The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has as one of its missions to assist and provide information to employers in complying with federal laws pertaining to pension, health, and other employee benefit plans. Such information can be found at the EBSA website www.dol.gov/ebsa.
b. Social Security Administration (SSA). A primary purpose of W-2 reporting requirements is to provide wage and other information to the SSA. The site at
www.ssa.gov/employer provides employer W-2 reporting instructions and information.
c. Comptroller of the Currency. The Comptroller of the Currency, an entity within the Department of the Treasury, regulates national banks. This regulation process can generate useful information for management accountants. Click on Public Information at the Comptroller of the Currency homepage (www.occ.treas.gov) and you will find information on banks. Clicking Subject Index on the home page will give you many useful links to banking information.
d. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The FDIC has a major role in regulating banks. From FDICís home page, www.fdic.gov, clicking Individual Banks will bring you to a searchable database to find FDIC-insured banks and information on the banks.
e. Federal Reserve Board (FRB). Yet another major regulator of banks is the FRB. From the FRB site, www.ffiec.gov/nic/default.htm, comprehensive information on banks and other financial institutions can be found.
f. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC administers several protection and competition laws that can be relevant to management accounting. These include the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Consumer Information Security, Truth in Lending Act, Electronic Fund Transfer Act, and anti-trust laws. Information on these laws can be found beginning at www.ftc.gov/index.html.
g. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). As the agency that administers US securities laws, information at SEC web pages can be important to management accountants. At the SEC home page, www.sec.gov, a useful link is Information For: Accountants. Financial statements and other reporting that public companies must submit to the SEC are available from this site using the EDGAR system. The SEC maintains a site, www.sec.gov/info/smallbus.shtml, designed to help small businesses and other non-public companies with information on going public. Clicking on Q & A: Small Business and the SEC will lead you to a lot of information on the decision to go public and what is required once you decide to do so.
h. US Customs Service (Department of Homeland Security). The Customs Service home page, http://cbp.gov/, leads to useful compliance and other information for importing and exporting. Clicking import or export on this page gains you access to necessary import and export documentation, duty rates, answers to frequent questions, information on trade agreements, and other useful information that management accountants might need.
2. Statistics and Data Websites The federal government is a vast reservoir of economic and business-related statistics and data. Federal government departments and agencies with websites of useful information that I found are:
a. Department of the Labor (DOL). Besides its role in administering employment-related law, DOL accumulates much statistics and data related to employment. At DOLís Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) homepage, www.bls.gov, employeesí productivity and costs, employee benefit costs, employment costs, unit labor cots, and other data can be accessed. From the page, www.bls.gov/ppi/home.htm, access to information resulting from the BLSís producer price database can be accessed. At www.bls.gov/data/tp20.htm, you can access the most frequently requested statistics at DOL.
b. Department of Commerce (DOC). From DOCís Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) home page, www.bea.gov, broad, national economic data is accessed. Data includes percentage changes from year to year for industry sector performance, state performance data, and personal income by sectors. The Census Bureau (CB), a part of DOC, in its census data acquisition, acquires and provides on its website a lot of economic data. The CB site, www.census.gov/main/www/access.html, is a good place to go to access this economic data. A couple of suggested links on this page are The American Fact Finder and Subjects A to Z, at the bottom of the page. Another CB site, on its economic programs, is www.census.gov/econ/www/index.html.
c. Department of Energy (DOE). Price data on gasoline, propane, electricity, and other forms of energy can be obtained at DOEís site, www.eia.doe.gov. This is a good site for determining recent energy costs by energy type and geographical area.
d. Federal Reserve Board (FRB). Besides overseeing and regulating banks and other financial institutions, the FRB maintains on its websites a lot of statistics and data (and other information) that should be useful to management accountants. The FRB subject index site, www.federalreserve.gov/frbindex.htm, is a good place to go to find banking, economic statistics and data, and money-related information. Daily interest rates for Federal funds, US government securities, CDs, and other lending can be seen at www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h15/update.
e. Small Business Administration (SMA). The SMA site, www.sba.gov/advo/research, is a page full of links to statistics related to small businesses. Of especially use to management accountants might be statistics relating to lending and banking studies and to acquiring finance. Also, potentially useful are data related to firm size and location.
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|Useful Information at Federal Government Websites for Management Accountants