RealTime IT News

Grant Thornton Offering CPA WebTrust Service

CPA WebTrust, a new service developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), examines a company's ability to maintain privacy, security, and sound business practices for its Internet transactions.

Designed to build trust and confidence between businesses and customers, CPA WebTrust raises the bar for electronic commerce business practices and provides independent verification that Web sites meet certain criteria, according to Grant Thornton LLP, one of the accounting and management consulting firms that will be offering the service.

According to a recent Yankolovich Partners survey conducted on behalf of the AICPA, 46% of online users say the CPA WebTrust seal would make them more likely to purchase products and services online.

"The presence of this seal on a Web site could help to enhance sales for businesses conducting electronic commerce," said Chris Ottesen, information technology manager in Grant Thornton's Minneapolis office, who recently completed CPA WebTrust training.

To receive a CPA WebTrust seal, reviewers look at a company's electronic commerce business practices, transaction integrity and information protection and determine if they meet established high standards. Once a company has earned the CPA WebTrust seal, it can be displayed on the Web site as proof of adherence to standard electronic commerce practices. In order to ensure ongoing compliance, follow-up reviews will be performed at least every 90 days.

The Web site visitor also can click on the seal to obtain seal authentication from VeriSign, a provider of digital authentication services.

CPA WebTrust was developed jointly by the AICPA and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) to break down the barriers to electronic commerce by assuring online customers that businesses carrying the seal adhere to standard practices and controls.