QUESTIONS & ANSWERS What is CPA WebTrust?
WebTrust is a seal of assurance service developed jointly by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA). WebTrust enables consumers and businesses to purchase goods and services over the Internet with the confidence that the Web site business meet high standards of business practice as set forth in the CPA WebTrust Principles and Criteria.
WebTrust is also currently available in Europe through local accountancy Institutes.
What does the WebTrust seal stand for?
The WebTrust seal demonstrates that the Web site has been examined by a qualified CPA who has verified that it complies with the WebTrust Principles and Criteria.
The Principles and Criteria cover three primary areas:
Why should consumers look for a WebTrust seal?
WebTrust helps to make cyberspace a safer place to shop. E-commerce has been inhibited by concerns over the security and privacy of credit card and other confidential information transmitted when purchasing goods and services electronically, as well as the frequent inability of consumers and businesses to confirm the legitimacy of companies offering goods and services over the Web. WebTrust addresses these concerns while reducing the risk of fraudulent practices and privacy and security infringements.
Why are CPAs offering WebTrust?
CPAs are recognized as independent assurance providers of the accuracy and fairness of many types of financial and non-financial information. CPAs must meet strict ethical, educational, and other professional requirements. They are now bringing their independence, objectivity, and in-depth knowledge of business and technical expertise to the Web with WebTrust.
How do I know that a Web site has received the WebTrust seal of assurance?
A Web site that has met the WebTrust Principles and Criteria is eligible to display the prestigious WebTrust seal on its order page or on its home page. Consumers and businesses can also view a listing of the current WebTrust seals by visiting http://www.cpawebtrust.org.
What happens when I double click on the seal?
The WebTrust report can be found by clicking on the WebTrust seal and following the hyperlinks to the accountant's report.
How long is a WebTrust seal valid?
How much does a WebTrust seal cost?
The cost of a WebTrust seal is comparable to other consulting services performed by an accounting firm. Since no two businesses are alike, no two WebTrust engagements will be similar. The cost of a WebTrust examination will be based on the complexity of the Internet site, hardware and software in use, and other factors in use on the e-commerce site.
Why does a Web site business need a CPA WebTrust seal of assurance?
Concern over the privacy and security of Web site businesses is one of the primary obstacles impeding the ability of many businesses to succeed with Internet commerce. Potential customers are also concerned with the legitimacy of many business entities, especially small businesses that offer products and services over the Internet. WebTrust lends credibility, especially to unknown sites and brands, thereby leveling the playing field for competition with nationally recognized or well known brands. It helps to turn online shoppers into full-fledged buyers. The WebTrust seal provides the assurance that Web sites displaying the seal meet high standards of security, privacy, and legitimacy. The seal is evidence that a Web site business has working controls and security measures in place that are as important to the Web site's protection as to the customer's protection.
Sites that have earned the WebTrust seal have reported that visits and sales at their respective sites have increased due to the presence of the WebTrust seal. Many of their online customers have expressed increased confidence in doing business with their Web sites because an independent, third party has evaluated the site.