"CHANGE is the only permanent thing in this world," according to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. The reality of frequent change and multiple tabs is the challenge of the modern accountant. As new regulations and standards come, new information must be downloaded in our brains and inapplicable and irrelevant material must be offloaded or unlearned to make space for the new. Exciting as it may sound, it can be exhausting and expensive, too. In this information age, knowledge is power. Stock knowledge is no longer sufficient if we want to stay relevant and add more value to the clients and the communities we serve.

Information overload is something that some or most accountants have probably felt or dealt with more than once in our career. In this day and age, libraries or books are not the first thing that comes to mind when looking for answers. We turn to search engines, such as Google, where hundreds and thousands of information appear in just one click. There's data everywhere and our brains are expected to cope with data flowing into them from all directions as our devices constantly beep with notifications.

My father was once a working student during his university days and was assigned as a library assistant. He would tell stories that even though they had first access to the books they needed for their own homework and research, they were only given a limited time to read the books, which were also in limited copies, so the others waiting in line can also make use of it. I can imagine that those libraries probably looked like crowded shopping malls during Christmas. The upside was they were more focused. People dedicated time, space and full attention to the available resources.

The best of both worlds meet as the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has launched an online resource to the international standards developed by the International Audit and Assurance Board, the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants and the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board. Along with the standards are the references and guidance materials to enhance further understanding. This platform is called the e-International Standards or the eIS. The following are its main features:

– Responsive design that can be used on mobile, tablet and desktop;

– Advanced and intuitive search capabilities;

– Easy access to related resources and references;

– Version control functionality; and

– Easy-to-navigate pages with multiple viewing modes.

As a practitioner who has a lot on her plate, especially during audit season, this makes things more simple. Unlike before, there's one place where I can look for the applicable standards. No more keeping tabs of different sites, no more getting lost with all the digital bookmarks and, best of all, no more distracting ads. I can just focus on searching about the standard in subject along with the definitions and links to related resources. There's also a zen mode if you want to just zero in on the standards itself. It's so well thought of that even the search functionality can help you get more specific results using Boolean expressions.

Go ahead, try it! Create a free account at the IFAC website and use the same credentials to access the eIS at https://eis.international-standards.org/. If you want to know more about the eIS, check out the FAQs at https://www.ifac.org/eis-frequently-asked-questions.

Kristine Ismael is a partner of Ismael and Co., CPAs, an institutional member of the Association of Certified Public Accountants in Public Practice. The opinion of the writer does not reflect in any way the opinions of these organizations.