Every business wants its bookkeeping and accounting done right, but getting a part-time bookkeeper or an in-house accountant may not be in the cards. Not every business has the wherewithal to manage a full-time bookkeeper or it may simply not have the budget to take on a CPA. Regardless of the reason, outsourcing accounting services has become a popular solution these days. But, it is not without its risks. After all, you will send all your sensitive financial data to a third party, which puts you in a vulnerable solution. Therefore, you need to ask some security questions before choosing any one of the numerous outsourced accounting services.
Here are some of the questions that you should ask:
Question 1: What physical security do you use?
Yes, securing the electronic data is important, but before that, you should ensure that the location where the servers that contain the financial information are kept is secured. Ask the service about the access they give employees to the databases or records area, where the server room is and whether the employees are screened before they enter it.
Question 2: What encryption methods are used?
The purpose of encryption is to prevent your information from being accessed by any hackers or cyber criminals. One of the most common encryption methods makes use of an SSL certification, which is designated with a lock icon and ‘https’ is also added to the start of a website address. This prevents any criminals from deciphering the information sent out. If the outsourced bookkeeping service offers client access to the cloud storage or file room, you should ensure that only limited members of your business have access to it.
Question 3: What do you do with the files once you are finished?
Once the outsourced accounting service is done with your taxes, bookkeeping and other accounting responsibilities, what do they do with your data? Do they store the files for a specific period of time or destroy them after handing them over to you? You need to ask these questions in case you decide to end your relationship because you don’t want your information compromised later on.
Question 4: What network security is implemented?
Since there are lots of security risks in the digital world, a good accounting service like Unchained Financial services uses a secured network. Make sure this is exactly what your outsourced service is doing or else an opportunistic hacker can connect to the network and even gain access to the servers, computers and other devices to steal your financial information. Ask about the hosting provider use and you need to ensure that the service has done its due diligence by choosing a knowledgeable and credible provider for handling their data protection.
Question 5: What will happen if there is a breach?
If there is a data breach, whether the server is compromised or physical files are stolen, you need to know what measures the service will use for mitigating the damage. What is their alert process, how will they compensate you and recover the data? Don’t back down until you have the answers because it is your business at stake.