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DATA MANAGEMENT: HOW TO KEEP YOUR PAYROLL INFORMATION HUSH-HUSH

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Shubham Joshi is an experienced content marketer at FactoHR

Why, at the time of recruitment, candidates are told not to share their payroll and other confidential information with anyone? While considering confidentiality at first, many companies also get an NDA – Non-Disclosure Agreement signed from the candidates. This reflects the importance of the security of employees’ payroll information.

And employees’ are not the only responsible individuals for their salary information, but the organization itself possesses the authority to process their salaries and thus maintain the data. But these people already have enough functions to look for on their plate, apart from patrolling the salary information.

But have you (as an organization/employer) stressed the loss of any information. We have seen the increased usage of technology in almost every sector, which includes hacking also. There are specific measures, including the ethical use of technology to protect the data, as the responsibility of the organization.

 

Why Is Payroll Secrecy Essential For An Organization?

Just before I said, that organization and employee signed an agreement describing the matter of payroll secrecy and the outcome of breaching it. But have you ever wondered why people give too much importance to this? Let’s understand this term to an extent.

Once you complete your monthly payroll process, it is apparent that you ensure the security of data. However, unethical practices by nature itself cannot be wholly eradicated, especially when you find yourself in a heavy competitive circle. These unethical activities are at times so challenging and make it even difficult to be aware of or trace the happenings of such issues. In case we aren’t vigilant or secured the data, it leads to more significant consequences, where your competitors can breach your information and use it for their own benefit. For instance, by the time you realize the data theft, the competitor could have analyzed the data and offered better pay to your talented employee. And the consequence is – within a matter of just a few days, you would have lost your good employee.

Now, assume you have two employees with similar degrees and working in the same department. But due to differences in their experience level, both are given different posts with different salary structures. Now, this is an obvious thing every employer would follow.

Some fine day these two find out the differences between their payments, which is when the crisis is born. You still trust your employees to understand the difference, but what if they are not aware of the employment rules or they are just freshers. This risk is even more significant if employees came to know about each other’s tax implications and benefits received by the government schemes. Thus to reduce such impact of jealousy, contracts have been signed up, and employers keep salary secret.

Scared! Relax cause I have listed here down the various security measures which you can apply.

 

How To Keep Your Payroll Confidential?

After gaining the importance of keeping payroll data confidential, here are the ways to protect it using technology, in no particular order.

Utilize The Technology

Technology, as said, is now penetrated into every sector where a human works. Why not to use it when it can provide data security along with methods to run the administrative tasks rapidly.

SaaS solutions offer organizations to cover their operational tasks, including salary payment, technically and using a cloud-based platform. These solutions also offer the organization with high encryption for the storage of data.

When an employer is using cloud platforms to run and store their information, it gives personally accessible login credentials to authorized users only who can change and manage the data. Other users cannot even access such data, thus implementing role-wise rights distribution.

Distribute Task Duties

One subtle way of securing the payroll is by distributing the tasks needed to be accomplished during the functions to various authorities. The benefit is that if your operations are distributed, the different set of information would be with different persons, and it will be hard for fraudsters to breach into each of the files where the data is stored.

 

Update Your Passwords Often

Using technology that offers data access according to the user, asks for a particular ID and password. Users can set up these passwords according to their needs and willingness. But over time, if the password is not changed, it is easy for the hackers to analyze it.

As the vulnerability of passwords lies in being linked to personal data like birthdate or some special number or something else, it is easy to be cracked. And when the data includes some crucial information like payment, which we are discussing, this step becomes utmost essential. It is thus advisable to change/update these passwords often. Or what you can do is to rotate these passwords within the salary processing team. Ensure not to share your passwords with anyone.

 

Lock Hardware Stored Files

For many organizations, it would still be impossible to make up the mind to invest in the online software. What these organizations use is still the traditional method of calculating and updating in the spreadsheets.

In such cases, it is preferable to lock the files to save the sheets from unauthorized access. Better to apply it to every file, including tax information, monthly salary updates, and employee’ benefits calculation. At last, don’t forget to take the backup of these files because offline storage can give trembles as it can be lost in regular system formatting.

 

Last But Probably Not The Least

We came across all these methods, but still, you can have some more effective ways. It might not be the major ones, but these can assist you in little ways.

  • Log-off the system after every usage.
  • Create strong passwords and probably not related to anyone, which the hacker may not think.
  • Check your storage securities often.
  • Set up remote access for authorities processing salary.

 

At The End Of The Day…

We understood that any organization’s wage structure and benefits administration is essential to be secured whatever methods of processing you use. Now that we know its importance and we discussed the measures to protect the data, no one can stop you from being confidential. Just understand which method to apply when in your payment system, and you can crush any threats or breaches that might come in your path.

 

Business

THE EVOLVING TECHNOLOGY NEEDS OF THE FINANCE DEPARTMENT

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Jennifer Sims, Senior Consultant at Xledger

 

The world of finance software is evolving quickly, but with many new software contenders entering the market it can be a mindfield for organisations. Many finance teams are already using multiple accounting apps and software packages for bookkeeping, payroll and invoicing to service individual needs. Whilst it may work fine for now, this segregated approach isn’t sustainable for long-term growth. The world is swiftly moving to agile, automated ways of working. As a result, there is a growing need to choose suppliers that can fulfil multiple functionalities within the one platform.

Financial software is evolving at such a pace that it can be difficult to keep up. Changing up a finance solution is a big step and ease of migration can be a substantial factor in determining which solution provider to go with. But how do you choose a solution that will grow with your business and still offer something innovative in five or ten years down the line? The fear is always that non-techie organisations will end up falling behind, but in such a highly concentrated industry, how do you decide which solution would work best for you?

 

Cloud-first: the term that makes all the difference 

You could find a ‘cloud-based’ service with an application that comes with automated audit trails to make it easier to meet compliance and record-keeping obligations, for example. But for a solution to offer all of the many future benefits promised by the cloud, it needs to have been built specifically for a cloud environemt from the outset – ie. not an on-premise built system that has been later adapted. Cloud-first services (true cloud) were always intended to leverage economies of scale, cope with live updates, be accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, and to scale rapidly, to name just a few of the many benefits.

When we talk about innovation in financial technology, we’re not just talking about software that makes it easier for the financial controller to create reports. If eliminating reliance on Excel spreadsheets is the only tangible benefit you have to really shout about, you are missing out on the real deal. With ‘true’ cloud finance software the sky is the limit.

Finance and accounting technology needs to directly meet the needs of the finance function and support the wider business needs.  When looking at accounting software platforms you’d be hard pressed to find one that doesn’t now promise ‘cloud-based’ enterprise resource planning (ERP) capabilities. The cloud is nothing new, but it’s the way that a solution harnesses this environment that makes a real difference. And here is where there is a need to read between the lines.

 

Automate more with true cloud 

Historically, repetitive and manual tasks are typical of the finance role – from invoice postings to expense claims handling – these can overwhelm the finance team. Research by Xledger[1] has found that an enormous 91% of CFOs and finance decision makers are carrying out at least one of these repetitive tasks as part of their job. What’s more, senior finance leads are averaging a whopping 25 hours per week carrying out repetitive and manual tasks, compared with 15 hours for other finance decision makers.

A modern, true cloud finance system can enable your business to automate repetitive tasks and provide one source of truth so that teams can make informed business decisions that will help to scale a business. Bank reconciliation, dashboard creation and reporting are just some of the tasks that can be handled automatically.These capabilities are aiding overtasked finance teams and saving hundreds or thousands of hours a year.

Whilst different companies are at different stages in their digital transformation what is clear is keeping up with the latest technology is fundamental to the future success of an organisation.

Xledger is a true cloud finance solution. The basics include invoicing, robust general ledger accounting, detailed slice and dice reporting, purchase orders, billing, VAT reporting, and cash and bank payments. It also adds process and structure to the enterprise with procurement and inventory, budgeting and forecasting, and project accounting. Users are always on the latest version of the software and with regulation more stringent than ever today, Xledger is ISO 27001 accredited.

Choosing the right provider for your financial ERP solution comes down to whether it has the fundamentals right. When hosting all of your vital data in the providers’ own servers, it should evidence a highly tested security process that comes with backup services as standard.

As our demand for technology capabilities grows and as ERP models progress, innovation will become the structure for growth – and there is no end to the possibilities.

 

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Business

HOW RETURNS ABUSE AFFECTS RETAILERS

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By Aaron Begner, EMEA GM at Forter

 

Accompanying the significant growth in ecommerce over the past 12 months, is the need for retailers to manage the impact of a growing array of fraud and abuse challenges. One type of fraud that can easily fly under the radar is the abuse of a merchant’s returns policies.

Returns abuse can be difficult to detect and prevent for retailers, as often it is a challenge to identify fraudulent behaviour vs. a ‘usually-good’ consumer trying to bend – but not break – return policies. Therefore, it’s often a challenge to identify how returns abuse actually affects retailers. Here are three of the biggest ways that returns abuse negatively impacts business.

 

Lost Revenue

The most obvious effect that returns abuse has on a business is lost revenue, which can be significant. Research indicates that returns abuse may be costing retailers up to $15 billion per year. When fraudsters purchase items with the intent of abusing returns policies, the retailer makes no profit. Furthermore, it stops legitimate customers from purchasing the items they want, as fraudsters who don’t want the items are moving them around.

Various types of returns abuse can profoundly damage retailers’ bottom lines. Some tactics, such as shoplisting, where fraudsters try to obtain a refund for a list of products listed on a perfectly valid receipt, yet that they never purchased to begin with, can significantly impact retailers’ bottom line.

 

Increased Operational Costs

Returns abuse doesn’t only affect revenue pertaining to the products themselves. There are also operational costs to consider. An increase in returns abuse will often lead to more consideration being put into checking every return, for signs of abuse taking place. This can range from missing tags to damage or wear on the product. This process can be time-consuming, meaning more resources might be necessary to continue operating in an efficient manner. Handling and warehousing costs can also begin to increase, with returned items becoming significantly less valuable.

 

A Poor Customer Experience

As returns abuse continues to increase, many retailers will feel pressure to tighten their return policies. This could range from reducing the allotted time for eligible returns, to only issuing store credit instead of cashback. In some cases, more extreme measures such as requiring a restocking fee for more expensive merchandise will be taken.

While these are all effective ways to help diminish the effect of returns abuse on retailers, they can also have an adverse effect on a retailer’s customer experience. If loyal customers have become accustomed to a more flexible and forgiving return policy, they could be taken by surprise when it’s more difficult for them to return their items.

Ultimately, it can be tricky to balance the two. Returns abuse negatively affects retailer revenue and the overall business, but so does a poor customer experience.

 

The Negative Impact of Returns Abuse Cannot Be Understated

Returns abuse is often overlooked. It can be difficult to detect, but significantly impacts revenue and operations. Because stricter return policies may restrict loyal customers, the reputation of a retailer’s business can be affected. Poor customer experiences can lead to bad reviews and a loss of current and potential customers. Because of this, returns abuse prevention should be a top priority for all retailers.

With this information in hand, retailers can get a better understanding of how returns abuse affects their business and why they need to put a prevention plan in place, as soon as possible.

 

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