Connect with us

Finance

WHY ACCOUNTANTS NEED CYBER ESSENTIALS

– By Bruce Penson, managing director of Pro Drive IT

 

For those that may not be aware, there is a government backed standard for cyber security, called Cyber Essentials. It is, in simple terms, a way for businesses to demonstrate a responsible approach to cyber security, protecting both themselves and their clients.

 

Cyber security is something we all need to take seriously: currently around half of UK companies are likely to experience some kind of breach. Should this happen, the cost (both financially and to reputation) can be severe. The Cyber Essentials scheme can help reduce these risks by up to 80%, simply by following their security guidelines and taking appropriate steps.

 

Bruce Penson

Why focus on accountants?

All businesses should be security conscious, but accountants hold a large amount of personal and sensitive data, for both businesses and individuals. Accountants are also required to collect client ID evidence (used to verify account holders and to protect against money laundering), a would-be hacker’s dream.

 

Accountants often include payroll and bank account management in their services, for which clients grant them full access. A cyber attack could therefore result in transfers being made to a rogue bank account and potentially large sums of money being lost.

 

So it’s not hard to see how a security breach could be a big problem, not just for the business itself, but also for the clients on their books. A breach would have a domino effect, compromising the data of any individual or business they held information for.

 

How can I reassure my clients?

Cyber Essentials offers two levels of certification and is recommended by the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales). The first stage is an initial assessment covering the five key areas of security:

• Firewalls and Internet gateways
• Secure configuration
• Access control
• Malware protection
• Patch management

 

This can be carried out as a self-assessment, but we would advise that anyone appointed to do this has a good technical understanding and knowledge of the scheme. If you are an accountancy firm with mostly private clients, this may well be enough to reassure them, and to give you a competitive edge over businesses that are not Cyber Essentials certified.

 

What if we have commercial clients?

As the basic level of certification can be achieved via self-assessment, this may not be enough to reassure commercial clients. The second level, Cyber Essentials Plus, requires in-dependent testing to ensure that suitable security measures are in place and are fully functional.


Whichever level you are aiming for, the process begins with assessment for the standard Cyber Essentials. It may well be worth getting help through even the initial stage, as it can be hard to pick-up on issues with an untrained eye.

 

What are the benefits to Cyber Essentials?

Unlike recent changes to data legalisation (GDPR), which felt like a rather paperwork-heavy compliancy task, Cyber Essentials is a far more approachable scheme. It offers practical ad-vice on how to guard against the most common security threats, in language we can all understand.

 

The scheme is designed to be pretty straightforward, at least in the initial stages. The time it will take to become certified will depend on the size and scale of your business, and of course, the knowledge you have around cyber security.

 

It can be really beneficial to enlist the help of someone who has the knowledge and experience to take you through it. Pro Drive offers several packages to guide you through the process and help you pass the assessment.

 

Recently accredited in Cyber Essentials and IASME Governance themselves, Pro Drive provides several packages to guide you through the process and help you pass the assessment.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Finance

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR CASH FLOW IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

While the world is constantly changing, probably at a faster pace now than ever before, businesses need to manage cash flow and costs to drive success in uncertain times, says Matthew Thorpe, partner at Haines Watts Essex.

 

Managing people and expenses

There are certain costs that you just can’t avoid as a business – to keep your operation running seamlessly, but scrutinise the detail and cut down on any non-essential expenses. Check things like your SaaS subscriptions and look out for costs that auto-renew and if you do cancel, remember to also cancel your direct debits too.

You might want to put a freeze on hiring new people, but ensure that other roles and responsibilities are clearly and efficiently assigned across your team. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been introduced by the Government to help UK employers access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary to avoid redundancies. Affected employees are classed as “furloughed workers”.

Once furloughed, the employee cannot work or they will not qualify for the scheme. For businesses that perhaps need to go further, there may be some roles they don’t need any more, but businesses should work sensitively with people to manage this.

 

Cash is king

In uncertain times, owner managers will need to keep operations going to ensure financial stability. You should look to manage debt more efficiently by negotiating extended payment terms with creditors. You could also renegotiate loans for longer repayment terms to give yourself a lower monthly payment, helping the business to set some cash aside each month.

 

Daily forecasting

As a business owner, you need to create a cash flow projection and update this regularly if you are to improve things. You can do this using financial information to create a picture of how the business will look in the next 12 months. The forecast needs to show revenue sources and expenses, which will show the ups and downs of business income and can be used to make sure that enough finance is in place.

 

Good house-keeping

While banks and other finance providers recognise that the cashflow of a business may be disrupted by the impact of Covid-19, they are still going to want to see that you are viable and continue to trade in these uncertain times. Make sure your business is organised and don’t let disorganisation cause unnecessary issues. You can evidence this by having detailed forecasts; current order books and projections (as best as possible).

Having instantly accessible, accurate financial information allows you to plan effectively, spot issues before they become problems and manage your money in the most efficient and rewarding way.

 

Embrace technology

Software is now incredibly user-friendly and accessible from anywhere. For a business owner embracing the technology, this means:

  • Invoicing can be done instantly when a job is complete, emailed to the customer with an easy to use link to a payment platform.
  • Comparison websites can automatically monitor and help maintain lowest cost for things such as light & heat, insurance etc.
  • Technology can be used in place of face-to-face meetings. It can also enable them to adapt production lines to different demands.

All of these things and more, used properly, can make managing your business finances quicker, easier and often cheaper.  You will also be able to bring clarity to where your business stands and prepare for the next steps.

 

Continue Reading

Finance

HOW FINANCIAL SERVICES CAN GET TO GRIPS WITH RISING SUPPLY CHAIN RISK

FINANCIAL SERVICES

By Alex Saric, smart procurement expert, Ivalua

 

UK businesses have never been more dependent on their suppliers to help them deliver goods and services to their customers. Be it retail, manufacturing or financial services, suppliers have a vital role to play when it comes to innovation and meeting customer expectations. However, as supply chains become increasingly global, businesses are potentially exposing themselves to more risk than ever before.

This is especially true in financial services. Whether it’s the impact of geopolitical events like Brexit or global tariff wars, supply shortages, security or the businesses impact on the environment, an organisation’s failure to identify and mitigate risk could see millions wiped off its share price, and its corporate reputation left in tatters. Risk can present itself anywhere and at any time, so financial services firms must be ready to address it. However, many simply don’t have the ability to evaluate suppliers for risk factors, leaving them wide open to business operations being hindered, or being slapped with financial penalties.

 

More suppliers, increasing risk

One reason why financial services firms aren’t able to evaluate suppliers is the breadth and scale of today’s supply chains. For example, French oil company Total said in in a recent human rights briefing paper that they work with over 150,000 direct suppliers worldwide. This is just one example of how large and varied the roster of partners has become. Research from Ivalua has found that financial services businesses on average are working with around 3,600 suppliers annually, which is evenly split between UK-based and international partners. That number is expected to rise, with 60% expecting the number of suppliers they work with to rise.

The expanding nature of suppliers is only going to expose financial services firms to more potential risk than ever before, yet 78% say they face challenges gaining complete visibility into suppliers and their activities.

A lack of supplier visibility leaves businesses unable to identify and mitigate against supply chain risk. In fact, almost three-quarters (73%) of financial services firms have experienced some type of risk during the last 12 months. These include; supplier failure (43%), environmental impact, such as pollution or waste (35%) and supply shortages (45%). Supply shortages can be among the most damaging to a business, as seen by both the KFC chicken shortage which closed stores, and the summer 2018 CO2 shortage which caused companies such as Heineken and Coca-Cola to pause production, impacting supply across Europe during the World Cup.

 

Businesses unprepared for the worst

One way financial services firms can better prepare for risk is to ensure they know what to plan for to reduce the impact. However, whilst some say they have a contingency plan in place to deal with risk, many of them are unprepared. Financial services firms admitted to not having comprehensive and deployed contingency plans in place to prepare the supply chain for risk such as; natural disasters (68%), supply shortages (67%), geopolitical changes (65%), environmental impact (63%), supplier failure (62%) and modern slavery (50%).

In order to effectively prepare for these types of risks, it’s vital that financial services businesses fully understand their suppliers, their business environment, global variations in regulations, geopolitics, and a host of other factors. But for many, there are multiple challenges when it comes to gaining this understanding. A prevailing factor is an inability to gain visibility into all suppliers and activity because supplier management data is stored in multiple locations and formats, making insights difficult to access. This leaves teams unable to review supplier activity and assess compliance.

 

Making supplier management smarter

It’s imperative that financial services businesses are able to respond or prepare for supply chain risk. Clearly, much more needs to be done to ensure they have complete visibility of suppliers, especially in an era where regulators can levy heavy fines for GDPR breaches and scandals spread in minutes over social media. These types of risks can be reduced in the future if procurement teams have a 360-degree view of suppliers which will help with contingency planning and risk management.

For example, in the instance of supply shortages, plans could be put in place that identify alternative suppliers to ensure any shortages do not impact end users. This type of supplier collaboration is paramount when it comes to managing and mitigating against supplier shortages. When it comes to regulations, financial services firms can’t allow a lack of visibility to limit their ability to ensure all suppliers are compliant.

To do this, teams must take a smarter approach to procurement that gives complete visibility into suppliers throughout the supply chain. This will allow financial services firms to identify and plan for risk, reducing the potential damage, and ensuring they are working with and awarding business to low-risk suppliers. Supply chain risk is rapidly becoming an overarching concern for financial services firms, but by providing the ability to assess suppliers, they will have all the insights they need to mitigate the impact on business operations.

 

Continue Reading

Magazine

Partner Events

Trending

Banking15 hours ago

THE CO-BRAND CREDIT CARD MARKET – SINK OR SWIM

By Chris Vinnicombe, VP Financial Services at Acxiom The co-brand credit card market is the result of the partnerships between...

Finance15 hours ago

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR CASH FLOW IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

While the world is constantly changing, probably at a faster pace now than ever before, businesses need to manage cash...

News15 hours ago

NEW IVALUA STUDY SHOWS TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGES ARE HINDERING PROCUREMENT TEAMS FROM ACHIEVING BUSINESS OBJECTIVES

Lack of system integrations and actionable insights are stopping organisations from accurately measuring performance   Ivalua, a leading provider of global...

Technology15 hours ago

WHY DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IN FINANCIAL SERVICES IS ABOUT CULTURE FIRST, TECH SECOND

Stuart Templeton, Head of UK at Slack    In today’s world, there’s no such thing as a ‘non-tech fin’. Every...

Business1 day ago

STOP THE CONFUSION: HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR BUSINESS MAY BE INSURED AGAINST COVID-19

By Alex Balcombe, Partner at Harris Balcombe   The last few weeks has seen businesses in hospitality, tourism, retail, leisure...

Top Stories1 day ago

BRAVE NEW WORLD: A FUTURISTIC VISION OF PAYMENTS

James Booth, VP, Head of Partnerships in EMEA for PPRO   Over the last ten years, the retail e-commerce ecosystem...

Interviews1 day ago

A PROPTECH FOUNDER’S BEGINNING, THE START OF KLEVIO AND HOW ACCESS-TECH IMPROVES FACILITIES MANAGEMENT

An interview with Klevio’s CEO and Co-Founder, Aleš Špetič    What is Klevio?  Klevio is a smart intercom that allows...

COVID-19 COVID-19
Wealth Management2 days ago

HERE’S HOW YOU CAN LEARN TO TRADE RISK-FREE DURING THE COVID-19 MARKET CRASH

Trading app BullBear has launched new features to support budding investors looking to hone their skills against the backdrop of...

INSURANCE INSURANCE
Top Stories2 days ago

ENTERPRISE BLOCKCHAIN: DRAGGING INSURANCE OUT OF THE DARK AGES

Ryan Rugg, Global Head of The Industry Business Unit at R3   The history of insurance traces back to the development...

BIOMETRIC BIOMETRIC
Technology2 days ago

DISPELLING BIOMETRIC MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS

By Lina Andolf-Orup, Head of Marketing at Fingerprints Gangsters cutting off enemies’ fingers to access secret locations and spies lifting...

Videos3 days ago

FUTURE FX PROMO

Videos3 days ago

FutureFX Profile

BANKING BANKING
Banking5 days ago

FOUR WAYS OPEN BANKING AND AI WILL REVOLUTIONISE ACCOUNTANCY

Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of cloud accounting software company, FreeAgent   It’s been just over two years since the...

FINANCIAL SERVICES FINANCIAL SERVICES
Finance6 days ago

HOW FINANCIAL SERVICES CAN GET TO GRIPS WITH RISING SUPPLY CHAIN RISK

By Alex Saric, smart procurement expert, Ivalua   UK businesses have never been more dependent on their suppliers to help...

MARKET DATA MARKET DATA
Wealth Management7 days ago

TWO TO TANGO? MARKET DATA AND OPINIONS IN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT

Sebastien Lleo is Associate Professor of Finance at NEOMA Business School (France)   Analyst views and expert opinions matter. They...

EARLY RETIREMENT EARLY RETIREMENT
Wealth Management1 week ago

AN ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TURNING YOUR EARLY RETIREMENT DREAM INTO A REALITY

Rick Pendykoski is the owner of Self Directed Retirement Plans LLC, a retirement planning firm based in Goodyear, AZ.  ...

FINANCIAL SERVICES FINANCIAL SERVICES
Technology1 week ago

WHAT EVOLUTIONARY AI MEANS FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES

by Babak Hodjat, VP of Evolutionary AI at Cognizant   Many banks and other financial services institutions (FIs) are beginning...

ANALYTICS ANALYTICS
Business1 week ago

HARNESSING ANALYTICS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST FRAUD

By Anna Lykourina, EMEA Fraud Analytics Expert at SAS   In the past, the fight against fraud has been a...

ONESPAN ONESPAN
News1 week ago

ERSTE BANK HUNGARY IMPROVES AND SECURES THE REMOTE BANKING EXPERIENCE WITH ONESPAN MOBILE SECURITY

Leading Hungarian bank deploys OneSpan’s Mobile Security Suite to one million customers to make mobile banking convenient while fighting fraud...

FINANCIAL FINANCIAL
News1 week ago

HOW WILL LENDERS TREAT THE FINANCIAL SYMPTOMS OF COVID19?

COULD the coronavirus pandemic spark a financial crisis similar to that which was seen in 2008? Tim Kirby, Group Commercial...

Trending