Accounting Firms Must Prioritize Cybersecurity

Accounting Firms Must Prioritize Cybersecurity

Many different organizations hold confidential information like healthcare and that is why accounting firms must prioritize cybersecurity in order to protect their sensitive data.

PWC Canada recently released The State of Cybersecurity and Privacy and the stats were alarming. Here are some numbers to consider when thinking about why accounting first must prioritize cybersecurity.

  • 80 percent of Canadian CEOs are concerned about cybersecurity as a threat to their growth prospects.
  • 90 percent of Canadian CEOs are aware that the increasing complexity of threats is having an impact in shaping their cybersecurity strategy.

When so many CEOs have these concerns about cybersecurity, it is only natural they expect their business partners such as accounting firms to have the same concerns.

It is understood that accounting firms are a very important part of the Canadian economy.  These accounting firms are tasked with many duties including how they handle financial data including taxes.  Due to this important role, it makes accounting firms a prime target for cyberattacks.

Why accounting firms must prioritize cybersecurity?

Most organizations are not looking to be the headline of the next cyberattack.  Organizations spend a lot of money on their cybersecurity plan.  To hackers, they look at everyone involved, and accounting firms are high and the list as they have access to a lot of personal information as well as multiple organizations.

What is the best approach towards cybersecurity for accounting firms?

The majority of accounting firms do understand the necessity of cybersecurity however the degree of engagement varies from each firm.  You will need to design a strategic approach that addresses cybersecurity as a business issue rather than just a technical issue.

Most IT departments are too busy or do not have enough knowledge to implement a proper plan.  You can always reach out to a managed IT services provider (MSP) or managed security services provider (MSSP) to assess your data security level and test the vulnerabilities.  Your managed IT services or IT department should not perform a vulnerability test, you should always hire a third party.

Why should cybersecurity be on top of the list for an accounting firm?

This is very simple.  There are multiple industries including healthcare, construction, manufacturing, and much more.  One of the main things they have in common is they all use an accounting firm hence why accounting firms are high on the list for cybersecurity attacks.

As cybercriminals continues to change and adapt their hacking methods, they will be continually evolving. No matter how secure your accounting firm is, there will always remain a possibility of a data breach as a new method might penetrate your accounting firm security system.

What kind of financial loss can an accounting firm face?

If an accounting firm is hit by ransomware or a data breach, they can expect a substantial financial loss that has the potential to bankrupt your firm or seriously impact your financials.  In addition, you can look forward to reduced revenue as you will lose your clients confidence and trust.

What risks can an accounting firm bring to clients?

Like any other businesses, financial loss is only one aspect of compromised security.  It is the responsibility of the accounting firms to ensure they take every precaution possible to secure information as the consequences for clients can be big. Smaller accounting firms can also easily go bankrupt if their data security is compromised as CPAs and accounting firms have access to sensitive financial data.

Accounting firms must prioritize cybersecurity because…

They need to ensure they are protected from cyberattacks.  Every employee plays a part and each employee must be aware of how serious a cyberattack on the accounting firm can be. Through employee awareness about cybersecurity and best practices,  you will be able to protect your accounting firms sensitive data.

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