Don’t trade security for convenience
Let me start by saying I love online accounting programs. Their efficiencies are hard to beat, both for business owners and their accountants.
Accessed anytime from anywhere, online accounting programs are easy to use, they’re affordable, have virtually unlimited storage and scalability and they give you a good financial overview of your situation at a glance. Simply put, they make life easier.
Online access to your bank accounts has been around for a while. Payroll payments can flow from you bank account straight into your employee’s and online bill paying has never been easier.
Add to that bank statement fetching services and and bank feeds that link directly into the online software and you can have smoothly automated bookkeeping systems.
But when it comes to giving your bookkeeper access to those online bank accounts, don’t hand over your company’s security just for the sake of convenience.
Why I don’t want complete access to your accounts.
In speaking to one of our software services the other day, I was surprised to find out that, unlike our firm, most other bookkeepers get complete access to their clients’ bank accounts. Complete access — as in full authority to all their bank accounts!
Not only is this unsettling, it’s totally unnecessary.
While most accountants and bookkeepers do things, well, by the books, we’ve all heard of those situations of misappropriation.
Knowing your bookkeeper only has a certain level of access to your private financial information takes the pressure off you and them. It is risky for you to hand over all access to your accounts and it’s also unfair to an honest bookkeeper to offer up your unguarded cash.
I get it. You don’t want your bookkeeper bothering you all the time for information. But is that little inconvenience really worth the possible negative consequences? You’d never let anyone else have signing authority over your chequebook, so why would you open up your bank accounts?
How to ensure your accountant gets what they need — safely
Most software packages already have built-in caution in the form of an accountant’s zone that allows you to choose various levels of access. Just set the parameters to “read only” or “look rights,” ensuring your accountant can see your bank accounts but not make transactions on them.
Typically, setting up read-only access is accomplished by creating a bookkeepers ID for your online banking. This way you can both restrict access and also see when the account is being viewed.
Online accounting truly is an effective, efficient way to track your business’ funds. Why not make it as safe as possible by ensuring you only share what you need to?
Ann Scott is a business advisor, Chartered Professional Accountant and Partner with Presley & Partners, CPAs and Business Advisors in Courtenay, BC. She can be reached at 250.338.1394 or firstname.lastname@example.org.