Who's logging in to your Xero files? Here's a guide to what you need to do...
Where's your data going? Check with your accountant today.
Tell-Tale Signs Your Accountant is sending your work offshore
Tell-tale signs your accountant is sending your work offshore:
- They operate as a shopfront
- They have very few staff
- There is no back office area
- Your accountant is unfamiliar with the contents of your financial situation when you call or email and will "get back to you on that."
- Generic advice rather than advice that is tailored to YOUR situation.
That's all fine perhaps, except it's your information and logins that are being shared with offshore workers.
Technology and Advancement
The tech revolution has been great for Slater Chartered Accountants. We manoeuvred a full shift to the cloud over 4 years ago and revolutionised our systems in response to net based workplace evolution. We introduced Xero front and back end, in our workplace years ago, and we continue to implement the best tech changes that serve the client. But the most exciting technological trends can have a down side that leaves the client vulnerable.
Lately there's been some healthy discussion on accounting and business forums about subcontracting work to offshore third parties. Basically what this means is your books, your banking and business and even aspects of your family details can be accessed by an unknown subcontractor in Asia or South America, without your express approval or knowledge.
So, how can this happen?
Here's the lowdown:
1. You sign up to a new accountant and have a really friendly meeting with this new beanie. You're told your work can be done quickly and efficiently, at a price you're happy with. You sign on the dotted line and away you go. You even go home and talk about how great these new people are, and how they're promising x, y and z at a price not offered before.
2. You also sign up to an accounting software program, or you give your login details to your new accountant, assuming the work is being done in-house on the premises you visited.
3. Your new accountant has a "front end" business based in your town or city or country, which is where you deliver your information and have meetings.
4. Your accountant also has a "back end" which uses subcontracted offshore workers, and your accounting software login details are then passed on to these people. You don't know them and you've never met them. You never even knew were part of the deal. In short they're overseas accounting and bookkeeping subcontractors. They're cheap and they're not specialised in the NZ system. They may be trained in bookkeeping in a fairly rudimentary and basic way. But they are not regulated by our code of ethics here in NZ and cannot be properly overseen or quality controlled. We believe they are not safe. Your personal details, your books and other information are worked on by people thousands of km's away. They have no "professional relationship" with you. They have access to your login details and very intimate aspects of your spending, financial and taxation and identity information.
5. These new offshore accounting operations exist in countries where adherence to NZ professional ethics and processes are both non-existent and/or cannot be properly monitored. This leaves you,the client, and your information exposed and very vulnerable.
6. Ask yourself, "Is it really worth the risk?"
What can YOU do?
Slater Chartered Accountants advises the following:
- When you join with a new accountant, ask them directly if they use subcontractors or workers who are not based on their premises.
- Ask their policy on subcontracting your work out to third parties. You have a right to know.
- If your accountant subcontracts work out to third parties offsite (whether in NZ or offshore to Asia or USSR or South America) ask for the details of the organisation so you can check their credentials for yourself.
- Read the fine print of any accountant/client agreement carefully. Sometimes the mention of third party contracting is buried in the fine print.
- Discuss the use of subcontracted offshore and even onshore third parties with your family, business partners and with your new accountant or existing accountant.
- Make an informed decision that factors in cyber-safety, confidentiality, risk, adherence to the NZ taxation system and the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand professional ethics and guidelines.
- Make a decision that allows you to sleep easy at night, knowing your accounts and tax and financials are being performed to the professional standard they deserve.
Third Party Sub-contracting is playing with fire
It's only our opinion and others may have a different view, but as chartered accountants we know one thing. We wouldn't want someone we don't know and have no professional relationship with logging in to our Xero or our MYOB or Quickbooks account. We wouldn't want an unknown subcontractor from an unknown organisation overseas looking through our information. We'd only ever want our designated trusted advisors and their in-house team doing that.
So tread carefully and be informed. Technology is awesome and is making a wonderful difference to our business lives. The net and the cloud are great if we use them sensibly.
But as globalisation increases, so does potential risk. We're not risk averse and we're far less conservative than a lot of our peers, so we're not preaching or scaremongering for the sake of it. We're simply well-versed on the problems associated with subcontracting offshore to other countries where professional ethics, personal relationships with clients, and proper quality control and internet safety isn't clearly assured and monitored.
Offshore purchasing and the global supermarket are fantastic options for merchandise or product purchases. But the model doesn't work so well when it comes to your personal and financial information. (Who hasn't received a hoax email from a long lost "titled" relative who is searching for you because you are the recipient of a lotto sized inheritance from a recently deceased step-uncle thrice removed?)
Check with your accountant and make 100% sure your personal information is safe and secure and only worked on in-house by NZ trained and qualified accountants. That's how we roll. That's the Slater way and it's the best and safest model around.
If you want to find out more about the Slater way with chartered accounting email firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also call Tina in reception on 07 8389700 and she will book you a very free and very comprehensive meeting with the partners so you can see if we fit your needs. These new client meetings usually last about an hour and a half so leave about 2 hours so you don't have to rush off.
All our meetings come with free cappuccino or latte or long black or even short black coffees made on our very own espresso machine. No need to go anywhere. Just settle right in and make yourselves at home. And of course, we have free parking around the back of the building on Bryce St. Just look for the Slater name on the parking spaces and zoom right in. No parking tickets and you don't have to fill the meter halfway through your meetings with Brett!
It's all there, made easy for you.
Get on board with Slaters. Call Tina our fantastic reception person on 07 8389700 or call Dinu direct on 07 8389701. You can also email email@example.com or book online today.