Practice Protect & DiviPay

In collaboration with DiviPay, we bring the accounts of three accounting firm leaders to you. How do accounting practice owners de-risk from fraud, scams and protect their clients from cyber threats? Read below:

The young and the brave: Entrepreneurial leader writes his own rules to technology protection

How these accounting practice owners de-risk from scams and fraud: a leader’s insight

Jack Dixon, founder of Back Beach Accounting, is part of a new breed of entrepreneurial accounting practice owners. Taking their lead from Aussie fintech innovators, they have inspired an almost anti-establishment movement with the youthful conviction they can do things better.

While Jack is the first to credit his training ground in top-tier accounting firms as invaluable, Jack and those like him seem unconstrained by the way things have always been done. They are quick to adopt new technology and processes, wiser to the opportunities and threats before them.

Here Jack shares how he writes his own rules to help and protect his business to grow.

Foundations in data security matter when working toward the grander plan

I’m building a modern business with a short-term plan to employ staff, leverage technology to be efficient and flexible, and build a solid book of clients who trust that I offer best practice to.

Cyber security has long been a significant issue in the US as we know, and this threat is increasingly present in Australia. It’s something to be conscious of and especially so in our industry where we deal with so much sensitive information. I signed up to Practice Protect to have great foundation practices right from the start.

Practice Protect has built-in features, such as geo-locking and time-locking, so that logins are only possible between say, 5am – 11pm for example. That alone bolsters your data security to a significant extent, since cyber attacks in Australia predominantly come from abroad and take place while victims are asleep.

The software provides a centralised portal to access a tech stack and looking to the future, facilitates an extremely efficient onboarding and offboarding process as employees enter and exit the business.

Technology offers increased efficiency and transparency over expenses

DiviPay is a game changer in terms of expense management, using virtual cards which are accessible through smartphones. You can easily issue them to staff, customise them (eg. set limits) and cancel them.

The big improvement areas are streamlined data going to accounting software, staff reimbursements being reduced, and no more delays due to applying with banks and then waiting for a corporate card to arrive in the mail.

Separately, when dealing with subscriptions and suppliers, the same virtual card allows you to put limits on cards, increase data accuracy and automate the collection and payment of those invoices. We’re talking about audit-proofing the accounting file, and saving time for both the business owner and the accountant.

Embrace your community

Obviously, as we’d tell any of our clients, the goal is to make yourself redundant. That is, build something independent of yourself or it will forever own you. I’m constantly thinking about what can be done better and how.

On that note, there is a total scene out there of, for lack of a better word, modern accountants. Like me, they crunch through accounting and tax work but are also borderline obsessed with technology and finding better ways to do things.

There are online forums, podcasts, and virtual conferences like The 2021 Trenches Summit. There is a huge support network out there for those who choose to get involved.

Align your technology choice with your values

Finally, I really appreciate being able to make decisions regarding not only technology but also around purpose. A good example is that I signed up the business to be a 1% For The Planet member – a commitment of donating 1% of sales to environmentally-focused not-for-profits (NFPs).

We all care about our natural environment, but sometimes it can be so tough to find the time to significantly contribute. If Back Beach can share its success with enviro NFPs, we can create a bigger and far more positive impact on the environment than what we as a business alone could achieve.

Considering the concept of work hard/play hard, it’s difficult not to conclude that this technology and those embracing it represent something of a perfect metaphor.

How to protect your not-for-profit clients from cyber crime

With technology advisory at the forefront of her service to not-for-profit clients, Heather Kennedy, founder of K.I.S. Accounting & Bookkeeping Professionals, knows cyber-crime is an important consideration.

After more than 20 years in the sector, Heather has built a solid repertoire of tools and apps on which she relies. Here Heather shares her advice on what works to protect hers and her clients’ data.

There is a better way to juggle multiple cost centres and petty cash cards

Most charities and not-for-profits have multiple cost centres and/or different departments against which to attribute spending. Unfortunately, what we often see is one communal credit card used like a petty cash reserve to purchase different items for different cost centres, and even more scary… used by multiple people.

Not only is that a nightmare to reconcile, it can also leave the not-for-profit open to fraud and breaches of the banks rules on how the card is used.

DiviPay can solve this and is a huge time saver as well.  With access to unlimited virtual cards for an organisation, each card can be assigned to a single cost centre and rules put in place for each user about what they can spend on and how much they can spend. This means if one person works across multiple cost centres, they can have access to multiple virtual cards without ending up with a wallet full of plastic cards.

Cyber-crime protection is important with a high turnover of staff

The charity sector often has a high turnover of volunteers and staff, making it even more important to protect passwords with one easy cyber-protection system.

Within my own growing team of local and remote workers we need to access almost 100 software programs and apps to do our jobs. Having to close and change all these individual passwords for all these apps should they leave would be a real challenge.

I came across Practice Protect a few years ago and it’s been brilliant. Just one system is used to log into (with one unique password), through which each staff member can then access all our apps. This hugely simplifies onboarding new hires and closing off access when a staff member leaves and also provides essential protection for our clients.

A growing remote workforce necessitates cyber crime awareness

I used to have a physical office where staff worked together every day, though that’s all changed with so many of our clients based in all corners of the country and particularly now with Covid-19.

Despite the change in setting, I still have to give all my staff the resources they need to do their jobs. This includes access to K.I.S. funds for purchases as well as digital tools they can access from their work computer at home.

But staff often don’t realise how their actions and small mistakes can leave our business vulnerable to cyber crime and fraud. Having DiviPay and Practice Protect to support my team to access these resources gives me peace of mind that I am not putting my business at risk. It’s a no-brainer for a business like mine where client security is imperative.

Here’s why this small business advocate says, when managing teams remotely, cybersecurity is not a luxury but a necessity

How these accounting practice owners de-risk from scams and fraud: a leader’s insight

As co-host to twice-yearly cybersecurity webinars with Bankwest, founder of full-service consultancy, The Small Business Lounge, Brooke Arnott, is attuned more than most to cyber scammers and fraudsters.

But that wasn’t always the case. It was early in the Small Business Lounge’s evolution when Brooke’s staff member received a bogus email appearing to be from Brooke requesting a large invoice be paid. Thankfully, Brooke’s team member cottoned-on and no money was lost, but it was enough to prompt Brooke to tighten her cyber-security approach.

Since then, Brooke has established her leadership in cyber-security for small-business. Not only has it protected her clients but has also been critical for her growing team of remote workers that cross international borders.

Here Brooke explains what tools and system she uses for best protection.

The power couple of Practice Protect, and an IT department

A technology focused firm with staff across many offices, the Small Business Lounge saw Practice Protect as a natural fit. With one portal through which to access all files and emails, I can trust employees aren’t going through different browsers on their home and office computers in ways that leave the business vulnerable.

We also work with an IT consultancy who have guided us on the latest updates and established good policies and procedures with staff to make sure everyone is on the same page. 

Advancing technology: a threat and a saviour

While the bad guys’ technology become more sophisticated, the good guys are fighting back with innovations for small business, like DiviPay, which improves transparency and security in financial management.

Rather than having to manage hand-held credit cards among remote teams, DiviPay’s virtual cards with strict rules and budgets, assures infinitely less risk of errors in spending or threats from scammers.

The expenses are recorded and translated into Cloud accounting software instantly, which also gives more control over your business.

When it’s all too much, consult an expert

It can seem daunting to know where to start and that’s why I created The Small Business Lounge. Taking a wholistic approach to small business support, my team think about all the working parts in your business to then advise on technology to streamline and tighten processes that will help your business grow.

Categorised in: Blog

This post was written by Practice Protect