With the 2016 tax preparation busy season around the corner, CPA firms have begun adding seasonal help and brushing up on firm procedures. This year, a growing number of accounting firms are expanding staff training procedures to include firm-wide guidance on how to avoid cybersecurity risks. According to PWC’s 2016 Global State of Information Security Survey, CPA firms and other financial services businesses remain the most attractive targets of cyber-criminals, and acts or omissions by employees remain the most common source of security vulnerability.
In the event of a successful hack into the firm’s computer systems, CPA firms must notify their clients of the breach and can face significant liability as the stolen information could potentially be used to defraud the firm, its clients, and the IRS.
To help CPA firms avoid these risks, Surgent, a leading provider of continuing professional education (CPE) for CPAs, is partnering with nationally known cyber-security expert Donny Shimamoto, CPA, CGMA, CITP to present a unique online education event on September 22, entitled “15 Ways to Get Your Firm Hacked—Without Really Trying.”
“CPA firms are ridiculously attractive targets for cyber-thieves,” Shimamoto says. “Not only are their computer systems a treasure trove of names and Social Security Numbers, they also include details on banking and investment accounts, tax refunds, and other assets. It’s a goldmine for a data thief. And the best way in is through the vulnerabilities created when even one person in the firm doesn’t know or doesn’t follow security best practices.”
“It’s not enough for the partners and the IT staff to know the risks and what safeguards have been put in place” Shimamoto says. “In order to prevent a hack, everyone in the firm, from the reception desk to the corner office, needs to understand how cyber-criminals operate.”
During the live webinar, Mr. Shimamoto will address 15 common ways in which human error can expose client data to potential theft and set firms up for disaster. The scenarios are common and the mistakes unintentional. They can happen at firms of any size. And they’re preventable—once the risks are known and understood by everyone.
Because it is so critical that this information be shared with everyone in the firm—including both CPA and non-CPA staff—Surgent is encouraging firm-wide participation in this special webinar. Each registering firm may have an unlimited number of people view together from the same logged-in computer for a single registration fee of $199. Two hours of CPE credit are available for CPAs who attend. Credit for one CPA is included in the $199 price and CPE credit for additional CPAs viewing from the same location is available for $59 per person, with volume discounts available for large groups.