accounting and security in the digital world are integrally connected
At first, cybersecurity for accountants might seem like a strange topic. After all, accountants work with finances and a cybersecurity analyst works with software and hardware for cyber attack prevention. The two fields seem unrelated.
But accounting and security in the digital world are integrally connected because accountants and accounting firms need accounting cybersecurity.
The accounting cybersecurity definition is cybersecurity systems and risk management plans that protect accountants and accountant firms from some of the risks of cyberattacks and data breaches.
Without this cybersecurity, you as an accountant are risking your livelihood, your business growth, your customer trust, and your reputation—just to mention a few. One cybersecurity attack could destroy that all.
Also, the chances that you would experience a cyber attack are extremely high. You hold some of the most valuable information in terms of people’s finances and hackers know that. They will target you in pursuit of that information.
But a cybersecurity program can protect you and your company from the risk of a cyber attack and the terrible consequences that such an attack would bring. A cybersecurity system that provides continuous assurance is even better because it can use the information and perform audits almost simultaneously. You can get a quick report of the status of your cybersecurity.
The irony is that continuous assurance is a service accountants can provide. So, you can assess organizations’ security systems and help them with their cyber security while cybersecurity is helping you with your business. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
There is a lot more to learn about the connection between cyber security and accounting though. So, keep reading to discover more cybersecurity information that accountants can use!
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants may be best known for their AICPA technology, but they have several other resources that can help you as an accountant develop more knowledge of cyber security.
One key resource is the AICPA Framework, which can help you identify, evaluate, and address threats. The framework was designed to address compliance issues, but it can also be used as an AICPA cybersecurity framework because the steps work for identifying cyber threats as well.
In step one of the AICPA framework, you identify threats to compliance and threats to your cybersecurity. If you do not identify any threats, you can proceed with your service. However, if you find threats, you need to continue to step two
For step two, you evaluate the potential impact of the threats and the likelihood that they would occur to determine whether the threats are acceptable. If the risk of these threats is relatively low, you can proceed with your service. If you find those threats to be dangerous and highly likely to occur though, you must continue to step three.
Step three guides you to identity safeguards that can be implemented to rescue your risk. You may either enforce old safeguards or add new ones.
Finally, in step four, you evaluate these safeguards and determine if they successfully reduce or eliminate your threat risk. If the threat is satisfactorily reduced, you can proceed with your service. But if the threat cannot be reduced, you either need to discontinue your professional services or resign from that engagement.
This framework guides you through everything you need for risk management in cybersecurity. If you want more detailed information, you can look at the AICPA cybersecurity checklist, which will help you set computers to update operating systems, use password controls, review insurance policies, and more.
Or, you can pursue an AICPA cybersecurity certificate through their Cybersecurity Advisory Services Certificate Program. This certificate will teach you how you can help your clients navigate threats and advise them on how to enhance their cybersecurity risk management programs. Of course, the certificate does cost a fair amount of money, so you need to keep that in mind as you are searching for resources on cyber security.
But with these resources, you as an accountant can more fully benefit from AICPA’s services and develop your cybersecurity knowledge.
You now know that AICPA is helpful, but you might still be wondering how to combine accounting and cybersecurity. After all, they still seem like vastly different fields. But they are more related than you think.
For one, accounts and accounting firms need cybersecurity. Accounting firms have some of the most valuable information on individuals and businesses, from Social Security numbers to financial information. Hackers know this, so they can target account firms seeking this information. This is obvious as cyber attacks on accounting firms have increased by 300% since the COVID-19 pandemic.
With this risk, security software for accounting firms is a must. Account firms need to protect their clients and their financial resources from cyberattacks. That is one obvious way to combine accounting and cybersecurity—cybersecurity helps protect accountants.
But the relationship goes both ways. Accountants can also help with cybersecurity. How? Think of forensic accounting and cyber security. Forensic accountants are trained to dig into data, analyze systems and processes, and investigate the technologies organizations use. These skills make forensic accountants highly qualified to investigate cyber losses.
Increasingly, forensic accountants are working along with cybersecurity teams to investigate, quantify, and report the financial impact of cyberattacks. They can investigate losses from many different perspectives and defend a company against class action lawsuits. Their financial expertise and data scrutiny skills help them convert complex financial information to clear evidence, so the IT security team can give an accurate report.
While it may seem surprising at first, it makes a lot of sense to bring together accounting and cybersecurity. Each field has a service that can assist the other.
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The accounting field can be seen assisting cybersecurity with AICPA’s System and Organization Controls (SOC) for Cybersecurity.
The SOC cybersecurity framework is designed to assist you in communicating relevant information about an organization’s cyber security risk management programs. This examination provides an independent and inclusive assessment that describes whether the organization’s cybersecurity risk management program matches its description criteria. The assessment will also show whether the controls in the cybersecurity risk management program were effective in achieving the organization’s cybersecurity goals.
This information then helps a company’s board of directors make decisions about their cyber security because it shows pertinent information regarding the program’s success. The AICPA SOC for cybersecurity certificate can also build customers’ trust in the organization if it provides a good report on the company’s security.
The SOC cybersecurity framework is appropriate for businesses, nonprofit organizations, and any other type of organization. You can use it with virtually all your business clients.
So, you, with the SOC framework guiding you, can help a cybersecurity team understand the weaknesses in their cybersecurity program. The team can take the information and improve their cybersecurity and secure their company.
But if your clients have scored badly on their SOC for Cybersecurity examination, you might not know what to do. Of course, you want your client to score well because it can help them with customer trust and retention. However, you might not be enough of an expert in cybersecurity to help them enhance their security systems.
As a solution, you can partner your client with Trava security. We have detailed risk assessments that can further break down the risks you identified in the SOC for Cybersecurity Framework. Then, we can help them implement mitigation strategies to improve their cybersecurity.
Since you probably need to send your client to another company for help with their cybersecurity program, you may be wondering, is cyber security hard?
Well, the answer to that question is not exactly straightforward. Any cyber security news will tell of the increasing rate of cyberattacks and the shocking financial losses they can cause. These reports leave the impression that cyber security is very hard to obtain.
In part, they are right. Threat actors are constantly improving their techniques and the field of cybersecurity is continually evolving to keep up with the attacks. Everything can be hard to keep up with.
But, cyber security also is not hard. There are a few straightforward steps that cybersecurity teams can take to secure their business against risk. The specifics of these steps are changing as the field evolves, but the principles remain the same.
The real trick to cybersecurity is finding a reliable security company—a company that is up-to-date with the current cybersecurity trends and has years of experience with proven strategies. This kind of company can walk you and your clients through the cybersecurity process and protect your clients as best as possible.
That company is Trava. We will guide you and your client every step of the way until their risk is reduced and their company is secure.
Schedule a demo to see what Trava can offer.