Payment Security 101
Learn about payment fraud and how to prevent it
Accounting statistics show that the importance of accounting has always been the same, but the job itself has changed over the years. However, cybercrime is just as important when it comes to the finance sector.
The statistics below prove this point, and how cyber security needs to be given more attention at all levels of business to ensure that accounting records are kept safe and secure in this ever-changing world of technology.
Growth in the accounting services market shows no signs of slowing down. Organizations are rearranging their operations and making preparations after the pandemic. Common examples of such obstacles include social distancing, working from home, and operational challenges.
Based on a review of traditional accounting practices, and understanding of the progression of modern businesses, increase in technology usage in accounting tasks will be beneficial to most.
According to a survey from Sage, more than half of the respondents of accounting firms believe that artificial intelligence will help automate accounting tasks. Firms do need to keep in mind, that employee training will be crucial to detecting and mitigating risks.
Accounting today involves existing paper-based processes, such as manual invoice processing and check payments. After COVID-19, small business owners are adapting to the economical environment with remote work and technological factors.
An interesting fact in accounting statistics is 45% of businesses will continue to use checks. This is the preferred method for businesses to pay individuals and vendors, due to their familiarity, universality and “perceived” budget.
There has been a large growth in demand for accounting services in Australia. There have been two different types of service that have risen in demand: audit and tax services. Since more and more jobs now allow for remote work, it gives accounting firms the opportunity to outsource their accounting team.
Australian accountants are continuing to build their reputation in the finance market. Well-known trusted professionals that come to mind are Chartered accountants. This positions accounting services ahead of bankers, economists and insurance brokers in trust.
For enrolments during 2020, the largest number of enrolments in Accounting and Bookkeeping took place at the certificate 4 level. Some of the main professions were Bookkeeping, Accounts Clerk and General Accountants.
Accounting automation has positively impacted the financial sector involving several benefits. The 80 to 90% time reduction cut has allowed accountants to spend more time on challenging and complex work activities.
Accounting stats demonstrate a decrease in employment projecting according to National Insights. Occupations that are affected most are Bookkeepers and Accounting clerks. The decrease is estimated at 273,200 workers by 2025.
As reported by National Insights, research suggests that employment opportunities for accounting graduates are declining. Accountants can acquire several skills for example, knowledge in accounting practices, analysing data, preparing financial statements, data entry & technology literacy. Accountants are required to work with two or more skills to become effective & efficient.
Now that the coronavirus has opened new employment opportunities, accounting roles are in demand according to a survey. Financial accounting and reporting were the most prioritised position in the hiring process for organisations.
While technology is a key factor in accounting skills, there are other areas of opportunity where accountants and auditors can upskill or cross career paths. The ACCA report states there are 5 career zones of opportunity such as the assurance advocate, the business transformer, the data navigator, the digital playmaker and the sustainability trailblazer. All career zones advocate for accountants to transform their skills into new areas.
Some key insights of what accountants can expect to see in the short term future is organisations steadily adapting to a 5 day office work week instead of remote work. In addition, accountants can expect to see limitations around flexibility from employers around working hours and breaks.
According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more female accountants than male accountants making up almost 60%. This is no surprise as organisations are becoming better at diversifying roles and allowing to include more women in leadership roles. Diversity in the workplace allows for all employees to achieve their potential in performance.
Xero is an accounting software that can be used for small to medium businesses. The software’s reliability to be quick, simple, and easy to use has allowed its popularity to increase with 583,00 subscriptions occurring annually.
Previously the conventional way of accounting remained a manual task of entering accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and occasional inventory. However, as we see a shift in the conventional way of accounting the trend has been to adopt an accounting software instead. The software market has therefore projected to highly be impacted by 2026.
As cloud-based accounting is more and more prevalent in the corporate accounting community, incidents of fraudulent activity such as hacking to take advantage of sensitive data. For this reason, account information has become a priority to protect and safeguard among all businesses that utilize cloud-based accounting software.
Businesses need to find new ways in achieving flexibility, and more businesses are beginning to utilise cloud accounting software to meet this need. It is not surprising that the amount of people who are accessing this information virtually is projected to become the norm as this type of business practise is a success for organisations.
With more than half of accountants now opting to be more efficient by cutting their working time in half, most find that this is accomplished by implementing a service or a downloadable software, instead of performing manual work.
According to the PwC survey, 1,296 executive found a rising cyber threat from external perpetrators, involving hackers and organised crime rings. Common methods of attacks were ransomware attacks, computer virus attacks, and more. Cybercrime in accounting is on the rise thanks to the pandemic, creating more vulnerability in organisations from remote work and poor digital controls around work devices.
One of the biggest accounting scandals is Enron Corporation. The company’s SOP meant billions of dollars of debt remained hidden from view. Shareholders experienced more than $74 billion worth of losses over the course of a year during the time when Enron’s share price was plummeting.
Due to the growing use of technology within Accounts Payable teams and their integration with finance systems, they face a high level of vulnerability to fraud. The fraud attacks could appear in the form of either insiders threats, compromised ERP systems, invoice manipulation, or business email compromise.
Cyber criminals are creating more creative ways to infiltrate company accounts payable teams. One strategy is to compromise an ERP system. Sales data was the most sought after information, as it can provide a hacker with information around the business.
This type of fraud is committed by employees against employers and can involve fudging expenses or false revenue reporting. Sadly, these types of fraud usually go unnoticed for a time, usually until it’s identified internally or externally.
Accounts Payable are an account on the company’s general ledger which is the list of all money it owes, while Accounts Receivable are unpaid invoices, owed to the company by its customers.
Any organization can be a target of malicious attacks, but in recent years financial executives have become the number one target for ransomware attacks or phishing scams. Professional accountants, then, are also vulnerable to such events as business email compromise or social engineering.
The finance department have all important data such as bank account information and personal details, which is why they should be mindful of the cyber risks and how to protect themselves from attack.
Once a malicious software has infected your computer network or work devices, information or files become unusable. Often times, attackers encryp or breach files which then demands a ransom from the victim in order to restore data that was lost. Account Payable teams are commonly affected from the attack due to their company information becoming compromised. As a result, organisations can either pay the ransom or be at risk for greater threats.
Once malware infects your network or devices, there’s a risk that you’ll lose access to important files and information. If a malicious hacker does manage to encode or breach any of your files, you’ll need to make a ransom payment in order to get your data back. AP teams are often targeted through their ERP systems or malicious email attachments.
Companies can experience invoicing fraud when making B2B electronic payments. Invoices can be intercepted by hackers and manipulated, making unauthorized edits. Once a business makes a payment to a undetected compromised invoice, the hackers can expect funds to be received in their accounts.
End-to-end B2B payment protection software to mitigate the risk of payment error, fraud and cyber-crime.