revised February 2015
Custody - I do not take physical possession of client funds or have custody of client financial accounts while acting in the role of accountant or adviser. That means that I do not have the sole authority to sign checks or make withdrawals. In some cases I may have the ability to authorize electronic payments under pre-negotiated written accounting services arrangements.
In the event that I may act in joint roles, for example as Treasurer, Board member or Officer in addition to my role as an accountant/adviser, then the specific additional authority of that role would be disclosed in a separate written agreement.
Paper documents - I prefer to not take physical possession of original documents or physical documents that contain personal information. A PDF file or clear cell phone photo is almost always a better option. If I do take possession of a paper document, I will issue a receipt and arrangements for its handling and return are made in writing on an individual case-by-case basis.
Private client data, passwords and account access details for client files are not stored on any local physical device so that loss of a cell phone or computer, for example, does not pose a security threat.
Client data - Online document management and storage is handled by a US-domiciled Internet security service called SecureFilePro. Clients' files are always protected by tough, industry-standard security measures. All transmissions are secured with 256-bit SSL encryption, and files are encrypted at rest on the private US-based server. At all times, clients can view and access only their own documents.
Other data - Security for routine work and information that does not involve sensitive client data is provided by Microsoft cloud-based storage platform. In other words, I am as secure as any of the many businesses operated on a Microsoft Office 365 platform. Microsoft publishes more information on its Security page.
Passwords and account access details - I use an industry-leading third party password security company for separate management of passwords and online accounts.
Opinions expressed are the solely those of the author and do not represent the position of Freedom Benefits or any other person, company or entity mentioned in the article. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed. Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues or a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. Tony Novak operates as an independent advisor under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator" and is not a representative, agent, broker, producer or navigator for any securities broker dealer firm, federal or state health insurance marketplace or qualified health plan carrier. He has no financial position in any stocks mentioned. Novak may work as an accountant, agent, adviser, writer, consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to the companies listed on this site and for other commercial companies.
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