The implementation of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) has significantly altered the approach of accountancy firms in managing client personal and financial data.
In auditing, GDPR is a vital piece of legislation given the highly sensitive financial data that businesses entrust to auditors.
While GDPR primarily addresses the protection of individual personal data and not business data, its principles are equally critical in auditing due to the sensitivity of the financial information handled.
Compliance with GDPR for auditors is not merely a legal requirement – it is fundamental to maintaining trust amongst clients and upholding professional standards.
Understanding the implications of GDPR in auditing
UK GDPR was originally a reactive law, quickly implemented to match the EU GDPR rules that were no longer applicable after Brexit.
The aim is to unify personal data privacy laws across Europe, protecting and empowering all EU citizens and their data privacy.
Since the UK left the EU, it has also developed the Data Protection Act 2018 alongside UK GDPR.
This regulation impacts accountancy firms in several ways – especially during audits:
- Data protection and privacy: Auditors handle sensitive client data, including financial records and personal information. GDPR mandates strict controls over how this data is processed, stored, and protected. Non-compliance can lead to severe penalties.
- Client trust: In an era where data breaches are common, clients are increasingly concerned about data security. Compliance with GDPR is not just a legal requirement but a key factor in maintaining and building client trust. Revealing your client’s personal data through a breach could be catastrophic for your firm’s reputation.
- Operational practices: GDPR affects how auditors and accountants collect, use, and store data. It necessitates a review and often an overhaul of existing practices, ensuring they align with the stringent requirements of the regulation.
How to maximise GDPR-compliant processes with an online workflow management platform
Implementing an online workflow management platform can significantly enhance GDPR compliance in auditing.
These platforms can be designed to align with GDPR requirements, offering several key advantages:
- Enhanced data security: Online platforms can provide robust security features such as encryption, access controls, and regular security audits. This helps in safeguarding sensitive data against unauthorised access and breaches.
- Streamlined data management: These platforms can streamline the process of collecting, processing, and storing data. They can ensure that data is handled in a GDPR-compliant manner, with features like consent management and data minimisation.
- Audit trails and accountability: A key aspect of GDPR is maintaining records of data processing activities. Online platforms can automatically create detailed audit trails, demonstrating compliance and ensuring accountability.
- Data access and portability: GDPR gives individuals the right to access their personal data and transfer it. Workflow management platforms can facilitate easy access to data and its transfer in a secure, compliant manner.
- Regular updates and compliance checks: As GDPR is an evolving area, online platforms can offer the advantage of being regularly updated to comply with the latest regulations. They can also include features that prompt regular compliance checks.
When to start using a workflow management tool
GDPR’s importance in the auditing sector is paramount and a workflow management tool not only ensures the protection of sensitive data but also upholds the compliance of your firm, should a data breach happen.
Getting your firm integrated into a cloud-based platform as soon as possible is therefore recommended.
There are numerous options out there but the one that offers the best value for money according to its clients is MyWorkpapers.