Inaccurate financial reporting doesn’t only make your business look substandard to key stakeholders and investors, but it can also lead to a loss in finances and attract the attention of certain regulatory bodies. Several factors affect the standard of financial reporting, like old systems, poor security, and inadequate communication. However, here are seven suggestions to improve your company’s financial reporting.
Large Data Analytics
The capability of analytics is helping make large data manageable in companies worldwide. In finance — which mainly focuses on data from several sources — analytics would make a huge difference when dealing with your business’s data, and eventually result in more intelligent reports.
Cloud storage is easy to use and free if you utilize programs such as Dropbox or Google Drive. However, you could always pay for additional storage. Storing your information in the cloud allows everyone to easily access and share documents.
Integrate Your Information
Due to the importance of your business’s financial statements, it is advisable to have one final file that would serve as the endpoint for every data in the reporting cycle. This file should only be accessed by someone with total accountability and this individual must be responsible for checking whether this data is accurate or not.
These days, finance is tech-driven, and the businesses that can efficiently adopt and utilize leading technology will have the advantage over others. Find time to update yourself on the most recent financial systems and software.
Make Your Employees Accountable
People are the leading factor that affects the standard of financial reporting. Managers must ensure that their employees are delivering at the highest quality, by regularly analyzing financial reports ethically and accurately. Improving transparency can also result in better work quality because accountability encourages employees to perform more efficiently.
Work In Unison With Other Sectors
All sectors in a company are involved when it comes to financial reporting, though not all sectors generate income, each sector has costs linked with them. Ensuring optimal collaboration between every sector will result in more comprehensive financial reporting. By developing a strong collaboration between your employees, you can emphasize how accurate proper financial reporting is.
Safeguard Your Data
Safeguarding your information is important in maintaining the validity of your financial data. As the world becomes more technologically inclined, cybersecurity becomes a bigger concern. Even major tech companies suffer from hacks and data theft. Businesses of all sizes must ensure to set up cybersecurity protocols.
Utilize Data Visualization to Get Insights
Data visualization is becoming a necessity with investors, the board, and senior managers increasingly waiting for finance to deliver actionable insights which would drive businesses forward. Data visualization utilizes diagrams, maps, charts, and additional visual elements to give a clear story of what’s going on past the numbers.
By prioritizing your people, systems, and the security of your data, you can significantly increase the standard of your company’s financial reporting. Always ensure to use the tools at your disposal, including programs and technologies. And if you are having a hard time running your business, you could always get a virtual CFO.
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Data backup is a crucial part of protecting your business’s continuity. If your only backup is kept on a single computer or a mobile, and this is then lost or stolen, then your business data will be lost completely. If you have paper copies of your business data, this isn’t adequate data protection. If your business premises were to burn down, or suffer from severe flooding, then the data that you need to carry on your business would be irretrievably lost. Data backup is an important part of any crisis preparedness plan for businesses large and small.
There are lots of ways to potentially lose your business data, and protecting it should be a top concern for your IT. You could lose data due to:
A desktop or laptop hard drive crash, or damage to your mobile device, which could render your data unrecoverable
Your computer or phone being stolen. Break-ins at businesses are common, and most stolen laptops or desktops are never recovered.
Data being accidentally deleted or deliberately deleted by an employee who has been let go.
Your computer being hacked by malware
Your only storage accounts being hacked
A ransomware attack could make your files inaccessible to you until you pay a substantial fee to get back in.
A Data Backup Regime Is An Essential
For proper data protection for your business, you must establish an effective data backup system. These systems should follow these three steps:
If you use media for backups, you must store the devices in a secure, off-site location
A good, simple rule to follow for business data protection is that if losing the data would prevent you from doing business effectively, you need to back it up. Desktop software programs can be reinstalled if they’re lost, but recovering the details of things like transactions or business correspondence is usually impossible if these files are lost in any way, or damaged beyond repair.
Data Archive Vs Data Backup
Most backups are done periodically and are short-term images of data for disaster recovery purposes. Archiving is different, and usually refers to the long-term storage of data that is no longer being regularly used by your business, but can be restored if somebody needs it, for example, data about a former client or a completed project.
Backup Critical Business Data
There are two important steps to successfully backup your business data.
Identify the critical data in your business that needs to be backed up
Implement backups of this key data on a regular schedule
Your data backup should include all of the files that you have created or modified, so they can be regularly backed up. For a lot of business, this will include everything from accounting files to emails.
To make backing up easier, more and more business applications are now available through the cloud, where you can run automatic backups. However, if you are using desktop (non-browser) applications, then these can be reinstalled from media or downloaded, so you don’t need to back these up.
One of the best ways to make your data backup easy is to use online backup services. This is just one of the reasons why cloud computing can be enormously beneficial to small businesses. However, you should keep in mind that cloud services can still be vulnerable to losing your data to problems like hacking or employee sabotage, such as password changes or deletion. To counteract this risk, it is a good idea to take occasional local backups of any data that you store in the cloud.
Local Data Backups
If you choose to save your data locally and are not using cloud storage then you can make the backup process a little more simple by keeping all of the files that you know will need to be archived on a single drive on your computer.
For example, perhaps you need to back up files from accounting, word-processing documents, spreadsheets, emails, and photos. Putting your account program, Microsoft Office, Outlook, and Paintshop Pro all onto a separate drive will make it much easier to achieve all the files that you have created or modified with these programs. All you will then need to do is backup that one drive or folder. Once you have identified the critical data that needs to be archived, all you have to do is install and use a backup software program in order to safely archive your business data on a regular schedule.
It’s a smart idea to backup your data every night. There are lots of different backup software programs on the market that will allow you to set a backup schedule to suit you that will automatically backup all your data for you, without you needing to get involved after the initial setup. Backup software that also zips and encrypts the backup data will help to save on disk space and will increase the security of the data.
You should only keep your data backups on-site if you are able to keep them in a fire-proof, waterproof, indestructible sage. Investing in backup solutions like a tape drive or an external hard drive and religiously sticking to your planned backup schedule won’t help you at all if your data backup copies are then stored in one place, and that place is struck by a disaster like a flood or a fire. To really be secure, you must store your backups off-site. Cloud backup doesn’t completely eliminate this worry but is definitely better than most physical locations for storage.
Some businesses choose to keep their data backups in security boxes at banks. The fee for a security box, if you decide to do this, is usually tax-deductible, which is a bonus to choosing to store your data in this way. Other small business owners choose to keep multiple copies of the backed-up records at the homes of different friends or family members. It doesn’t matter where you choose to store your backups, as long as the place that you choose for storing your business data off-site is secure, and that you have regular access to it.
Online Backup Services
For the ultimate in security, you need to make sure that you always use strong passwords for these online backup services, change those passwords on a regular basis, and ensure that your backed up files have been encrypted. As cloud storage is shared, cloud providers will normally encrypt user data automatically.
USB (Thumb) Drives
USB drives are always being improved and increasing in available capacity, making them ideal for quick data backups. They still don’t have the capacity that external hard drives do, but they do have a fast data transfer rate and are easily portable. You can backup data to a USB drive very easily and take it offsite to a secure location. As they don’t have any moving parts, USB drives also have the advantage of being very reliable.
External Hard Drives
For small businesses, buying and using an external hard drive for data backups is one of the most commonly recommended methods. External hard drives are usually pretty inexpensive compared to tape drive systems. They are also very easy to use. All you need to do is plug in the hard drive into your computer’s USB port. Most external hard drives come with backup software ready to go to help you.
Local Area Network (LAN) Storage
If you have a local area network (LAN), you could choose to also backup your files to another computer or server. However, if the backup machine is kept in the same location, then be aware that it could be vulnerable to being stolen or being damaged by a flood or a fire. To prevent theft from being a risk, you could install the server in a locked cage, cabinet, or closet, and be careful about who has access to it.
If you have large amounts of data that need to be backed up, or want to make and store regular complete data archives to be stored on a long-term basis, then tape backups are the best option for you. They are very reliable and can store a massive amount of data.
Back It Up Or Risk Losing It
No business should ever run the risk of losing your business data. The best defense against a disaster like this happening to your business is by using a proper data protection plan. If you create a proper backup system that includes regular archiving and backing up your business data on a regular basis and backing it up properly, you will be able to make sure that your business will be able to stand up to whatever problems might come your way, and keep on working and trading successfully. Remember that you can never have too many data backups!
Spend some time identifying what data you need to backup, choose how you want to back it up and how often, and decide where to store your data.
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A relatively short time ago, cybercrime wasn’t an issue. It wasn’t even a word. Yet as technology has increased and we have become ever more reliant on the internet to run our daily lives and, of course, our businesses, cybercrime, cyberattacks, and hackers, are now something we have to protect ourselves and others from on a daily basis.
If a cybercriminal were able to infiltrate your business, they could do untold damage financially and to the company’s structure itself. Whether they hack your network for monetary gain or just to cause havoc, the result would be the same; your business would be hurt; possibly mortally so. This is why it is absolutely crucial to do everything you can to prevent this from happening. Here are some ways it can be done.
Use The Cloud
The cloud is a virtual storage space for important documents and sensitive information. It is exceptionally secure, much more so than a laptop or mobile device could ever be, and this means it is the ideal place to keep your most valuable data such as your customers’ payment details, their names and addresses, and your business banking information.
If you can store everything on the cloud, your business will be as secure as possible. Only those with passwords should be able to access your cloud account. Since the data is encrypted, even if someone did manage to get in, they wouldn’t be able to retrieve the information, rendering it entirely useless.
Regarding passwords, you will need to have a different password for every log in you have. This might be an irritation because you’ll have to remember several different passwords, but it’s much better than having just one password which, if it were to be compromised, would mean that absolutely everything you log into online would be at risk too. This would include your business information and even your personal financial information.
When you are creating passwords, they must be strong so that no one can guess them or hack them. To create a strong password, you will need a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, and you should use upper and lower case. Make it a rule to change your passwords every six months or after ten logins to ensure they stay safe and secure.
Data encryption is another way to prevent any cyberattacks from being successful. When data is encrypted, it becomes impossible to read and is useless to anyone unless they have the encryption key. Since a cybercriminal wouldn’t have this, even if your laptop or mobile device were stolen, or if you lost a USB stick with all this data on it, no one else would be able to see it.
Encryption is one of the most critical elements of online security, but it can often be overlooked. Implementing it within your business gives you and your clients an additional layer of protection that really can make all the difference.
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Technological infrastructure is a real headache for most businesses. Large or small, companies have to be ready for the unexpected, like a hard drive suddenly dying or an employee’s PC repeatedly showing the blue screen of death shortly after every reboot. When systems aren’t functioning right, any kind of strategy goes out the window because when you cannot deliver, your business is toast.
Here are a few reasons why cloud storage supports business performance.
Distributed File Architecture Supporting a Global Workforce
Companies no longer rely on an internal network to provide file access to everyone who needs it. With the increasing use of outside contractors, part-time employees, and home workers that require access to documents, spreadsheets, and other files from the company server, it becomes a real headache for IT departments. For smaller companies that don’t really have an IT department at all, the inconvenience is felt even more.
Using a cloud service designed for businesses that enable anyone with a mobile app or web browser to access the necessary company files, once they’ve passed through two-factor authentication, makes it simpler. There’s no complicated setup necessary because everyone can be given access to the folders they need in the secure cloud. File audit trails and multi-factor authentication protocols ensure that companies can keep track of who’s accessing what and verify that only the approved people can access shared files.
Stay Focused on Core Competencies
Running a proper data center with all the equipment and staff required is expensive and involved. Trying to do so on a small budget or as a small business takes the focus away from providing services to customers and the technology team that is supporting that effort.
Whether looking to place group files on a secure cloud service or purchasing a sales package that works in the cloud, taking advantage of professional companies that already offer excellent data cloud services ensures you get the talent without having to find and hire it. Be sure to compare one cloud service with another, like they do at cloudstoragebuzz.com, to see which one is right for your business.
Scalable Storage as Needed
Growing businesses need ever-increasing amounts of storage. This puts a strain on the existing network and requires adding larger local drives to PCs while ensuring there are enough network drives to handle the storage capacity requirements as they grow. Needless to say, this is one problem that the IT team could well do without.
The beauty of using a cloud service is that they have sufficient storage capacities to allocate increasing storage to businesses on an “as needed” basis. Basic plans sometimes have an unlimited data capacity, but most business plans require additional payment for extra terabytes of storage at affordable rates.
In many ways, cloud storage takes some of the heavy lifting away from IT departments – and people tasked with this responsibility in SMEs – so the company can focus on its core operations. The cost per megabyte or gigabyte is low with so many cloud providers competing, so it just doesn’t make sense to try to handle it all in-house any longer.
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