Information Sharing Online
Nearly every household in the UK now has a computer or mobile device that links up with the internet. It is uncommon to encounter individuals who do not use an email address – even if that email address is not their own – and as this is a far quicker form of sharing information than using the postal service, emails can take preference.
If actual receipts, invoices and record-keeping are being exchanged across a large distance then the postal service is much more sensible than trying to send everything along in an email; most email services have a limit for the amount of files that can be attached to any one email, and if no scanner is available then there is no other sharing option.
The problem with the internet is that the News websites post articles on the latest hacking scandals into various big names, causing concern and worry for regular users of the internet. Emails can be intercepted, the information provided read by an unintended outsider who can then do what they want with that information. Therefore, when information is being sent over the internet it is important to ensure transferred files are encrypted or given a password that the receiver knows to ensure the right person sees the file.
There are alternative ways to share information and files online without using an email provider. For accountants, some software includes the use of a client portal. If their clients sign up to use the online portal, clients and accountants can safely share files with each other by using the software as an online storage for files and information. Automated emails are sent between the users when files are uploaded for that particular client. Each client’s information is kept separate so finding information for an individual is an easy task. A concern with using online software is that passwords may be found and accounts hacked. To prevent this, passwords should always be created with numbers, a mixture of capital and lowercase letters and symbols that is allowed by the provider. If any notes are made on what the password is, they should ideally be written in a notebook and kept safely as any computer files with a list of passwords may be corrupted.
The issue with using the postal service to send out information such as final accounts is the time scale the delivery takes and that there’s no indication that the client received the letter, unless a recorded delivery stamp was paid for. Even when the letter has been successfully received it or its contents can be easily misplaced. If another copy is requested to be sent out this can take up to another week for the files to arrive. Unless the files on the software are deleted they will remain on the portal for viewing, and an instant click can inform the client of account approvals and eliminates the need for the accounts to be signed and returned by post again which is useful in cases where the deadline is too close for comfort.
information sharing, emails, post services, annual accounts, tax returns