Accounting software: 5 ways to keep your data clean. In the broadest sense of the term, data integrity refers to the accuracy of data stored in a database or a data warehouse. It refers to the maintenance of accuracy and consistency of data over its entire lifecycle and is a decisive aspect of the implementation and usage of any system that is involved in the storage or processing of data.
Accounting software is ideally designed to help us make better business decisions. For accounting processes to be uninterrupted, it is utterly important to ensure that the accounting data is precisely accurate. And to be certain that data is accurate, an end-to-end monitoring of data movement over its lifecycle is imperative. How data enter your system? Who all can access the data? Where is the data being stored? What happens to data once it is in your accounting software? How are data being treated? These are the questions that need to be answered. Your accounting staff is a critical ingredient in ensuring data integrity, but they can’t do it alone. Below are a few tips that can help your organization manage and report on its accounts with integrity.
Opt for direct data feeds
Receive direct updates on your data from data sources. Data feeds directly sent across by your bank or by other financial institutions, automate complex and time consuming data entry tasks, and also ensure the data is untouched by humans. Hence, greatly reducing the possibility of an error. Whether it is a bank or a software application that is feeding data into your accounting software, data quality holds paramount importance. Less errors mean better data quality which saves time spent on rework for fixing errors. Quality data on hand gives the extra confidence that work is being done on a definitive set of data.
Implement security measures
Setting up and implementing ample security measures to prevent unauthorized data access is one of the most effectual ways of ensuring data integrity. Whether it’s you or others trying to access the financial data, enforcing security methods help you avoid becoming a victim of data theft or suffering a catastrophic loss of financial data.
- Strong Passwords- A strong password is the best tactic to protect yourself against identity theft and unauthorized access to confidential account information. Create a strong password by mixing numbers, upper and lower case letters and symbols.
- Regularly update your operating system and virus protection – This way your accounting software will be less vulnerable to attacks from hackers and data thieves.
- Set up multi-level access authentication – Prevent unauthorized access and add an extra shield of security, if in any case malware or other software is unsuspectingly installed on your device.
Track system activities
Setting up controlled access points to monitor authorized access to data is helpful. But, to be able to track who exactly has accessed that data and from where it has been accessed, is more comforting.
Subscribe to tracking services that disclose when and where you and your colleagues are logging in from – if you’re based in Singapore and someone logs in from America, there might be a security breach. This could mean that someone has your login details and is using them to login from an unfamiliar location. If you do see an unfamiliar account activity, ensure you update all your passwords and security questions.
Monitor ongoing data integrity
Just like we take our car for regular servicing, the data integrity of the accounting system also needs regular monitoring. This should be done to make sure that there aren’t any concerning software issues that might need resolving right away. Consider all options at hand for monitoring accuracy and integrity of data, ideally on an on-going basis, so that amendments can be done right away and not after harm is already done.
Build strong data foundation
Similar to building the foundation of your home, it is also imperative that the foundation of your accounting software is strong so that it can be there for you in the long haul. For this you should understand the underlying platforms that your accounting software is operating on.
Search answers to the following questions:
- Apart from security, is your data protected?
- Does the vendor have a good reputation for performance and availability?
- Can the software be accessed when you’re out of the office, in a different country, or at home catching up on your work?
Data integrity is a fundamental aspect of data security and reliability. Your financial data is the lifeline of your business. Consider and analyze all options to make sure your financial data is secure and that your accounting software is available when you are in need of it.