As good business practice, quality business will disclose their policies for preservation of privacy and confidentiality of information collected on the company’s web site.
Since our web site has no provision to collect data, we receive no private information from the web site.
However, it may be informative to consider what our firm does to protect confidential client information.
CPA FIRM CONFIDENTIALITY REQUIREMENTS
As a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) firm, we are required to meet the highest standards of protection of confidential information of our clients. This comes from the Code of Ethics of our profession, and from Florida State Statutes.
Depending on the circumstances, there may be different requirements we must meet in caring for your information.
STATE OF FLORIDA
Under Florida Statutes, communications between a CPA and a client are confidential, the same as your communications with an attorney.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (IRS)
There is no provision in Federal Statutes providing CPA and client confidentiality. This means IRS can obtain a Federal Court Order to force a CPA to provide information about a client. So, any information we have can be obtained by Federal agencies with the proper Court Order.
At times the difference between Florida Standards and Federal Standards creates an intricate maze the CPA must navigate to protect the client’s privileged communications for State purposes while properly complying with a Federal Court Order.
STATES OTHER THAN FLORIDA
We have clients living in several states. We do not know the privilege standards in all 50 states, or other jurisdictions. We follow Florida Statutes in these matters. It is our position that the services are rendered at our office, which is in Florida. Even if the client resides in another state, the work is still done in our office, in Florida. Since the services are rendered in Florida, any information should be treated under Florida Statutes.
We do not know if all states recognize that as a proper interpretation of law in a specific situation.
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES (INDIVIDUALS AND COMPANIES)
We are the sole owners of the information we receive from you. We only have access to information you give us. We will NOT sell, rent, or share in any way, the information you entrust to us.
We use the information you give us to respond to your needs and complete the work you have engaged us to perform (Audits, Reviews, Compilations, Tax Returns, or any other accounting engagements). We will not share your information with any third party outside of our organization unless you specifically authorize us to do so.
We take extensive precautions to protect your confidential information. Your information is protected both online and offline.
If you send us information electronically, please use our encrypted ShareFile option in Microsoft Outlook, or a similarly encrypted and protected method. Please do not send us information as an email attachment, since the security of these is not strong enough to adequately protect your information. It is interesting, in this regard, that when trying to settle difficulties IRS will not accept information in email attachments. They make us fax the information, send it by U.S. Mail, or deliver it in person.
We use secure, encrypted, remote file storage for most client information. The service we use has three locations, all in the United States, and all three constantly “backing up” each other so even if there is a natural disaster in one area at the same time there is a hardware malfunction at the second site, there will still be a copy of the information from the third location accessible to us so we can complete your work.
For the information in our offices, we keep the information in a secure area protected by a monitored alarm system. For the information on our in-house computers and servers, we use industrial strength hardware based “firewalls” to protect from unauthorized access. All computers that are taken out of the office (i.e., laptops that are taken to your office) are fully encrypted in a way that will not allow unauthorized access to the information even if the hard drive is removed from the laptop and installed as a secondary drive in another computer (a method that will be successful for breaking some encryption algorithms).
We use a local company for Information Technology (IT) assistance in areas beyond our in-house computer expertise. This is under the agreement that they keep all information strictly confidential. In addition to our work, they also do IT support work for several local law firms, who have the same client confidentiality requirements. That gives us significant assurance of the discretion of our IT support people. We are confident of the security of the information they may come across just as we are confident of the security of the information our own employees see.
LINKS TO OTHER SITES
This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the content or privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of any other site that collects personally identifiable information.