In today’s all-pervasive environment of online content and marketing, online privacy lawsuits are just one of the reputation management threats that public accounting firms must consider.
Not long ago, accounting firms were not allowed to advertise beyond putting their contact information in the Yellow Pages. Since marketing became ethically acceptable, each state board of accountancy has maintained strict guidelines on how public accountants can communicate their services or experience.
These guidelines cover things like how CPAs refer to their experience, what they promise to clients and when they promise to deliver their services. Marketing content that strays from professional standards could be used in a court of law to support evidence of client or employee privacy violations, false service claims, or misrepresentation.
“As we think about the ways that public accounting firms manage their reputations from a professional liability standpoint, new areas of risk are coming to light,” says Bill Thompson, CPA, RPLU, and President of CPA Mutual.
Here are four evolving risk management trends that impact CPA reputations and how to manage them:
1. Online Communications
Now that the European Union has passed its “right to be forgotten” rules known as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and companies like Facebook have been under fire for uses of private citizen data, the conversation around data use and privacy has expanded.
About Deanna Arteaga
Deanna Arteaga is a professional freelance writer and public relations specialist who for the past six years has covered CPA industry trends for AccountingWEB. She also writes about CPA firm marketing, higher education and professional development for CPAs, and workplace trends in the accounting profession. She has more than 20 years of journalism and public relations experience, including her tenure as a former newspaper reporter in suburban Chicago where she covered breaking news, municipal politics, and state legislative issues.