In February, new mandatory notifiable data breach (NDB) laws kicked in, requiring firms to provide notice to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and affected individuals of a data breach.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in May, also affects Australian firms that do business with organisations or people in Europe, or European citizens.
Speaking to Accountants Daily, RSM national chair Jamie O’Rourke said the challenges around data security would need to continue to be front of mind in 2019.
“[The new regulations] have brought a cybersecurity focus front of mind with the need to take all reasonable steps to keep clients’ confidential information secure,” said Mr O’Rourke.
“The challenges faced by the accounting sector in 2018 will continue into 2019… the challenges with data security won’t be solved overnight”.
Accounting software provider, Sage, believes the new regulations allows for closer interactions between clients and accountants.
“For accountants, the new regulations brought increased focus on how they manage their own and client data,” said a Sage spokesperson.
“It also represented a unique opportunity for them to get closer to their customers, offering advice and new services. It was a year where reporting moved real-time and customers increasingly looked for real-time advice.”