What’s next for businesses post GDPR-Day?
The emails and direct mail pieces have been sent, the begging to “stay with us” is over, and now businesses must only hold the data of individuals who have given […]
The emails and direct mail pieces have been sent, the begging to “stay with us” is over, and now businesses must only hold the data of individuals who have given their express consent for them to have it.
For many, this will mean a significant reduction in the size of their customer database, and accountants may be scratching their heads as to how their organisation can keep money coming in, with fewer customers from whom to get it. So we’re here with some tips for accountants on how to take positive steps forward, given the new regulations.
GDPR is a new set of laws concerning the secure collection, storage and usage of personal data of any EU citizen. Businesses will need clear consent to use data, which must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. Any businesses that does not comply risks potentially huge fines.
Companies with more than 250 employees must keep detailed records including:
- The name and details of your data protection officer
- A description of each personal data category
- A description of the recipients of this data
- Details of any foreign transfers of data outside the EU
Companies with fewer than 250 employees will be exempt from the above duties if they only occasionally process the data of EU residents. Small or medium-sized businesses will need to record the following data:
- Data that potentially risks somebody’s rights and freedoms
- Data that relates to criminal convictions and offences
A new way of thinking
The most important factor to consider for all businesses at this point is that while their database may be smaller, it is of a much higher quality – the people who have signed up to be on it expressly want to hear from you. That means you can talk to them in a different more specific way. We recommend meeting with your marketing manager as soon as possible to discuss how to market effectively to this newly engaged database, while keeping an eye on your bottom line and income targets.
This will also be an opportunity for you to review your relationships with any other organisations you work with – contractors especially – to ensure you’re all on the same page when it comes to data management and secure processes between your organisations. Any arrangement that involves more communication is normally a good thing – you may be able to help and learn from each other to improve efficiencies and compliance between you. You’ll need updated contracts and agreements to protect both parties accordingly.
Be open with your customers
One way to build goodwill with your customers is to be very open with them about what you’re doing, and how they can easily and directly access and manage the data you hold about them. In a world where cyber-scamming feels likes it is becoming increasingly prominent, customers will be more likely to trust a company that maintains an open dialogue and is seen to be very above board. Let people know how you’re using and storing their data, and give them a simple facility to access and amend it.
For many this could be online functionality, while some may want a specific person to contact with regards to data. A friendly face could go a long way to appeasing and winning over anyone unsure.
For those that thrive on new challenges and ways of thinking, overcoming problems and beating expectations – this could be your chance to get your teeth into a project and show your mettle. Go forth and conquer!