The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Wema Bank Plc, Mr. Ademola Adebise, has advised accountants to store data safely and protect them against cybersecurity threats and other criminal breaches.

Adebise said this on Tuesday at the 16th Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Western Accountants Conference themed ‘Digital Economy: Whither the Professional Accountant’ held in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.

The MD/CEO who stressed the importance of data storage and security said that accountants in the digital age must be flexible and knowledgeable to save data on storage devices on-premises or in the cloud.  

He also noted that in case of loss or data corruption, the 21st-century accountant needs to be conversant with the Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) to mitigate loss.

Mr Adebise explained that “a large amount of data is sitting on storage. As accountants, we need to safeguard our storage and be versed in data recovery and business continuity planning should there be a loss or corruption of data.

“The accountant must know contemporary issues on cybersecurity – ensuring that digital information is safe and secure, at all times. Going digital exposes you to risk from hackers. So, as an accountant, you need to have an in-depth knowledge of cybersecurity and must know the various data and information security standards to audit the environment.”

Apart from being security conscious and storing data securely, the MD/CEO further noted that modern accountants should understand the changes taking place in the profession, including the evolution from traditional data collection methods.

He said, “these include using Enterprise Resource Planning systems that are interconnected to process data from production, distribution, marketing, and sales. The accountant, therefore, needs to be skilled to understand the complexities, transaction flows of the new ways of doing things and understand what data is saying.”

In Nigeria, the most popular forms of cybercrimes that accountants and other professionals in the financial services sector are susceptible to include fraudulent electronic mails, identity theft, hacking, cyber harassment, spamming and Automated Teller Machine spoofing.

The biggest, however, is still fraud emails. The Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) revealed that bank customers lost N3.6 billion to cyber-fraud in two years (2017 and 2018).

Data released by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) also showed attempted fraud in 2018 alone was about N9 billion.

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