These extraordinary and everchanging times have prompted firms to adjust some of their regular operating procedures for staff and clients to resume face-to-face appointments safely.
One requirement currently being implemented is employees as well as their clients must produce evidence of receiving a double vaccination against COVID-19.
Under the Privacy Act, firms should only collect vaccination status information if the employee consents and the information is reasonably necessary for the function and activity of the business.
The OAIC has released guidance for employers which states that relevant ‘functions and activities’ may include preventing or managing COVID-19. However, the guidance also states factors such as the health and safety risks in the relevant workplace will be relevant to what is reasonably necessary to collect, and that the information should not be collected ‘just in case’.
Businesses that face a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission in their workplace (such as those that require on-site attendance as opposed to remote working) will clearly have a stronger basis for demonstrating that the collection of vaccination status information is reasonably necessary.
Therefore, to ensure the proper protection of privacy in terms of collecting and storing vaccination information, a firm must have effective IT data security measures already in place.
We know from firsthand experience that potential clients seeking an accounting firm consider privacy protection to be of the utmost importance. Therefore, top tier data security determines the reliability and credibility of any accounting firm but also guarantees a steadily growing clientele.
At Technology for Accountants, the preventative measures we endorse include:
- Monitoring and administer proper access protocols
- Encrypting and back-up
- Creating physical security protocols
- Employee training
- Creating a contingency plan
- Adopting the Cloud
In this new world where firms need to store not only delicate financial information but now medical data to be able to operate as well, implementing professional data security and privacy protection is a no-brainer.
Technology for Accountants are specialists in these areas and can give your accounting firm the premium IT security it needs, so you can sleep well at night!
If you’d like to discuss your data privacy protection further, please don’t hesitate to call our offices for IT support on 1300 765 014.