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No more jobs for life – what’s the knock-on effect for IT?

7 February 2020: with an increasingly transitory workforce, IT departments, and those responsible for IT in smaller firms, spend more and more time setting up and disabling staff accounts. While setting a joiner up on the main IT systems can be reasonably straightforward, successfully removing their access can be more challenging, especially when so many programs are now hosted on the cloud.

These five tips below could help you, or your IT team, avoid some of the pitfalls and save you time too.

Keep a record

The number of different pieces of software used by the average accountant has more than doubled since 2010, growing from around 13 to more than 28 different programmes in use in 2020. IT needs to keep a robust record of who has access to what and ensure there’s a process in place to remove access from every program when someone leaves.

Don’t forget the cloud

Traditionally, accountants used programs located on an internal server, which meant IT could easily manage access rights. The introduction of cloud-based programs, such as online accounting and practice management, means it’s no longer enough to cut access to the main IT systems when someone leaves – access to all cloud products must also be disabled.

Use individual passwords

When you’re using large numbers of different programs it’s tempting to keep things simple by creating a master login and password for each that can used by all, but this poses serious risks when it comes to leavers. It’s much more secure to have separate logins for each user.

Remove password protection

Before your leaver goes, make sure password protection is removed from their files or the passwords are made available to others. This one is easy to overlook but can cause serious headaches further down the line. It also applies when "clients", created within personal tax software for example, are password protected. Failing to gain access will mean you’ll have unusable clients left on the system using valuable licences.

Update databases

Within some software products, clients may be allocated a manager. If that manager leaves you need to consider the best way to update the system so that all clients are allocated a new handler. While it may be tempting to search and manually update each client, there may be quicker ways of doing things. It could be as simple as exporting the data into an Excel csv file, running a "find and replace" search, updating the manager’s name and reuploading the entries. If you’re not sure of the most efficient way to do this, the product’s support team should be able to offer some advice.