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Fair Work Ombudsman Uses Accessorial Liability Laws Against Accounting Firm 

The Fair Work Ombudsman has used accessorial liability laws to obtain penalties against an accounting firm for knowingly assisting one of its clients to exploit a worker. 

Victorian firm Ezy Accounting 123 Pty Ltd was penalised over $50,000 last year after the Federal Circuit Court found the firm to have facilitated underpayments by its client to two employees, both Taiwanese workers. 

The penalties were imposed by the Federal Circuit Court after Ezy Accounting 123 Pty Ltd's client Blue Impression, admitted to underpaying two staff members in one of its Japanese fast food restaurants in Melbourne between 2014 and 2015. 

Both the workers were in Australia on 417 working visas when the underpayments took place and were being paid under the minimum award wage. The workers were also refused a clothing allowance, penalty rates or other entitlements under the award. 

The Fair Work Ombudsman is working to protect vulnerable workers and is increasing the maximum penalties for misconduct including deliberate exploitation of workers and false records on behalf of both the external business adviser and the employer themselves. 

See original article here

Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme to be a Game Changer for Accountants

The rollout of the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme has sent a shockwave through the accounting industry due to the wide range of protocols and notification procedures that will be put in place from February 22nd, 2018. 

The Privacy Amendment Bill that was passed last year through the Senate means that as of 22nd February 2018 all agencies, organisations and certain other entities will need to provide notice to the Office of Australian Information Commissioner and affected individuals should a data break occur. 

Any individuals or companies that fail to notify the OAIC of a data breach will risk being fined up to $340,000 and $1.7 million respectively. 

Generally, small business operators (turnover under $3m) do not have obligations under the NDB scheme but some must comply. Examples include those operating a residential tenancy database or any business providing health services. 

Businesses should research and understand the new laws and ensure that if the NDB scheme applies to them all team members are trained and internal policies are updated to ensure compliance.

For more information on the updates to the Australian Privacy Act click here. 

Qld Law Firm Loses Millions in Highly Sophisticated Cyber Crime Scam

The Brisbane Times has recently published an article outlining a sophisticated digital scam that has seen two Queensland law firms losing several millions of dollars after falling victim to scammers. 

The cyber criminals sent an email scam under the guise of a potential new client - once the law firm’s victims clicked on the email hackers quickly took over the email accounts of staff at the law firms and hijacked payments from their clients.

The process for getting access to the staff members' emails is outlined below:

  • The scammer emailed the law firm expressing interest in using their services
  • Once the scammer says they will go ahead and use the services of the firm they send a link with 'documents' that the firm will need which requires email and password for access - this is the step the hacker requires to gain access to the login details to the staff member

Once they have hacked into the computer the next step for the hacker is outlined below:

  • The hacker monitors the legal staff member’s email account watching for info about payments 
  • Once they see an opportunity to gain access to money from the client, the scammer poses as the law firm and reminds them of payment and provides information for a bogus bank account rather than the trust account info.

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Overcoming Obstacles Within Business with Digitisation 

These days the business landscape is filled with digitalisation and automation, and the process of implementing new technology can be unclear for SMSF firms and a range of businesses. 

While the process of adopting new technology can be a minefield, the benefits are tremendous for improving business systems and enhancing the overall functioning of the workplace to ensure your business is firing on all cylinders. 

Adding digitisation to your business effectively transforms your organisation, yet it does require you to change your culture, approach and technologies, and this is something that can be a challenge for some organisations. 

Digitisation will enable your business to connect with people, process data more efficiently and provide intelligence and actionable insights.

Reasons why digitisation is essential for the future of your business:

Improvements in decision making and the streamlining of processes

Digitisation works to deliver positive outcomes for your business by streamlining and accelerating processes while increasing productivity and reallocating employees to higher-work value. 

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