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However, 29% of finance departments aren’t proactive and rely entirely on the IT department when it comes to their data security

Research results released today by BlackLine, a leading provider of finance controls and automation software that enables Continuous Accounting, reveal that accountants working at large UK organisations recognise the value of data as being, on average, worth 31% of revenue or, in real terms, £15.5 million for large UK companies.

The survey was conducted with CFOs, Finance Directors and accountants in the UK, US, France, Germany and Australia. It revealed that almost 1 in 5 (17%) in the UK, France and Germany valued data even more highly at over half of their company’s revenue. The UK placed least value on data with the average value being 31% of revenue, with 11% of finance professionals believing that data was worth more than half of their organisation’s revenue. The research also found that 71% in the UK think data should be listed on the balance sheet.

Given the value placed on data it is surprising that more than a third (38%) of UK finance departments aren’t proactive, relying solely on the IT department when it comes to their own data security. Across all countries this falls to almost 1 in 3 (29%) and in the US it is even less at 22%.

Less than 1 in 6 (15%) UK finance departments take a highly proactive role and work closely with IT to ensure optimal security. Australian accountants possibly place less value on their data with only 13% working closely with IT.

Andy Bottrill, Regional Vice President at BlackLine said: “There is no denying the value of data but very few businesses seem to be taking its security just as seriously, especially in the finance department. Reliance on the IT department alone to mitigate against potential threats isn’t a fool proof solution. Cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities within organisations and these can often be human. Everyone within an organisation needs to be aware of the potential threats, how they can stay secure and also what to look out for so they don’t inadvertently let a hacker in.”

Despite this possible lack of interest in data security, only 4% of respondents in the UK, France and Germany value their company data at less than 10% of overall revenue.

If the worst was to happen and there was a data breach, the research reveals:

  • 42% of respondents see the greatest cost of loss of data being a reputational one
  • Only 10% see facing potential compensation fees and fines as the most serious consequence of data loss. With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into play in May 2018 (Europe only) and set to increase maximum fines from £500,000 to £20m or 4% of global turnover, CFOs should perhaps be taking this more seriously
  • Younger respondents are potentially more concerned than their elders about the implications of data loss, theft or tampering for the company’s reputation
    • 58% of respondents between 25-34 perceive that the most serious cost associated with data loss, theft or tampering would relate to the reputational cost that might affect future client relationships or the PR cost to lessen the blow to the company’s reputation
    • Compared with 42% in the 45-54 age group.
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