We use third party service providers in various aspects of our business which at times have access or potential access to information gathered from our client base. We realize our responsibility to safeguard the security of your information. We take this responsibility very seriously. We use only service providers with impeccable reputations and references. For example, our tax preparation software provider, Commerce Clearing House, is the oldest, most highly respected provider of published legal documents in the United States. They have been providing tax preparation service support for over 40 years to accounting firms, including the very largest firms in the world.
The current use of third parties for various support services is an absolutely essential reality of business today. Twenty-five years ago, tax professionals had no means to prepare a computer generated return in their own office. Client information was entered by hand on paper input sheets, which were physically taken off site to data processing centers located in central locations around the country. Today, much of the processing takes place on computers which reside in our office. Some may assume that there is no exposure for any information in our office to any third party access. This is an unreasonable expectation.
With this realization comes the opportunity to control and in some cases to exploit resources to benefit our client base. We have two offices, one in California and one in Washington. By utilizing the capabilities of common management of client files and our staff capabilities, we are able to more quickly process client projects. By utilizing the services of independent contractors to prepare some of the work during busy times which would otherwise have to wait for an available employee, we are similarly able to provide faster service to our clients. We have decided to engage data processing services through CCH to help us manage overflow business during our busy season to ensure fast turnaround of every client’s work, and to do so with confidence in the security of the information shared and the skill with which it is handled.
You may choose to not grant us permission to allow any third party service provider to be involved in the preparation of your tax returns. The consequence of not allowing us to use that resource is that the processing of your return may take substantially longer to complete, and may result in a higher cost to you for that work. Also, please be aware that by not granting permission for us to use third party service providers will not guarantee that your information will be completely shielded from potential access by third parties. We have done everything we can to safeguard information from unauthorized access by “hackers” but processes like computer repair, server maintenance and offsite storage of data back ups are all literally points of potential access which are unavoidable realities of the computerized information age. Again, we take our responsibility to safeguard your information very seriously and have protections and procedures designed to prevent unauthorized use of your private information.
If you have any questions regarding information security, privacy and the use of third party service providers by our firm, please contact one of the partners, who will be glad to answer your questions.
DILLWOOD BURKEL & SULLY, LLP