BOOKKEEPER INSURANCE, BONDED BOOKKEEPERS, & CYBER INSURANCE
Disclaimer: I am not an insurance agent. What I’m sharing with you in this blog is based on my experience and research and is unique to the work I did before. Not every business needs to be insured, so contact your insurance agent if you have questions or need information or verification. My business is also bonded and insured, so if you want me to refer you to someone, reach out to me, I would be happy to share some information with you.
To summarize Part 1 of the Insured and Bonded Series, being insured is not the same as being bonded. The main difference between insurance and bond is that the former protects the business itself from losses while the latter protects the client. When it comes to bonds, during a specific job or project with three parties involved, the Principal is the company providing its service to others and have purchased the bond; the Obligee is the party that requires the bond before permitting the Principal to do business with them, and the Surety is the insurance company that issues the bond.
There are three parts to this blog post. The biggest topic is bookkeeper insurance, and then bonded bookkeepers and what that means. The third is absolutely important, especially, for a virtual bookkeeper like me working remotely from my clients as an outsourced contractor. So read on until the end of the blog to find out!
Part 1: BOOKKEEPER INSURANCE
This covers businesses like me where I provide income and expense tracking and keeping general ledgers for clients. Bookkeeper liability insurance covers situations such as this extreme example: the client wants to apply for a business loan but gets denied when they get to the bank and blames the loan application rejection on the bookkeeper for understating their income and overstating their expense.
In my first Facebook Live, I talked about three simple things you could do to simplify your finances three simple things you could do to simplify your finances and the caveat in one of them is to commit to seeing your accountant and your bookkeeper on a regular basis. If there was a great relationship and communication between the involved parties, the situation mentioned wouldn’t happen because, before the business owner would go to the bank for a loan application, they would have gone first to the accountant and the bookkeeper for the information they need, making sure that what they hand to the bank is solid information. That’s what this insurance covers.
Three parts to Bookkeeping Insurance
1. Professional Liability Insurance
This Insurance is also called Errors & Omission Insurance. This insurance protects service providers like me from claims of negligence if a client does sue me, even if I haven’t done it. For example, activities prone to simple human errors such as making journal entries for recording a business’ day-to-day financial transactions, whether you’ve made an error or not, professional liability insurance could protect you from claims of negligence.
This insurance also covers negligence. Here’s an example of possible negligence: a bookkeeper hands the client’s financial information over to the accountant that does the client’s tax return but then, the IRS comes back and they find that there were irregularities after it was audited. The client gets fined a heavy amount. The client, in turn, sues the bookkeeper for negligence. This is an extreme case because before anything is submitted to the accountant, the bookkeeper would’ve already had multiple discussions and multiple conversations with the client for questions on any categorization of any work and then verifies it with the accountant after. Again, this is an extreme case but this is an example of what professional liability insurance covers.
2. General Liability
Also called Commercial General Liability. This insurance protects your bookkeeping business from claims of another person or other businesses. For example, while visiting a client, I accidentally spill water on their computer, ruining the tech. This insurance covers situations like this where a property damage claim may arise. Another case would be if someone gets injured during a visit to me in my office or home, should a claim on bodily injury arise, this insurance covers it as well too.
3. Business Owner’s Insurance
This insurance is a combination of general liability and business property insurance. It is a balanced coverage for small businesses like mine. I have the equipment I use along with financial data I handle so, if ever a fire were to occur, this insurance helps cover restoring both my equipment and electronic data.
Part 2: BONDED BOOKKEEPER
What does being a bonded bookkeeper mean for business owners who want to outsource their bookkeeping to people like myself? Being bonded helps build trust with business owners because the knowledge that a bookkeeper is bonded ensures that the clients (business owners) are protected. These act as surety bonds, provided by an insurance company, as a guarantee of compensation in the event of a bookkeeper’s dishonesty or wrongdoing. So, a surety bond insurance company makes sure at minimum, that a bookkeeper doesn’t have a criminal conviction and is financially stable meaning no outstanding warrant or lawsuit claim, and isn’t processing or filing for bankruptcy. This way business owners know that your bookkeeper is financially stable and financially healthy and that you are protected if anything were to happen.
Part 3: CYBER INSURANCE
This is especially important insurance for virtual bookkeepers like me, who work remotely and away from my clients. This insurance covers liability for the data breach on sensitive customer data like EIN numbers, social security numbers, credit card information, etc.
What exactly does this insurance cover? A few different policies, and again, talk to your agent, but it might cover legal fees or court fees, the data breach’s possible investigation costs, the mandatory customer notification requirements where you have to send an email out to let people know about the breach, and the cost to recover data breach and to repair and restore the breached software and systems.
I remember when I signed up for my cyber insurance. One of the great things that my insurance agent did was asking me if I had any ongoing training to help me prevent this or to kind of know and be knowledgeable about this. Of course, I said no and asked if he had any recommendations. He definitely said that they were going to send me information on an ongoing basis, so I can stay in the loop to protect my data as part of training.
If you you are a business owner looking to hire or outsource a virtual bookkeeping company or virtual bookkeeper, make sure you ask the right questions, see what insurances they have and make sure you’re protected. Nave Bookkeeping is an insured and bonded bookkeeping service provider to business owners. Know that as our client, you are protected.