PracticePeople In PracticeAccountants to become web auditors in move to improve customer security on the internet

Accountants to become web auditors in move to improve customer security on the internet

Amid rising concerns about e-commerce security, the English ICA has launched an assurance scheme dedicated to monitoring business practices and increasing the confidence of consumers buying on the web.

The ‘WebTrust’ scheme applies a seal of approval after a series of tests to individual websites, aiming to guarantee consumers security and integrity.

Details of the scheme can be found on the institute’s assurance service website at www.icaew-webtrust.co.uk

The institute will base its criteria on three main areas; security, privacy and delivery of goods. So far, 360 chartered accountants are qualified as ‘web auditors’ via a 2-day course to appraise web site operators. Review will take place on a three-monthly basis.

Concerns have been raised during the development of the scheme that accountants awarding approvals could be held financially liable if website customers suffer financial losses.

But Chris Howard of the institute’s audit faculty, who is heading up the scheme, denied this would be the case.

‘Obviously we would strip the web operator of our seal of approval, he said. ‘Our seal only tests and confirms whether or not web operators comply with what they commit to in their dealings,’ he added.

The WebTrust appraisal programme already exists in the US and Canada, and was recently adopted in Australia, New Zealand and France.

Reliable internet sites should be awarded ‘Trust Marks’, says government

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