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The Dangers of Phishing: How to Identify and Protect Yourself


In this day and age, we rely on the Internet for its convenience, such as online shopping or banking. Although the Internet solves various pain points in our lives, it also comes with its dangers, such as cybercriminals who try to exploit users online. One of these cyber attacks is known as “phishing” – below is more information about this issue and how you can identify and protect yourself from phishing:


What is Phishing?

Phishing is a general term used to describe emails, text messages or websites that try to obtain personal information from recipients by posing as trustworthy organizations or individuals. They may impersonate a trusted individual in a professional organization or use the company’s logos and graphics as an attempt to pass off as legitimate content.

The purpose of this form of content is to get a quick reaction from users. For example, they may threaten to close down your bank account unless immediate action is taken, such as asking to verify your account by entering your personal information in a web form. Please note that phishing can come in various forms, from an alleged professional asking for gift cards to an alleged financial institution asking to transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars.

According to the Government of Canada’s website, around 156 million email scams/phishing emails are sent out everyday and 80,000 individuals become victims to this form of cyber attack on a daily basis. Falling victim to these phishing scams can have serious implications, especially  when cybercriminals ask for personal information, such as one’s social insurance number, driver’s license number or banking information. This information can be used to transfer funds, open new bank accounts or apply for loans. As of today, approximately 1 million Canadians have entered their bank details on a website they are unfamiliar with.


How to Identify and Protect Yourself From Phishing

In order to avoid falling victim to this form of cyber attack, the RCMP has provided information on the ways to identify phishing scams and prevent future attacks:

  • Phishing messages are normally not personalized and the content may include serious consequences if immediate action is not taken. Here is an example of a catchphrase they may use: Dear Online Account Holder, Access To Your Account Is Currently Unavailable…
  • Be wary of email or text message senders who ask for personal information – when in doubt, it is always best to call and double-check with the alleged organization asking for personal information.
  • Check your bank, debit and credit card statements regularly in order to ensure you are aware of all of the transactions. If a certain transaction does not look legitimate, contact your financial institution and report it.
  • If an email link looks suspicious from an unknown sender, do not click on it.
  • Before opening emails from unknown senders, it is recommended to run them through your computer’s anti-virus software.

Phishing Emails Targeted at Financial Institutions

There is an increase in activity where cybercriminals impersonate the CEO, C-Level Executive, Board Member or owner and make unusual requests, such as requesting wire transfers, gift cards or other cash transfers from the recipient. The email addresses of the alleged financial leaders are often very similar to the original and may only differ by a single letter. If you receive unusual requests from an alleged financial leader, it is recommended to call the individual to confirm whether this request is legitimate and double-check with another senior executive within the organization.

Need help with protecting and managing your finances beyond cyber attacks? Our team of part-time CFOs is ready to assist your business.


Hiring Best Practices: What to Look for When Hiring a Part-Time CFO


Are you looking to hire a CFO that will oversee the financial side of your business?

As you start to consider what to look for in a CFO and who would be the best fit for your business, your first instinct might be to interview full-time candidates only. However, you’ll be missing out on the many benefits that qualified, part-time CFOs bring to the table.


The Benefits of Hiring a Part-Time CFO


Immediacy for Urgency

When the needs of a business are urgent, it is usually easier and quicker to hire a part-time employee to help out, instead of instigating a full-time position. Given the nature of their role, part-time CFOs can act quickly on fulfilling specific needs, whether it is identifying business pain points or ways to make the business more profitable. Although you may only request your part-time CFO to work once a week, they will be ready to help whenever you need them, and they are always just a call or email away.


Financial Leadership

Other than solving immediate challenges, a part-time CFO can also act as a strategic business partner and help grow your business in a sustainable way. For example, they can prepare financial forecasts, develop annual plans for revenues and expenses, and assess the competitive landscape and long-term cash flows. As a result, this would help free up any business owner’s time, so they can focus on other aspects of the business.



Aside from solving a company’s short and long term goals, one of the biggest benefits of hiring a part-time CFO is that you can have access to an experienced CFO at a fraction of the cost of a full-time CFO. A full-time CFO delivers all the benefits of a part-time CFO but at an increased cost and financial commitment, and most SMEs do not require that skillset or experience every day of the week. Instead of investing in extra recruitment and hiring costs to find a full-time candidate, your business can reap the benefits of a part-time CFO who has practical, financial, and strategic skills to offer.


Flexible & Customizable Work

Flexibility is becoming more acceptable in today’s business landscape, allowing for part-time CFOs to fit right in with their varying schedules. Once you hire a part-time CFO, they will take on a variety of different tasks, based on what and when you need them for. Depending on the part-time CFO’s experience, they can also cater to different business markets and fulfill various needs. Overall, this results in an efficient solution for both parties, where clear roles and responsibilities are established and no time is wasted.


Open & Honest Dialogue

An advantageous quality that most part-time CFOs (and part-time employees in general) have is their ability to be candid with their employers. You can expect a qualified, part-time CFO to challenge you in ways that a full-time employee might feel uncomfortable doing. An employee’s honesty and transparency tend to lead to meaningful discussions that push businesses towards their goals and bring clarity in times of confusion. Since part-time CFOs are independent workers, you can also confide in them about any departmental issues you may be facing.


Expertise in Local and International Markets

Depending on your business needs, you may require a part time-CFO who is familiar with the local and international markets – companies such as the CFO Centre provide access to a network of local, national and international teams to support a diverse variety of needs that an individual CFO cannot offer. There are also over 60 experienced part-time CFO’s to choose from who have expertise in various sectors.


Finding A Suitable Candidate


There are many qualities to look for in a CFO, however, we have outlined some of the most important below:


Big Picture Thinking

A CFO who can see beyond the numbers would be a valuable asset to your company. This individual would be able to interpret data in a meaningful way and provide analysis that encourages positive growth for the company.


Communicative Team Player

Considering that a part-time CFO will not operate within a consistent schedule, they should be able to communicate often with others and provide extensive detail whenever necessary. It is also important that they are a team player who gets along with other employees, otherwise, they will not be able to work efficiently and successfully with your team.


Multi-Faceted Experience

To make the most of your part-time CFO’s skill set, you should consider how much experience they have with different companies and within various industries. Individuals with an impressive range of previous experience can provide valuable perspectives on different problems, strategies, and goals that other employees may fail to see.


Life-Long Learner

Ideally, your part-time CFO should be excited about building upon their skills and developing their career, to ensure that they stay up-to-date in their respective fields. Without this attitude, your business will not be able to grow and progress from a financial standpoint.


Interested in hiring a part-time CFO of your own? Browse our selection of Canada’s most qualified, part-time CFOs.


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