Sheet 7 of the GDPR Workbook covers the gritty subject of consent. It is a checklist recording that you have considered, acted on and reviewed your obligation to seek, obtain and record consent where this is required by the GDPR. For each item listed on the checklist you need to change the status of the Check column to read “Yes” or “n/a”.
This section of the workbook is targeted, for accountants, at their business prospects, those individuals who in the past have informally consented to receive your newsletter or other marketing communications.
However unnecessary the process may seem. To comply with the GDPR your continuing consent to send marketing information needs to be evidenced from 25 May 2018.
How do we obtain consent?
I recommend that you login to your user portal, goto the 12-Steps(L) link and open and read the Consent PDF. Basically, there is no quick fix to this part of the process.
Consult with your marketing advisors
Most practices use a third party process to send marketing information. I suggest that you contact them and ask for a written assurance that the processes set out in the GDPR, and enshrined in your Workbook checklist, are observed. If not, you will need to re-think the way that your practice gathers and evidences consent and contact your existing marketing lists to seek adequate consent.
Do I have to seek separate consent to email clients with marketing material?
If your terms and conditions and letters of engagement include a statement that you send out “marketing” information to clients from time to time – and clients were able to opt in or out of this at the time you signed them up – then this should be considered sufficient consent. In which case further consent should not be required. However, this consent should not be bundled with the contract. i.e. you would be hard put to argue that receiving marketing and newsletters was a precondition of the accounting services.
Won’t I lose most of my marketing contacts?
When I first considered this issue of consent for my own businesses I realised that my existing records of consent were non-existent, and that I would need to start again, sending out requests for a formal (double opted-in) consent from contacts to cover the GDPR requirements. I will undertake this work before 25 May. Although this may result in the loss of 90% of my marketing contacts (and there are thousands) realistically only 10 or 15% open my marketing emails. So having a “willing to participate” list, all-be-it much reduced, is perhaps a worthwhile housekeeping process.
Time to bite the bullet on this issue. Read the Consent PDF, speak with your newsletter/marketing managers, if necessary, re-enrol your marketing lists in accordance with the GDPR and then complete your check list on sheet 7 of the Workbook.
How long did this take?
This week, I find myself unable to offer readers a time budget for this process. My work in this area is on-going. I suspect setting up the necessary systems will take a day of my time to organise. I look forward to being able to sign off Sheet 7, but not yet…
Have you obtained a copy of our GDPR Workbook yet?
I will continue to record my progress in completing the Workbook for my practice and will aim to be compliant before the 25 May 2018 deadline. A list of my posts, for those who need to catch up, are listed here.