Chapter Corner

Online Transactions

Posted in: Editor's Column, April 2013

The World is becoming increasingly digitized everyday and it is increasing efficiency and broadening our information intake. I am one of the biggest supporters of online information sharing through interactive websites and social media. Communication that used to be one-way has now evolved to an open dialog thanks to the emergence of online interaction.

The Millennials are leading the charge of using social media productively. While participating in a speaking engagement at my alma mater, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, I took notice of the abundance of social media used by the students. Many of the student organizations, including Edinboro’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America and the campus television station ETV, had Twitter handles that were managed by students. Their professionalism through social media was astounding and the way they instantly communicated messages on a large scale was simply unthinkable during my time in undergrad. These students were able to conduct the day-to-day business operations of their organizations mainly through social platforms and other internet means, which is not far off from what many companies are doing today.

The use of social media is not the only Internet business evolution, online financial transactions have revolutionized the way companies collect money and pay bills. Long gone are the days of hoarding checks until you have enough to warrant a trip to your local bank. Customers can now pay for just about anything online or on a mobile device. However, many people pose the question, “Are these transactions secure?” Here are a few tips to ensure safe online financial transactions (via PCmag.com):

  • Use well-known, familiar websites for purchases;

  • Any site that involves financial information must have a URL that begins with HTTPS://, not just HTTP://. The extra “s” signifies that the site has secure sockets layer (commonly known as SSL) encryption installed;

  • Use a proven third-party site (i.e.  PayPal) for online payments with site in which you do not  have an account; and

  • Create strong, unique passwords and change them often.

I consider those tips to be my personal “online financial best practices.” Beyond the realm of the internet, there are other financial practices and issues that electrical contractors face on a daily basis. From cash flow management to the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, this issue of Insights is jam-packed with financial best practices.

Sadly, this issue also includes a dedication to long-time member and Chapter Executive Director Harry Lieben, who passed away this March. Harry lived a full and impressive life while making a lasting impact on IEC along his journey. To give Harry the proper remembrance, we provided the opportunity for his colleagues to share their memories. The dedication can be viewed on pages 24-25.

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