Who do you trust to manage your IT systems?
Do you rely on an IT firm that charges extortionate call-out fees to set-up an email? Maybe you have a support department that isn't trained in the latest security threats? Or do you deal with everything yourself?
A survey of office professionals found 19 minutes per day was wasted in dealing with IT issues. The math is simple. Over a year that equates to 80 hours of non-productivity and that's for one worker.
CPA firms aren't exempt.
Broken systems have a major impact when filing tax returns online. This can lead to financial and legal ramifications.
What if there was another option? One which would produce accurate billing and no hidden fees. Service expenses could be projected and be easy to track.
Managed IT services bring a team of professionals to your digital doorstep.
They are reliable, knowledgable in all areas of IT, and are there to support you 24/7.
This guide will help you better understand how a managed service can benefit your accountancy business. Read on to make big savings and become more productive.
Businesses used to hire IT support firms when issues occurred. This was done on an ad-hoc basis leading to high charges and call-out fees.
Since the digital broadband revolution, many companies have turned to a subscription-based model.
A dedicated IT firm offers round-the-clock support in all areas of support. They look for problems before they occur then fix them remotely. A host of options is available to any size of business including email management and hosting Cloud.
Managed IT services provide a wealth of knowledge that most in-house support staff don't have. They are experts in security and will ensure your computers update to the latest software.
A managed provider can also compliment your IT team.
When a real person needs to be on the ground the IT company can give guidance on repairs and network upgrades. Mundane tasks like user account management can be delegated outside of the company.
If your business has gaps in expertise, call on those who know.
Let's cut to the chase.
What are the no-nonsense ways this service can help you to reduce costs and strengthen productivity? Will it really improve your existing support system?
Here are six ways your CPA firm can make the most out of managed IT services.
It's a CPA firm's responsibility to keep their client's data safe. All records should remain confidential at each stage.
This is categorized by these 3 concepts:
Is your client's data sent by email to your inbox? Are you sure that's secure?
Does your website include SSL to capture Quickbooks data? And is a flash drive the best method to transfer sensitive data between offices?
A managed support firm can help set-up secure file sharing.
Many provide Cloud-based accountancy software packages. These allow your clients to upload their figures online securely. The system is managed and maintained and you're automatically alerted of any issues.
IRC Section 6107(b) states that all accountancy records must be kept for three to five years after the tax return.
Digital document management requires careful planning.
An IT company provides consultancy to map out your requirements. Off-site and on-site solutions become available with a larger team. Systems can be audited at any time by authorized personnel through dedicated software.
IRS Rev. Proc. 97-22 says that financial records may be electronic as long as they remain protected.
Who has access to your system? Can any employee read all your clients' records?
Systems administration is the lynchpin to your business operations. Creating tiered user accounts limits access to sensitive information. Safe back-up and encrypted storage of daily data must be carried out by a professional.
Outsourcing your System Admin ensures best practices are always followed.
A team of admins is better than one or two in-house staff. Data is backed-up to a remote location to prevent fire hazards. And if a problem does occur it can be resolved quickly.
For medium to larger-sized businesses with multiple branches, data access becomes a priority.
A managed IT firm offers remote access using virtual private networks or VPNs. In simple terms, it allows all your firms to access your IT network in a safe way.
Data is kept secure through encryption before being sent. Records can only be accessed by designated staff.
If you don't have a local file server then consider hosting your data on the Cloud.
Cloud-based accountancy software for CPA firms is now the norm. By outsourcing to a dedicated provider, you can access the benefits Cloud storage can bring including:
Traditional desktop software has also been upgraded to a web platform. This allows you to access data from any Internet-enabled device. Mobile phones can view important analytics from anywhere - even your car!
If you have a legacy system, virtualization technology gives third-parties remote access to your screen. There's no need to wait for a tech guy to arrive.
Let's assume you want to concentrate on business and not read junk mail.
If your company uses an in-house email server introducing a spam filter could save you 35% wasted man-hours. Yet, it needs to be managed as the spammers change their tactics every day.
Outsourcing your email management to an IT firm means you don't need to worry about spam. Network nasties like viruses and malware will also be protected against as they're filtered out at source.
Operating system updates also need managing.
When Microsoft sends a patch your network needs to react. This important yet often overlooked task requires careful preparation and operation.
A dedicated provider will build this into their daily updates to your network. Everything is monitored to ensure systems are kept secure at all times.
Other security concerns like spyware, ransomware, and DDOS attacks are handled by the best software. Definitions and version releases are kept up-to-date too.
On-site hardware issues can grind your business day to a halt. How can a remote IT company fix a broken printer or router? For older systems that need physical access, this can be a deal-breaker.
Although IT services are usually managed online, many firms offer on-site support.
They can visit your premises to repair or replace monitors to RAID servers. Wiring a switch or tunneling network cables need to be carried out by a professional. Bring in the best.
Putting a face to a name can also boost your staff's morale. The person they contact when IT problems arise is there to fix them and that means a lot. Many nagging issues can be sorted in one morning's visit.
A good provider schedules time for on-site visits to your premises. Why have the headache of hiring someone full-time?
As an accountant, you specialize in financial advice. Your clients seek your counsel because you know the best way to save them money and follow the law.
It's the same with technology. Everyone thinks they know about IT but few have the proven record to offer the best advice.
Your CPA firm can consult with a third-party with specific knowledge to handle your requirements. Be it systems procurement to hardware or software upgrades, you need to know what the pitfalls are.
A good IT consultant will also offer systems planning and design.
They will guide you on the latest technologies and how to best adapt them. They will help to save you money and increase productivity.
Just like you do for your clients.
The most important function of a managed IT company is to provide you support when you need it.
The IT Support Helpdesk manages most inquiries. You create a ticket outlining your issue then an engineer will respond. This happens via email, instant messaging, telephone, or video call.
You're able to track the status of your ticket to see its progress. Resolutions are easy to identify. You'll also be notified either way.
Support can range from simple user issues like changing from a Windows PC to a Mac to the more technical. Communication is key. The support engineer will offer practical advice or better still fix the problem remotely.
Billing cycles for ongoing support can be accessed from a Customer Portal.
You login to see every issue the provider has dealt with that month and how much you were charged. This should tally with their invoice.
CPA firms understand how productivity affects the bottom line more than anyone.
By reducing call-out charges, proactively scanning for issues, and providing remote support, your business can benefit from a managed IT service.
It's time to call the professionals.
We have 20 years of experience in supporting all sizes of businesses. Our offices are based in Arlington and Dallas, Texas but our services run nationwide.
Our founder and CEO Kelly Herrod wants to talk to you. So schedule a call to start saving today.
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