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By Derek Distin on July 6, 2022 minute read

Selecting the right managed IT provider [How-to]

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Choosing the right outsourced IT provider is difficult

Everyone at an accounting firm has a job to do—and rarely is that job “manage IT.” Some larger firms may have a person or two dedicated to managing staff’s computers, servers and peripheral equipment—but most firms do not fit in this category.

What do firms need today? Firms need technology—and they need technology that works.

Better technology not only improves client services, it’s essential for getting the job done. And the best, most cost-effective way to get the accounting job done is by outsourcing tasks that don’t fall under your job description.

In this post, I’ll share some tips on what to look for when considering a managed IT services provider for your firm.

Find a managed IT provider who understands accounting and technology

Think of the rate at which technology changes today. It seems that as soon as you sign the PO for the latest and greatest laptop, there’s a new and better model on the market.

Coupled with the headaches of having to manage IT, monitor application updates and address support tickets—plus cope with the growing cybersecurity risks facing firms today—it’s no wonder a singular IT manager working for a firm is improbable.

Here’s a better idea: Eliminate that hassle. Forgo the technology burden. Look for a managed IT services provider who offers all of the above, comes with an assigned Client Services Manager and understands your profession’s nuances.

Let me reiterate: Don’t just go with any provider.

An incompetent third-party IT company can be just as bad, if not worse, than an IT manager trying to do it all themselves.

So, what makes a managed IT services provider incompetent for accounting firms?

  • They don’t understand the accounting profession’s schedule.
  • The provider is unfamiliar with tax, audit, accounting applications and software.

Find a provider who understands the applications firms use and schedules updates and maintenance around that schedule.

Select a provider who will help you move to the cloud

Your firm’s technology can make or break your firm. Gone (we hope) are the days of physical documents stuffed into unsecured filing cabinets and even flash drives. Today, firms use cloud hosting technology to share important documents with colleagues and clients. It’s safer, faster and enables scalable growth.

How? By replacing paper document processes with “click, attach, send.” By streamlining the time-wasting physical tasks, saved minutes turn into hours. Just ask Roman Kepczyk, CPA, CGMA.CITP, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and expert on saving firms time and money:

“Firms that continue to adopt and promote entirely digital files and processes will be at a competitive advantage.” –Roman Kepczyk, How to become a digitally-driven firm

Find a managed IT provider that doesn’t only manage the technical equipment but offers a secure, cloud-hosted environment for your firm and clients to work from.

As shown by the graphic below, more than 60% of accounting professionals use cloud technology to run their practices.

More than 60% of accounting firms use a combination of desktop and cloud solutions to run their practices.
More than 60% of accounting firms use a combination of desktop and cloud solutions to run their practices.

And general trends within the accounting profession show that more and more firms are moving to cloud-based solutions for their technology infrastructure.

About two-thirds of accounting firms plan to adopt cloud technologies within the next two years.
About two-thirds of accounting firms plan to adopt cloud technologies within the next two years.

Efficiency, security, peace of mind, long-term costs and work-from-anywhere capabilities are some of the factors behind this trend.

“Accounting firms that stay rooted in pure on-premises technology approaches are almost certain to fall behind their cloud-enabled competitors.” –State of Accounting Firms Trend Report 2022, CaseWare

Find a managed IT provider that provides high-quality technology at an affordable price

When you manage IT yourself, there’s a cost associated with all that equipment, maintenance and support. And that cost is never fixed, despite your best attempts. Just as soon as you think you’ve budgeted the right amount, a server crashes, a basement floods or you need additional headcount.

Aren’t you sick of the budgeting twists and turns?

A managed services provider makes things simple: They bill you the same amount on the agreed-upon date.

No last-minute equipment upgrades. Zero unforeseen charges.

And if you think, “My firm’s not big enough to require a managed IT provider,” think again. Our managed IT provider, Cloud Premier, supports many small firms because they want the same quality of technology that more prominent firms are using at an affordable price.

Oftentimes, having seen first-hand the benefits of good technology that enables growth at larger firms, small firm owners seek the same level of security, efficiency and service as they build up their own businesses. A strong provider will be able to serve businesses of all sizes with the same levels of security and service, regardless of employee count.

Find a provider whose focus is your infrastructure stability

Accountants want stability and continuity; they want their technology to work. And if it doesn’t work, they need someone to help them get back up and running quickly.

Managed IT providers offer that stability and continuity by:

  • Providing one number to dial in case of an emergency: If a storm causes you to lose power, or you think you deleted the last 30 days’ worth of work, you should be able to call your provider and ask for help easily.
  • Only investing in the best equipment: Good managed IT providers will always have top-notch, updated servers running your firm’s software from a secure offsite location.
  • Scheduling changes that require little to no downtime: In the unlikely event that downtime is needed, the best managed IT providers will work around your schedule to find the best time to make those changes. As an example, if your tax software needs to be updated during the tax season, and that update limits your access to the system during the update, Cloud Premier will schedule this type of upgrade outside busy hours—on weekends or after hours—to cause minimal disruption.
  • Being there when you need them: Two-week resignation notices are unpredictable. And when you get one from your internal IT team member, it’s cause for concern. Finding a suitable replacement to handle everything that team member oversaw takes time. Plus, it takes a certain amount of IT expertise to know precisely who and what you should look for in your candidates. But with an IT provider, all that chaos is alleviated. The support you receive is unchanging for the length of your contract; you always know who you’ll get on the other line when you call.

Find a cloud-backed managed IT services provider that works for you

Finding a managed IT services provider is crucial if your firm wants to stay on track. Finding a managed IT services provider with a cloud portal is also critical if your firm wants to get ahead.

As we described above, the decision should be based on what’s most important to your firm. But if having…

  • A provider dedicated solely to accounting professionals,
  • 24/7/365 access to your provider,
  • Infrastructure stability and continuity,
  • A managed cloud environment from which to access apps and software

…is essential to you, give the experts at Right Networks Cloud Premier a call.

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