Should you be in the market for a partner to provide IT support managed services? You probably should. Start by asking yourself a few questions about your technology infrastructure:
- Is it optimized to get me where I want my firm to be?
- Is it optimized to take advantage of the latest production and application opportunities?
- Is it secure enough to protect my data and network infrastructure from cyberhackers?
- Am I confident that the individuals I rely on to maintain my network are keeping me on the current, “stable” edge of IT?
If you are still managing your own IT infrastructure, you might find those questions difficult to answer. Those of us who observe the accounting profession closely are finding that with some honest introspection, most firms are reaching the conclusion that the traditional networking “build-and-maintain” model is not working in their firm’s best interests anymore.
What’s Stopping Your Firm from Looking into IT Support Managed Services?
We are also finding that firms are better off seeking IT support managed services from a partner that is focused on supporting the accounting profession. For a deeper dive into this topic, check out my eBook, “How to Find the Right IT Provider for Your Accounting Firm.”
So, let’s explore some of the differences that are causing firms to hold back from making the switch:
It’s more than likely that a tax or assurance partner in your firm is in charge of overseeing the firm’s IT strategy. They do this in addition to their “primary” production role, which leaves them little time to really delve into IT strategy. In most cases, we see they have minimal technology exposure beyond going to an annual conference, and they often rely on recommendations from an internal IT person who frankly has little training or exposure to IT strategy.
To be competitive today, firms need access to an IT partner with an enterprise-class leadership team. The partner needs to understand where the accounting profession is going and be able to deliver an IT infrastructure that is capable of getting your firm there, not just today but in the future as well.
Accounting Application Support
Firms that manage their own networks often have IT personnel that know how to keep the network running and respond to critical support calls. However, those IT employees are often behind on updates and implementing new technologies. The situation gets worse during peak seasons, when the volume of work increases but the number of internal IT support personnel does not.
The result is an inconsistent IT experience throughout the firm, with many staff members only providing “shadow” IT support. Providers of IT support managed services that focus on the accounting profession understand the importance of timely application updates and the critical nature of busy seasons. They leverage the experiences learned from supporting multiple firms across the board rather than having every new project being a “one off” that your IT personnel have to figure out.
Firms that maintain their own networks must ensure that they have built adequate infrastructure capacity to handle the different surges that occur during busy seasons. When buying equipment, they also have to project what the firm’s growth will look like over the next five to seven years, the effective life of a file server.
And then they have to ask: Does this include potential mergers, staffing increases during peak seasons or the potential addition of remote workers? Often, those considerations result in a firm over-buying and having to pay up front, which can result in reducing investments in evolutionary technologies. An optimal partner providing IT support managed services has the ability to scale up (or down) users depending on your firm’s needs.
The COVID pandemic forced firms to quickly adopt digital collaboration tools and implement remote access tools. While many firms have gone back to working the majority of the time in the office, the need for these remote/digital work tools has only increased!
Mobile and remote collaboration is mission-critical for a growing firm. While it is a native capability for cloud providers that provide IT support managed services, it continues to be an area where many internal IT teams continue to struggle to deliver a consistent end-user experience.
Securing an accounting firm has never been more difficult, as hacker groups use automated tools to attack even the tiniest vulnerability. These tools do not discriminate between large and small firms. They only look for a missed software or hardware update, an error made by an employee, or a lack of awareness from a missed training session.
The best defense is having enterprise-class security, disaster recovery solutions and training, which is well beyond the budget of most small and medium-sized firms that try to do it themselves.
An IT Support Managed Services Partner Lets Your Firm Move at the Speed of Technology
Technology continues to evolve at an increasingly faster pace, making it significantly harder for you and your traditional internal IT personnel to keep current, let alone to build and maintain fileservers and a network that will take advantage of the latest technologies. As a matter of fact, I believe the most significant competitive differentiator for firms is their ability to identify, pilot and implement innovative accounting applications that help them process digital data more effectively.
One way to facilitate this is to develop a successful partnership with an IT support managed services partner that handles your technology like a utility so you can focus on serving your clients. To help you get down that path, Right Networks has developed a comprehensive eBook: “How to Find the Right IT Provider for Your Accounting Firm,” which will help you make the best choice for a successful IT partnership.
Ready to let an expert partner manage IT for you? Start here.