The benefits of outsourced IT services for accounting firms are many, but only when you rely on the right provider to get the job done. Your accounting firm faces the challenge of increasing productivity while maintaining the security and functionality of your systems along the way.
Your team is busy providing high-quality consulting and working to serve your clients. Why waste their time and billable hours handling IT? The right IT services for accounting firms should help your staff maximize the value of your business technology while protecting your firm’s time, data, and reputation.
Your IT services company should provide your business with much more than just a helpdesk. In the section below, we outline the perks of having an effective IT services provider to serve as your IT expert and business partner.
1) Maximize the Value of Your Accounting Technology and Business Tools
You have a lot of technology tools in place, but are you getting the most value from what you’re paying for? Your accounting firm is unique in that it has specific goals, needs, and business issues. Your IT services provider should serve as your business partner and expert IT resource. With the right level of IT consulting and expertise, your provider can help your organization align technology with your business initiatives now, and in the future.
Technology has a lot to offer your business when your IT services team takes a proactive approach to help you leverage your investment in the most productive way. The right IT services provider will work with your leadership team to understand your accounting firm and help you get the most value from the accounting software and technology tools you use daily.
For example, if you use Microsoft 365, your IT team should be working with your organization and its employees to help you understand how accounting and CPA firms can best use Microsoft’s tools to communicate and collaborate more effectively.
2) Work with an IT Services Provider That Increases Your Billable Hours
Your time is money, and every hour spent on IT is an hour of billable time taken away from your core business. Spending too much time on IT is a key sign that your current IT services provider does not have the right resources, technology tools, and business capacity to effectively support your organization.
You may find it’s a headache to get a resolution to your technology issues, you’re constantly being interrupted to address IT fires, or you’re facing unexpected business interruptions due to off-track IT projects. If so, you’re spending too much time on IT, and not enough on doing what you do best.
Complete IT services should cover all your technology bases, from IT strategy and planning to providing the IT support you need when you need it. The IT roadmap your Chief Information Officer (CIO) outlines should allow you to implement technology changes with minimal business disruptions. Your IT Service Level Agreement (SLA) should provide your organization with a response and resolution time in which they will handle your IT issues.
3) Get Resolution for Recurring Business Pains
Your IT services provider should be resolving your business pains for good. They should fix the core issue, so your employee productivity isn’t stalled by getting IT support for the same issue again and again. Recurring IT issues not only threaten your team’s everyday productivity; they can also be a sign of more serious technology issues, that if left unresolved, can pose serious risks to your business and its reputation.
4) Let the IT Services Experts Handle Your IT Vendor Management
Your employees should spend their time doing what you pay them to do, like consulting with clients and filing returns. They shouldn’t be wasting time managing technology vendor mishaps and communication. The back-and-forth coordination and frustration can add up to hours of billable time wasted on tasks that are not at all related to your core business.
Your IT services provider should have the necessary expertise around your accounting firm’s software, hardware, and business operations to effectively manage your technology vendors with minimal use of your time.
5) Access to Consulting Experts with Experience Providing IT Services to Accounting Firms
Your industry evolves quickly, and so does the technology you use. Effective IT services for accounting firms will understand both your industry needs and your unique business goals. Your IT services provider should understand the ebbs and flows of your business.
For example, your provider should know not to schedule any major technology projects during blackout periods like January through April during tax filing season, or September during corporate filing. These periods require your firm to have maximum uptime and minimal business disruptions. During these times, IT issues should be quickly resolved, and your IT team should provide your business with the special attention it needs leading up to these major business initiatives.
Your provider should also maintain in-depth documentation around your business model, operations, IT infrastructure, issues, and business initiatives. This information will enable your IT services provider to identify IT red flags before they become an issue for your organization.
6) Get a Clear IT Technology Roadmap and IT Budget
Efforts to implement and embrace new technology should be an exciting and positive experience for your firm as they should give you an edge over your competition. Unfortunately, IT projects tend to waste time and money due to poor planning and preparation on behalf of an ill-equipped IT services provider.
Technology initiatives should be planned for, budgeted for, and communicated to your staff so your team knows what to expect and when. If you’re constantly frustrated by surprise IT costs and missed IT project deadlines, your IT team is not delivering the level of CIO consulting and IT strategy planning you need for successful IT. Your Chief Information Officer should be working with your business to outline and plan for an 18-24-month IT roadmap of technology projects and costs you can expect down the road.
7) Know Your Accounting Firm’s Data is Protected
For any business, IT security is not an option. But accounting and CPA firms face a number of time and industry compliance restrictions that can make IT security more of a challenge to overcome. There are several elements involved in building a strong IT security defense such as business continuity, disaster recovery, data backup, employee security awareness training, and more. Each of these elements must be planned for, implemented, and properly maintained to ensure your business and client financial data is properly protected.
Your IT team should be working with your organization to proactively prevent a security incident from occurring and have a plan in place for when one does take place. You should have peace of mind that the right steps are being taken to protect your firm’s reputation, which is why it’s important to rely on an IT services provider who is SOC 2 Type 2 certified like Aldridge.
We invested in our SOC 2 Type 2 certification because we are committed to doing everything we can to protect our clients’ businesses and our own.
“Maintaining SOC 2 Type 2 compliance keeps our organization focused on our processes and controls to make sure that we practice what we preach. Completing the readiness exercise and audit process required a significant investment of money and time, but it was worth it. The audit helps us confirm that our house is in order and that we continue to implement the same processes and controls that we recommend to our clients.”
— Patrick Wiley, Aldridge CEO
We understand that for IT to successfully support your accounting firm’s needs, your IT services solution should cover all your bases, including IT strategy, IT design, IT implementation, IT support, and IT security. While each of these elements is key to success, they cannot stand alone.
This is why we have the resources to cover all these pieces in our complete IT Outsourcing and Managed Services solution. To learn more about what Aldridge IT services for accounting and CPA firms can do for you, schedule time to speak with a member of our team.