Picking IT Vendors for Your Firm
Like most industries, ours is no different in the number of vendors that service our needs. We perform our due diligence like anyone else and arrive at a selection based upon research, discussion and references, among other things. References seem to be big in our industry in terms of which IT vendor to ultimately select.
How much though, after all this research, do the actual references the vendors provide matter? Do you check them like you would check the business or personal reference of a potential new employee? Often times, the references we focus the most on are those that come from other CPA firms, specifically like-sized firms for which is the best test of “Has XYZ product/service been proven to work in a firm like ours?” Ultimately, this is where we all want to get – answer this question and you got us (almost). While other CPA firm references are significant, don’t discount the others. Contact all the ones provided by the vendor, but there are just too many routes via the Internet to seek out vendor references that might not always have the most cheery things to say.
Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members. He is also in charge of talent management and retention at his firm. A background of IT and Human Resources helps Jim bridge the gap of technology complexities with end users who just want their computer to work so they can be chargeable. Being a very cheap (frugal sounds better) person himself, he is always looking for ways to save dollars at his firm. He is Director of Education for the Association for Accounting Administration and past Technology Committee member of the Ohio Society of CPA's. He often leads industry CPE events on the topics of Information Technology, CPA firm practice management and human resources/recruiting. Find out more about Jim on LinkedIn.