Change Management. Non-Billable Time Reduction. Cost Containment. Client Privacy & Security. These are some of the many things that keep Accounting Firm Partners & Administrators up at night. Yet, the costs of software and the hardware to support it keep rising, along with the infrastructure that is necessary to manage them. That doesn’t count the necessary security testing to make sure all the data is secure and client information is contained and kept private that should be done in a perfect world! The writing is on the wall – or in the clouds! In order to stay or become profitable, changes in how accounting firms manage their client management and financial management infrastructure is needed! Costs of running a firm need to be reduced and non-billable time for non-valued added client tasks need to be eliminated. Collaborating with your clients through a cloud based financial system answers a lot of these issues.
I know, I know, you are thinking that sounds too simple. When you think about the desktop – or in the cloud world it is referred to as “on premise” software – there are many hidden costs that aren’t accounted for that offer tremendous opportunities for savings. Just to name a few –poor productivity costs or time being written off just trying to get data back and forth between the your firm and your clients, software licensing fees, costs of hardware and upgrading of systems and servers, IT maintenance of the systems and servers, downtime costs to the organization, proper security and privacy measures and testing that should be in place, different requirements on systems based on the software being installed, etc., etc. I don’t want to sound too simplistic – but the cloud really offers a way to deal with those issues much more cost effectively. For a simple subscription fee, another company with deep expertise in those issues will take care of all of these headaches. Your only upfront investment is getting such a system configured the way you want to deploy the solution for your firm, getting staff properly trained and putting a plan in place that includes delivering quality services to your clients in this environment. And then you’re ready to work with your clients without worrying about what goes on under the hood of your service delivery system anymore.
Once you successfully transition to your new client management and service delivery infrastructure, everything else is really taken care of for you. You no longer have the headaches of time being written off to transfer files or documents between you and your clients and to deliver financial statements – you are collaborating with your client real-time on the same platform. You determine the best in class tools you need to deliver your services rather than being at the mercy of your client. Additionally, with cloud financial software companies such as Intacct, they are taking care of all the IT Maintenance, Security & Privacy. They go through way more rigorous testing of their systems for the audits they have to go through such as SAS 70 Type II certification, PCI compliance, and other needed certifications. That is just the beginning – they complete a myriad of backups daily, Disaster Recovery testing and monitoring, Database restore testing, detailed monitoring of the systems from various angles to spot issues before they arise, capability of growing the network, an avg of 100% uptime over the last 12 months and more! Imagine trying to achieve that uptime on your own. How would you be able to guarantee these same things to your clients even if you have the infrastructure in place? The cost is always growing to keep it in house, instead you can have peace of mind that experts are taking care of this and your costs are maintained, routine and planned.
Change is never easy, and having the right plan in place for conversion is critical – not only internally but with restructuring how you deliver services and what new services will be opened up to you by moving to the cloud. Wouldn’t you rather spend your time on creating more revenue for your practice, creating higher realization and delivering a superior client experience than managing these IT issues? I haven’t even begun talking about the Client Accounting Services transformation that this creates…more to come on that for sure! The time is now…it is time to see what benefit you can realize from getting your head in the clouds!