Ever heard the phrase “work smarter, not harder?” With the onslaught of modern technology and government regulations requiring due diligence in protecting client information, working smarter, not harder is more than just a suggestion. It is mandatory for running a successful accounting practice. Here are three steps to ensure your firm is moving in the right direction.
Remember the days when a client would drop off a year’s worth of receipts on your doorstep and expect you to make sense of it all? Your staff would spend days sorting and inputting the information into accounting software.
Now your staff can make short work of all the piecemeal source documents by scanning it into software that is programmed to pick up the information needed to post it to the client’s account. Not only does this type of technology save time, it helps cut down on keying errors and frees up the staff quicker for more pressing issues that require their expertise. You can also recommend scan-and-input software to your clients as a means of keeping their accounting costs at a minimum.
A couple of decades ago, you had to pay for a dedicated server, as well as someone to maintain it and to keep up with the frequent software updates. That meant hiring a full-time IT person, which isn’t feasible for most small to medium-size firms, or being at the mercy of someone contracted for that purpose. That someone may or may not be available when the server crashes, and downtime costs money.
Now, you do not need a dedicated server to run your accounting business. With cloud-based accounting, all you need is a computer and a solid Internet connection to access your records from anywhere. Better yet, all the worries about server maintenance and software updates are left to professionals who may do nothing but make sure your data is secure, accurate, and accessible.
Do you remember the hassle of doing regular backups? Gone. Cloud service includes backups. And you no longer need to pay for more server than you really need. Most cloud-based servers charge a fee based only on the amount of dedicated server space needed.
Cloud-based service providers also offer Software as a Service (SaaS). This means you no longer must purchase a copy of your accounting software for each computer in the office. The software is housed in the cloud. That makes it simple of your server provider to keep the software current and working properly. It also means you no longer need to pay a big chunk of cash for current versions. Instead, you pay a small monthly fee.
By offering your clients portals into their accounts, you limit the number of calls that ask, “Just one more quick question.” Clients can view the information online from any computer with a secure user name and password. Clients can also upload documents directly to their portal, which is safer than having the documents emailed to you.
While you know the security measure you have taken to protect your computer from malware, you have no control over what the client may have. If the documents are uploaded directly to the cloud-based server, they go through a rigorous shakedown for malware before they are encrypted and stored.
Move your accounting business into the 21st century with cloud-based technology and scanner-based software that makes data entry quicker and more accurate.