IT Managed Services for Accounting Firms
The need for reliable IT services is at an all-time high in 2021 as many accounting firms are adapting to managing employees working remotely, virtual client meetings and sharing confidential documents over the internet. But as more accounting practices move large portions of their operations online, the technological challenges faced greatly increase; this can drain a firm’s resources, allow for weaknesses in cybersecurity to go undetected and diminish productivity.
As the accounting industry is dependent on robust and secure IT services, maintaining a reliable IT infrastructure is crucial for firms of all sizes. However, managing such IT services for accountants can be complex and time-consuming. When more time is spent on dealing with IT issues than providing services to clients, it is clear that the firm is mismanaging their use of technology.
IT should enrich business operations, not impede them. Outsourcing the management of IT services allows accountants to focus on providing the best services to their clients by removing the overheads of maintaining efficient and effective IT infrastructures. To maximise the benefits of technology and minimise the stresses of managing it, making the use of an IT service provider is the way forward.
In this post we hope to help you to understand
The critical role of I.T. in accounting firms in 2021.
The challenges accountants face when operating virtually.
How to secure client and the firm’s data online.
How a managed service provider can help you operate virtually.
IT Services for Accounting Firms
Accounting firms rely on many specific IT requirements (such as impenetrable cybersecurity, stable internet and trusted software) which need to be fully operational at all times and especially reliable during tax seasons. To avoid the irreparable damage that IT problems can cause, the following IT services for accountants are commonly outsourced.
Keeping Data Secure
Accounting firms are high-risk targets for cybercrime due to the volume and nature of the financial data they store. Hence, any security breaches which result in sensitive client data being leaked, corrupted or stolen can severely halt business operations and permanently damage a firm’s reputation.
To mitigate this, three core systems are required to keep data secure: strong perimeter security to detect and block cyberattacks, anti-malware to eliminate viruses in the event of a successful attack, and disaster recovery to repair any damage done after an attack.
Strong perimeter security starts with the endpoint devices used by employees. These devices should all contain anti-virus to detect intrusions and be connected to the firm’s network through a firewall over a protected wifi connection. Employees working outside of the office may be at most risk of a cyberattack if they connect to the firm through unprotected, public wifi.
Also, emails and files sent from these end user devices should be encrypted and files should always be password protected. Robust antivirus should be able to manage any threatening intrusions, but further software tools which detect and prevent other types of threats like ransomware and keyloggers may also be needed.
The last measure required to ensure a swift recovery from cyberattacks is the maintenance of frequent, offsite data backups. Creating offline backups each day can be time-consuming and complicated when staff are working from home. Instead, automatic, online backups provide a simple and safe means for files to be restored if damaged or stolen.
Maintaining Constant Uptime
It’s not just data corruption that can halt business operations. Any interruptions to the network on which a firm operates can cost both time and money. To provide the highest quality services to clients, all accounting IT services need to be fully operational 100% of the time. This necessitates stable and fast internet to allow for remote access to files, virtual meetings with clients and easy access to cloud-based software.
During the end of a financial year, the stresses placed on the network of an accounting firm are likely to be at a maximum. Throughout these periods it’s crucial that wireless access is uninterrupted and that no systems fail if overwhelmed. However, installing and managing such failsafe networks are complicated and laborious; to guarantee steady access to remote files and online applications like Xero in real-time, IT service providers are essential.
The importance of IT for firms in 2021
As more companies are adapting to a work from home strategy, many firms may needlessly buckle under the pressure of running their operations outside of the office. Working from home can introduce avoidable weaknesses into a firm’s cybersecurity and be unnecessarily complicated. A managed IT service provider can address these issues of working virtually by maintaining all aspects of IT infrastructure from secure file sharing for accountants to encrypted video conferencing.
After a rigorous inspection of a firm’s current IT systems, a service provider would be able to identify any weaknesses in virtual security, determine any issues with the existing methods which employees use to access the firm’s network remotely, and locate any technological inefficiencies which may be affecting productivity. Then, a recommended plan of action detailing how the firm’s security could be tightened and how systems could be upgraded to improve performance while working remotely would be suggested.
How 9spheres can help
At 9spheres we have partnered with market-leading tech companies and make use of premier cloud-based software to enable us to provide the best IT solutions to suit your firm’s specific needs. We prioritise performance and stability in all of the integrated services we provide; our expert system engineers are guaranteed to install, maintain and provide the technical support for the perfect IT solution for your firm.
9spheres can help your firm to smoothly transition to a more stable work from home arrangement. Through improving the speed and security of wireless connections, 24/7 IT support, and the installation of continuously monitored, robust networks, we can set your firm up for success in 2021. We’ll remove the hassle of dealing with the ever-changing IT industry so that you can focus on what’s important: your clients.
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