CPAs: How to Stay Relevant, Reliable and Flexible

Unlike most industries that are rapidly changing year after year, the CPA and accounting industry’s overall business structure and services have remained relatively the same. But, with automated accounting software, such as QuickBooks, TurboTax and Mint entering the market, CPA firms are looking for ways to stay relevant and outpace the competition.

For CPA firms looking to gain a competitive advantage, it is essential to increase productivity and efficiency which can be done by adopting technology that enhances product offerings and customer service. Over the last year, a number of accounting firms have been adopting technology that has evolved their reporting model and enabled them to provide assurance that the financial information is accurate and reliable.  Not only is it important for this data to be accurate and reliable, but it must also be highly protected to give customers ease of mind.

In order to deliver, CPA firms and their partners are continuing to research and embrace the new generation of technology that can help them stay relevant and on top. The new generation of technology also leads to greater productivity, more capabilities and the elimination of bottlenecks in work processes.

One of the technologies that is making a big impact in the accounting world is the cloud, which is no surprise because of the benefits it has on the organization and its employees. A lot of companies have already experienced the benefits by migrating from their traditional IT set ups. In fact, the 2016 National Management of an Accounting Practice survey found that the use of cloud services by CPA firms has grown since 2014, with 56 percent of all firms surveyed saying they use cloud-based software, which is up from 48 percent in 2014 and 29 percent in 2012.

Here are the top three benefits (both tangible and non-tangible) showcasing how adopting the cloud can pay off for your organization:

  1. Mobility and flexibility

Transitioning from a traditional IT setup to the cloud can not only save your business IT dollars, but it has nontangible benefits as well. One of those benefits is creating a better work-life balance for your employees.

Implementing a hosted cloud and virtual desktop solution enables businesses and their employees to have more mobility and flexibly. With the ability to work from any location or device, employees don’t have to make sacrifices for their careers or home life. They’re able to live their lives fully while getting great work done. A better work-life balance helps workers mentally, physically and emotionally be better professionals, which in turn means your business can provide better service to your end customers.

While having a better work-life balance can directly impact your bottom line, the improved morale and employee satisfaction also leads to more productivity and less employee turnover. Businesses have become more conscious of the early warning signs of employee burnout, such as increased absenteeism or a slackening of the quality of work done. These direct benefits are the exact reason why the evolving work-life balance policies is a top business trend for accounting firms of all sizes.

  1. Security

The constantly-evolving nature of the IT industry and technology in general, makes defending against cyber threats and hackers challenging for businesses, especially those that try to manage IT internally. In fact, one of the leading threats is ransomware (a type of malicious software that encrypts files, blocks access to computer systems and then requires an anonymous payment to get it back unharmed).

Ransomware is the latest malware scouring headlines and can be a big threat to businesses. BBC News reports that more than 120 types or “families” of ransomware currently exist while TechRepublic claims 49 percent of businesses fell victim to cyber ransom attacks in 2016 with continued growth of those attacks in 2017. Organizations that don’t regularly update security practices are not equipped to protect their data and applications from these types of super viruses and can easily become victims.

The benefit of transitioning to the cloud is that your cloud provider will ensure your system and your data is secure at all times. Prior to your migration, your cloud provider will take the time to pinpoint potential weaknesses in your company’s cybersecurity strategy and set up preventive and predictive measures to be more secure. Many providers will also recommend enterprise-level firewalls, multi-layered virus and spam protection, intrusion prevention, daily backups, encryption, two-factor authentication for sign-on access and user-defined permissions. You won’t have to worry about your data or your clients’ data being compromised.

  1. Peace of mind and support

As mentioned previously, by migrating to the cloud you gain access to experienced IT professionals who will make sure your network and data are secure. By working with a cloud vendor, you will also gain peace of mind knowing that you can call on them to fix any problems as they arise. Additionally, they take over the burden of making sure your network is up-to-date and that your business has the technology it needs to be successful. Your cloud provider becomes your virtual CIO who can take the burden of researching the hottest technology and help you integrate them into your current business seamlessly so that you can focus on what’s most important– your customers!

Contact Cetrom at 866-364-1098 or to find out how your organization can start benefiting from switching to the cloud today. They are happy to explain how our fixed IT costs can improve your bottom line, increase the morale of your employees and allow you to focus on your daily operations instead of IT.

Christopher Stark – President and CEO of Cetrom