Can Cloud Service Providers Help Your CPA Firm Work Smarter?
August 11, 2017
Smarter not harder is a common phrase, and with new technologies developing every day, it is becoming easier to follow that mantra. Computers made everything easier for accountants, but in earlier times employees still had to type everything in manually. Next came the age of scanning, which made life even easier. Nowadays, there’s an app for that.
Nearly everything is easier with the cloud at your fingertips. Cloud service providers have so many new accounting technologies at their fingertips that allow even small practices to act like larger firms. Whether your concerns are related to data storage or cyber security, cloud service providers can help.
The Ease of Documenting
Document sorting is no longer the rigorous duty it once was. Many receipts are electronic, can be scanned, and storage is eternal. Clients that present accounting offices with receipts and other documentation may or may not already have software that keeps track of everything for them. Many accounting firms may want to see the hard copies, especially if there are any problems, just in case the third-party software your client is using, or the client missed something in transferring the of data.
New data analyzers and scanning applications can scan invoices and receipts in a matter of minutes. The scanned image can be sent to a PDF file and display the necessary information as needed. The application can withdraw key data from the PDF and mark them so it is easy for the accountant to find the information they need. From there, the data can be sent into the cloud with other invoices and receipts where another app can consolidate the data and place it onto a spreadsheet.
How the Cloud Helps CPA Firms
The cloud allows CPA firms to move all their IT needs to a cloud service provider who can keep track of all your hardware needs. You can sit in your office with just a computer or laptop and an Internet connection, and not worry about your servers, IT personnel, or application management. The cloud service provider will take care of your application updates, hardware issues, and data backups. A monthly fee is usually associated with the service, and you are able to add or remove any parts of the service agreement whenever you need to. In other words, if you need more computers and server space during tax season, then you can contact your cloud service provider, and they will hook you up.
One of the greatest things about going through a provider is it lets smaller firms feel like larger firms. A cloud provider can purchase accounting software with X number of licenses, and then you can use the software from their servers. The software does not cost you directly, and the licenses are free. The catch is the provider can get the licenses much cheaper because they buy them in bulk. This means you save a bunch of money on the software, and it gives you the opportunity to use the same software larger CPA firms are using. Find out more about the cloud and how it helps small CPA firms: download the white paper: Small Business Networking.
Expand your Outreach to Clients
Through client portals you can keep meetings short and concise. A client portal requires the client to enter a username and password, and login to access their information. This can help stop calls and longer meetings with clients because they can review everything via the Internet. Cloud service providers can place your client portal in the cloud where the clients have access to all their information; the portal can be used to set up or cancel appointments, and information can be uploaded directly to your servers. The client portals have an additional layer of security to help stop viruses and malware from getting from their computers to yours.
You know what security measures you have taken to protect the information on your computers and your servers, but that does not mean the client has any form of antiviral software. If they just bring in a thumb drive and you download the information directly onto your computer, then there is no guarantee you didn’t load a virus at the same time.
In addition, client portals give you the chance to reach out through extended email lists. These email lists can be used to contact all your clients via a single email. This is great for emergencies, important updates, or promotions.
The world has evolved to a mobile, non-stop entity. Everything must be accessible through portable devices. Laptops, tablets, and smartphones run the market on portable devices, but there are also watches, medical equipment, and other devices that connect to the cloud. Cloud service providers can help you connect to the mobile world. Through client portals and mobile applications, you can allow your clients to connect via multiple devices to their portals.
Providers can also make your work a lot easier through mobile devices. Imagine being at home sick or at a coffee shop, and having the ability to connect to your servers through a smart phone or tablet. This allows you to participate in meetings and access files you may have forgotten, or bring up information on an individual or company on the fly.
Cloud service providers can help you make smarter decisions in how you handle your client base, how you access your servers and information, and how you connect to your clients and the rest of the world. Get a free assessment and see how TOSS can help you today.
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