IT service management

Five Ways IT Service Management Benefits Accounting Firms

October 16, 2017

IT is more than just the guys in the server room. IT is the nuts and bolts of everything technical in your company. The cloud has come along and instituted some great technological advances to help IT handle larger workloads, but service management helps to set new protocols into action to better manage service delivery options to your customers.

In the world of accounting there are really only three ways to continually increase growth. You have to add more clients, solidly keep the clients you presently have, or find new innovative solutions that will elevate your business to a new level. These new solutions must create efficient services, or give current clients a need to spend more. It is time to look at the benefits IT managed services can provide for your company.

Improving Core Processes

Today it is important to have access to your client information immediately. This does not mean just having server access, but having the ability to bring up data no matter where you are. This is where the cloud can help. All core spreadsheets and databases should be located in the cloud. This way you can access information from your office, your home, or the local coffee stand around the corner.

Accountants no longer sit in their office and wait for the phone to ring. It’s important to be able to help the client from wherever you are when you answer that important tax call. Integrating IT managed services will allow you to come up with strategies to scan documents, access very old content, or set up client portals to give them access to their information when you are busy.

Software Upgrades

Software upgrades can be tedious, and IT can make sure all your software is up to date as soon as possible. It is imperative that accounting firms are accurate for customers, but it is also important to allocate the right resources to help the company. Don’t have IT get some tax software that can add the numbers for you, but make sure there are three copies generated with every save. One copy should be sent to the customer, one to the government and one locally for your office. Diagnostic reports should pop up errors before sending the returns so you have time to review any discrepancies. Download the white paper: Small Business Networking.

Build the Client Relationship

You may look at your desk and see all the work that has to be done by the end of the day. You may have to talk with or finish work for several clients, and you know they all will have questions for you. Each one of those clients will want your undivided attention.

How can the firm reduce man-hours on the phone, but still make the customer feel they are all important?

IT can create the action steps to make this happen. This may require a customer portal where customers can log in whenever they want so they can leave messages or review the current state of their documentation. This alone will help CPAs to answer questions by priority instead of getting stuck on the phone at the last minute.

Implementing ITSM

Times are changing and the world is becoming more competitive. Clients, especially those of the millennial generation, do not have the loyalty there once was. It is too easy to log in to one’s computer and find other companies that offer the same options you do. So, once you have a client you need to hold on to them or develop a strategy to collect many more clients on a regular basis. Cloud service providers may be able to help with this. Some companies, such as TOSS, have been implementing IT service management integrations for years. Some things to consider when building an IT management system are:

  • Personnel – You need highly trained professional people on your staff that are willing to be trained when new technologies arise. This can be expensive and many companies are looking at cloud providers for help with this.
  • Workflow – Best practices need to be integrated into everyday policies in IT. In some cases, you will need to have personnel who are job specific to make sure everything is running smoothly. With processes in place, it is easier for everyone to follow the specified guidelines, and there are fewer access and control problems if there is a turnover in personnel.
  • Technology – The better the technology the smoother everything will run, right? Not necessarily, because the costs of the latest and greatest can put a financial burden on your firm. When dealing with technology you are not just looking at the hardware or the software, but you have to consider network configuration, database management, application management, mobile solutions across the networks, and much more. Get your complimentary copy of Greg Hanna’s book ‘Computers Should Just Work!’
  • IT’s Place in the Organization – IT plays a role in how data is handled in every department of an organization. Client data will have to be stored differently than core data. HR may have requirements and access that accountants do not have, and vice versa. Is IT responsible for internal data storage, while a cloud service provider handles all external data, mobile connections, portals, and monitoring?
  • IT as its Own Little Business – Look at IT as its own little part of the company. It handles most the technology, but where does it stand in the business model? It has costs and expenditures, including expenses related to new features. How is IT giving you a return on your investment? IT is important, but it can also drain a lot of your financial resources.

IT service management helps the IT department become more proactive and preventative when dealing with possible network issues. It helps to distribute and integrate data across multiple platforms, so your firm can keep running smoothly.

IT is important, but like every part of the company, it needs to be managed proficiently without hindering its capabilities. Don’t hold your business back – put IT managed services to work and enjoy the benefits. Get a free assessment, and see how TOSS can help your accounting firm today.

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