Getting the Most Out of Your Managed Service Provider
September 12, 2017
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Your CPA firm has decided to take the leap and partner with a managed service provider. You’re in good company; accounting firms of all sizes are outsourcing their complicated technology needs to these skilled companies. You may be using a managed service provider to maintain the security of your network, to handle your cloud-based services, or even to maintain on-premise servers. No matter how you use them, a managed service provider can help streamline your business and keep it safe from a cyber breach.
But now that you’ve decided to establish this partnership, how will you reap the maximum benefit from this arrangement? This post shares our best tips on how to establish and maintain a great relationship with your managed service provider.
Understand What You’re Getting Into
The key word in that last sentence was “relationship.” Your managed service provider should become a partner in your business. This is particularly crucial because we are so dependent today on technology. You’re handing over one of your most important business functions to these firms, so it’s okay to expect a lot. But what you’re expecting should not be left to assumptions – it must be clearly defined.
As you are setting up the service, your managed service provider should do an assessment of your current technology usage and configuration, along with developing an understanding of your business cycle and organizational priorities. Depending on the service you’re using, the assessment may evaluate:
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It’s helpful if the firm has worked in the accounting industry before because they’ll already have a basic outline of the framework you operate under. The assessment process will help the MSP get a handle on your unique situation and goals.
This relationship is governed by a service level agreement (SLA). As you’re working together to get started, here are some tips for crafting a clearly precise SLA that you may find helpful:
These are just some of the considerations for CPA firms as they take the step toward establishing a partnership with a managed service provider.
These relationships may begin with a short-term goal that evolves over time as your technology and business imperatives change. That’s why it’s important to find a managed service provider that can scale with your business when you need it to. But before this happens, lay the groundwork for a mutually-beneficial partnership.
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