The accounting industry has been relatively slow in adopting technology. In the last ten years however, it has become clear that having strong IT systems and processes, with a secure and reliable infrastructure, was not anymore “nice to have” but a basic necessity for being a business. Slowly but surely, IT has become more important for accounting firms of all sizes, from the self-employed bookkeeper to the big 4 CPA firms. Cloud accounting in particular has become the norm rather than the exception. Other areas where huge changes have been seen include automation, artificial intelligence, big data and cybersecurity.
Traditionally, accounting firms have relied on outsourced IT providers on a break-fix model or on a retainer to help them with their IT needs, until they reach a size where hiring an IT person internally made financial sense. One option that many accounting firms are missing is the use of MSPs or Managed Services Providers.
What is a Managed Services Provider?
A Managed Service Provider is an IT service company that provides a proactive IT maintenance and support service. Under a subscription model, the MSP will monitor continuously clients’ systems and networks using proprietary tools, and take action as soon as needed. By working with a MSP, dealing with tens of separate cloud and software vendors will be a thing of the past and you will receive a single monthly bill usually based on the number of users or devices supported.
Managed Service Providers packages may differ but in most cases will include a combination of 24/7 helpdesk, remote technical support, file sharing and collaboration setup, business email, network monitoring, data security, backups and disaster recovery planning.
Benefits of using a Managed Services Provider
Using a MSP provides the following benefits for accounting companies:
- Predictable costs: You understand how much you need to budget for your IT needs as you receive a single monthly bill from your provider each month.
- Reduced Expenses: Over the long term, most studies have found that the preventive approach to maintenance used by MSPs was cheaper for SMEs.
- Scalability & Flexibility: Are you growing fast and in need to set up new computers or purchase licenses for your new employees? Do you need to bring in outsourced staff for a month or two? Are some of your staff to start working remotely tomorrow? Your MSP can help you navigate those changes with limited friction.
- Access to Professional Expertise: You do not need to hire IT specialists and experts in-house. Your MSP is your IT partner who will help you with your IT needs while you focus on growing your own accounting business.
- Proactive Monitoring: MSPs are able to monitor your network as well as workstations, and will be able to take action if something goes wrong.
- 24/7 Availability: Even if you have one IT person on staff, working with a MSP will allow your staff to have access to technical support beyond business hours or during week ends.
- Software Upgrades: Your MSP will keep all your software and systems up to date, improving productivity and reducing the risks of breaches to your data.
- Data Security: Security threats are quickly evolving and losing customer data may be a death sentence for many firms. Your MSP will help you set up or improve the necessary systems to protect your data.
- Improved Compliance: Compliance and Risk Mitigation are critical for accounting firms. Choosing the right MSP with an understanding of the requirements for the jurisdiction you are practicing it is essential to stay compliant with local and national rules and requirements, and limit liability.
- Cloud Readiness: MSPs and CSPs (Cloud Services Providers) are the best partners to assist you with your digital transformation projects and help move your systems to the cloud.
Using a Managed Services Provider allows you to benefit from top talent to help with your IT needs, reduces the complexity of your operations, improve your overall security and lower your operating costs over time. MSPs can help introduce innovative technologies and practices, making you more competitive in the marketplace.
01 Remote is a Greater Toronto Area-based Managed Service Provider with a focus on professional services firms. Our founder is a CPA and as such we understand the accounting industries and its requirements in terms of regulatory compliance, data security and privacy. You can review our Managed Service Packages here. We also provide customized solutions to meet specific requirements. Whether you only need affordable cloud backups of your server or selected desktop computers, or to completely outsource your IT to a third party, please contact us to discuss further and receive a quote. We serve accounting firms of all sizes in Canada and the United States. You can find our contact information here.