It’s easy to go overboard when it comes to cloud application adoption. There is a cloud service for just about anything an accounting firm might want to do. This includes accounting tools with all the bells and whistles to every-day workflow solutions for task management and human resources.
What often happens is that companies add software as a service (SaaS) subscriptions one by one as they find a need for them or as employees find the “latest cool tool.” Then one day, they realize their technology budget has gotten completely out of hand.
The average spend on cloud subscriptions per employee is $2,884 annually.
When you start adding up all the different cloud applications your Nampa area CPA firm uses, you may be surprised just how many there are. Here are some business averages for the number of apps per company based upon size.
- 0-50 employees: 40 cloud apps
- 51-100 employees: 79 cloud apps
- 101-250 employees: 99 cloud apps
- 251-500 employees: 123 cloud apps
How do you keep your cloud spending from getting out of control but ensure your accounting and tax firm is still competitive?
We’ll go through some of the most important cloud technology tools you need to run your business.
Choose Apps Wisely to Reduce Costs & Improve Efficiency
In many cases, a CPA firm is using three or four different applications to accomplish what one application could do. That leaves them not only paying more than they need to for the functionality, their processes may be broken up and not well integrated.
Choosing the right cloud tools can make all the difference.
Here are the most important cloud applications for accounting and tax firms to use. You can use these suggestions to streamline and reduce unnecessary costs.
Accounting with Specialty Features
The most obvious cloud application that an accounting firm cannot do without is a reliable and secure accounting platform that has specialty features they may need for different clients.
Such as the ability to do job costing or manufacturing-related accounting activities, like COG and inventory. Payroll and retail functions are also needed for many CPA firms.
Platforms like QuickBooks Online and Xero include both the basic accounting functionality and have expandability to handle industry specific needs.
All-in-One Productivity Suite
Productivity suites that include multiple tools in a single platform can streamline your cloud use, reduce costs on monthly SaaS subscriptions and allow you to automate processes more easily.
Look for productivity suites like Microsoft 365 or G Suite. They’re designed to consolidate your workflow, and if you make full use of them, you’ll most likely find you can drop some of your other app subscriptions.
For example, if you’re using a separate video conference app (like Zoom), team messaging app (like Slack), and cloud storage (like Dropbox), you can replace all those applications, and more, by using Microsoft 365, which has Teams and OneDrive which can take the place of those other apps.
VoIP Phone System
One of the big lessons of the shutdown due to the global pandemic was that companies need to prepare for anything, including running their business remotely for extended periods of time.
Replacing a landline-based phone system with a VoIP phone solution not only can dramatically reduce your monthly phone costs, it also removes a barrier to easily working remotely.
VoIP allows you to answer your phone lines from any location and any device, giving your callers the same experience no matter where your personnel are working from.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Being able to track leads, see which conversion activities are working best, and handle effective client follow up is the function of a CRM application.
Without one, you can end up trying to piece together emails to find a customer journey from lead to sale or have follow up falling between the cracks because you don’t have a centralized place to keep up with everything.
54% of customers have higher expectations for customer service now than they did just 12 months ago. Growing competition in the accounting industry often means that your customer experience is the one thing making you stand out over others in your field.
CRMs give you the tools to automate follow up activities, keep all customer interactions in one place, and improve your overall customer support experience.
Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)
With so much sensitive data in the cloud, it’s important that your IT security strategy extends to your cloud apps.
A CASB allows you to enforce standard security policies across all your different cloud applications through features like:
- Endpoint access monitoring
- Credential/login security
- Behavior monitoring for threats
- Automated safeguards to block unauthorized access
- Evaluation of cloud apps for risk and compliance
- Discovery of shadow IT
Cloud Backup & Recovery Program
While you may already have a backup function in your cloud accounting program, what about the data in all your other cloud apps?
Cloud storage is not the same as backup and recovery. In a cloud storage application, it’s easy for a file to be lost due to overwriting or a glitch during syncing with a PC.
You want to ensure that you’re backing up both on-premises data and cloud application data in a 3rd party cloud backup and recovery system that has you covered in the event of a ransomware attack or other type of data loss incident.
Put a Solid (and Affordable) Cloud Infrastructure in Place!
Connect2Geek can help your accounting firm streamline your use of the cloud and put an infrastructure in place that’s both secure and drives productivity.
Schedule a free cloud consultation today! Call 208-468-4323 or reach out online.