Whether you’re considering moving parts of your accounting firm to the cloud or not, it’s important you understand what your current IT environment looks like. If you are considering a move to the cloud, you need to know what benefits your accounting business will receive as a result. For example, how will you know the financial ROI on adopting a cloud platform if you don’t know what your current IT expenses are?
In this article, we’ll cover the complete checklist of every factor you should consider when looking at your accounting firm’s IT infrastructure, and how a cloud solution might alleviate the problem.
✓ Expenses: How Much Are You Paying?
First things first. Look at your IT costs. Collate reports and receipts of exactly how much your hardware, software licenses, support, internet connection(s) and other IT outgoings are costing you on a monthly and/or annual basis.
Secondly, get your IT department to help you itemize your complete business hardware itinerary. How many employee devices (laptops, mobile devices, desktops, etc) does your company own? How much did they cost? Where are they now? How much does it cost to set a new one up?
✓ Server Costs: How Much Does Your Data Storage Cost Your Business?
The next cost to look at is your server architecture. Gain an understanding of what goes into running your servers, including hardware costs, maintenance, and so on. Include in this the cost of actually powering the server room; it’s probably significant. Finally, is having an on-site server location impacting your accounting firm? Does it prevent you from hiring additional staff due to space restrictions, for example? If you can, figure that factor out.
✓ How Much Time Are Management Staff Spending on IT?
Your IT staff should be covering any IT-related issues, but often you’ll find your managers or even partners trying to quickly solve issues to get their staff members up and running once again. Take some time to understand how much time is eaten up by these tasks. There may be an opportunity cost as well, as this is often billable time that’s lost.
✓ Your IT Staff; How Much Do They Cost Your Accounting Firm?
You probably love your IT staff. They’re always there to fix your laptop if something goes wrong. Be that as it may, your IT staff could be costing a fortune – one that may not be wholly necessary with a cloud solution. Take a look at your IT department’s budgets to see just how much of your businesses’ money is going into your IT headcount.
On the flip-side of this, take a look at what outsourcing your IT costs might do for your businesses’ financials, particularly when it comes to using the cloud for aspects of your accounting business.
✓ The Cost of Disasters/Downtime
Yes, the terrible possibility of your servers going down. As much as you don’t want to think about it, consider how much your accounting business will suffer if those servers do go down or worse. How much money and productive time will you and your staff lose? Not only that, but excessive downtime can impact your reputation, internally and externally.
It’s an unlikely but entirely possible scenario, so be sure you’ve accounted for it when looking at your IT infrastructure. Most businesses often don’t consider this until something happens and it’s too late.
✓ Slow Equipment and Unreliable Hardware
Similar to the previous point, this point focuses on what hardware might be costing your accounting business if it’s slow, and not necessarily outright broken. In many cases, this can be a worse scenario. If business is slowed by internet speeds dropping, your servers crawling at a snail’s pace, how much valuable time is being wasted – especially since it’s not an emergency? Slow response times aren’t the emergency you depend on IT for, and businesses can go for months with unresolved issues as a result.
If you can, figure out what this kind of scenario might cost your business. Also, think about the intangible costs this has on employee attitudes and culture.
✓ Security: How Much Does It Cost Your Business to Secure Your Data?
When you consider the costs of securing your server room, you might think of your doors and locks, or maybe even your security team if you have one. However, more than ever it’s important to educate your staff to avoid them incidentally leaking sensitive information.
Read more on why Cloud Hosting is more secure than your current on-site set-up.
✓ How Fast Can You Access Your Data?
Your IT infrastructure is limited by your hardware, networking setup and by the amount of staff accessing corporate systems at any one time. Consider the limitations of your businesses’ IT infrastructure, and whether the cloud might alleviate any bottleneck issues that occur when the office is at its busiest.
✓ Future-Proofed: What Will Future Upgrades Cost?
Your on-site hardware might be working flawlessly now, but what happens when you need to add additional systems to the network, or the server room needs doubling in size due to business increases?
Purchasing hardware locks you in to finite resources and overhauling this infrastructure can be a painful process, so consider how this might impact your business in a few years’ time.
Many if not all of these considerations can be eliminated or minimized by moving to cloud solutions. Interested in how the cloud can help your accounting firm do more? Speak to OneSpace now to learn how.