Eight Reasons Firms Should Move to the Cloud

The 2017 CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA.org) Paperless Benchmark Survey released in the first quarter of this year, found that 23% of firms had moved their IT Infrastructure to cloud providers instead of building and maintaining them themselves among other findings.

Read below as to why this trend is accelerating and why your firm should be considering the move if they are not already.

Replacement Cost of Onsite Network

As servers come to life there is a cost of not only replacing the physical equipment, but conducting a thorough evaluation of current options and whether your internal personal have the experience to properly implement the new solution the first time.  Case in point, for the majority of firms Hosted Microsoft Exchange is a no-brainer from a cost/feature perspective but internal IT personnel want to maintain control of email.

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Xcentric Is On the 2017 MSPmentor 501 List

Xcentric ranks among the world’s most progressive 501 Managed Service Providers (MSPs), according to MSPmentor’s 10th -annual MSP 501 Worldwide Company Rankings. The top MSP 501 companies ranked this year include organizations from around the world and from diverse technology and business backgrounds. Collectively, they amassed $14.48 billion in total revenue (based on 2016 results), up more than 15 percent from last year.

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Content for Xcentric Cloud Newbies

New to the Cloud?

Below is a great set of content that can help answer various questions you may have.

Dedicated Internet for Reliable Cloud Access

“For firms looking to utilize the power of cloud technology, the right internet connection is imperative. A powerful cloud without the right type of internet connection is inefficient and can prevent a firm from realizing the complete benefit of a hosted cloud solution. So what type of primary internet connection is considered best practice for firms in the cloud?”

Cloud Secret Sauce: The Xcentric Cloud Appliance

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Strategically Optimizing Information Technology in Today’s CPA Firm

CPA firms are amongst the most complex business entities, from an IT perspective, as their individual departments require unique applications and equipment to optimize each department’s production processes.  The average CPA firm utilizes more than sixty applications that are constantly being updated on a wide variety of workstations, ranging from multi-monitor tax desktops to mobile workstations designed for auditors and remote consultants.  Add the varying production requirements of each department’s file transfer, remote access, information security, optimized workflow, and disaster recovery, and it is easy to see that information technology impacts every aspect of firm production and needs to be integrated into the firm’s overall strategic plans.  This article will outline key considerations to ensure that firms strategically optimize their IT planning.

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How Does Ransomware Impact Xcentric Cloud Users?

Ransomware defense is not something that CPA firms can afford to neglect. Ransomware is a broad name given to a class of rogue software that is maliciously used to encrypt unsuspecting CPA firms’ files. Once the virus is in place on a workstation or a server, the owner of the malicious software can then demand that a ransom be paid by the firm before they will restore access to the infected files. A successful ransomware attack has the potential to greatly harm a firm. Some firms choose to pay the ransom and hope that the cyber criminals will return their data. Others might refuse to pay the ransom and make an attempt to recover their data. The global total cost of ransomware attacks in 2016 was close to a billion dollars. Even in positive scenarios, where firms are able to get their data back, the cost in terms of lost time and money spent on recovery can be significant. As technology progresses, and cyber criminals become more sophisticated in their attacks, the danger to

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Technology Apps and Trends

The 2017 CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA) Paperless Benchmark Survey was completed just before this past busy season with the purpose of identifying technology trends within medium and large accounting firms, which eventually trickle down for use by smaller firms. A block of questions was targeted specifically towards audit and accounting adoption and highlighted areas where firms may want to rethink their current applications, tools, and procedures.

Audit Suites

Firms traditionally had a “best of breed” approach when it came to selecting which audit programs/approach and engagement binders they would use, with most firms using a combination of Thomson Reuters/PPC, CCH, and Caseware products. The 2017 survey found that 60% of firms had transitioned to a single audit suite (up from 34% in 2015), which points to increased efficiency and integration within a single vendor suite. This integration can also carry over into your tax practice, as the majority of respondents (62%) linked their engagement binder trial balance to their tax program for a digital import instead of re-keying the data, saving the firm time and reducing errors.

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Xcentric Named to CRN’s 2017 Solution Provider 500 List

We’re happy to announce that CRN has included us in its 2017 Solution Provider 500 (SP500) list. The SP500 is CRN’s annual ranking of the largest technology integrators, solution providers and IT consultants in North America by revenue.

The SP500 is CRN’s predominant channel partner award list, serving as the industry standard for recognition of the most successful solution provider companies in the channel since 1995. This year, for the first time since 2010, the complete list will be published on CRN.com, making it readily available to vendors seeking out top solution providers to partner with. 

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Protecting the Edge – The Basics Are No Longer Enough

Cybercrime has to be taken seriously. Firms can no longer sit idly by, believing that criminals only target large corporations or businesses online. Preventing data theft requires a proactive commitment. Fortunately, many firms have taken warnings from the headlines and made steps to secure their corporate network and data. For firms that have not had serious discussions about securing their network, moving to the cloud can be a prime opportunity to put practical defenses in place.

In theory, moving to the cloud with a legitimate provider increases the physical security of a firms’ data. Data centers are often much more secure and prepared for contingency than the server room in the back of the office that has traditionally served as the home for many networks. A competent cloud provider should also be able to provide virtual security within their cloud environment, including server antivirus solutions and firewalls protecting the data center. However, a secure cloud at first look does not always guarantee protected data or a secure firm. While it’s true that after a cloud conversion servers and data

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Administrative Findings From 2017 Paperless Benchmark Survey

CPAFMA has authored the longest-running paperless benchmark survey focused exclusively on the accounting profession (since 2003) with the intention of providing firm administrative managers actionable information to improve their firms.  This year, four *NEW* Administrative questions were added to the 2017 Paperless Benchmark Survey to identify emerging trends impacting our own CPA firm back office operations.  These questions focused on the applications firms were using for recruiting, evaluations, CPE tracking and storing of CPE certificates.  Below we summarize those items which may provide a solution to one of the administrative issues you are facing today!

Digital Tool for Recruiting

Only one out of seven firms (14% of survey respondents) were managing their recruiting with a dedicated application/service so we would place this technology in the “emerging” category.  BambooHR (3%) and JazzHR (2%) were the top two selections of peer firms followed by individual firms selecting UltiPro, Ascentis, Halogen, Mangrove, ADP, Bullhorn, Silkroad, MyStaffingPro, and Exacthire.  As human resources is a trending issue in most of our firms, look for these applications to

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