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You Can Prepare for Any Business Disruption with Xcentric and Citrix

What would happen if the power went out at your office just as you started reading this post? Or a fire alarm sounded? Or you learned you were in the path of a fast-moving hurricane or snowstorm?

Any expected or unexpected event that interrupts everyday operations and prevents people from doing their work can bring your business to its knees – not just financially, but also in terms of lost productivity, damage to reputation and other less quantifiable but equally serious consequences.

That’s the bad news. (more…)

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. (more…)

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

(more…)

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 accounting firms only increases. (more…)

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 are located in secure data centers, users and their workstations are still located in the real world on the outside of the data center’s defenses. It’s in this gray area between the cloud and the ground that hackers are currently focusing their attacks. In order to truly gain the security benefits of working in the cloud, protection around the edges of the cloud has to be implemented.  (more…)

Real Life Example of a Firm Using the Cloud to Meet Hiring Needs

One benefit of using the cloud is that you don’t have to limit your search for good employees to your geographical area.  Whether it’s long-term or seasonal, it’s possible to get high-quality work done from employees thousands of miles away from your firm’s office.

For instance, I know of a firm located in a smaller Virginia town who was looking for some quality temporary employees. With an approaching 4/18 deadline, there was a high load of returns still needing to be processed.  The managing partner reached out to AccountingFly, a great resource for finding accountants to hire all over the country, and was able to find two remote employees who happened to live in California.  Both seemed to have great experience, and both were looking for a little extra work. (more…)

The Undifferentiated Heavy Lifting That Threatens Your Firm’s Growth

Each year, we speak to thousands of accounting firms from all across the country about Cloud and its relevance to creating operating efficiencies. In fact, our very own Roman Kepczyk specializes in using the Lean Six Sigma process to help firms squeeze out every last ounce of productivity by streamlining their tax, audit, and administrative workflows.

One of the core tenants of the Lean Six Sigma process is to eliminate waste, or unproductive cycles, in a process. In 2006, Jeff Bezos proposed that businesses spend 70% of their time, energy, and dollars on undifferentiated heavy lifting and only 30% on true differentiated value creation. Nowhere is this more present in than in the realm of managing the technology life cycle. Every 3-4 years, your peers replace technology that was functionally working — although it may be deemed end-of-life by the manufacturer — with another black box that essentially does exactly the same job. The replacement may be marginally better or faster, but rarely does it add revenue, better enable you to deliver services, or increase your ability to grow your firm. (more…)

Roy’s Ramblings: Cloud Enables Growth & Scale

If your firm is going through or preparing for a merger/acquisition, this short 2-minute video applies to you.  If your firm is interested in retaining key employees with the incentive of working from home and/or not having to quit the firm if their spouse is relocating, etc., this video is for you.

Several CPA firms often find themselves stuck in the same IT routine, replacing their core IT systems every few years without adding value.  In the Xcentric Cloud, you don’t have to do stay in that routine.  Watch this quick video to find out how to become more scalable and add more value to your firm. (more…)

Building Your Firm’s Technology (Vendor) Team

Designing and implementing a high-quality network that supports the needs of a CPA firm is not a simple task. Unfortunately, as technology progresses, what has always been a difficult task is only becoming more complex. On a positive note, the opportunities for CPA firms to take advantage of different and new technologies has grown drastically and those opportunities will only continue to increase. Looking forward, technology companies will continue to create new applications and services that will allow CPA firms to better serve their clients. This continuing growth and development of the relationship between IT providers and the accounting industry creates both opportunities and challenges for IT decision makers. (more…)

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