Citrix Blog Post: Anywhere Access to Business-critical Apps
With today’s mobile workforce, employees in businesses of all sizes and in all industries want – or actually demand – remote access to business-critical apps and data to help them achieve work-life balance. They’re working from home offices, collaborating with customers and colleagues, working with stakeholders in different time zones, and using a variety of networks.
Forward-thinking businesses like yours are stepping up to deliver mobility because they are seeing the value of moving beyond just providing basic network access to providing secure, portable, always-on, always-connected working environments that follow and empower employees with access to business-critical apps regardless of their location, choice of device or connectivity. (more…)
Beware Technology “Gotchas” in M&A
Merger discussions kick into high gear each summer as partners look to expand their practice reach, combine well-suited practices, discuss new service opportunities, and address succession and retirement issues. Often, these discussions focus on tax and assurance practice compatibility from a financial and cultural perspective, and while Information Technology is touched upon, the lack of IT knowledge often has the negotiators defaulting IT issues to a later time. Unfortunately, many firms have found out that there are a variety of IT “gotchas” that can result it major headaches with hidden financial consequences after the deal is closed. Below are a number of technology surprises that firms should look out for before the M&A celebrations start. (more…)
Software Tool Spotlight: Make Audits Smoother with Suralink
Suralink is a cloud-based platform that combines the multiple tools that CPA firms traditionally use on audits and other complex engagements for document exchange and communicating with clients. Central to Suralink is a dynamic PBC needs list that is integrated into a secure file hosting platform. Layered on top of the needs list is audit and tax specific workflow plus the ability to communicate back and forth with clients regarding the status of individual requests and the overall engagement. A dashboard, timeline, and key data analytics provide partners and managers with a high-level view of each engagement for better decision making. Finally, firms can request, receive, track and manage all of their needs from a single platform while providing a better client experience. (more…)
New Dates: IT Partner Webinar Series
We have finalized the rescheduled dates for this webinar series. Thank you to everyone who has waited patiently.
This 3-part series focuses on helping IT Partners be better IT Partners to their firms. We have found in our years of serving accounting firms that often times the partner in charge of technology didn’t necessarily volunteer for the role and/or are distracted by their ‘day job.’ This series will better position people for success in their role and, in relatively short order, will catch them up to speed on the trending and important topics in the industry.
Registration is easy (and free)! When you sign up for one of these three webinars, you sign up for all of them. Click on any of the links below and fill out the form. So what are you waiting for? Register today! (more…)
Citrix Blog Post: Reduce IT Costs
Stop Doing Costly, Manual Desktop Setups and Updates and Start Saving with Virtualization
Every time someone from IT manually updates an employee’s desktop in your organization, it makes a distinctive sound.
It’s the sound of unnecessary IT spending on manual efforts to keep individual PCs up-to-date with the latest patches or the newest versions of operating systems and apps. And the more employees and devices your organization has, the faster that spending adds up.
App virtualization can change all that. Instead of running apps locally on each individual PC, centralize them in the data center and deliver them as a service over a network connection to the actual hardware where they’ll be running. (more…)
Cloud Secret Sauce: The Xcentric Cloud Appliance
The benefits of using a cloud network, custom-built to support the unique technology needs of the accounting industry are numerous. That being said, moving to the cloud is a huge step for many firms. The unique technology needs of the accounting industry can complicate the migration of a CPA firm into the cloud for many technology providers. Some providers simply have not thought through or experienced supporting or building a cloud environment specifically for an accounting firm. One of the areas where complications can arise and productivity can be lost involves the actual connection to the cloud. Simply building a high-quality cloud in a data center is not enough to ensure that firms are able to leverage that cloud to make their users more productive and their business more successful. Through years of supporting the accounting industry, we believe that a dual approach that involves connecting both users and offices to the cloud allows a firm to properly take advantage of cloud technology. (more…)
IT basics. Are you helping yourself?
First, a disclaimer – I will be the first to say I am not the most technically savvy person out there and possibly the least savvy person at Xcentric. So rather than offending you, I am challenging myself, and perhaps it’s applicable to you.
Are you too good (or smart, billable, busy, high-up, etc.) for IT? …We’ll come back to this question.
“The use of non-life to enhance life.”
This is the proper definition of technology and frames up any conversation around technology as it can be any number of things that increases efficiency or well-being. It’s not simply blinky lights and binary flowing over the inter-web but can be anything with or without a circuit in it.
With that in mind – imagine with me – you are stuck in the wilderness far away from civilization. You are going to have to survive with what you have on you…and that happens to be a really nice, decently sized knife. Will you take care of the knife? Protect it, clean it, and learn how to use it? My guess is you will. It’s your lifeblood. You may whittle a stick with it, make a fire, dig a hole, use it as a spear…you get the point.
This is how I view technology in the workplace in this day and age – it’s not a convenience to have; it’s for your survival. Simply said, technology underutilized is the death of you. We are all guilty of underutilizing the tools given to us…some more than others.
So what’s the point?
I am in many many accounting firms, and it is often the case that one or a few partners glaze over when IT comes up. A token example of a conversation in 10% of the firms I walk into to demo the cloud is:
Partner: How do I setup my iPhone/iPad to work with your cloud?
Roy: Look, go here in the portal where we have all of the instructions laid out, and we walk you through it step by step.
Partner: You mean I actually have to do it myself? We usually just get our IT person/firm to set it up for partner-level people.
Roy: Hmm, ok. Well…(awkward silence)…we’ll come back to that then.
I understand not knowing how to do something and struggling with a learning curve, but to wipe your hands clean of having to learn IT basics does no one any good and especially not yourself and your business’s bottom line. The sentiment of not having to learn some basic IT functions is either:
a) Fear of the unknown: this is very reasonable and ideally you have a team or teammate who can come alongside and coach you in these areas, or
b) Arrogance or Density: you think its beneath you to learn such things. This mindset is ‘killing you softly,’ as they say.
So are you too busy or good for IT/technology and having to learn something about it? I am not speaking to extremes, where you need to learn how to code or go all MacGyver on a network and be able to fix a server…don’t hear me say that. When I say ‘basics’ you know exactly what I mean.
Next time you have an IT question, ask yourself whether or not you approach it with humility and attempt to learn something from the interaction.
Decisions Decisions…Terminal Services, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) or Virtualized Application Delivery?
In the world of business cloud computing, there are undeniably many options available to provide remote or “cloud” services to accounting firms. A simple web search will return a wealth of both technical information and sales materials for a multitude of providers, softwares and consultants, all promising remote service delivery. However, not all “clouds” are created the same, and the way they are built has a huge effect on the performance, reliability, cost, and user interface of the service. It’s helpful to know the difference between some of the most common methods of delivering remote software and services. Knowing some basics about how the different types of solutions work will help you make the best decision for your firm. This article provides a high-level overview of Terminal Services (TS), Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), and Virtualized Application Delivery. (more…)
Free Resource: The Role of Technology During a Merger or Acquisition
When it comes to mergers and acquisitions, we have found that there are several technology considerations firms often fail to take into account before jumping into the transition. This white paper will go through some of these considerations as well as highlight some tips for before, during and after a Merger or Acquisition.
Firms should also plan for the centralization of all applications by a specific date so that everyone becomes part of the single, merged practice moving forward. In the long run, maintaining separate practices operating under the same banner costs everyone more as duplicate licenses, IT support, and network infrastructure have to be maintained as well as increased training costs caused by the lack of standardization. (more…)