The United States is home to some of the world’s largest accounting firms, but it’s also home to a sizable number of smaller firms, most of which are regarded as small businesses. Many of these small firms can’t compete with the technological innovations of larger corporations.
Managed services can fill this gap by providing state-of-the-art services to give your accounting firm a competitive edge. In this post, we’ll explore the role and advantage of managed services for accounting firms and other financial organizations.
What Are Managed Services?
Managed service providers oversee your accounting technology platforms, providing innovative solutions for all of your technological needs. Managed services go considerably beyond the realm of “tech support.” Instead, they can partner with your accounting firm to provide:
- Core accounting services
- Budgeting and FPA
- AP automation
- Month-end closing
Keeping up with these demands can be difficult for smaller firms. By leveraging the assistance of managed service providers, your firm can have access to the latest solutions without having to commit large amounts of human resources or capital.
The Three Pillars of Managed Services
Let’s take a closer look at the overall philosophy and performance of managed services. Managed services are defined by three “pillars,” corresponding to their reactive, proactive, and strategic value for any accounting company.
In some cases, managed services may need to fill the basic role of tech support or a standard help desk. Accounting firms may need to rely on IT professionals to troubleshoot their software, network, or even the hardware that they rely on to keep their firm operational.
These solutions might include:
- Installing software patches
- Managing network security
- Backing up or recovering sensitive data
- Virus and malware management or removal
These things are especially important in the modern world where concerns about cybersecurity are high. By providing a reactive approach to tech problems, managed services can ensure that technological challenges are dealt with quickly and safely.
Managed services largely offer preventative strategies when it comes to technological management. This proactive approach can prevent problems from developing in the first place, minimizing the need for timely repairs and other reactive measures.
Managed services can include:
- Upgrading software
- Making back-ups
- Managing software renewals
- Providing training resources for new releases
Basically, a proactive approach keeps your accounting office up-to-date on the latest software releases and changes in technology. It also provides some basic training to ensure that your employees can stay current on the latest software and updates.
Finally, managed services can be integrated into an accounting firm’s broader strategy. Managed services can be used to perform:
- Financial assessments
- Tax reviews
This means that managed services can also be used to augment your firm in a more comprehensive manner. These advantages ensure that even smaller firms can have the same competitive advantages as larger corporations.
What Are the Advantages of Managed Services for Accounting?
Managed services outsource many of your firm’s regular needs so that your team can focus on their areas of specialty. But managed services offer many great benefits of their own. These benefits include:
Today’s digital landscape is constantly evolving, with new security threats coming from every direction. A top-level IT department can stay on top of these threats, but smaller firms may lack the capital to maintain these positions.
Managed services can keep your data and your clients safe by monitoring the security of your network, overseeing the digital cloud, and remediating threats to your security.
Learn more in our webcast: Cybersecurity for Corporate Finance.
CPAs deal with enormous volumes of sensitive data. Maintaining accurate records is essential to serving your clients. Managed services can help by backing up your data and providing rapid recovery services if data should become corrupted, deleted, or hacked.
Integrates with Your Existing IT Team
It’s possible your accounting firm already has IT personnel, though it’s equally possible that your IT personnel are spread thin.
Partnering with a managed service provider will allow your existing IT personnel to switch from “putting out fires” to focusing on strategic, long-range initiatives while your managed service provider handles troubleshooting and maintenance.
Improved Customer Relations
While you might naturally associate managed services with IT services, managed service providers can also help with email hosting, customer relationship platforms, and other technological services that can ensure you maintain regular connections with your clients.
In other words, managed services streamline your electronic communications, allowing you to have more in-depth connections with customers and clients.
Save Money with a Managed Service Provider
Without a managed service provider, you may find yourself sinking money into cybersecurity software or hiring more IT personnel to provide 24-hour monitoring of your infrastructure.
It also may mean that you’re relying on additional accountants to keep your own books, a task that could easily be outsourced to a managed services platform.
In short, managed services can improve the efficiency of your accounting firm and ensure that you stay engaged with your clients, rather than getting stuck juggling internal needs.
Looking to learn more about managed services? Controllers Council is a national community and platform of Controllers, Accounting and Finance professionals focused on accounting best practices, information and resources, recognition and networking. Membership has many features and benefits to propel your career and expertise, and to be an active participant in our exciting community. Discuss topics like accounting and CPA compensation and more in our forum. Become a member today.
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