How Accounting Firms Could Be Doing Better With Technology

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There are few industries that fall under more strict regulations than finance. Accounting firms, banks, hedge funds, and the rest of the sector must remain compliant with this continuously evolving oversight. With the amount of financial data growing and the value of this data becoming lucrative to bad actors, businesses in the finance industry are going extra lengths to ensure its safekeeping. Doing so protects their reputation with clients and partners, as well as shielding them from costly fines and penalties.

Added to this responsibility is the necessity of keeping up with the financial technology advancements. Accounting firms must have the most effective tools in their arsenal.

While this balance may seem challenging, there is one foundational technology that makes it all possible—the right internet service.

New Business Acquisition

Accounting firms are not exempt from the increase in competition that is happening globally. Because of this, they need to continuously offer new incentives to gain new clients and regularly strengthen their processes and systems to provide the best possible client onboarding experience.

One of the biggest pools for gaining new business is among Millennials, who are becoming a larger and larger part of the workforce each year. And while many firms believe that Millennials are not yet in the position to be paying for a wide array of financial services, research shows otherwise. More than half of Millennials currently pay for bookkeeping. A fifth of the generation utilizes invoicing services. Almost a third are currently paying for consulting services from accounting firms. This means that accounting professionals will need to re-think how they approach client acquisition. The days of mainly serving the Baby Boomer generation are over. It is time to look at what Millennials are demanding of the companies they engage with.

The key to meeting these demands lies mainly in technology. When these clients come into the office, they expect free Wi-Fi. When they are communicating with their accountant, tax practitioner, or other financial services provider, they expect expedient service, quick replies, and fast processes and systems. They want paperless processes, which means firms will need to move their systems to the cloud. The want to see automation, innovation, and exciting new methods being introduced.

All of these demands rely on a single factor: Internet. Accounting firms must acquire reliable Internet so that they can offer it to their clients when they are in office and allow their employees to use it to provide all of the necessary services.

Tech Access For Clients

While the section above touched on the topic, the idea itself needs a deeper look. Smartphone usage is universal. Tablet usage is widespread. Clients of every age find technological tools useful and efficient—not to mention the rapid growth of FinTech. This combination creates the perfect opportunity for accounting firms to give clients access to some of the more advanced technology out there. An example of this technology can be seen in scheduling tools. Offering clients direct access to their accountant's or advisor's calendar will transform the scheduling process. Clients can log onto the company website, navigate to the scheduling page, select the individual they would like to make an appointment with, and then find an opening that works for them.

But this access to technology goes much further than just tools that clients can use. Clients also want to see that the businesses they are partnering with are harnessing the power of advanced tools. These advanced tools include everything from real-time cloud-accounting and remote access for employees to adaptive security, digital dashboards, and payroll technology—and these are just a few of the many technologies that are currently available to businesses in the financial services industry. With the internet of things, artificial technology, and blockchain, there is only going to be an explosion of possibility in terms of what accounting and finance professionals can add to their desktop of tools.

Customers expect this. They want to know that their firm is abreast of the latest technology and can quickly adopt the newest and the best. To accomplish this, though, takes a strong and stable internet connection, as will be mentioned again and again through the following sections.

Cloud-Based Applications

Too many accounting firms are avoiding cloud-based technology because their internet is not fast enough or secure enough to support the transition. Unfortunately, with more and more accounting and financial software relying on the cloud, these firms will need to migrate. Additionally, the faster that firms make the decision to migrate, the better—bigger firms have already embraced this digital transformation and are leaving their smaller competitors behind.

For the majority of accounting firms, this transition will be a long-term project. Many will need to plan a 10-year roadmap for the full transformation—this is due to both the high expense of many cloud applications and the fact that some of them do not offer full functionality yet. During this time and to enable the transition, accounting firms must secure a powerful internet connection with a reliable internet provider. This will allow them to move some data to the cloud, while keeping other data on their own localized servers. Finally, the right provider can offer exactly what the accounting firm needs to push their transition forward, including upload speeds and data usage.

Data Security And Privacy

Businesses in the financial services industry are 300 times more likely than businesses in other industries to fall prey to a cybersecurity attack. And with the value associated with financial data, this number will likely only rise over the coming years. The costs created with these attacks can sink a firm. But they do not have to. The companies that partner with the right internet providers and utilize the best cybersecurity policies and technology are dramatically less likely to be targeted by hackers—it just takes too much time and effort for bad actors to successfully pull off a data breach.

Additionally, there is something to be said for creating an environment that makes clients feel that they and their private, financial information are safe. This peace of mind vastly improves the client experience.

For this reason, it is essential to choose an internet provider that offers unparalleled IT assistance. They can offer additional support and suggestions that will bolster security measures and create safety around all client and employee data. More specifically, they can provide network management that noticeably improves data security and offers the firm an additional selling point that differentiates them from the competition.

Outsourcing IT

Due to the fact that IT is rapidly expanding in both breadth and depth, few businesses can maintain an IT department that has the wide variety of skills necessary for total support and security. It is only the largest firms that can afford to continue hiring more IT personnel. Outside of this, the most cost-effective solution is outsourcing. The general rule of thumb is that companies with fewer than 100 employees should outsource the bulk of their IT needs.

Ideally, accounting firms should look for an internet provider that has experience working either with other businesses in the financial services industry or that has worked with organizations that have strict compliance obligations. This will guarantee that they have policies in place for data security that go above and beyond the average provider, as well as an increased level of knowledge about the regulatory requirements.

This ability to rely on outsourced IT frees up the in-house IT team to accomplish more high-value tasks, such as overseeing internal IT controls, software, and hardware. In the end, this prevents IT backlogs and reduces the potential for costly mistakes.

Consumer Behavior Insight

There is nothing more valuable to any business than to understand how their clients and other consumers are thinking and acting. This is where technology and the power of big data comes in. Through a combination of website and email analytics, Wi-Fi remarketing, and social listening, firms can quickly gather consumer data in bulk.

However, in order to effectively gather this data and then to efficiently analyze it firms must have a strong internet connection. Without one, instead of the process taking a matter of minutes, it could be delayed, re-started, and end up taking days. This continuous struggle not only wastes the IT department's time but it also slows down the entire office's internet connection—in effect, slowing down every single business process or system.

In short, it is a the internet connection that is key to all forward movement for any accounting and financial services firm. It allows every other technological process to move forward.

The Best Support with Buckeye BrainiacPro

At Buckeye Broadband, we offer the perfect solution for accounting firms and others in the financial industry. Our line of internet services and IT support allows businesses of every size and with varying needs to find the right internet package at the right price.

We provide a guarantee of fast, reliable, and secure internet allowing quick access to cloud-based applications, flexible data usage, and great upload speeds, which is especially important when it comes to sharing the large data files associated with accounting firms.

Keep your business up-to-date with the best Internet speeds and support team. Please contact us for a quote or more information.

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