Accounting Today, in conjunction with Wolters Kluwer, presented a web seminar titled, “Effectively Managing Your Firm and Empowering Staff via Cloud-Based Technologies.”
Date Held: September 24, 2015.
The presenters were Michael Alexander, CPA and Wealth Advisor for Kolbrenner & Alexander, LLC; Samantha Grovenstein-Deal, Technical Product Management for Firm Management Solutions Wolters Kluwer; and Sandra Wiley, a shareholder for Boomer Consulting, Inc.
Technology Used to be Nothing More than a Necessary Evil
The seminar discusses at length the ways in which technology has changed in the last few decades. In the past, it was simply an overhead cost and a necessary evil. Generally, someone in the office would handle IT as a side job. Today, technology positions are held by trained, certified IT professionals.
Often IT professionals are qualified not just in technology but in managing technology. They’re no longer an afterthought but often hold senior leadership positions within a firm. They’re an integral part of decision-making processes in many successful firms.
Cloud-Based Solutions Make a Difference in How Firms Are Managed
According to the professionals on the panel, Cloud-based solutions help secure client’s information and deliver it in the most efficient manner possible. Companies turn to this solution because they want to be on the leading edge and also be practical. They want to avoid old ways of delivering information to clients, like printing papers out and mailing them.
Companies are willing to invest in Cloud-based technology because they know it will:
- Build better relationships with their clients
- Streamline business processes
- Help maintain the highest security possible
- Save time
- Increase security
- Attract employees who want to work with a firm that has a future-looking vision
- Helps employees improve their work/life balance
The panelists stressed that it’s not the job of forward-thinkers to create a new vision—the vision is already out there. All they have to do is choose to listen and to learn.
The Benefits of Cloud-Based Technologies
They named a wide range of advantages to cloud-based technologies, including:
- Being able to work anytime, from anywhere;
- Removes the need to be in front of a specific machine that must be maintained and on the premise;
- Removes shackles; and
- Lowers costs.
The Importance of a Core Database
The reason Cloud options became available was due to frustrations with redundant data entry. Companies were tired of creating numerous entries for the same client across multiple platforms, and updating each of them every time there was a change to their data. This lead to big overhead costs and created concerns about the quality of data integrity. Building a core database became possible with cloud-based technologies.
The Seven Areas of Management Firms Are Working On
The seminar outlined seven specific areas of management that firms find are improving with the use of Cloud-based technologies.
- Ease of access,
- Technology best practices,
- Disaster recovery,
- Processes and workflows,
- Growth in the firm,
- Education and training.
According to the seminar, three of the above are more important than the others. They listed ease of access as absolutely critical. Firms can respond and send data even when they’re out of town, across seas, or otherwise out of the office. They get 100% capability and deliverability from anywhere. Plus, clients want information delivered digitally.
Next, they stated that security was a key component of how management views the leading edge of Cloud-based technologies. They say there’s nothing as important as protecting the data of their clients. For example, financial firms will send tax documents and other confidential data. While some companies claim that local servers are safer, this wasn’t supported. Not only are Cloud-based servers stored in extremely secure areas, but the companies who run them can make significant investments into security technology that smaller firms simply cannot.
The seminar pointed out that some of the biggest security breaches and concerns are the result of employees who simply aren’t trained correctly. They don’t know how to keep documents secure, and with changing regulations and threats, it would take constant education to keep them up-to-date. Moving documents to Cloud-based options is a much safer option.
Finally, they mentioned disaster recovery as an important consideration. In the event of an emergency, like a flood or fire, when documents are saved via Cloud there is no concern about lost files and the confidential information is always safe.
The Vision of the Future: More Cloud-Based Technologies
Everyone on the panel, leaders in their fields, said that the future of Cloud-based technologies is better mobile-friendly options and support for hybrid platforms. eFileCabinet is ahead of the curve on these issues. You can already save a file to your eFileCabinet via your desktop and then access it wherever you need to—via table, smartphone, or other web-enabled device. Fill out the form now to get your 15-minute demo and learn more.