RESEARCH: When to Replace Your Firm’s Computer Equiment

Arrow Hitting Ground On Laptop Shows Drop On Sale Or Failures

How to plan with “risk of failure” and “ease of replacement” calculations.

By Donny Shimamoto
IntrapriseTechKnowlogies LLC

What are the standard refresh cycles for CPA firm technology equipment? Well, it depends on the type of equipment.

As a physical asset, hardware replacement must usually be planned for in advance so that you’re not scrambling to replace it after it fails. This proactive replacement is often referred to as performing a “hardware refresh.”  Hardware refreshes are often driven by the risk of failure of a particular hardware asset.  Different types of hardware have varying risks of failure as they age. For example, laptops have a relatively high risk of failure once they’re four years old, but they are also moderately easy to replace. On the other hand, servers are generally unlikely to fail in their first three years of use, but they can be expensive and difficult to replace.

The table below shows some of the common types of hardware and general risk of failure based on the number of years the hardware has been in service.