Microsoft Office 201x vs. Office 365

Businesswoman using a tabletProceed cautiously for productivity applications.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

To be effective in business today, every member of your firm must optimally utilize the Microsoft Office suite at an intermediate to advanced level for Outlook, Excel and Word.

MORE: Profession Transitions from Windows 7 to 10 | Offsite Backup Is Critical | How the Cloud Plays into Scheduled Server Replacement | Some Firms Dumping Desktop Computers | Scanners Capture Documents at the Source | Monitor Real Estate: More IS Better | Roman Kepczyk: Inside The Quantum of Paperless | Two Tech Trends to Watch
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The CPAFMA 2018 IT Survey found that 45 percent of responding firms had standardized on Office 2016 (including Office 365 users), 31 percent had standardized on Office 2013 and 23 percent on Office 2010. Firms have traditionally been behind the adoption curve because of the lag time of accounting vendors supporting the latest version, particularly for audit engagement binders.
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Profession Transitions from Windows 7 to 10

More important now: running applications across all devices.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Okay, we all know that the Microsoft Windows operating system is preferred to run computers by the primary vendors to the accounting profession.

MORE: Offsite Backup Is Critical | How the Cloud Plays into Scheduled Server Replacement | Monitor Real Estate: More IS Better
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While firms don’t place too much emphasis on the workstation operating system, one significant issue firms can’t overlook is increasing computer memory to ensure computers function optimally with today’s multi-monitor requirements and the multitude of concurrent applications your staff will be running that can impact your Windows version decision.
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Offsite Backup Is Critical

Computer hard driveDon't forget about encryption.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Your firm’s safety net in the event of ANY disaster is your data backup. It had better be consistently performed and securely stored offsite.

MORE: How the Cloud Plays into Scheduled Server Replacement | Some Firms Dumping Desktop Computers | Roman Kepczyk: Inside The Quantum of Paperless
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Typically, firms have a problem when the process they relied on to make the backups didn’t work or were not complete because new servers, drives or directories were added but not updated in the backup program.
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How the Cloud Plays into Scheduled Server Replacement

Cloud computer networkYour best solution might well be a hybrid.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

The traditional core computers used for operating all applications are file servers managed internally within the firm. Downtime for a day or two is a disaster.

MORE: Some Firms Dumping Desktop Computers | Scanners Capture Documents at the Source | Monitor Real Estate: More IS BetterRoman Kepczyk: Inside The Quantum of Paperless | Two Tech Trends to Watch
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If an “out of service” stoppage stretches to a week or more, partner income will suffer measurably. Simply put, mission-critical file servers utilized for tax, audit, time and billing, and email have, at most, an effective five-year life. After this time, equipment becomes significantly more difficult to maintain whether you have a warranty or not.
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Some Firms Dumping Desktop Computers

Businessman holding a wastebasket with a desktop computer in itThe Surface is still too expensive for many.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Getting the right mix of mobility is critical for firms today. The accounting professional’s rule of thumb is that everyone who works out of the office one day per week or more and needs to be self-contained should have a laptop as their only machine.

MORE: Scanners Capture Documents at the Source | Monitor Real Estate: More IS Better | Roman Kepczyk: Inside The Quantum of Paperless | Two Tech Trends to Watch
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The obvious exception to this is for tax or administrative personnel who would never work from remote client sites, but have a computer at home that they can use to connect to the firm via a secure remote access solution.

However, this is changing.
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Scanners Capture Documents at the Source

Stacks of papers on the corner of a deskDon't skimp on production scanners. You'll save in rework time.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

One of the keys to optimizing production processes is capturing information at its “root” source. This means when data enters your firm, regardless of the format (mail, fax, email, portal or on a flash drive).

MORE TECH: Monitor Real Estate: More IS Better | Roman Kepczyk: Inside The Quantum of Paperless | Two Tech Trends to Watch
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Ideally, source documents would be provided to the firm in a digital format such as secured email or preferably through a web portal, but the reality today is that a significant portion of accounting firm source documents continue to arrive from clients in a traditional paper format.
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Monitor Real Estate: More IS Better

How many do you have? Horizontal or vertical?

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Talking about hardware may seem like an odd place to start a discussion on optimizing your firm production. However, without a solid framework in place to promote a stable working environment and take advantage of today’s technologies, your firm’s ability to effectively implement solutions will be severely restricted.

MORE: Roman Kepczyk: Inside The Quantum of Paperless | Two Tech Trends to Watch
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Pushing your IT infrastructure, which includes all of your file servers, cabling, applications, workstations and Internet connectivity beyond basic limits will lead to more “dinking” time by your professional staff. (“Dinking” is the technical term for the massive amounts of time wasted by your personnel when computers lock up or don’t do what is expected and when they have to “dink around” trying to figure out a solution.)
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Technology Evolving Faster Than Accounting Firms

Coffee mug and cloud computing conceptsDigital workflow use rising, but remote access remains a struggle.

By Roman Kepczyk
Rosenberg MAP Survey

As an outsourced technology partner to CPA firms, I primarily deal with IT strategy and applications that improve accounting firm production.

MORE FROM THE MAP SURVEY: Will Staffing Challenges Change the Definition of Partner? | Be a Consultant or Be Left Behind | Survey: Many Firms in Transition | Technology Playing Center Stage in CPA Profession
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The 2016 CPA Firm Management Association IT Survey* pointed out that a surprising 23 percent of responding firms had transitioned to an outsourced cloud architecture. This trend points to internal IT personnel being disintermediated as they have been unable to keep up with today’s required skill set for improving firm processes as well as technical skill needed to optimizing remote access, security and disaster recovery for the firm, which firms seem to struggle with constantly.
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Your Tech Needs a Strategic Plan and a Budget

$100 bills following through a wormhole lined with binary codeThat advice you give clients? It's time to follow it yourself.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

We have all heard the saying that if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up going nowhere (or … you won’t ever get there).

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Firms Need Monthly IT ‘Flash’ Reports | Outsource Some Security Functions | Centralize Contact Administration | Why You Should Process AP Digitally | Revamp Daily T&E Entry | How and Why to Establish Firm Procedures Manuals | Is Your Tax Workflow Digital Yet? | The 4 Types of Firm Knowledge | Back Up Your Bandwidth | How to Choose Which Microsoft Office Version to Use | Time to Replace a Server? Consider the Cloud | Monitor Real Estate: More Is Better
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Unfortunately, many accounting firms do not do a good job of integrating their information technology requirements into the firm’s overall strategic vision.
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