Hotspots the Answer for Field Access

Blue WiFi symbol over a map backgroundStop fretting over your client's network.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

One of the revolutions in remote connectivity is happening within your cell phone as digital cellular providers have beefed up and expanded their networks to provide reliable Internet access to remote devices.

MORE: Check Your Bandwidth | Remote Access Requires Planning | Proactively Manage Application Updates | Offsite Backup Is Critical | Scanners Capture Documents at the Source | Roman Kepczyk: Inside The Quantum of Paperless | Two Tech Trends to Watch
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Today, the vast majority of the United States and Canada has access to the Internet through the 4G digital cellular network at speeds of 1Mpbs or more, which is adequate for remote access to most applications, particularly those hosted by cloud providers.
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Check Your Bandwidth

Abstract illustration of binary data flow... and always have a backup.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

The Internet has undoubtedly had a profound impact on firm communications. It has become the primary driver toward the next generation of accounting applications that run entirely on the web through cloud computing.

MORE: Remote Access Requires Planning | Proactively Manage Application Updates | Offsite Backup Is Critical | Scanners Capture Documents at the Source | Two Tech Trends to Watch
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Before we get ahead of ourselves discussing cloud opportunities, we have to assess how the Internet is used within our firm today. Most likely the Internet is

  • a digital pipeline;
  • a conduit for communications, updates, research and backups; and
  • a platform for exchanging files with clients.

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Remote Access Requires Planning

Young woman eating an apple and working on a laptop at homeMake sure your bandwidth can keep up.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

One of the key components in optimizing firm production is providing the capability for firm personnel to work from any place, at any time, at their own convenience.

MORE: Proactively Manage Application Updates | Microsoft Office 201x vs. Office 365 | How the Cloud Plays into Scheduled Server Replacement | Monitor Real Estate: More IS Better
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Allowing experienced firm personnel the ability to work remotely is also one of today’s key employee retention strategies. Giving your personnel secure access to the firm’s application and data resources will allow them to work effectively outside normal office hours and avoid unnecessary commuting time.
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Proactively Manage Application Updates

Words "time for an update" on clock faceWorried about viruses? The solution is simple.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Every firm has concerns about its systems being hacked, getting attacked by a virus or malware, or being the victim of ransomware that encrypts all the firm's data.

MORE: Microsoft Office 201x vs. Office 365 | Profession Transitions from Windows 7 to 10 | Offsite Backup Is Critical | Scanners Capture Documents at the Source | Two Tech Trends to Watch
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The 2016 CPAFMA IT survey found that 15 percent of firms had been infected with malware that caused significant downtime the previous 12 months and the 2018 survey found an increase in firms impacted by ransomware.
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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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