IT Support for Financial Services – Why They Need It
Imagine running an accounting firm that meets all of your target metrics and has no trouble handling your clients’ needs. One day, within seconds, everything goes awry.
It only takes a few moments for a data breach to completely derail an accounting firm’s performance. One of the major reasons is that companies in this space are highly lucrative targets for hackers. The average data breach in 2023 cost businesses approximately $4.5 million, a scenario that’s virtually impossible to recover from.
For this reason, many entrepreneurs choose to hire managed IT services for financial institutions. Let’s explore the key information you should keep in mind during your search.
Financial Services IT Solutions & Maintaining Compliance
Compliance issues can quickly set your accounting firm back. Not only will you encounter costly fines and fees, but you’ll also damage your company’s reputation.
There’s no shortage of industry standards that accounting firms need to adhere to. Your firm will help ensure you avoid making decisions that could lead to compliance problems. They’ll also research how these standards change as time goes on, ensuring you always follow regulations.
When you work with the right firm, you’ll get plenty of return on what you invest in their services. In many cases, you’ll save a substantial amount of money compared to hiring an in-house employee. To clarify, let’s assume you’d need to pay an internal IT employee around $4,000 per month.
There will likely be many scenarios they’re incapable of handling simply because they’re only one person. By outsourcing, you can leverage your budget to the fullest extent. You can spend the same amount of money to have access to an entire third-party team only when you need them.
It’s often impractical for companies to scale their internal teams. Small businesses might not even have the resources to do so. Cost efficiency is one of the most important attributes to consider, so keep this in mind when moving forward.
Be Structured has worked with many financial institutions over the year, especially ones located near our downtown Los Angeles IT support headquarters.
24/7 Ongoing Support
The last thing you want is to encounter IT problems you can’t resolve on your own. Hiring an outsourced technical support firm provides access to ongoing support that can help you navigate complications that arise.
For example, your system could unexpectedly exhibit performance problems and disrupt your operations. Even a brief period of downtime can cost a substantial amount of money. In some cases, it can also damage your company’s reputation.
A great way to assess the impact of downtime is by considering how much you’ll pay your employees regardless of the work they complete. Let’s assume you had an internal IT team that paid a total of $1,000 per day.
For each day they can’t handle their responsibilities, you’re essentially losing $1,000. There are also other factors to consider, such as missed opportunities that downtime prevents you from pursuing.
Low Upfront Investment
Small businesses typically don’t have much capital to work with. This can make it difficult for them to find the right employees.
Regarding IT, this complication puts your business at risk. The longer you go without the right IT support, the more likely contingencies can occur. The cybercrime industry is estimated to cost the world over $10 trillion by the end of 2025.
It’s more important than ever to manage your data appropriately. Outsourcing your IT responsibilities is a great way to get your foot in the door. It requires a low initial investment for the level of service you receive.
It’s alarming how much a single data breach can impact an accounting firm. Imagine a scenario where your company has its sensitive consumer data stolen.
Your audience will likely never trust your business in the future. Depending on the scenario, you could even face legal action if you didn’t properly secure this information.
Companies in the finance industry are some of the most lucrative targets for hackers. The number of cyber crimes increased in 2023, and cyber criminals are showing no signs of slowing down. The business IT services and security firm you hire can implement a variety of safeguards to keep your data safe.
One of the most notable is active monitoring. As the name implies, this involves checking your systems for signs of malicious activity. If your IT firm finds areas of concern, they’ll take action to quarantine and eliminate the threat.
In many cases, they’ll handle problems before you ever know they exist. They can also assess your security architecture as a whole and make suggestions on how to make improvements.
If your company is constantly plagued by IT problems, your workers won’t perform at their best. Your internal systems might be slow, or they could have trouble communicating with each other. Hiring a professional managed IT services provider will help you maintain user efficiency.
They can even help train your team if they lack certain knowledge. This is commonly seen with new employees who don’t yet understand the company’s systems. Improved productivity can easily translate into increased revenue.
You can invest this extra money in other areas of your company to further improve how well it runs. This can help you scale earlier than anticipated, as well.
Your company’s needs will increase exponentially as your business grows. A situation to avoid at all costs is being unable to handle your new obligations once you scale.
This could damage your reputation and make it difficult to maintain your operations. Since your IT firm will have far more resources than the majority of businesses, they can easily pick up the slack.
It’s in your best interest to hire a firm before you scale instead of after. It’s much easier for them to help you when they understand your goals instead of reacting to your needs. Most companies find it notably easy to scale and maintain operations when they outsource.
Many people overlook how beneficial this attribute can be for their companies. Your agreement will establish what you’ll regularly pay, allowing you to budget accurately. This is great for companies that have trouble managing their finances.
There’s also something to be said about the ability to consolidate the services you outsource. For instance, a company might work with multiple vendors to handle their accounting firm’s IT needs.
This can involve a large amount of paperwork and can be inconvenient to manage. Instead, you can work with a dedicated service provider to streamline your outsourced IT and keep your costs easy to anticipate.
Finding a Provider
At first, it can seem difficult to find the right provider. The good news is that it’s much simpler than people anticipate. Start with a basic Google search of “IT service provider near me“.
Now look at the results and start exploring the key information you should keep in mind during your search.
Explore what other people have to say about what it was like to work with the local IT company. Were they satisfied with the overall experience they had? Were there problems the firm couldn’t help them overcome?
It’s essential to consider nuances like these so you can avoid potential issues. Find a company that has positive customer testimonials, as well.
These are more in-depth than reviews and can provide better insight into what you’ll expect. If a prospective firm doesn’t have a large amount of stellar feedback, you should continue your search elsewhere.
Do they have substantial experience working with companies like yours? To handle your CPA firm’s IT obligations, they’ll need to understand the nuances of your operations.
No matter how much industry experience they have, it won’t mean much if they don’t typically work with accounting firms. In general, it’s best to choose companies that have handled projects like yours for at least a decade.
But do understand everything you need to know about network support before you get started.
You can narrow down your potential options by only looking for companies that specialize in providing services for accounting firms. The good news is that firms with specializations proudly advertise this attribute. It shouldn’t take long for you to find someone who can handle your project.
Service Level Agreement
A service level agreement establishes terms regarding the service you receive from your provider. For example, they might guarantee 99% uptime for their clients. Finding a company with a solid service level agreement is essential.
However, you should be sure to read through the agreement thoroughly. This will provide valuable information, such as what occurs if they fall short of their obligations. It’s not uncommon for service providers to waive fees (or sometimes entire bills) if they don’t adhere to the agreement’s terms.
Others might allow you to exit an agreement early under certain circumstances. When reviewing the agreement, it’s worth briefly employing an attorney. You should do so after you’ve spoken with multiple different providers so you can eliminate options that don’t meet your needs.
Never overlook how much the firm charges for their services. The cheaper they are, the more likely they’ll fall short of your goals. It’s best to avoid firms that are priced well below what you’d expect to pay.
However, you don’t need to budget as much money as possible. This will only lead to you overspending. To clarify, there’s a point of diminishing returns regarding what you spend.
Paying more money doesn’t necessarily guarantee better results. Somewhere in the middle of the price range can likely meet your needs without stretching your IT budget.
Ask about the additional services they provide, as well. Doing so will help you budget appropriately. The last thing you want is to encounter financial surprises after you sign an agreement.
How enthusiastic are they about working with your business? Do they ask questions about your needs? Do they listen when you express concerns?
Never hire someone who doesn’t seem like they’ll prioritize your company. You’ll inevitably encounter issues that can be frustrating to deal with. They should have no problem providing insight into how they can accommodate your business.
Ask them how many other clients they manage concurrently. Some firms stretch themselves too thin by taking on too many clients. Avoid businesses like these so you can find someone who prioritizes your success.
The tools and resources your provider uses will play a large role in the results you achieve. Reputable companies will have access to premier software to expertly manage your firm’s accounting data. This allows you to forego purchasing the tools for yourself, saving you thousands of dollars in some cases.
However, it can also allow you to avoid the learning curve that often comes with accounting software. Training your team on how to use certain programs effectively could require a major time investment. Outsourcing allows you to focus on your company’s other obligations instead of learning how to use tools on your own.
Emphasis on Data Security
If they don’t seem to prioritize data security, it’s essential to look elsewhere. It takes knowledge, dedication, and the proper tools to protect against cyber threats.
Having lax security measures in place will prevent your firm from adequately protecting your company. They should be fully transparent about the data protection strategies they’ll use. It’s a red flag if they fail to elaborate on how they can keep your data safe.
For instance, they might not want to disclose that they outsource to third parties for data security. Without access to the necessary information, it will be impossible to know if you’re making the right decision.
Onsite vs Cloud-Managed
When searching for providers, you’ll encounter a decision between on-site servers and cloud servers. Under most circumstances, cloud servers will be the most appropriate option.
These allow you to easily scale and have minimal downtime. Onsite servers are expensive to purchase and maintain. You also risk hardware failure, which can be impossible to recover from.
Don’t Overlook Managed It Services for Accounting Firms
Under the right circumstances, managed IT services for accounting firms can help you take your performance to the next level. They can also help you safeguard crucial information and prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands.
Since 2007, Be Structured Technology Group has proudly leveraged premier solutions to help our clients reach their goals. We believe technology should work for businesses and not against them, and we stop at nothing to achieve this. You can learn more about the benefits we offer when you book a call today.