How to Choose IT Support For Accountants
When it comes to choosing technical support for accountants, there are major things that you need to consider.
As with everything in life, IT support is not a one-size-fits all, and while “your tech guy” may be great at what they do, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are experts in your industry.
Several weeks out of the year, accountants have specific compliance deadlines that they must meet depending on the type of clients they server. Notably, the January 31 deadline for W-2 and 1099’s, March 15 for S-Corps, April 15th (April 18 in 2022) tax deadline.
Then later in the year, understanding the extension deadlines on September 15 and October 15th and why these dates are particularly important when it comes to technical support for accountants.
Many managed service providers will focus on the (fair) first in first out method of ticket priority. This makes sense, but when it is crunch time for accountants, fair isn’t exactly what they need. When you are weeks behind on compliance work, you aren’t looking to wait your turn, you need your system running now and ASAP!
To assist with this, during deadline weeks, Tech 4 Accountants gives priority service to all accountant tickets. This includes CPA’s, Enrolled Agents, Bookkeepers, AFSP’s, CPP’s, all get moved to the front of the line at no additional expedited cost.
Familiarity with Tax Software
Never underestimate the power of experience when it comes to your LOB, line of business, software.
A wonderful example is a new change in ATX.
In late 2021 there was a change in how ATX clients connect to the server. After many hours the first time we saw this issue, we had it resolved. As with many things in IT, it was a few clicks on the computer to fix the issue, but knowing which few clicks and which order was very difficult to figure out. Even the support staff at ATX had trouble figuring it out.
We eventually found that by disabling IPV6 (a relatively nuanced fix) that the issue was resolved permanently.
After documenting this solution and sharing it with our entire staff, the future tickets of ATX customers not connecting to the server was fixed with a few clicks and the customer was on their way with the “easy” looking fix.
Take this same example with a generalist managed service provider and not one that specializes in IT support for accountants.
The solution for your firm would be the same several hours that it took for our first time fixing it. You’re well aware, that these issues seem to only happen during tax season (dang you Murphy’s Law). Being down an entire day during tax season is an unacceptable position to be in.
You know that your clients won’t empathize when you tell them “my tech support team worked on it all day and now you have to wait longer for your refund.”
Cross Training of All Staff For Accountants
Another key benefit to working with a technical support company for accountants is the expertise held by all staff for your particular situation.
Many times our clients take a liking to a particular technician. They have built rapport and that tech understands the system backwards and forwards.
Suppose that tech is stuck on a long phone call, or is sick that day?
Are you going to wait until tomorrow for your issue to get fixed or are you going to go with the faster solution with another tech?
The great thing about IT support for accountants specifically is that all our techs get cross trained with all of the major vendors.
Gone are the days of having to explain what Drake tax is and how it works. The entire staff knows already so you can speed up the process.
Let’s face it, at the end of the day, you just want it to work – and that’s exactly what we do. We can accomplish this by having experts cross trained in your particular software so the job gets done fast.
When there are about 15-20 specific software vendors that our techs need to know in the accounting industry, it makes fast fixes easy.
Many “jack of all trades” tech companies need to know all of their customers in all different verticals. This includes being an expert with lawyers, doctors, dentists, realtors, gamers, manufacturing, and the countless other verticals that also require expertise and want fast tech support.
Understanding Technical Compliance
There have been countless IRS Publications regarding technical compliance and data security for accountants.
Notably, IRS Publication 4557 Safeguarding Taxpayer Data and 1075 Tax Information Security Guidelines For Federal, State and Local Agencies.
With 250 pages of compliance in just these two publications alone, it is no wonder that many IT firms that don’t specialize are ignoring what is required for accountants.
Using a firm that specializes with accountants helps you ensure that your taxpayer data is safe and secure.
Dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties is not something anyone wants to experience, and making sure that no matter what, everything is documented, is extremely important.
Experience with Data Security Plans
In 2019, the IRS started requiring that all PTIN renewals have a data security plan in place.
The first time we experienced making a thorough data security plan, it took us over 20 hours to prepare one for a four-person accounting firm. Now, we have created a free written information security plan template for all tax accountants to use. This didn’t exist at that time, so we had to make it from scratch.
The process was tedious, and we learned a lot in those first 20 hours. The end product was a happy client, but we realized that we needed to have a process to put these data security plans together fast.
We created a process that has taken the initial 20 hour process down to a one-hour audit, and one-hour preparation (per employee).
Along with documenting the process, comes expertise, so we are not only more efficient at getting security plans done, we are getting them done right the first time. After having thousands created and tons approved by the IRS, we know what we have is great and compliant with IRS regulations.
Choosing an IT support company for accountants is not only a smart decision, but a huge time saver as well.
If you already have an IT person and would just like a peace of mind IT audit, we offer them at no charge.
Best case scenario is you discover your tech person is doing a great job and you have peace of mind. On the flip side, you can see where you are vulnerable and get options for how to solve these issues.
Speed and compliance is key when working with an IT support team and choosing a managed service provider for accountants can be as easy as starting with a free IT audit for accountants or calling (877) 572-6989.