Any firm responsible for large amounts of confidential personal data and closely regulated by a professional body needs to pay extra attention to their data security, and ease of accessibility to this data, to maintain their reputation and provide an efficient and timely service to their clients. This particularly applies to those managing financial data such as accountancy firms, wealth managers and financial advisers. In this blog, we outline the benefits of working with a specialist rather than a generic Managed IT Service Provider (MSP).
1. Security - Keeping You Safe from Cyber Attacks
The modern bank heist happens online through cyber attacks increasingly aimed at the financial services industry. A recent report from cloud security specialist Carbon Black, based on responses from CISOs at 40 major financial institutions, including six of the top 10 global banks, was aimed at better understanding how cyber criminals remain undetected in their attacks against the financial sector.
They found that 90 percent of financial institutions reported being the subject of a ransomware attack. 1 in 10 respondents also reported encountering destructive attacks unrelated to ransomware, such as application attacks and fileless malware. These potentially enable cyber criminals to move freely and laterally within an organisation’s network and often go completely overlooked until it is too late.
You can protect your finance company from future cyber attacks by taking a more proactive approach to defence by:
establishing a threat hunting and incident response team
implementing a multi-layered security stack which minimises the risk of an attack
looking at where you are vulnerable and putting solutions in place to strengthen your defences
regularly backing up data and putting a disaster recovery plan in place
educating your employees so they can spot attacks rather than fall victim to them
2. Increase Your Productivity - Save Time and Budget
If your firm is yet to move all your processes and files into the cloud then it can seem like a big move. A specialist MSP can support you through this migration with a system installation, cloud accountancy software to best suit your needs and automated timely updates at predictable costs. Cloud computing helps accounting firms to expand or scale down their storage space at much-reduced costs, eliminating the purchase of expensive hardware and maintenance costs.
Migrating to digital and cloud accounting may be easier and cheaper than you think. IT and cloud-migration specialists can help you to plan and painlessly transition to a new system. Accountancy software packages like Quickbooks, Xero and Sage reduce the amount of time spent on everyday tasks. The automated bank feeds and intelligent algorithms in dedicated accountancy software packages help to make bank reconciliations much quicker and easier to complete. They have additional features including spotting bookkeeping errors and cash flow, budgeting and forecasting functions. They increase your productivity thus saving you time and money.
The financial services sector is fast-moving. A dedicated MSP will help with the deployment of new technologies and strategies which align with your company goals. They will ensure that your technology meets your changing needs and your investment contributes to your business objectives, allowing you to budget for the future so there are no surprised when it comes to deployments or updates.
3. Future-proof Your Accountancy Firm
Larger firms and older firms whose employees have historically worked on paper will find that software is now doing the heavy lifting for them, from submitting forms to HMRC to running payroll. This can take some getting used to, but it is a change that is here to stay. The role of the traditional accounting firm will need to advance to a technology-focused business model, with their customers at the heart, in order to survive.
Electronic banking, online payment platforms and e-commerce features are being built into accounting software. These fully automated features allow accountancy firms to have transparency on transactions and a simplified reconciliation process which will save time and money.
Once you have new systems and cloud software installed you will have your clients' data at your fingertips, be able to run reports with ease and have access to current and detailed analysis wherever you are - whether in the office, at home or at client premises.
4. Software Expertise for Making Tax Digital
As the framework for Making Tax Digital is being rolled out on a gradual basis (VAT is first. Income Tax will be next.) accountancy firms and their clients will need to choose the best compliant software package for their needs. There are a plethora of packages on offer with Quickbooks, Xero and Sage being some of the most popular.
User-friendly as they are designed to be – they may not seem so if you are not technically minded. Working with an IT support service who have experience of partnering with finance firms will ensure you are set up in the most manageable way and your employees are trained in how to use your new systems. Plus they will be at the end of the phone if there is any kind of hiccup.
5. A Managed IT Service Provides Consistency and Reliability
With a Managed Service Provider acting as your business continuity partner you will have a trusted advisor who knows your industry and your set-up and can facilitate the smooth-running of your operations. They can advise, assist and attend to anything you need regarding your hardware or software.
Small to medium sized firms often can’t afford a full-time IT manager and an MSP provides an affordable alternative giving you access to a team with a broad range of skills who can keep up with rapid tech advances.
An MSP will take care of email management and continuity (online or hosted), anti-virus deployment and management, event notification and remediation, patch management, backup and recovery management and remediation, workstation and server troubleshooting, managing hosted applications and infrastructure, developing and maintaining a real documentation platform…the list goes on...
6. Disaster Recovery Planning - For if the Worst Happens
If disaster does strike through a cyber-attack, or in any other form, you need to minimise the effects and fix the problem quickly. Downtime adds up and can cost financial firms dearly.
Accountancy practices, like any other business, need to be prepared for minor problems and major disasters. From hard drives failing to files corrupting, issues can frequently arise in businesses. That’s why it’s important to plan for the worst and have a business data backup and disaster recovery plan.
Your plan should incorporate recovery strategies for hardware, software, data and connectivity. For each component, you should put in place a cohesive preparation plan and actions to take when a calamity occurs.
Your IT disaster recovery plan should be tested periodically, to make sure it works as designed. An experienced MSP can evaluate each component of the plan so that your company is prepared and doesn’t lose productivity.
Rapid Technological Change Due to the Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about rapid technological change in some workplaces. Many companies have had to move to a remote-working set up to fulfil the “Stay At Home” instructions from the government. Where homeworking wasn’t previously typical, this has led to quick IT fixes being put in place in some cases.
As we turn to a gradual loosening of the lockdown rules, now is the time to look at your IT systems with a view to future-proofing your business and ensuring sustainability through whatever comes next. We can support you with our specialist business continuity knowledge.
SpecTronics specialise in managed IT support for accountancy firms, wealth managers and financial advisers and we are proud to be the business continuity partner for professional service firms. We take the time to discuss your specific needs and devise a managed IT solutions plan that’s both effective and affordable for you. Whether you are looking to outsource your IT for the first time, or you have a current provider and would like to compare our services and value, please check out our IT support packages.
We understand that every business is different, which is why we tailor all our ongoing support packages to each client, aiming to satisfy both your budget and specific needs. If you would like to talk to someone today, please call us on 03333 444110 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to discuss your specific requirements.
LIMITED TIME BUSINESS CONTINUITY OFFER
We are here to help and support you during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to ensure operational resilience for your business and peace of mind for you. In response to the increased threat of cybercrime, the security and productivity issues related to moving to remote working setups and the very real consequences of IT downtime, we have put together the following Business Continuity packages:
A FREE Business Continuity Assessment (our Essential Package valued at £675+VAT) to help you to continue to achieve your business goals and objectives.
PLUS a special rate for our Comprehensive Package which includes a Business Continuity Assessment, IT Disaster Recovery Test and Gap Analysis & 12 Month Plan for just £675+VAT (valued at £1,350+VAT).
Offer ends 31st May 2020
If you would prefer to speak to one of our team directly, please call us on 03333 444 110