The Problem with Managing Your IT "In House"
As a technology junkie who also genuinely enjoys reading about accounting, I was excited to see an article titled “How to prevent tech troubles: 8 tips to keep IT-related problems from wasting workers’ time" in the most recent issue of the Journal of Accountancy. Although I agree with most of the tips, the 7th tip, “If possible, hire a dedicated IT person (or more than one)”, raised a red flag for me as a managed service provider (MSP). The article states that if a firm is too small to employ a full-time IT person, have someone who can work with an outside IT consulting firm.
IT Support for Small Businesses
The days of being able to have an in-house IT person or staff who can manage it all are quickly coming to an end. Technology is just advancing too fast. The skill set required for “network administrators” and the related economics is dictating the move to the MSP model. That is not to say that in-house IT people are not needed, but they should complement the MSP.
Unlike their big-business counterparts, most small businesses, including CPA firms, don't have the means or the necessity for hiring a full-time IT staff to handle everything from the smallest email problem to big picture technology planning. Therefore, it makes sense for many of them to engage a competent MSP who can help to align their technology with their business goals.
An MSP’s primary role is to manage a business’ IT infrastructure. Sagiss accomplishes this through a remote service desk, proactive network operations center, an escalation and project team and account managers.
Think about the following IT requirements today. Businesses must have access to a wide range of IT knowledge: virtualization technology, 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 and the list goes on.
How does a small business hire a “network administrator” who knows how to do all of this? How does a small business know how to interview and hire this position? Unfortunately, the answer is that most don’t and can’t.
Funnily enough, I came across an advertisement for a cloud-based professional accounting system providing outsourced accounting services in the very same issue of the Journal of Accountancy. Just as an MSP provides IT services to businesses without the means or expertise to run their own technology, this service provides accounting services for businesses without the means or expertise to handle their accounting. This makes sense to me because who should know more about performing the daily accounting processes than a CPA firm? By the same token, who better to provide IT services to a CPA firm than an experienced MSP?
Does your business need help with managing technology? Give us a call--we'd be happy to help.