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Outsourced Help Desk for Accountants

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Accountants are experts at surviving the “busy season.” Tax accountants, for instance, are slammed as annual deadlines draw near. There are slow times, too, but during crazy times, the last thing an accountant wants is essential tech going down.

A broken computer or server downtime can be devastating. Say it’s a few days before a tax deadline, and the accountant logs into an essential tax preparation application and sees a blank screen: the system is down, and they can’t get in. It’s the kind of crisis that more cups of coffee can’t handle.

In the United States in 2018, the Internal Revenue Service’s website crashed on April 17, Tax Day. Since many people had waited until the last minute to submit their tax returns, this single day of downtime is estimated to have cost millions. It’s a clear example of the damage even a day of server downtime or other type of outage can cost a business and, in this case, one that business accountants can relate to!

If the firm takes a break-fix approach to its technology needs, the answer will be to call in an expert. This could mean hours on the phone with an IT helpline only to find out the problem is with another service provider. Or it could mean trying to reach someone to come out and check the network only to get on their calendar in the next available spot.

Deadlines are looming, and you are spending time on IT woes? It’s a disaster.

A proactive approach is to outsource IT help to a managed service provider (MSP) instead. Rather than waste valuable time trying to solve the problem yourself, turn to an IT technician to get to work.

Outsourcing Your IT Help Desk

With managed services, when you need help, the experts are readily available to tackle your concerns. Many solutions are remote.

Better yet, the MSP will use your slow times to set up systems to cut the risk of downtime during crunch season.

The MSP gets to know your business objectives and your technology infrastructure, which can help them react more efficiently and effectively. They can also track your IT to detect issues or security vulnerabilities early. Plus, they will help create business continuity plans to get your firm up and running again fast.

If the worst does happen, the MSP is only a help ticket or phone call away. Their experts are familiar not only with your technology but also with how you use it. Plus, as a consistent customer, you are a priority, not just another name on a list of people needing help who all see their needs as an emergency.

One other advantage to outsourcing your IT help is that it can reduce costs. The break-fix approach can be an expensive one. Instead, you’ll pay an MSP a set, monthly fee for the peace of mind that your IT needs are being looked after. The MSP can also help you identify opportunities to reduce IT-related operational costs.


Essentials for Empowering Remote Work

?COVID-19 is forcing many businesses to embrace remote work. The technology needed to enable people to work from home has existed for years, but working from home may be new for you and your employees. Here are some essentials you need to address to empower your remote workers.

What technology do you have or need? Your people may have business laptops and phones, or perhaps you already allowed employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) to work. So, remote work isn’t going to be as much of a change. Your people already have the tools they need.

However, a business that wasn’t doing any of this before might need new hardware. You can’t expect your employees to lug heavy desktop computers home.

You may need to ask employees to use their own personal computers and phones. That’s going to require some ground rules. For one, no Windows 7: that operating system is out of date and no longer supported by Microsoft, which means employees could be putting corporate data at risk of cyberattack.

You can also take the following precautions to secure off-site online activity:

  • Establish strict policies for securing devices accessing business networks.
  • Communicate reporting procedures for the loss/theft of a device.
  • Enable mobile monitoring management of all devices that give IT access.
  • Encourage regular backup of mobile devices.
  • Educate employees to regularly update firewall and anti-virus software.
  • Prohibit third-party apps.
  • Set devices to make users aware that they may be connecting to unsafe networks.

Challenges of the Remote Work Environment

In the office environment, there is business technology consistency. Now, you’re supporting various hardware and networking solutions of different quality. This can be a headache to get up and running, yet you need to support your remote employees. What kind of IT desk help will you offer? People are now working wherever they are, whenever they want.

The “wherever they are” part can raise some issues. Employees could log in from public parks, coffee shops (if any are open), or while at home with the kids. This means fresh threats. Laptops can get stolen. People out in the world could look over your employee’s shoulder and read what’s on the screen. Kids can spill juice in a split second! Install remote management software to enable a complete wipe of lost or stolen laptops. Also, implement encryption, data backup, and screen-locking features to help keep data secure.

Saying people can work “whenever they want” also has its challenges. With everyone stuck at home, a 9–5 schedule for office productivity may be impossible. Toddlers don’t really understand that “Mommy’s working,” do they?

It’s a good idea to establish clear expectations from the outset:

  • How will progress be demonstrated?
  • How can employees check-in with managers?
  • What are the expectations for team collaboration?
  • What software will be used for group chat, video, or conference calling?
  • What is acceptable business-hour flexibility?

If you’re going to allow people to set their own hours, IT support needs to be flexible, too.

Supporting Remote Work

The good news is that remote work can be productive, too. In fact, a Stanford University study found remote employees did an extra day’s work per person per week.

We can help you set up your technology to support your remote staff. We’ll make sure your hardware is up to scratch, secure those mobile devices, and be your remote IT help desk at odd hours. Contact us today at 615-502-0552!