March 2, 2015

How CPAs Can Breeze Through Tax Season With the Cloud

happy-little-cloud-e1426623865913.jpgBob Ross became famous for his painting show that featured happy little clouds. And just like Ross’s paintings, the right “happy little cloud” solution can make tax season smoother by bringing a calmness to the chaos. The cloud-enabled accountant is better prepared for tax season and beyond. Here is how and why the cloud will help CPAs breeze through tax preparation.

CPAs are under heightened pressure during the early months of the year as deadlines for businesses and individuals to complete their requisite tax forms bear down like an inevitable freight train. The sense of urgency is real and any loss of time can prove catastrophic. As stress mounts on CPAs to get everything done in a tight timeframe, they risk burnout and face an impact in their overall efficiency.

The cloud alleviates many potential problem areas and demands on time, providing the ability to:

  • Work anywhere, anytime without interruption from severe weather or travel.
  • Have access to exactly the right amount of technology that is needed right now.
  • Work with confidence knowing stringent, redundant security measures are in place.

Here’s your bravery test!

Tax season coincides with the period on the calendar most vulnerable to severe weather and the resulting disruptions that accompany it. A conventional IT set-up would require staff to brave the elements to make it to work or risk falling behind on tight, unrelenting deadlines. An investment in a cloud solution that wraps around the CPA firm’s approach to business, however, would provide staff anytime, anywhere access to servers and applications via the cloud. Even if offices are in a region that is not as susceptible to disruptive weather, the anytime, anywhere access to the cloud enables work to continue should a utility fail or some other unforeseen event prevents business from continuing as usual. With a cloud solution for the firm, staff can work from home or even make a quick trip out of town without losing connection to the office.

Any way you want it to be, that’s just right.

The cloud is also an asset when the business needs to scale its operations up or down. It can provide more workers network access if the season will be particularly busy and extra accountants or support personnel are necessary. The cloud accomplishes this without requiring more investment in the organization’s infrastructure. Then, just as easily as the cloud can grow to accommodate seasonal workers, it can then revert back to the standard operating level once the hectic pace of tax season subsides. Scalability is equally beneficial if a client needs new software, or if the firm wishes to experiment with different applications to see what may work best for clients. Overall, the cloud provider keeps software investments to a minimum regardless of the circumstances and maintains licensing and upgrades without interrupting the hectic season.

That’ll be our little secret.

Perhaps most importantly, if the cloud service provider has been chosen wisely, data security concerns are nonexistent. Financial information is perhaps only rivaled by health information in terms of how tightly it is guarded. The cloud offers security, processing integrity and confidentiality in safeguarding data through logical, physical and methodological security measures. A cloud provider that clears hurdles concerning the safe handling of sensitive data is meeting the toughest security guidelines. Industry certifications, such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountant ‘s (AICPA) SOC 2, and SSAE-16 compliant data centers provide assurances that data entrusted to the cloud provider is secure and demonstrate the cloud company’s ability to meet or exceed industry standards to protect data.

Clouds are very, very free.

The bottom line is an investment in the cloud benefits CPAs by helping them get through the most stressful, difficult time of the year with minimal interruption. External barriers such as weather or illness will not render as time missed, as a secure connection to the cloud is there to alleviate any impact. The cloud permits the focus to remain on accounting and contributing to billable hours, while the provider handles IT maintenance and access. With a cloud solution in place, the CPA, clients and the organization will breeze through tax season and hopefully enjoy a few moments of respite. Maybe even paint a few happy clouds.

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