For CPAs and small accounting firms, filing simple to advanced tax returns for their clients is not an easy task. Tax laws change with time, and they need to keep themselves abreast of all the updates from time to time.
This is where technology plays its role in the form of ATX, an advanced tax compliance software designed for filing returns. It has an extensive forms library along with tax law research capability and many other features.
When backed by cloud technology, the utility of this tax software grows even more. Accounting professionals can work with improved productivity in filing returns for their clients.
If you are a CPA or own an accounting firm, you can easily find a good number of ATX hosting providers. But it is crucial for you to consider a few significant aspects while choosing the right cloud hosting provider.
To ensure that the ATX hosting provider you choose fulfills your expectations, keep the following things in mind while hiring one –
1. Use of Tier 3+ or Tier IV Data Centers
In cloud technology, your applications and data get stored in remotely located data centers. These data centers are generally classified as Tier I to Tier IV as per their features, specifications, and server availability.
|Availability Measure||Downtime Per Year||Downtime Per Week|
|90% (one nine)||36.5 days||16.8 hours|
|99% (two nines)||3.65 days||1.68 hours|
|99.9% (three nines)||8.76 hours||10.1 minutes|
|99.99% (four nines)||52.6 minutes||1.01 minutes|
|99.995% (four and a half nines)||26.28 minutes||30.24 seconds|
|99.999% (five nines)||5.25 minutes||6.05 seconds|
|99.9999% (six nines)||31.5 seconds||604.8 ms|
For your business, you want your cloud-hosted ATX professional tax software to be accessible at all times. This is because you can’t put urgent return filing tasks on hold because of any technical issues on the server end. Depending on the scale of your business, you may lose clients as well as money because of longer server downtime.
So, it is best to hire a cloud hosting provider who will store your data in Tier 3+ or Tier IV data centers. This is because these types of data centers ensure maximum uptime of around 99.99%. With these hosting providers, you can work upon filing returns for your clients throughout the year as required.
This will also help you grow your business with time while also maintaining healthy business relationships with your clients.
2. Security and Backup
When you are planning to store your ATX software and data on the cloud, you do want to ensure that it will stay safe and secure.
In general, cloud security is maintained with the help of firewalls, multi-factor authentication, malware protection, security audits, data encryption, and similar other measures.
So, you should choose a cloud service provider who has all or most of these advanced cloud security measures in place. He should also follow strict security guidelines to control server access to authorized users only.
Even disruptive events like natural calamities, including earthquakes, storms, etc. can put the security of data saved in the data center at risk. To be at the safe side always, choose an ATX hosting provider who provides data backup facility.
Most of the renowned cloud hosting providers offer this feature. They get the data saved in their data centers replicated into similar other data centers located on different geographical locations to ensure no loss of saved data.
3. Customer Support
If you have been using ATX software hosted on your local computer, you might have faced certain technical issues sometimes which you can’t resolve yourself. This simply means you need expert’s help for the same. The more severe problems you face, the higher charges you may need to pay to the tech-expert.
One reason why CPAs choose to work on cloud-hosted ATX professional tax software is the customer support offered by the cloud solution provider. They need not pay an IT professional for getting round the clock support services, whenever they face issues.
So, while hiring a cloud service provider, it is always a good move to ask about the customer support services they offer. There is nothing wrong in skipping to hire those who do not have well-defined support services in place.
4. Pricing Plans
Cloud hosting service charges are generally determined by the number of users and the computing resources you opt for. Virtual RAM, virtual CPU configuration, number of authorized users, SAN storage capacity, etc. need to be chosen as per business-specific needs.
As a CPA or an accounting firm owner, you know well about how much resources you need to migrate your ATX professional tax software and its data on the cloud. Still, you may find multiple cloud service providers having different pricing plans for the same ATX hosting solutions they offer.
However, pricing alone should never be used solely as a parameter to hire a cloud solution provider. Instead, you should also consider your specific needs and budget at the time of hiring one. You are advised to make the final decision only when you have cleared all your doubts related to cloud services.
5. Client Reviews
Of course, you do want to know about the experience of other CPAs or firms while working with some specific cloud hosting provider. You can get to know that through the genuine reviews given to the hosting provider by his/her clients.
These reviews can be found at service rating platforms such as Serchen. Genuine, positive reviews from the clients can help you understand the quality of service you can expect.
Similarly, you can ask for recommendations of ATX hosting solutions from your peers or others in your business network. As per their experience, they will be able to recommend to you whom to choose. If you are moving your data to the cloud for the first time, they will also guide you about what to expect from a cloud solution provider.
6. Experience in The Cloud Industry
Just like in any other business, the experience of offering cloud services in the industry matters a lot. In comparison to the newbies, an experienced cloud hosting provider knows more about how to fulfill their clients’ expectations.
Plus, the provider should also have expertise in offering cloud service for your type of business-specific applications. For instance, if you want to host ATX tax software, look for a provider with expertise in tax application cloud hosting.
Make sure you hire an experienced cloud service provider to get your ATX software and its data hosted on the cloud.
Finding an ATX hosting provider is not a tough task if you know how to look for one. By keeping in mind these aspects mentioned above, you can get to choose a cloud service provider that can fulfill your specific needs the way you want.
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