The benefits provided by cloud technology are too great to ignore – particularly for tax professionals and accounting firms. Most tax professionals are now using the latest technologies to simplify their day-to-day tasks and focus on key business operations.
While there are many tax software available – Drake, Lacerte, ATX, or TaxWise, the important thing is accessing them from anywhere via the cloud. That’s where hosting tax software on the cloud comes into play. Simply stated, the cloud helps businesses streamline their operations with the numerous features it offers.
As there are many cloud providers in the market to host your tax software, one must be wise in choosing a suitable one. Here are five important questions to ask during the evaluation to help you find the best cloud provider for your specific requirements.
Businesses that want to move their tax applications to the cloud do so for various reasons. They must evaluate if the technology is right for them from an operational and strategic perspective.
Cost-saving isn’t the only reason to move your tax software to the cloud. With the right cloud service provider, you will get constant access to the latest innovations for your business.
2. What level of security can be expected?
This one is a must-ask question for any company looking to host its services on the cloud. Security is one of the key factors, especially when it comes to accounting and filing taxes. Ask your cloud provider about:
- Security practices followed by them
- Number of members in their security team and their experience
- Past security breaches (if any)
3. What about the pricing plans? Are they affordable? Are there any hidden charges?
Many tax professionals want to move their tax software to the cloud as it helps them save expenses. Different cloud providers often have variations in their pricing plans. It’s important to know how you will be charged.
Is it based on the number of users?
Is the pricing based on storage or server resources?
Also, while you’re at it, ask them about their service charge increases. If there are, how often do they occur? To be thorough, consider all the options with regard to the overall cost of ownership so you can budget accordingly.
4. Can I expect a good server uptime?
According to research, the average downtime cost for SMBs is $7,900 per minute. So, this becomes an important question to ask.
As with any other software, hosting tax applications on the cloud require periodic updates and maintenance. Ask the cloud providers about their outages in the past and for how long they lasted.
Ask a cloud provider upfront how they would locate you and what form of communication will be used. With so many options available nowadays, some providers may use Twitter or other social media platforms to inform their clients.
A good cloud provider would schedule a customized plan in advance and assure cloud availability.
5. Does the cloud provider offer free customer service 24*7?
Accountants and tax professionals aren’t expected to be aware of technical issues which may come up while hosting their tax software on the cloud. Hence, they need easy and quick access to support whenever any issue comes up. And this is why customer support is important.
While selecting a cloud provider, ensure that they offer round-the-clock customer service. It would allow tax professionals, accountants, or CPAs to experience a personal connection with the support staff as well as a shorter waiting time.
Cloud has hit a tipping point for most tax professionals and accounting firms. The tax industry can and should use this technology to get remote access to the software, adequate data security, and reduced costs. These questions will allow tax professionals and accounting firms to whittle down a list of cloud providers to a manageable amount.
Businesses must assess the available cloud providers to determine if they can meet their cloud and operational requirements today and in the future.
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