[IMGCAP(1)]The way in which accounting organizations purchase, deploy, and use technology is changing.

Firms and internal accounting departments have the option of either a traditional on-premise software deployment or a cloud-based service.

The choice is significant, since each method can impact information technology, security, and compliance policies, not just for an organization, but also for their customers and partners.

Industry prognosticators see a future where much of the digital life of a business will reside in the cloud, where third-party IT specialists maintain servers, and major software applications are “leased” on a monthly basis as a service rather than licensed.

While the number of companies venturing into this realm is increasing, others in the accounting world feel no pressure to stray from business as usual.  When considering a software deployment decision, ultimately the choice lies in the context of the situation. The practicalities and economics of the decision largely depend on what an organization currently has in terms of IT assets and staff.

On-Premise Deployment
In the case of the Mangold Group CPA, PC, an established accounting firm in Austin, Texas, on-premise software deployment made the most sense. The company already maintained a shared server network for its accountants and support staff, so it was a natural choice to leverage its existing infrastructure. Mangold adopted software to organize the piles of financial reports and records from clients for yearly tax returns.

“Before we implemented a document management solution, as the paperwork would come in, we would scan each paper document, make a folder for the client on the server, and save it under their name,” said Michael DuFresne, technical service administrator at the Mangold Group.

Accountants looking for specific client records found it difficult to wade through cryptic filenames. Often they would re-save documents in a different folder, creating more disorganization on the server.

“Fundamentally, the problem was a lack of file management,” DuFresne said. “Searching for one particular item took too much time. You could not find anything unless you knew exactly where to look for it.”

Mangold selected a professional file management solution, M-Files from my company, Motive Systems, which associated metadata properties, or “tags,” with each saved document. These tags identify the item with a client name, tax year, type of report, and essentially any other categorization deemed important for the business. This allowed accountants to accurately cross-reference client materials many different ways from one central repository.

Because of Mangold’s existing IT infrastructure, putting the document management system in place demanded little more than installing the new software on the existing Windows-based server and individual PCs. The software automatically integrated with existing Windows user accounts and groups and interfaces.

Cloud-Based Alternatives
A firm like the Mangold Group can easily add company-wide software to an existing server configuration at a reasonable cost.  But in a different environment—say one without existing IT infrastructure and staff—the cloud emerges as the most cost-effective solution.

A cloud-based deployment approach essentially offers the same features and support as the on-premise example utilized by Mangold but with two major differences.

First, firms can store practically all of their digital documentation on the cloud, avoiding the need for server hardware—and the staff to maintain it. This makes sense for startup firms, independent accountants or small partnerships.

Many larger companies are also turning to cloud-based solutions when their existing IT resources become overextended. They can expand flexibly with secure cloud storage capabilities and take advantage of the Software-as-a-Service model to serve newly acquired departments or large-scale limited-time projects without having to add hardware capacity or technicians.

Secondly, the costs for the software itself are also more manageable in these scenarios. Instead of spending their infrastructure budget on the system as an asset, companies can simply pay a small amount per month as an operating expense. The monthly fee varies upon the number of active users, so the system easily expands or contracts with business cycles.

Perhaps best of all, cloud solutions allow large swaths of technical responsibilities to be outsourced. The cloud-based software vendor handles the complex procedures that usually lie outside the expertise of accountants, such as back-up and disaster recovery, long-term archiving, and day-to-day maintenance.

Regardless of the size of the accounting or financial operation, there is now a significant choice in how to deploy software applications. The best practice in terms of both efficacy and cost depends on your particular business environment. On-premise systems still retain advantages for offices with ample server capacity and IT expertise. On the other hand, cloud-based solutions now lower the barrier of entry to powerful multi-user software tools for those situations where on-the-ground network resources are unavailable.

In both cases, carefully consider how a solution might fit your needs in terms of IT and support, compliance and regulations, and the security of your data, whether it is yours or your clients’.

Greg Milliken is the president of Motive Systems, the developer of M-Files professional document management software and the cloud-based document management service M-Files Cloud Vault. For more information, visit www.m-files.com.

The way in which accounting organizations purchase, deploy, and use technology is changing.

Firms and internal accounting departments have the option of either a traditional on-premise software deployment or a cloud-based service.

The choice is significant, since each method can impact information technology, security, and compliance policies, not just for an organization, but also for their customers and partners.

Industry prognosticators see a future where much of the digital life of a business will reside in the cloud, where third-party IT specialists maintain servers, and major software applications are “leased” on a monthly basis as a service rather than licensed.

While the number of companies venturing into this realm is increasing, others in the accounting world feel no pressure to stray from business as usual. When considering a software deployment decision, ultimately the choice lies in the context of the situation. The practicalities and economics of the decision largely depend on what an organization currently has in terms of IT assets and staff.

 

On-Premise Deployment

In the case of the Mangold Group CPA, PC, an established accounting firm in Austin, Texas, on-premise software deployment made the most sense. The company already maintained a shared server network for its accountants and support staff, so it was a natural choice to leverage its existing infrastructure.

Mangold adopted software to organize the piles of financial reports and records from clients for yearly tax returns.

“Before we implemented a document management solution, as the paperwork would come in, we would scan each paper document, make a folder for the client on the server, and save it under their name,” said Michael DuFresne, technical service administrator at the Mangold Group.

Accountants looking for specific client records found it difficult to wade through cryptic filenames. Often they would re-save documents in a different folder, creating more disorganization on the server. “Fundamentally, the problem was a lack of file management,” DuFresne said. “Searching for one particular item took too much time. You could not find anything unless you knew exactly where to look for it.”

Mangold selected a professional file management solution, M-Files from my company, Motive Systems, which associated metadata properties, or “tags,” with each saved document. These tags identify the item with a client name, tax year, type of report, and essentially any other categorization deemed important for the business. This allowed accountants to accurately cross-reference client materials many different ways from one central repository.

Because of Mangold’s existing IT infrastructure, putting the document management system in place demanded little more than installing the new software on the existing Windows-based server and individual PCs. The software automatically integrated with existing Windows user accounts and groups and interfaces.

 

Cloud-Based Alternatives

A firm like the Mangold Group can easily add company-wide software to an existing server configuration at a reasonable cost. But in a different environment—say one without existing IT infrastructure and staff—the cloud emerges as the most cost-effective solution.

A cloud-based deployment approach essentially offers the same features and support as the on-premise example utilized by Mangold but with two major differences.

First, firms can store practically all of their digital documentation on the cloud, avoiding the need for server hardware—and the staff to maintain it. This makes sense for startup firms, independent accountants or small partnerships.

Many larger companies are also turning to cloud-based solutions when their existing IT resources become overextended. They can expand flexibly with secure cloud storage capabilities and take advantage of the Software-as-a-Service model to serve newly acquired departments or large-scale limited-time projects without having to add hardware capacity or technicians.

Secondly, the costs for the software itself are also more manageable in these scenarios. Instead of spending their infrastructure budget on the system as an asset, companies can simply pay a small amount per month as an operating expense. The monthly fee varies upon the number of active users, so the system easily expands or contracts with business cycles.

Perhaps best of all, cloud solutions allow large swaths of technical responsibilities to be outsourced. The cloud-based software vendor handles the complex procedures that usually lie outside the expertise of accountants, such as back-up and disaster recovery, long-term archiving, and day-to-day maintenance.

Regardless of the size of the accounting or financial operation, there is now a significant choice in how to deploy software applications. The best practice in terms of both efficacy and cost depends on your particular business environment. On-premise systems still retain advantages foThe way in which accounting organizations purchase, deploy, and use technology is changing.
Firms and internal accounting departments have the option of either a traditional on-premise software deployment or a cloud-based service.
The choice is significant, since each method can impact information technology, security, and compliance policies, not just for an organization, but also for their customers and partners.
Industry prognosticators see a future where much of the digital life of a business will reside in the cloud, where third-party IT specialists maintain servers, and major software applications are “leased” on a monthly basis as a service rather than licensed.
While the number of companies venturing into this realm is increasing, others in the accounting world feel no pressure to stray from business as usual.  When considering a software deployment decision, ultimately the choice lies in the context of the situation. The practicalities and economics of the decision largely depend on what an organization currently has in terms of IT assets and staff.

On-Premise Deployment
In the case of the Mangold Group CPA, PC, an established accounting firm in Austin, Texas, on-premise software deployment made the most sense. The company already maintained a shared server network for its accountants and support staff, so it was a natural choice to leverage its existing infrastructure.
Mangold adopted software to organize the piles of financial reports and records from clients for yearly tax returns.
“Before we implemented a document management solution, as the paperwork would come in, we would scan each paper document, make a folder for the client on the server, and save it under their name,” said Michael DuFresne, technical service administrator at the Mangold Group.
Accountants looking for specific client records found it difficult to wade through cryptic filenames. Often they would re-save documents in a different folder, creating more disorganization on the server. “Fundamentally, the problem was a lack of file management,” DuFresne said. “Searching for one particular item took too much time. You could not find anything unless you knew exactly where to look for it.”
Mangold selected a professional file management solution, M-Files from my company, Motive Systems, which associated metadata properties, or “tags,” with each saved document. These tags identify the item with a client name, tax year, type of report, and essentially any other categorization deemed important for the business. This allowed accountants to accurately cross-reference client materials many different ways from one central repository.
Because of Mangold’s existing IT infrastructure, putting the document management system in place demanded little more than installing the new software on the existing Windows-based server and individual PCs. The software automatically integrated with existing Windows user accounts and groups and interfaces.

Cloud-Based Alternatives
A firm like the Mangold Group can easily add company-wide software to an existing server configuration at a reasonable cost.  But in a different environment—say one without existing IT infrastructure and staff—the cloud emerges as the most cost-effective solution.
A cloud-based deployment approach essentially offers the same features and support as the on-premise example utilized by Mangold but with two major differences.
First, firms can store practically all of their digital documentation on the cloud, avoiding the need for server hardware—and the staff to maintain it. This makes sense for startup firms, independent accountants or small partnerships.
Many larger companies are also turning to cloud-based solutions when their existing IT resources become overextended. They can expand flexibly with secure cloud storage capabilities and take advantage of the Software-as-a-Service model to serve newly acquired departments or large-scale limited-time projects without having to add hardware capacity or technicians.
Secondly, the costs for the software itself are also more manageable in these scenarios. Instead of spending their infrastructure budget on the system as an asset, companies can simply pay a small amount per month as an operating expense. The monthly fee varies upon the number of active users, so the system easily expands or contracts with business cycles.
Perhaps best of all, cloud solutions allow large swaths of technical responsibilities to be outsourced. The cloud-based software vendor handles the complex procedures that usually lie outside the expertise of accountants, such as back-up and disaster recovery, long-term archiving, and day-to-day maintenance.
Regardless of the size of the accounting or financial operation, there is now a significant choice in how to deploy software applications. The best practice in terms of both efficacy and cost depends on your particular business environment. On-premise systems still retain advantages for offices with ample server capacity and IT expertise. On the other hand, cloud-based solutions now lower the barrier of entry to powerful multi-user software tools for those situations where on-the-ground network resources are unavailable.
In both cases, carefully consider how a solution might fit your needs in terms of IT and support, compliance and regulations, and the security of your data, whether it is yours or your clients’.


Greg Milliken is the president of Motive Systems, the developer of M-Files professional document management software and the cloud-based document management service M-Files Cloud Vault. For more information, visit www.m-files.com,
r offices with ample server capacity and IT expertise. On the other hand, cloud-based solutions now lower the barrier of entry to powerful multi-user software tools for those situations where on-the-ground network resources are unavailable.

In both cases, carefully consider how a solution might fit your needs in terms of IT and support, compliance and regulations, and the security of your data, whether it is yours or your clients’.

 

 

Greg Milliken is the president of Motive Systems, the developer of M-Files professional document management software and the cloud-based document management service M-Files Cloud Vault. For more information, visit www.m-files.com ,

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