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An accounting firm considering to accept cloud technology.

Why CPA’s Need Cloud Services To Survive

Cloud Services For Accountants is More Important Than Ever

As a CPA firm you’re going to have to adjust to this new remote reality. No one expected the lock-down, however firms that operated on the cloud had an advantage over those who hadn’t yet or only did so partially.

Many accounting firms learned to understand how the right technology could help them access and review financial information, create reports, manage accounts and more.

There is no telling how or when businesses will open up. Moreover, reopening A CPA firm to its full capacity requires much more than opening the doors, turning the lights on and wiping off the dust from your desk.

It is a gradual process that will require much planning and the transition itself will depend on many factors.

That is why cloud technology has become so pivotal in the last few months. The lock-down put many accounting systems to the test, forcing everyone from individual practitioners to larger firms to operate continually outside of the office.

Firms that migrated to the cloud prior to the lock-down are doing well. Their client data secured in a data center and their applications on a cloud network ready to use. The Accounting industry has been discussing the impacts that would occur as a result of the cloud. Now, it’s no longer a theoretical discussion.

Experts predict cloud accounting to be a permanent feature of any CPA firm. Firms that didn’t migrate to the cloud previously might be asking if it’s too late for them. The answer is a definitive no.

Video Conferencing

Firms that use Microsoft 365 might be familiar with Teams. Teams is one of the many video conferencing applications firms are using to communicate while working remotely.  There are also applications like Zoom, Google hang outs, and Skype. These video tools facilitate collaboration and, with the right cloud service provider, can create an effective remote environment.

Financial services experts and CPA’s are discussing the possibly of permanent remote advising. Remote advisory services was always the direction technology was heading in. However, the lock-down that proceeded the COVID-19 pandemic only sped this transition.

These remote services will only be afforded to firms willing to migrate and adopt the virtual tools necessary to perform these roles efficiently.  That means finding a managed services provider with cloud hosting capabilities that are designed to meet your firm’s needs.

Remote Advising Through The Cloud

Remote advising is the future of the financial services industry. Technology was already in the processes of changing the role of CPA’s towards more advisory positions. With software automating much of the compliance work once handled by an accountant or bookkeeper.

James C. Bourke, a CPA an accountancy technology expert, predicts that if CPA’s are not spending on technology solutions that are accessible remotely, they will be revisited.

“Priorities are going to change on technology spending, once we are all back in the office,” he said in a recent podcast.

Adopting a cloud storage system that can handle any project without downtime can help your business succeed with remote work.

Migrating  Your Firm to The Cloud

Can you migrate mission critical applications to the cloud now? Specifically can you migrate Document, tax, engagement, and practice management to the cloud?

According to Bourke, currently, migrating to the cloud will be difficult but CPA’s should do everything they can to prepare themselves for a cloud migration when we return to normalcy.

That requires firms to research the best cloud providers, checking to see if they have the right security and compliance tools to provide your firm with the proper IT support without failing to meet regulation standards.

Technology disruption and the shifting to more advisory services are creating a professional environment where accountants must offer more valued and diverse skill sets.  However, this also means shifting focus to the client’s specific needs and away from other aspects of your practice like software, cyber security and IT services.

Leveraging the Cloud

If you plan on working as a trusted advisor you need to understand the implications of these shifts and what these tools mean for your firm. It’s not only adopting a cloud solution but adopting one that has the services that benefit your firm the most. Migrating to the cloud is like purchasing a car. Just because it has four wheels and an engine doesn’t mean it will be the vehicle you.

There are many types of cloud providers and every cloud provider has different assets, strengths and weaknesses. There are public, private and hybrid cloud. Different cloud companies like Azure have cloud services but require you to pay an extra fee for support services. Nerds Support’s accounting cloud services utilizes software that complies with SOX and FINRA standards for example.

Other cloud providers like AWS are public clouds with thousands of clients. Their service would be less personal and contacting support is difficult.

Cloud Accounting is The Future

A Survey in The New Jersey Society of CPA’s, revealed that 40 percent of participants expected a decrease in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The development of cloud technology and remote services will work to mitigate revenue loss once properly implemented.

The abrupt switch from in-person accounting services to remote focused work was jarring. Firms were unprepared for the demands of a remote work environment. However, now that industries, not just Accounting, have seen the results of a shut-in, firms will work to eliminate this vulnerability by revisiting cloud technologies and focusing on remote tools.

Managed Service Providers expect an increase in demand for public cloud services. Specifically, a an increase in SaaS, industry- focused apps. These include collaboration and other productivity and business continuity tools.

The social shift towards online platforms (VOD, social media platform, and cloud gaming) shift focus towards cloud infrastructure automation/management software.

In other words, cloud environment reliability, optimizing online platforms and the performance of your infrastructure determine the success of your firm in the future. Clients now and in the future will require and request online services.

Make sure your firm stays protected and ready for this new shift.

Cyber criminal breaching federal emergency loan site for access to money.

8,000 Emergency Loan Applicants Affected by Data Breach

The SBA Was Breached

8,000 small business owners who applied for loans from the Small Business Administration potentially had their personal information exposed last month, admits the agency.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL) offers up to $10,000 to owners currently struggling with their businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who Is Affected?

The breach affects people who applied for the EIDL. Traditionally, it was used to aid owner whose businesses were impacted by tornadoes, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Congress expanded it in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act.

Notification letters were sent to 7,913 applicants possibly impacted by the breach and then the letters were posted online. The letters revealed that personal data could have been exposed to other applicants. This data included phone numbers, addresses, dates of birth, income and financial information, and social security numbers.

What’s In the Loan Program?

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL) offers up to $10,000 to owners currently struggling with their businesses due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A Trump administration official described the issue to CNBC saying that an error occurred when some owners would hit the back button on a page they would see the information of someone else’s businesses rather than their own.

How Did The SBA Find Out?

According to reports by the Washington Post, the SBA was initially silent on the duration of the breach or about details of its discovery. Businesses that may have been affected were notified by the SBA and offered one free year of credit monitoring.

The Agency said it discovered the vulnerability on March 25 and notified those affected with letters. A copy of the letter was posted by a victim after the breach. The letter itself mentioned that there is no sign of data misuse as of last week.

What’s The SBA’s Track Record?

Business owners have had issues with the disaster loan website before. The site was taken down for maintenance for several hours on March 16, and owners could not apply during that time. On March 29, the SBA revised its application process for the disaster loans and owners had to reapply. Many learned days or weeks later that they needed to reapply.

Business owners experienced issues with the loan website previously. In fact, the site was taken down for maintenance for hours on March 16. This meant owners couldn’t apply for a loan in that time. About two weeks later on March 29, the SBA updated the application process for the loans and owners were required to reapply.

How Much Money Was Allocated?

As of April 19, SBA had approved almost 27,000 EIDL loans valued at $5.6 billion. Another 755,000 businesses received EIDL grants worth a total of $3.3 billion. The Trump administration official told CNBC that 4 million business owners had applied for assistance worth $383 billion—far more than the $17 billion allocated for the program.

Even before the breach the agency website was strained by a flood of applications for the loan that overburdened funding, keeping businesses waiting for weeks to receive money.

Before the COVID-19 crisis small businesses should have been eligible for up to $2 million in disaster loans. Unfortunately, because millions of companies are now seeking assistance,  the SBA had to limit the loans to the previously mentioned $10,000

What are the Risks Now That There Was a Breach?

That being said, the SBA approved nearly 27,000 EIDL loans since April 19. However, the breach raises a problem for anyone looking to exploit personal information on the website for social engineering scams. IBM Securities published research revealing it had seen a 6000% increase in email campaigns impersonating the SMB.

For more information on cyber security, cloud, remote work and more, visit Nerds Support’s blog.

 

Miami-VoIP-Phone-Services

Why Companies Needs Miami VoIP Phone Services in 2020

Americans are working from home more than ever before. Statistics from Smallbizgenius reveals the number of people working from home has increased by 150 percent since 2005.

Remote working is changing the workplace dynamic dramatically and knowing how to use the right tools will be essential in growing your business in the coming years.

One such tool is VoIP.

VoIP Phone Services (Voice-over Internet Protocol) phone services, which is a technology that allows you to make voice calls over an internet connection, rather than a regular phone line. This means that you can make calls from anywhere through your office phone number.

Getting the Most Out of VoIP

To make sure you have the best VoIP system in place you will need a VoIP that:

  1. Has a secure and encrypted connection, preferably in the form of VPN. A Virtual Private Network lets users connect to the internet securely without worrying about being infiltrated or breached. This way, remote workers can share files and communicate even when they’re in other locations like coffee shops or restaurants.
  2. Is Hosted by a Cloud Provider. A hosted VoIP system means remote workers have easier access from different places. Additionally, outsourcing your provider is more practical because an outsourced provider has more experience and technicians to provide the best possible service.
  3. Has a mobile App. There is greater versatility for remote workers if they can access video chats on their devices. Communication doesn’t only happen when workers are in front of their computer. In the case of an emergency, you need to be able to contact anyone at a moments notice.

In 2020, VoIP phone services are very important business IT support tools with remote work becoming the norm. Below, our IT Support Miami team lists three reasons why business owners need Miami VoIP phone services.

Keeps Remote Workers Connected

With VoIP phone services, business owners and their employees can stay connected, wherever they go. As long as they have a secure  internet connection, business owners and employees can take calls from their office number, their personal phone and even their email address even while working from home.

These features make it possible to stay connected with your employees regardless of where they are in the world. Furthermore, each system is scalable and customized, so you can have a phone system that meets your needs as your business changes and grows.

Moreover, business owners and employees don’t have to give out different phone numbers or even their email address to their clients. Business owners and employees can simply hand out one phone number and keep their other personal information confidential. This will help a lot of employees separate their work life from their personal life, without coming off as rude or limited to their clients.

Fastest Business IT Support in Miami

Other technology companies that offer VoIP Phone Services may take hours to get back to you, but Nerds Support’s 24/7 IT support Miami help desk will ensure that your business is helped in under an hour.

Miami VoIP Phone Services is More Than a Phone Number

Communication isn’t just limited to audio; video calls can bring remote employees in direct contact with one another. They can exchange files, leave comments, or edit each other’s work with ease.

There are some factors that really set Nerds Support’s Miami VoIP Phone services apart from other VoIP phone services. Some big differentiator are the services that Nerds Support’s VoIP system brings. Such included services are:

  • Call Forwarding
  • E-fax
  • Auto-attendant
  • Call Processing
  • Voice to Email

Call Forward

With these services, you can have calls forwarded from your office to your personal phone. Having your business phone number connected to your email also means that you can have your voice converted into text. That way, business owners and employees will never miss another email again!

These services also mean that you can disconnect your fax machine and save money on having an online fax service for your clients.

Auto Attendant

Finally, Miami VoIP phone services come with an auto attendant. That means you will never have to miss another call again, because the auto attendant will take the call for you and record your message so you can reach the caller again later.

The Industry’s Only Money Back Guarantee

Nerds Support’s Miami VoIP Phone services is the only Miami VoIP phone service that offers a 100% money back guarantee. Our promise is that if you don’t like Nerds Support’s Miami VoIP phone services, then Nerds Support will refund you up to two months of your money back.

VoIP phone systems connected throught the cloud

Why Your Business Should Switch to VoIP

VoIP is acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol. It’s also called IP telephone but commonly known as telephone services that operate through the computer. In addition to traditional voice services, VoIP solutions aimed at businesses have evolved into unified communications.

Businesses use VoIP because VoIP providers offer lower rates compared with traditional phone companies.

How VoIP Works

VoIP phone services turns your voice into digital signals that travel through the internet. When calling a regular phone number, the signal is converted to a regular telephone.

VoIP allows you to make calls directly from a VoIP phone, a traditional phone with a special adapter and on the computer.

Nerds Support's VoIP Phone System offers a wide variety of communication features to keep your business connected

Why Get VoIP?

VoIP allows for both data and voice communications to run on a single network. This reduces infrastructure costs immensely. Many business choose VoIP options because you avoid paying for a broadband connection and a telephone line.

1) Lower Costs

Generally, VoIP costs less than similar services from a traditional phone service. Phone services, as a result of monopolies or government, have higher service costs.

There are many additional costs when using a traditional landline. Placing calls over a regular phone line means two callers will use it up.

Since there are a limited number of lines that can be installed, landline calls are more expensive.  However, using the internet as a call system avoids this issue,  making long distance and domestic calls cheaper in the long run.

Read our e-book on how VoIP can drive revenue for more details.

2) Mobility

VoIP is a very good option for those who wish to run their business remotely or whose business requires them to be on the move often.

On a traditional phone line, you’re tied to a physical location. Furthermore, migrating phone systems to another office or a home requires contacting phone companies to transfer services and phone numbers to those locations.

3) Improved Communications

With VoIP, you can choose how your phone rings and where. For example, you might decide that the first few rings will be forwarded to your office.

If it rings past more than that, you can choose to send the call to a personal mobile device or computer,  should no one in the office be available. In other words, urgent calls don’t have to be missed.

Moreover, documents that need forwarding do not have to wait either. Businesses can e-fax documents rather than waiting an indefinite amount of time to get it through traditional fax.

4) Functionality

In the age of connectivity and mobilization, business happens everywhere. That mean that travel is a necessity. If you are not available at the office, you might be missing on valuable opportunities for your business.

With a VoIP service, incoming calls are rerouted to your phone wherever you have it plugged to the network. This can be done on a cellphone as long as it’s connected to the internet. So you can always answer business calls whether on a business trip or in an emergency.

When switching to VoIP, long distance calls and international calls are also free.

5) Versatility

Adopting VoIP phone systems allows for multitasking and increased productivity.

If you miss any calls you can read a transcript of the voicemail that are sent to your email directly.

This is just one example of the many useful features available on VoIP phone systems.

6) Flexibility

What were to happen if the office became inaccessible? In the case of a natural disaster, pandemic or electrical outage, a traditional phone service leaves your operation vulnerable.

VoIP phone services are a shift away from traditional telephoning and with that shift comes innovation. You can choose where you receive a call and how, giving you more control over your client interaction.

If your internet is down, you don’t have to worry about your ability to make calls. VoIP offers flexible features like call forwarding, which gives you the opportunity to answer on your mobile device.

If there’s an outage your business doesn’t have to stop. These types of features are invaluable for any business and deserves looking into.

VoIP can be integrated into your business continuity plan. This ensures your business continues to function regardless of the circumstances.

What Equipment is Needed?

High speed, broadband, internet connection is needed for VoIP. It can be through high speed services like DSL or a local network, or a cable modem.

Some VoIP services work exclusively with computers, while others allow for traditional phones connected to a special adapter. On a computer, you’ll need a microphone and some software.

A headset works fine for this purpose. The VoIP phones connect directly to the internet. A phone with a VoIP adapter works like any other phone.

If you’d like to learn more about our VoIP Phone System Solutions, click here.

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How to Improve Your Business’ Data Quality

Poor data quality is extremely risky when it comes to how you market and operate your business. The ultimate goal is to earn profits by using data to turn website visitors into customers. This process is also important for brick-and-mortar businesses. Poor data makes business owners, managers and other leaders perform unnecessary processes that are ineffective and unproductive. To illustrate, approximately $15B was spent in 2018 by businesses, based upon bad data.

This amount of spending, in some instances, could potentially tank businesses.  In those cases, poor data management prevents them from using resources that could spark their operations to succeed. CRM, or customer relationship management, is essential these days for businesses looking to improve their overall data quality.

This strategy is one that allows you to effectively manage engagement with your current and potential customers. CRM uses detailed analysis and produces data that businesses can benefit from to focus their marketing and sales activities. Let’s take a look at some strategies that can be used in order to improve the data quality you are getting.

Checking the Data

One of the first steps in the process of improving data quality is checking it. This is very important for business owners who utilize mailing lists and email lists for marketing campaigns. There are scrubbing programs available that can be used to determine if the information being used is accurate. However, manually searching the data may be time-consuming but effective.

Furthermore, there are data validation services available for businesses and companies to use. The expenses associated with these services should be considered an investment in your operations. Good data is essential to achieving sales and marketing objectives. Dun and Bradstreet, a  data, analytics, and insights provider for businesses, is one example in this category and has software for this type of validation.

Setting Strict Data Standards

Another good way to ensure good quality data is to set strict standards. This can be done by limiting variations for the type of data you are looking for. At the same time, it is important to remember to increase data structure. This could mean the difference between a search for some keywords and those with acronyms, as well.

The process by which your CRM system acquires data should be precise. This alone is a way to get the data that you want. Some experts say that this is also an effective approach for cleaning the data itself. The more dependable the data the more opportunities you have to use it. Strict standards are how successful businesses connect the dots between marketing and revenue goals.

Observing Management Standards

The process of actually observing the data management standards that you use is crucial. This is elaborated by Trailhead, to create, process, and maintain your data. There are terms related to these standards that have individual meanings. Knowing what these are and how they can benefit you in improving data quality is critical.

Naming is one of the terms that are used here to set details for your records, as it has to do with abbreviations or suffixes. This prevents bad data because only standard abbreviations or suffixes are allowed. Businesses that need monthly updates for active leads remember quality as another term for data results. The ability to score and measure this data offers additional benefits for operations.

 Confirming Email Addresses

Email blasts are trendy ways to market, currently, and are being used in virtually every industry. These are sent to existing customers who have provided their contact information. In order to benefit from these emails, the email addresses have to be correct. Incorrect email addresses leads to bad data that ends up wasting time and resources.

It is necessary to use systems that help you to confirm this information. There are also traditional uses for physical addresses in marketing plans. These must be confirmed, as well, so those materials are mailed to the proper place. This material may be a way to advertise new locations, products, as well as, sales and promotions. Point-of-sale sites should verify the data by asking users to confirm their information a second time.

Cross-Checking for Duplicates

It is important to save your staff time by cleaning up bad data effects. Duplicate email addresses, for example, are included here. In some cases, this occurs when customers use different name spellings. Sending duplicate emails may result in SPAM designations that are not being seen by existing and potential opportunities.

Having reliable IT and cybersecurity protection facilitates this process tremendously. If there is an outage, your company risks loosing important data you could use to improve client relationships. Companies like Nerds Support protect online operations from downtime, cyber threats and outages so you can focus on running your business.

For more articles on Technology, Cloud, cybersecurity and more visit our blog. If you have any questions on data security, I.T., feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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