Virtual Desktops for accounting firms – the impact on CPA firm management

Alavanca Systems - IT Support for Accounting, Tax and Finance Firms

Virtual Desktops for Accounting Firms – How CPA’s are leveraging them to MANAGE, SECURE and GROW their firms.


The world of business has evolved at a rapid rate, and Certified Public Accountants should be among the first to adopt technological advancements to improve the way in which they conduct their work. Virtual Desktops which are sometimes called Cloud Desktops, or Hosted Desktops are one of the most exciting developments to hit the market in recent times, which has seen thousands of accountants move from a traditional on premise work environment to a hybrid model utilizing cloud desktops with multiple locations, work from home capacity, and the ability to work anywhere from any device.

Their impact on the way CPAs manage and run their businesses has already been huge. Here’s everything you need to know about how it’s set to influence the industry for years to come.

What Are Virtual Desktops for Accounting Firms and what can they do for your firm?

Virtual desktops are a form of technology that uses virtualization to deliver a local desktop experience to the server courtesy of a secured online connection. From the user’s perspective, though, it is simply a tool that allows you to enjoy the same look, feel, and workflow benefits of a traditional desktop from any device, and from anywhere in the world.

Essentially instead of storing all your files and applications on a physical computer, the desktop and all of the data is stored in the cloud. This puts an end to relying on a specific computer and puts less strain on devices that are used to handle these tasks. For an accountant that handles multiple client files simultaneously, CPA virtual desktops can promote better organization too – although this is best done when users implement the right digital filing and practice workflow strategy and tools.

The virtual desktop is accessed via a client-end browser such as an internet browser. It can host operating systems, system configurations, applications, data, and anything else that would feature on a traditional desktop.

Why Virtual Desktops Are Changing The World Of Accounting:

An understanding of what virtual desktops can do will highlight some of the reasons that accountant firms adopt them. However, hosted desktops boast several key features that can transform the way accountants handle their workloads.

Real-Time Data Sharing:

Real-time sharing through cloud computing can help accounting firms restructure their approach to both internal and external communications, using live interactions to encourage optimal collaboration between team members, as well as client interactions.

Some examples of what can be achieved through virtual desktops for accounting firms real-time sharing include;

  • Have bookkeepers and accountants’ access live data, allowing them to collaborate without delays even when working from separate office locations.
  • Utilize edit recording features and version histories to ensure that all colleagues and clients can see the modifications that have been made to avoid any ambiguity or inaccuracies.
  • Promote dynamic and responsive interactions with clients, providing greater clarity and enabling them to make informed decisions.

Increased Efficiency

For a Certified Public Accountant achieving optimized efficiency is a priority at all times. Using a virtual desktop doesn’t only remove the need to use the same desktop to complete all aspects of a project. It additionally encourages increased efficiency of both time and money.

Areas where increased efficiency can be unlocked include, but are not limited to;

  • Financial savings due to the reduced cost of software licensing and server hosting compared to traditional client / server architecture.
  • Upgraded data security due to the centralized and professionally monitored and managed nature of the remote virtually hosted desktop and the associated servers.
  • Time savings by gaining access to all key software, and any versions – both browser based, desktop based, server based, and even older applications. All traditional accounting and tax preparation applications such as ATX, Drake, Quill, DocuSoft, Keytime, CCH and Logical Office work perfectly on virtual desktops. Scalability

Accountants know more than most that every business decision must be made with an eye on the long-term financial implications. The flexibility of virtual desktops makes them suited to sole practitioner accountants, small to medium sized firms, and the top 50 have long been taking advantage of them.

The scalability of cloud-hosted desktops can unlock a range of rewarding outcomes, such as;

  • Keeping things small when starting out, both in regards to storage, applications, and cost.
  • Being able to add or remove users, such as remote ones, one by one, to meet evolving and changing business requirements.
  • Use remote connections and real-time sharing to increase the hours of service to 24/7.

The Conclusion On Virtual Desktops for Accounting Firms

Virtual or Cloud desktops have become increasingly popular across many business sectors, and accounting is no different. Is it a service needed by all accountants? No. For those that work from a single office with only one or two accountants in the firm and never have the need to work remotely the traditional way of working is just fine – although implementing new systems may still improve client reactions.

However, for anyone that may need to access their files from the field, work from multiple locations, use remote workers from anywhere in the world, or offer real-time sharing in an organized and auditable manner, it’s not difficult to see why the virtual desktops for accounting firms are such an easy choice.



Ciro Cetrangolo is an IT specialist with over 30+ years in the IT services industry. Ciro has a deep understanding of the software, workflow, and underlying technology of accounting organizations and helps firms like yours achieve the secure, stable, and streamlined IT environments you need to accomplish your work more effectively. See my Amazon Author Profile