IT Support for Accounting Firms Wanting to Use the Best Office 365 Features

What are the most effective Office 365 features that the Alavanca IT Services team leverages for accounting firms?

To Get the Most Impact from Office 365 Features, Accounting Firms are Investing in IT Support. – Why?

Accounting firms across the country are making the leap from on-premise IT infrastructure to cloud-based infrastructure and workflow. For many, part of that adoption is IT support for accounting firms in conjunction with Microsoft Office 365.

Our accounting IT services team has done the math, and the most beneficial Office 365 features for accounting firms are:

  • Integrations
  • Collaboration
  • Compliance
  • Security
  • Scalability
  • Mobility and Accessibility
  • Project Management
  • Conferencing
  • Analytics Interface

Why Should Your CPA Firm Consider Implementing Office 365?

Many of the benefits of using Office 365 in an accounting environment are synonymous with the Office 365 features that we have already mentioned and will go into more detail shortly. However, outside of these, there are some reasons that accounting firms are migrating toward Office 365.

It’s Microsoft – Although there are dozens of smaller players on the market trying to sell software that does a part of what Office 365 can do, they aren’t Microsoft.

Therefore, they don’t have the wealth of experience and the R&D capability of this tech industry giant.

But that’s not all, because Office 365 is a Microsoft product, it works natively with all the other Microsoft offerings and all the smaller players want to find ways to integrate their products with Office 365. It’s good to be the big dog on the block.

It’s All There – It’s nearly impossible to write a concise, readable article on the features of Office 365 for accounting firms because there are literally hundreds of features spread across the wide swath of business solutions housed in the various Office 365 subscription packages.

No other company offers such a comprehensive platform.

When it Comes to IT Support for Accounting Firms, Do the Alavanca Systems Specialists Have Any Reservations About Office 365?

The answer is, “Yes and No.”

Yes, our IT support professionals are aware that there is no such thing as a perfect piece of software, and we warn businesses using Microsoft Office 365 that the use of Office 365 doesn’t guarantee their cybersecurity posture or their compliant standing.

No, we don’t have any reservations in recommending the use of Office 365 to our accounting firm clients. We’ll be there to ensure that their systems are protected and that they can leverage the features of Office 365 that will bring the most advantage while managing their risk profile.

In Our Experience Delivering IT Support for Accounting Firms, the Office 365 Features Most Effective for CPAs are:

Because Office 365 has such a wide array of functionalities, it allows the accounting firm using it to secure one solution instead of ten or twenty. To make security simpler, Office 365 automatically implements security updates, upgrades, and patches as they become available.

The most prominent cybersecurity tools within Office 365 are:

  • Encrypted Email
  • Data Loss Prevention
  • Azure Identity Protection
  • Privileged Identity Management
  • Multi-Factor Authentication
  • Mobile Device Management
  • Advanced Threat Protection

Scalability

If there is one feature that sells an accounting firm on the use of Office 365 most often, it is the scalability feature. Because Office 365 is subscription-based and geared toward a per-user cost, it’s simple to scale up and provision CPAs and support staff for tax season and to scale down to the necessary number of seats for quieter times throughout the year.

Mobility and Accessibility

Everyone in your office can have protected, go-anywhere access to databases, presentations, spreadsheets, documents, and databases with One Drive for Business. With role-based security permissions in place, authorized users are able to store, access, and share across the various applications within Office 365.

Project Management

If your firm is finding project management platforms like Trello, Asana, an Mondays to be limiting, you can turn to Planner inside Office 365. This project management tool does the job of the other project management tools that we have already mentioned, with the advantage of seamlessly communicating with other Office 365 apps natively within the Microsoft environment.

Conferencing

While our IT support for Accounting technicians can’t say that Microsoft has “nailed it” yet with Microsoft Teams, we like the direction that Teams is headed. Especially helpful for CPA firms is the ability to see whether colleagues are available and to pull people into a voice, chat, or video conference from the Word, PowerPoint, or Excel project the user is on at the time. This allows for greater real-time collaboration.

Analytics Interface

One great advantage of having all of these linked Office 365 applications is the ability to pull vast amounts of data from them. Power BI is the analytics engine of the Office 365 platform.
With Power BI, the Alavanca IT support teams working with your accounting firm are able to leverage that data by building live dashboards. These online, visual data displays allow you to make informed decisions and give you the capability to share visual analytics to clients as needed.
Have questions about how the Alavanca Systems team can help your CPA firm harness the power of Office 365 features? We’re here to answer your questions. Give us a call at 815-687-0280 or set up an appointment by clicking HERE.

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Ciro
Ciro

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

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