What Are Accounting Industry Best Practices for Public Cloud Adoption?

Filed Under (IT infrastructure, Private Cloud, Technology Trends) by Rick Dhatt on 22-02-2021

Accounting Industry Best Practices for Public Cloud Adoption


Digital transformation is happening in industries far and wide, including the accounting sector. Getting the most out of technology investments is no longer a competitive advantage, it is critical to simply survive. But accounting firms cannot afford to modernize their workflows and adopt the cloud without the proper strategy, structure, and speed. Even the slightest misstep can have long-lasting negative effects.

For accounting firms, the needs of the public cloud are different than those of other businesses and industries. From handling sensitive and non-public data to strict storage requirements, adopting the public cloud has to be done the right way to avoid potentially devastating consequences.

In this piece, we will discuss some best practices for adopting the public cloud in your accounting practice. From what tools are available to help move your firm forward to what pitfalls to avoid, the guidance provided here should put you on the path to successful public cloud adoption.

Stay Safe

Before digging in to the exciting possibilities that the public cloud offers to accounting firms, it is critical to highlight the most important part of your cloud adoption. Security is paramount to your business so keeping an eye on security as you move to the cloud should be top of mind. The good news is that the public cloud offers a number of robust security solutions and add-ons to keep data safe. From malware scanning and intrusion prevention, to DDoS mitigation and data backups, your cloud workloads need to be well-managed and locked down tight.

Because accounting firms are dealing with both financial data and private personal information, also known as “PPI,” security and compliance are more important than in other industries. Make sure that your move to the public cloud includes the presence of mind to think about security each step of the way.

Go With What You Know

While it is always wise to consider new tools and software to serve your clients, accountants will find that most of the tools they use now are available in the cloud. All of the systems you are currently using can be hosted in the public cloud without sacrificing performance or security including Caseware, CCH, Quickbooks, Sage, Doc.it, etc. By hosting your bookkeeping and productivity tools in the cloud, you’ll benefit from better performance, stability, security and the ability to access those applications from any computer or mobile device.

Additionally, solutions like Microsoft’s Office365 run in the cloud and can provide your organization with class-leading email, productivity and collaboration tools. The cloud-based version of Microsoft’s well-known Office suite, Office365 gives you and your team the ability to access email, documents, and other files from any connected device. Powered by Microsoft’s public cloud, Office365 brings a familiar set of tools to the modern age. If you’re currently using Office for productivity and Exchange for email, a move to Office365 makes lots of sense.

Plan Ahead

One of the challenges when moving your accounting infrastructure to the public cloud comes in not thinking ahead to the future. By their very nature, public cloud providers like AWS are constantly updating and upgrading the technology that makes the cloud possible. That’s good news for accountants that can’t afford to fall behind.

However, you owe it to yourself as well to evaluate how the cloud will work for your business as well over time. From data storage to backups to new applications that help you do great work and stay connected to clients, the cloud can and should be a platform upon which you can build your firm’s future.

Be Open-Minded

The public cloud offers performance and reliability that might surprise you if your applications and email and have been running on an old server in an office closet. As such, when moving to AWS or another public cloud, it is in your interest to be open-minded to the possibilities. Perhaps you are used to paper records and don’t realize the public cloud can digitize those files and make your filing cabinets obsolete. Maybe you currently have a local version of your accounting software on your machine and don’t know how much more powerful a cloud-hosted version can be.

Approaching a move to the cloud with your eyes wide open not just about what you think you need but also about what is possible through this new technology will serve your accounting practice well both now and in the future.

Find Your Specialist

In the event your accounting practice doesn’t have an in-house IT department, you’ll need a partner to help navigate your journey. And just as you wouldn’t go to a cardiologist if you had a headache, you shouldn’t work with an IT service provider that doesn’t focus on serving accounting firms. There are IT and managed service providers now for most every industry and business size, so picking a specialist will make your journey to the cloud much smoother.

Since 1999, Welcome Networks has focused on providing top notch IT solutions and services to accounting firms. Our intense focus on providing managed services extends to designing, deploying, and managing public cloud environments that help accountants deliver exceptional work to their clients.

As the saying goes, “Every company is a technology company now.” With Welcome Network at your side, and the public cloud as your technological foundation, your accounting firm is on the right track to reach new heights. Contact us now to learn more about how Welcome Networks can help your adoption of the cloud via email sales@welcomenetworks.com or call 1-866-549-2717.


Filed Under (Private Cloud) by Rick Dhatt on 08-04-2019

With more businesses using IT support services, the question of cyber security keeps dominating. Cybercriminals are increasingly launching phishing attacks to get hold of confidential data from unsuspecting users. One technique that cybercriminals use is unencrypted sites. You know a site is encrypted if it has a padlock icon or if it starts with HTTPS instead of HTTP. However, today, cybercriminals know that everybody is aware of this, and they are now using the very same sites with encryption to launch their attacks. This brings out the question of whether the encrypted sites are safe.

How Do Hackers Use Encrypted Sites to Launch Phishing Attacks?

Research has found out that about 24% phishing scams actually happen on encrypted websites. This means that even if you see the HTTPS or the padlock item, you still need to do more in finding out whether it is actually legit.

Welcome Networks IT services providers are always working hard to keep their clients safe, but the individuals must take extra caution as the scammers rely on them to do exactly as they ask. With the use of encrypted sites, more people are likely to fall prey. Hackers are bound to succeed here as they are even going the extra mile of ensuring the email and text look authentic.

For instance, if you receive an email that claims to be from Amazon with a link directing you to an encrypted site, you will most likely fall for this trick. However, if you have never dealt with Amazon or even purchased an item online, then you should most definitely know it is a scam. Nevertheless, many Amazon customers may fall prey here.

Does Encryption Make It So Safe?

IT support highly recommend encryption because initially it is supposed to make the internet safer. However, this may not always be the case. In fact, as sites that are more legit are encrypted, more phishing sites are also encrypted. However, this does not entirely mean that all phishing sites are encrypted; most of them are actually not.

Safety Precautions

Despite this new development in phishing attacks, encryption is still essential. HTTPS sites are also safe than the unencrypted ones. However, be wary when visiting suspicious sites and avoid clicking links anyhow. In addition, be extra cautious in responding requests for confidential data.

As phishing and other cybersecurity scams get rampant, no single solution is 100% hacker-proof. However, you should partner with IT support providers in Vancouver for precautionary measures to protect your business. Contact Welcome Networks Inc today and our experts will be there to help safeguard your business against cybercriminals.

7 Must Ask Questions to Ask Your Cloud Provider

Filed Under (Private Cloud) by Rick Dhatt on 23-06-2016


So you are already looking forward to the benefits of having a cloud environment – a flexible work environment, operational efficiency, increased user productivity, and the list goes on – but what are some factors that make sure you have a positive experience with your new cloud provider? You have to do your due diligence to manage risk. Here are some common questions to ask your potential cloud provider.

  1. Where are your data centers located?
    This is mostly for preference but is a commonly asked question. This is for consumers that want to ensure that their data is in a specific country or province/state to follow their specific policies and laws. You also want to make sure that the servers are reliable and are in multiple locations. We go a little more in-depth about the multi-location factor later – this is referred as geo redundancy. Essentially, this will determine how secure the actual server hardware is when it comes to natural disasters and physical security. Because your cloud experience is heavily influenced by your internet connection, you will also need to make sure that you have a backup in case it fails. Some businesses use 2 internet providers to cover this risk – if one internet provider goes down, they can still access their virtual servers with the backup internet provider.A standard you should keep an eye on is SSAE 16 – this stands for Standards for Attestation Engagements 16. These companies go through a set of audits to ensure their practices mirror and comply with the international service organization report standards. Those cloud providers that follow this demonstrate that their physical systems are secure and have data redundancy.
  2. What happens if I want to cancel your service?
    This is one factor that sometimes scares consumers – commitment. There is a fear that if you don’t like what you purchase or can’t afford it down the road you will be obligated to pay for it. Most providers actually don’t lock you into any annual contracts and are comfortable with having month-to-month payments. This allows them to have some breathing room and can be just as scalable as cloud solutions themselves.Get to understand what the procedure is to cancelling their service and see if they will assist you with transferring your data to the next location. You definitely won’t want to have a hard time cancelling an unsatisfactory service provider that has control over your valuable data.
  3. What happens if I want to add or remove a user?
    To leverage the scalability of the cloud you will want to ensure that your provider is able to work it for you. You will probably want to know about the process to scale your users up and down and plan for it. Some providers have systems in-place that can take hours to add or remove a user. Ensure that their processing time meets your expectations so you know how to plan user on/off boarding. Depending on the process this will allow you to know if there will be any downtime and how you will be billed.
  4. What is the procedure of your backup routine and what are the standards?
    It is important to know what happens to ensure the longevity of your data when it comes to moving into virtual servers. Every provider has different ways of conducting backups. Some may backup once a day, some may backup three times a day, some will follow your requested preferences. Depending on your goals and risk management expectations, you will want to ask this question to your provider. Also, when will the backups be made? Each business – from accountants to lawyers – follows their own set of standards when it comes to data backup procedures so make sure your potential cloud provider understands that.Not only do they provide backups, they ensure that their backup encrypts your data. Just in case someone is able to hack your data when it goes from the live drive to the backup drive, they will not be able to read your data when encrypted.
  5. What will happen to our data if one of your servers gets destroyed by a natural disaster?
    This relates to point 1 – you will want to know if your potential cloud provider has multiple servers in distant locations for cloud redundancy. This means that the provider can duplicate your data several times at multiple server locations. Maybe one day a cloud provider with only one location gets hit by an earthquake – knock on wood – what will happen to your data? It’s not a very high chance but there will still be a chance.It’s usually better to stress about it now than stress about it later. Your data may be one of your most valuable assets and you will want to ensure that it could be transferred to other data centers to minimize the risk. These are one of the main reasons why many companies ditch their on premise systems and have everything stored in the cloud – so they do not have to worry about fires, floods or anything that can lead to hardware failure.
  6. How are my data and applications monitored and maintained?
    Depending on your situation, you may have applications that occasionally need updating or patching and you obviously want your data to be monitored so it reduces the risk of your data being compromised. Make sure your provider have performance monitoring systems in place that automatically notifies them that your systems in need of maintenance support. These monitoring systems should check a multitude of points in their servers – anti-virus, hardware, software, security patching, and disk space. These audits should be consistent and frequent to ensure the safety of your data.
  7. Do you have options for dual-authentication security?
    Security is always the main concern for users. For some, firewalls, data encryption and anti-viruses are not enough. Some vendors are able to implement a dual-authentication code for you. One example is having your mobile number linked to your cloud login. Once you login, the server will send a text message to the linked mobile number with an access code, the access code is then used at the login screen. This will greatly reduce the risk of your account being hacked by making sure only the owner of the cellphone will be able to receive the login access code. It’s takes a little longer to login but this will give you a peace of mind.

Make sure you know what you’re getting into when you talk to cloud hosting providers.  They range in experience and certifications. A good place to start is understanding what your expectations are but if you are unsure about that you can always ask them. Don’t be afraid to ask for references or testimonials to get a better understanding of how they can help you grow your business.

CCH ProSystem fx Practice Management vs Thompson Reuters Practice CS vs Vohcom Page

Filed Under (Private Cloud) by Rick Dhatt on 13-06-2016


Is your accounting firm operating at its fullest potential? Productivity, efficiency and a positive customer experience is what is most sought for. This research study is put together to review practice management applications that will streamline your office’s processes in-order for you to improve worker productivity and produce an exceptional customer experience. These practice management tools enhance your office workflow which connects everyone involved in the business – accountants, administration, and clients.

We’re not going in-depth on every single point but these are some of the Practice Management systems we have been in contact with. They were kind enough to tell us more about their products and open to share their strengths and limitations. To further our primary research we were able to interview our clients that use these products for insight on their experience with the products.


It’s no secret; all Practice Management products are or come close to a walled garden. This is to ensure your firm’s workflow is running at an efficient manner and boost your ROI.

Thomson Reuters has created an environment for firms that have already been using the CS suite. This can be one of the barriers of entry for those are just stepping into Thomson Reuters’ products. If you have been a Thomson Reuters users for a while – this would be the right choice. Practice CS’ dashboards are scalable to user preferences and can be configured to their liking. Permissions and security is included with the scalability functions and is highly customizable to ensure the right user seeds the right content.

CCH ProSystems fx Practice Management is part of the CCH ProSystems fx Suite. Similar to Thomson Reuters, they work best with its own products that can be integrated within the suite. The difference is that it is a little more flexible by being able to integrate with other applications. Users are highly satisfied with the product and brought up no issues with it. It would be best used with larger firms. ProSystem fx Practice Management is best suited for mid-sized to large firms.

Vohcom Page is optimized for firm sizes of 1 to 50. They are a complete walled garden which can be a major strength to some firms. There is no need to even purchase other add-ons and is one complete suite.

Ease of Use

Practice CS has automated with the CS environment. The dashboards are very easy to understand but might be too easy. Larger firms that tend to have a more complex ERP may find it to have limited functionality. They also provide users with an opportunity to send invoices electronically.

The intuitive main menu of ProSystem fx Pracitce Management is easy to navigate through and displays an excellent hub that leads you to all of the important features throughout the workflow. There is a menu that segment different functions. The dashboards are setup to ensure the processes from accounts receivable to generating statements are easy to use. There are a lot of built-in timers to assist users to capture billing time. There is an automated feature that allows users to generate invoices directly from the accounts receivable module.

Vohcom Page’s automated time tracking feature ensures quick and easy billing. It really streamlines the process and removes the guess work out of overhead planning. All of the files and information are stored in one convenient place for quick access and removing the need to navigate to different locations.

External Integrations

Practice CS is able to connect with other Thomson Reuters’ products, such as UltraTax CS and Accoutning CS. Although it cannot integrate fully with the Microsoft Office Suite it can integrate with Outlook.

ProSystem fx Practice Management not only integrates with other products from CCH but also other 3rd party applications such as Microsoft Office.  The integration possibilities are one factor that sets ProSystem fx Pracitce Management apart from other products. This can make it a little easier for firms to transition to this Practice Management process.

Vohcom Page currently does not integrate with 3rd party applications but will be explored for future versions. This ensures that nothing else is needed besides Vohcom Page but may be one of Vohcom Page’s weak points for firms that are not ready to let go of their current applications.


What set these products apart is the integration and the ease of use when comparing to the size and complexity of your firm. There is no one-size fits all but we believe that CCH ProSystems fx Practice Management is the most versatile, followed by Vohcom Page, when getting ready to add this type of software into your systems. Like any other major expense, due diligence is required and it is best to start with your motivations.

5 Technological Advances to Transform Your CPA Firm

Filed Under (Private Cloud) by Rick Dhatt on 06-05-2016


They say history repeats itself. In the past, those who prevailed had more advanced technology. Genghis Khan and his warriors had the bow and arrows while riding horses. USA had their atomic bomb in World War 2. These are extremes but some can see wars as a symbolic representation to the competitive landscape in business. Firms need to have a competitive edge to stand out and perform better than the rest – why choose your firm instead of the many others? Here is some technology that you should look out for to see if it fits the future of your firm. Some of them work well together so it’s no secret that these technological advances will continue to grow with or without your firm.

Cloud – Enhance collaboration & security

Cloud is leveraged to improve productivity and efficiency. It allows you to collaborate with your team without worrying about overlapping each other’s work in. It also allows you to access those files from almost any device. It also mitigates the risk of your hardware crashing and losing your client’s data. When the data is in the cloud, you will never lose it because of the backup systems implemented into the servers they are stored in. The cloud is what really integrates everything below. If you don’t trust it, let’s face it – you’re probably using it right now. Your email is a cloud solution.

Automation – Improve productivity

Not only does the cloud allow automated processes, setting automated systems in-house is possible too. This is where you boost efficiency that leading to saving time so you can allocate it to other areas in the business. For example, if you are stuck doing manual backups you will be spending more money and time versus your competitors that have already automated their systems. Let’s say you are paying an employee $20/hour and one of their daily duties is to follow a backup protocol that takes 15 minutes a day. Based on this set wage, that would be about $5/day. There are about 261 working days in a year so that would be $1305 a year to get your employee to manually backup your data. There are probably more valuable tasks you can get that employee to conduct with the 3915 minutes used to backup data. This will improve your bottom line while they accelerate with efficiency.

Mobile – Create a flexible work Environment

We are using mobile devices more and more every day – from your Android phone to your iPad. This allows employees to work from their client’s location, from home, or even on vacation – eliminating the necessity of working only in the office. This can reduce travel time, reduce hardware costs, and improve customer relationships in a more flexible work environment. Through the power of the cloud and with the right solution, your firm can access data and applications from any device that is connected to the internet. Technological advances have also improved the security of your data to make this possible. Your whole office can work outside of the office with real-time collaboration and communication. With mobile phones becoming a part of ordinary life, allow your firm to leverage it as an opportunity to improve productivity.

Analytics – Make smarter decisions for the future

Analytics allows you to make the right business decisions. With the big data and IoT technology emerging, a vast amount of information is allowing business owners make smarter decisions with the data. If you can understand what is working for your company and what isn’t, you are able to eliminate what is unnecessary and double-down on what is really helping you move towards growth. You will be able to produce more accurate forecasts and create more efficient processes from them. One example is tracking your marketing efforts. If one tactic is not helping the growth of your business, remove that expense and allocate it to another tactic that actually is working. Analytics can also be used for employee retention, customer loyalty, and consumer behavior. Being able to obtain and implement the data will give your firm a major advantage in the competitive landscape.

Social – Create a stronger internet presence

If they don’t know who you are, they aren’t going to give you revenue. Social media isn’t a trend, it’s actually what takes up a lot of time of consumers. According to Statics Brain (http://www.statisticbrain.com/social-networking-statistics/), Canadians spend an average of 7.7 hours per month engaging in social media. The difference with social media and traditional advertising is that people CHOOSE to participate in social media. Most of us tune out all the advertisement clutter we see or hear during our daily activities. If you want to get in front of current or potential clients, go to place where they choose to be regularly. Remember, if they don’t know of your company, they won’t like or trust your company and social media is a cost effective way of gaining exposure.

Summary – Dominate.

When pursuing a high-performing practice, integrating the above technologies will move you towards the right path. You will want to have the advanced technology that your competitors do not have so you can stay ahead of them. History repeats itself, and if you don’t play along you may be missing opportunities.

3 Paths to a Mobile Accounting Firm

Filed Under (Private Cloud) by Rick Dhatt on 25-04-2016

With only 24 hours in a day and the business world moving fast, we’re always looking for ways to enhance productivity. No one is able to escape the mobile landscape because it makes lives so much easier. Employees are able to be more productive by having access to their data and applications from anywhere with any device. If you are still looking for insight on the best way to go, here is a quick snapshot of the capabilities and limitations of each option.

Cloud applications.Many application companies have created a cloud version for those who want to be in the mobile environment. Essentially, this is having your software accessible through web browsers so you don’t have to install them on your own devices. Some examples are QuickBooks Online, SlickPie cloud accounting, Sage One, CCH Axcess and CCH iFirm. You just need to use your credentials to login to your account and you’ll have access to these applications at your fingertips.

There are some limitations to this option. Usability can be different going from the full-featured desktop versions to the simplified cloud versions. The reason for this is because software companies want their applications to be more compatible for smaller touch-screen devices. The user experience from a computer with a 25” monitor has to be different from a 5.1” smartphone. Some employees don’t like how inconsistent user experience can get – different interfaces and different features is the major contribution to this concern.

Remote Connect Software. Another option to go mobile is allowing your computer or server to have other devices connect to it remotely. This can be done if you get the computer’s permission to allow remote connections and connecting to the IP address or machine name with the proper credentials. This way your employees can access everything on that computer from any other device through the internet – this includes software and data files.

A common problem reported with remote desktop solutions is that the performance feels really slow. It’s not like working from the actual computer because it has a bit of a response delay. You can see it when you move your cursor, open applications and type in documents. Team Viewer, GoToMyPC and other similar software follow this method of connection.

Virtual desktops. A third option is to completely virtualize your desktops. Essentially, this is installing and transferring your full desktop applications and data files into cloud servers so you can log into it from anywhere. Built on the foundation of Remote Desktops from Microsoft, the solution is further enhanced by Citrix. Combining their solutions, employees are able to access their applications and data files just by logging into the virtual desktop. Whatever you can do in your office or home desktop, like printing and scanning, you can do in your virtual desktop. Not only will the performance feel the same, it is compatible with any device. This is the best remote working solution available today and affordable to a small business.

The major limitation of virtual desktops is running graphic-heavy applications. Applications like Photoshop or video editors do not operate too smoothly in the cloud environment. Processing a lot of those high-definition videos or 3D modeling tools is very difficult with this solution.

Pick Your Productivity Levels
Based on your goals and company workflow, choose which solutions works best for you – or not pick one at all. Some accounting or bookkeeping firms even go with a more hybrid approach by mixing and matching all of the above. Either way, each solution will bring you one step closer to increased employee productivity and improved customer experience in such a mobile landscape.

How to Fine Tune Your Office

Filed Under (Private Cloud) by Radner Reyes on 24-03-2016

Hi Everyone,

Nick, Partner of Welcome Networks Inc., just published a post on pulse on simple ways to fine tune your office. Check it out at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-fine-tune-your-offices-performance-nick-chandi

You’ll find a few ways on how to enhance your workflow and reduce downtime!

Why Crushing Tax Season Stress is Important for Your Team

Filed Under (Private Cloud) by Rick Dhatt on 14-03-2016


Although stress can be used as a form of motivation, it can have negative effects down the road so we need to start thinking about preventative measures now. Some employees can be working about 40 hours a week during the off season and can drastically jump to working 60-70 hours a week during the tax season. Your business and everyone involved is part of a cycle. Your clients need you, you need your employees, and your employees need your clients – everyone needs each other. Any breakdown from either party can be detrimental to the rest of the cycle.

How does tax season stress affect us internally? When stress is activated for too often or too long, your “fight or flight” instincts are set. To simply put it, adrenaline will be released into your system. So who cares? Just to stress you out even more, constant adrenaline releases can lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol. This could be happening to the employees in your office – how will it affect your business during and post-tax season?

Lost Productivity

When employees are focusing on multiple tasks, their ability to remember them and the processes will become cluttered. In Canada, your team is going to start seeing the wave come up around February and March. When anxiety and stress begins to build up, their minds will start to be easily distracted with their internal frustrations rather than the task at hand. This can lead to mistakes when dealing with one of your client’s most important assets – their data. As soon as everything is built up and in the peak of the season, maybe there will be simple computation errors or misspelled names that can have your team backtracking.

With the increased chances of error, productivity will be lost. A buildup of errors and extra tasks arising to fix those errors will follow a snowball effect. Minimizing stress levels will lead to performance being conducted with precision by your employees. You not only want them to be productive but you also want them to be efficient.

Unhappy Employees

Gallup conducted a study that involved workplaces in more than 140 countries in 2013. What they found was that the cost of disengaged employees cost the US $450 billion to $550 billion per year. It is also said that hiring and training a new employee can cost about 30% of that employee’s annual salary.

“If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.”
-Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group

Although some of you may be hiring seasonal workers for the tax season, you still have to worry about the stress levels of the other loyal employees. For the most part, high turnover and disengagement comes with employee dissatisfaction. When employees are being overworked and unable to meet deadlines, they will continue to have that increased blood pressure even after they leave the workplace. Now we know how important employees are to the business – you wouldn’t be here without them. Reduce stress – reduce turnover – reduce cost.

Unhappy Clients

Studies show that news of bad experiences with a company can reach more than twice as many viewers compared to the praise of a good service experience. It also takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.

Going back to the cycle, happy clients come from happy employees. It is important to retain the goodwill of your customers to ensure the prosperity of your business. The reason why your clients go to you in the first place is because they see that you can solve their tax season problems and other financing needs. If you or your employees start producing work with errors, you may hear from them through websites that leave company reviews. We are in the age of information and future potential customers may find stories of the bad experience your past clients may have had. Some of your reviews can be found in http://www.vault.com/company-rankings/accounting/ or http://www.yelp.com/.

Stress during the tax season is inevitable but minimizing it will come with many benefits. Improved employee retention and engagement, increased client goodwill, efficient operations and reduced costs. Get ready for the tax season – there will be a lot of obstacles but your team will help each other get through it and come out triumphant. The best place to start is by ensuring everyone is prepped with the correct mindset.
If you wish to download Gallup’s report you can visit: http://www.gallup.com/services/176735/state-global-workplace.aspx

Collaborate with Office 365 to Increase Profits For Your Small Business

Filed Under (Private Cloud) by Rick Dhatt on 22-02-2016


When you’re a business owner you’re always looking out for a better return on your investment. One way to increase your ROI is to ensure your company’s operations are lean and running efficiently. How do you do this? Well, you can start by thinking of investing in your most valuable assets – your employees! They are what build up your machine – your company. High performance vehicles reach their levels by what’s inside the hood. All of the parts are built to work together and efficiently to have a powerful output.  This can be transferred to managing a team. Imagine having to work with a team that doesn’t have emails or phone numbers. The only time you are able to talk to all of them is if they are all in the office… Now imagine having to manage a team with just emails. It’s a doable but not the best. This is where Office 365 comes in – this productivity suite was made to enhance any team’s collaboration and communication systems. But how important is team collaboration? Google – one trusted company that made its way to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary has something to say about the importance of team collaboration.

Google’s Take on Collaboration

Google conducted a study that involved 258 North American companies. This study’s goal was to understand the importance of workplace collaboration. Their findings come back to the high performance vehicle analogy:

“Efficient ongoing collaboration has a significant impact on business innovation, performance and even the bottom line.”

Google publicly released the results and the trends favor forward-thinking companies. 73% of respondents were not satisfied with their company’s way of working – they lacked flexibility and efficient collaboration practices. One respondent mentioned :

“Effective communication is the first step toward empowering each person in the company to take ownership.”

The study also confirmed which applications are the most effective for communication and improve the performance of the team. The top 3 were file sharing tools, webmail tools, and BI & Analytics – leveraging the cloud to enhance collaboration efforts with anytime, anywhere access.

But who can drive change to create a company culture that is willing to improve collaboration systems in the company? Just over a quarter of respondents pointed to their IT department with the marketing department being the runner-up. This can be because IT departments usually understand how the technology that is involved in your office works. That may be a good place to look when thinking of improving systems. If you are looking for an evaluation or 2nd opinion, Welcome Networks Inc. can be someone to call to listen to your goals and find a way to get there.

Collaborating with Office 365

It’s no doubt that Microsoft Office products have been used in businesses for a very long time and provides the applications you can depend on for work. They have taken those applications that you know and love and made it better by putting it in the cloud – allowing you to communicate, collaborate and get more done.

If you don’t have the right data and knowledge at the right time, your company will have a hard time competing against others. This is our world and there are always new ways on how to stay connected. Based on Google’s research, companies will see a ROI on their collaboration technology and see a high return on their collaboration investments. As soon as your teams can adopt the right systems, they will be more satisfied and their efficiency will increase.

Office 365 allows your team to collaborate on various documents in real-time while not limiting everyone to a specific device. You can work from your smartphone, your desktop at work or laptop at home. The files remain available to you via the web or the Office 365 apps on your device.

Most people are familiar with those constant Windows updates you get every few weeks . Office 365 just had an update at the end of January which has added more collaboration features to PowerPoint. Just like Word and Excel, users are able to collaborate in real-time. Now your team will have all their spread sheets, word documents and presentations synchronized. This feature is known as “co-authoring”.

When you open up a file with Word, Excel or PowerPoint, on the side pane, you are able to see who is editing the document in real-time. Collaboration can be done with Microsoft Online or with your local applications. Again, minimizing the restrictions you get from having your files stuck in different devices and not syncing automatically.

The collaboration study showed how important communication and knowledge sharing technology is to the company. Office 365 provides just that. With Office 365, Skype for Business is also integrated with the software. This allows users to communicate in real-time without having to send out a single email. You can send your teammates an instant message or even communicate face-to-face with video conferences that can involve multiple team members.

With Office 365 you are building a more connected, informed and engaged workforce. Using the features we just discussed you can remove some of the main pain points that were revealed in Google’s research – the importance of communication and knowledge sharing. Office 365 offers your team the ability to work together while everyone has access to the same tools. They have the freedom to work anywhere and at any time with any device. Anything you do in the office, you can now do on the go. From your own devices, you will get access to everything. Traditionally, you would only have access to Microsoft Office in your office. This barrier or limitation is now eliminated.

Welcome Networks Inc. is a Microsoft Partner that provides managed IT and cloud solutions throughout Canada. For more information on how our services can help grow your business, please call us at 1-800-466-0073. If you would like to try Office 365 visit our webpage at http://www.welcomenetworks.com/office-365.htm.

To view the full report that Google released visit: https://apps.google.com/learn-more/working-better-together.html

Welcome Networks – A Microsoft Silver Partner

Filed Under (Private Cloud) by Rick Dhatt on 18-12-2015

Microsoft Partner - Silver

Though we have been providing cloud based solutions to CPA firms in Canada and USA for a while now and all of our techs are fully certified, we recently started working on our partner status with Microsoft. I am happy to share with you that we achieved the Microsoft Silver Partner status for small and midmarket cloud solutions just last week.

Kudos to our successful clients, partners and highly motivated technical team who helped us to reach the Key Performance Indicator standards required for above certification.

Our certification represents consistency, capability, expertise and commitment to providing cloud and hybrid solutions built on Office 365, Microsoft Azure and other cloud technologies. We are continuously advancing our team’s abilities with education provided by Microsoft, VMWare and Citrix. To thrive in today’s fast paced business environment we want to ensure that we have the proper tools and training to help your business.

We look forward to applying our deep knowledge and expertise in accounting domain to help grow your business.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons