Teleconferencing was nothing new before COVID-19 came along. Let’s face it, meeting virtually saved your client and you a lot of time even before COVID. Add to that, busy business owners, managers, and executives did not have the time for the trip to an office. The Coronavirus only accelerated the e-accounting movement; however, this movement presents its own set of problems that I plan to address in this article. I would like the technically inclined to stay with me in the next few paragraphs, as this article is targeted for a mixed audience. For those IT professionals, it is recommended you share this article with your accounting clients.
The first thing to consider is speed. An Internet Service Provider may promise you a certain speed, like “up to 20Mbps.” However, your connection speed, reflects latency and bandwidth and impacts user experience. Latency is how long it takes data to make it to the destination from the source. Bandwidth is the quantity of data transferred per second. Latency and bandwidth both need to be good to handle many video calls at once. But a lot of consumer-grade devices are not built for many staff members to be on the same call with a client. One tip is that you can switch them to a business-grade router, optimize security and system settings to optimize bandwidth and signal strength.
#2 Quality of Service
Larger downloads will also have an impact on a connection with the client or team. If someone is on a video call and then someone else on the network starts downloading a large file, the call could start to drop or lag. Also, if working from home during a conference call and your kid is playing an online game that could also cause issues with the call. A tip here is that you could use smart networking devices and rank business activities on the network using a QoS settings. For example, you could configure video conferencing to take preference over file downloads.
#3 Security and Privacy
When communicating virtually, one needs to be aware of privacy and security issues. With accountants, regulations and compliance come into play as well. Before just jumping on a call with the client, do your due diligence on the teleconferencing application. Understand how it secures the call and what it does with the data it collects. Encryption is standard, however end-to-end encryption is the preferred. A tip here is that depending on the application, there may be some security options not in use. These are not always setup by default. If privacy and security are a priority, then you will want to configure these.
Not all ISPs, modems, switches, and routers are created equal and up to the task for a particular business. The same can be said for IT policies.
I recommend you partner with a managed service provider to identify the best technical solution for your accounting firm and an IT service management and IT policy consultant for ensure you have the right security policies in place for your business. I can help you with both.
Working alongside a brokered MSP I can help you address common e-accounting issues. As a team, we will find you the right hardware to handle your traffic. Plus, we can configure QoS prioritization, block some devices, and schedule activities that need a lot of bandwidth. For example, we can schedule system backups for the middle of the night when fewer people will be online, and then ensure all this is reflected in well written processes and policy that is compliant with regulation.
Embrace e-accounting’s advantages without losing speed, quality, or security. We can help. Contact us today.
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