In a recent survey, more than two-thirds of accounting firms said keeping up with technology is a top challenge. Lagging behind can affect more than your efficiency, it can give your more up-to-date competitors an edge. One way to keep on top of tech is to have a dedicated in-house IT team. That kind of focused resource can help you make more strategic use of the IT resources you have, and be smarter about what to implement next.
Is your firm ready to take the plunge?
The Internal Team Tipping Point
How do you know if your firm should consider an in-house IT team or Chief Information Officer (CIO)? Typically it’s a size-related decision based on both the number of employees and/or the number of locations. Firms with 20 to 30 employees and/or two to three offices can usually justify hiring in-house IT staff.
The other factor that comes into play is how technology-focused you want your firm to be. If it’s not a high priority, you’re probably fine outsourcing IT tasks. But keep an eye on trends (and your competition) and don’t wait too long to invest in internal IT staff.
4 Tips for Investing in In-house IT
When a firm decides to hire internal IT resources, it’s important to properly transition from outsourced IT. Here are three ways to do it right.
- Take your time. Don’t rush your current vendors out the door. Ideally, you want them to be a part of the transition and a resource for your team’s inevitable questions.
- Document policies and plans. One of the first things to have your new team do is to thoroughly document the firm’s current IT security policies and recovery plans. Then, they can update and create proper plans following industry best practices.
- Consider a CIO. A CIO can make a significant difference in helping a firm adopt new technology early. In addition to managing the IT department, CIOs are involved in helping create strategic technology plans and keeping an eye on technology that can help the firm improve profitability, efficiency, and/or staff satisfaction. They also ensure that the firm’s computer system operates efficiently and effectively and maintain the security of firm and client data.
- Create an external “go to” team. Maintain a relationship with your former outside vendor so they can provide special project assistance, vacation coverage, and other unexpected help.
Thinking about Building an Internal IT Team?
If you think your firm might be ready to invest in building an in-house IT team, you can find answers to your questions by downloading the ebook “Managing Information Technology in Accounting Firms.” Request your copy.