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Accounting firms urged to improve security and performance with cloud IT

Digital transformation specialist Extech Cloud is encouraging accounting businesses to rethink their IT infrastructure, following the successful implementation of high performing and secure cloud-based solutions with leading financial firms.

Recently Extech Cloud provided Richard Place Dobson Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors (RPD) with a completely modernised IT infrastructure. Using pioneering implementation methodologies, 16 pieces of legacy software were placed on to the cloud with Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD). These include IRIS Tax Expense, Share Register, Tax Expense, Star Payroll, IRIS Accountancy Suite, CCH Central, CCH Audit Automation, Sage Line 50 (24, 25, 26), Office, and more.

When Richard Place Dobson (RPD) first approached Extech Cloud, its IT system was fragmented and, with slow VPN performance, was providing an increasingly frustrating experience for staff. Plus, the company was on countdown to Windows 7 end-of-life in January 2020 and facing huge upgrade bills for its database, and other, software.

“RPD was facing tens of thousands of pounds of licensing costs alone, so we stepped in with a completely new, cloud-based approach to help break the IT CAPEX cycle,” says Richard Phillips, CTO of Sussex-based Extech Cloud. “Our team audited the whole IT infrastructure and assets, and then spent six months modernising everything, including all the user PCs and laptops.”

Staff stopped using the old on-premise system one day and the next day logged in on the new system and carried on working, with greatly improved performance. RPD now takes full advantage of the benefits offered by Microsoft 365 and Azure, with the very latest security and exceptional performance levels.

“Extech has unique experience which enables us to place almost any application or software into the cloud environment,” says Richard. “We work with Microsoft as part of their development programme thanks to our pioneering use of WVD, which means there are now no compelling reasons why accounting firms need to have on-premise servers.”

“The new system works like a dream and our team are able to work more efficiently,” says Karen Corduff, Director for RPD.   “Extech Cloud has designed a hosted desktop solution that works with all the range of software that we use and is a lot faster and easier to use than our old system.”

Having moved to the cloud, modern security mechanisms such as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) have also been applied to RPD’s legacy systems. Plus, application updates don’t need to be conducted on every single workstation and staff now have access to systems even in a web browser or tablet.

New processes have also developed. For example, Excel was previously used over the on-premise network with documents being updated by multiple staff. This led to regular file corruption. Now the RPD team collaborates on Excel files through MS Teams giving stability, and a more efficient workflow.

In addition, usernames, and passwords for PC’s in the office and office applications in 365 have been unified, as this previously caused confusion, along with having different credentials for VPN.

“Throughout the digital transformation project the people we have worked with have managed to complete a very complicated build, during a very stressful time (lockdown and working remotely presented its own challenges) and at all times communicated with a lot of people with little understanding of IT, in a way that we understood,” RPD’s Karen Corduff says. “In undertaking this project, I anticipated a lot more problems but any problems that arose were dealt with by Extech Cloud and never became my problems.”

Today, Extech Cloud provides RPD with operational management of the cloud infrastructure, users across multiple locations and endpoints, along with advice and guidance on emerging products to make the business even more efficient. Extech Cloud also provides service desk support, IT equipment procurement and ensures continuous security compliance across the whole business.

For more information on moving IT operations and legacy systems into the cloud for accounting, contact the Extech Cloud team on +44 (0) 1444 443200 or email .

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