I think the cloud server was the single best “infrastructure” move I have ever made. I have been using Welcome Networks since June 2014. All of our software and data files sit on their server. Our local machines only require access to the internet and printer drivers. We open our emails and everything after we are on the cloud server. As attachments come in, we save them like we would to their respective locations. When we’re on the cloud, the file structure is like any computer or server.
We use sharefile as our portal for larger files and downloads thru our website. Again, because I access sharefile while on the cloud server, downloading from sharefile is just like downloading on a local machine/server. I use Caseware, Client Track, TaxCycle, QB, and Microsoft Office (and Profile as I used it up until 2014 and still do from time to time).
I work from south Texas four months every year and it’s no different than working from my office. In fact, with Covid, we are all working form home. We use Google for email, calendars, and hangouts. We chat to each other all day thru hangouts. I can pop in and look at files when staff questions come up.
I work with three monitors but Welcome Networks detects the number of monitors and adapts each time you open it. The real benefit is with software issues/upgrades. When I see that TaxCycle has an update, I send an email to Welcome Networks. By morning, I’ll get an email saying it’s fixed. When QB sends the next year version, I forward the email to Welcome Networks and the next day it’s up and running. If we have software issues, they contact the software company and work it out. Some say I must be a technical guru working like this. The fact is I don’t understand computers and I don’t want to. I’d rather just pay somebody to look after that stuff.
If I hire somebody, they set me up within 24 hours. I have to prove I have licences. Likewise, if I terminate somebody, they shut it down immediately. You pay by the user. A local PC crashes, within an hour I go to Staples and replace it and I’m back up and running. The best part is, all of the preferences in all of the software remain unchanged just because your local machine died. I just bought a small practice the end of December this year (about 600 T1s). That office is 20 miles away. But when I’m sitting there, I am working just like I would from my home office.
We also use internet phones (Ring Central). So we all took our handsets home with us. We can see when others are on the line, we still transfer calls, extensions remain the same, etc. I did that for when I went to Texas too. Most of my clients don’t even realize I’m in Texas when I’m talking to them and going over their files. That came in handy during this outbreak too and when I’m in the second office.
I am pleased with this setup. No regrets at all.