Hosting solutions provide always-on reliability and security for Rhode Island firm

Practice Management, Workflow tools

Diego RodriguezDiego Rodriguez, CPA, MSA, CTC, is founder and principal of Lurod Tax and Lurod Financial Group, LLC, in Cranston, R.I. The firm offers a full range of tax and accounting services, including payroll and part-time CFO services.

These days, life and work for an accounting professional is definitely not the way it was. Whether working remotely due to COVID-19 or once again working in the office, tax and accounting firms have come to appreciate being able to access their files and their clients’ data 24/7, anywhere they are.

The same is true for Diego, who started using Hosting for Lacerte® in early 2020. He found that a smooth, always-on update process and data security gave him the peace of mind and flexibility he needed to run his business.

“The amount of time I’m saving now by being able to log in each week and knowing that I have the latest software is great, but security is also really important,” he says. “People told me that for a fraction of the cost, I could get my own server. That sounded good, but if the server crashes, I would have to get some IT person to help me. With hosting, I let someone else handle the details and I know the data is 100 percent secure.”

Challenge: Find a dependable and worry-free hosting solution

Diego needed a hosting solution where he was free to serve clients, expand his practice, and safely and securely survive annual, yet still unforeseen New England weather emergencies – and, as he would eventually see, COVID-19.

Diego was already hosting Lacerte with a third-party vendor and was locked into a three-year contract, but was experiencing so many issues with speed, reliability, and updates that he knew he had to explore other options. He knew he wanted to continue using Lacerte and looked at other hosting providers, but found that all of the providers had lag time and issues with updates.

When working from home, at a client’s office, or wherever he wants, Diego doesn’t want to worry about updates; he just wants the software to work no matter where he is. He found that with the third-party hosting provider, updates were a real problem, and even though his provider assured him that weekly updates would be smooth, they were “nothing like that.”

“Every Thursday, whenever an update came out, I had to call the vendor on the west coast to explain that I needed to do an update, and then try to explain to them why this update needed to be live across the country. Due to the three-hour time difference, I couldn’t e-file a return because I had to wait for a software update. I’d talk to the overnight team who would tell me, ‘The overnight team doesn’t do software updates – only the day team does.’ What was even more frustrating was that everyone had to exit the server each time an update was being performed. I’ve never had to exit the server for any maintenance since using Hosting for Lacerte.”

Hosting applications is a value add for firms that want to upgrade their technology, while staying on their desktop software they know and love. “If the computer crashes, there goes all the information,” says Diego. “You constantly have to back up and restore your data – and I don’t have time for that. I want to focus on what I’m good at: helping clients.”

The solution and its impact: Hosting for Lacerte

At the end of 2019, Diego was frustrated with his current hosting solution, and when he looked at exploring providers, he saw that Lacerte was offering a new internal hosting solution. He started to investigate, even though he was still in his three-year contract with his third-party hosting solution. After learning about Hosting for Lacerte, Diego knew it was a good solution for him, and ended up deciding to pay for both the Intuit subscription and finishing out his other hosting contract because it would allow him to be more productive.

What convinced Diego to use Hosting for Lacerte was that it was the only hosting service supported by Intuit. It is also powered by Right Networks, which means it is not only supported fully by Intuit, but the hosting environment and servers are managed by a trusted name in the hosting industry. The service includes automated nightly updates, enhanced data security, and reliability from Intuit and Right Networks. Moving to Hosting for Lacerte meant Diego could expand his practice into his niche market without worrying about carving out time to download the latest updates or if his clients’ data was secure.

Data is protected with enterprise firewall and antivirus protection, as well as encryption, and is backed up nightly and stored for 90 days. Uptime is virtually constant, as is Intuit phone support, something Diego says is another benefit.

“When I call, the rep looks at the account and says, ‘Oh, you’re part of hosting!’ and they send me to the hosting team,” he says. “Even though I explain that I’ve just got a general support question, Intuit’s staff is trained to help me that way. They even pick up on the second ring!”

Fast support saves Diego from experiencing a common problem in a lot of tax practices: wasting time. “You get to jump the line with a dedicated team that is very knowledgeable. A 10- to 15-minute call to get an issue resolved is very valuable for me.”

Lacerte’s impact: Moving forward … even during COVID-19

What Diego didn’t know when he started using Hosting for Lacerte was that a pandemic was on the horizon. He knew he would be prepared for Rhode Island snow storms and other natural disasters, but COVID-19 was unprecedented. However, thanks to Hosting for Lacerte, he had a hosting service he could rely on to get through anything.

Although he designed his practice with remote work in mind, COVID-19 forced him and his two staff to work from home. He was already a digital-forward tax service, but with Hosting for Lacerte, he now realizes he is prepared for any situation, even just wanting to take his work from his home to his office. Local emergencies can turn remote work with hosting into an almost indispensable solution.

“In Rhode Island, we get snowstorms, so sometimes, schools are closed, roads aren’t safe, and it becomes difficult to get to and from the office. In most years when snow season and the long hours of tax season collide, I’m able to work from home late at night. I don’t want to be in the office at 10 p.m.”

In fact, working from home with the ability to get client information is a key advantage he feels he has over other local tax professionals who are tied to their offices during busy season, bad weather or not. Diego tells the story of an older tax professional who works near his office.

“In February, March, and April when I leave the office to go home for dinner, he’s still seeing clients. The parking lot is full and his waiting area inside is full. At what cost are you putting off spending more time with your family? We’ll have dinner and then I’m back at work, but remotely inside my house.”

At the end of the day, Diego has peace of mind

Diego has a goal to expand his business nationally and has the foundation to expand with ease. Since moving to Hosting for Lacerte, he isn’t tied to one geographic region. Building his practice has been a matter of building justified confidence and carrying it into the future. Diego knew when he started his practice five years ago that he was in a special situation; he was a CPA in Rhode Island who was fluent in Spanish. Now, as his firm grows, he knows Hosting for Lacerte is always up to date, secure, and reliable. Even in the middle of something such as COVID-19 or an extended busy season, Diego is prepared – and that gives him the peace of mind he needs to survive.

More about Hosting for Lacerte or ProSeries®

With hosting offered by Intuit in partnership with Right Networks, anyone in a firm can collaborate and work from the same data at the same time through multi-user access, bringing together Lacerte or ProSeries, QuickBooks® Online, and other critical business applications together in the same cloud environment. Hosting also includes unlimited data storage, with no additional installations, servers, maintenance, or backups. Personalized training helps professionals get started.

 

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