Picking a new business IT support company is not easy, how do you know if it’s going to be a fit and if they can provide the service you need? Plus moving can be daunting prospect with the concern of disruption, time overhead for senior staff and without a guarantee, the worry you may have got the decision wrong.

Ultimately there’s no one size fits all but we have put together a few pointers that might help steer you in the right direction.

Customer Service – the pillar of pain free IT support

There are lots of different ways to measure customer service CES, CSAT, and NPS to name just a few. These aren’t just arbitrary numbers; they’re the pulse check of your IT partner’s service.

Whichever one a firm uses, a high score is a strong indicator of reliability and quality service. When it comes to accountants, reputation is everything. An IT support company that provides a great service is likely one that keeps IT headaches at bay, ensuring your staff retain confidence in your firms IT.

When these scores are high, they signify a support company that’s on the ball. It means fewer IT related disruptions day to day, less downtime grappling with tech issues and more seamless operations. When you do have a problem they pull out all the stops to get it resolved so your focus remains on your clients not time consuming IT issues.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) – Your guarantee against IT chaos

SLAs are your IT partner’s pledge to be there when problems happen. SLAs are your insurance policy against operational mayhem. A robust SLA means:

  • Speedy response times: Fast response times ensure that any disruption to your work is as brief as possible and that your team’s deadlines are met.
  • Clear expectations: With transparent SLAs, you’ll know exactly when and how support is provided letting you plan around potential issues with confidence.
  • Accountability: Should things go awry, a solid SLA holds your IT support accountable, ensuring that they strive to meet and exceed the agreed standard.

Reactive Hours – The lower, the better for your bottom line

‘Reactive time’ gives you a window into how much IT downtime is costing your practice. High reactive hours can be the bane of you and your staff’s existence. Keeping them low means:

  • Fewer Interruptions: With your IT partner keeping reactive hours down, your team can concentrate on the numbers without frustrating interruptions.
  • Higher Productivity: Less downtime equals more work done. You’ll be able to meet client expectations without the fear of IT interruptions.
  • Cost Efficiency: Time is money, and every minute your staff aren’t affected by or dealing with IT issues is a minute that can be billed to clients or invested in business growth.

Do you know how much reactive time is spent keeping your IT from falling over?

Proactive Hours – The hidden hero of IT support

Proactive hours are where IT support earns their keep. By investing time in maintaining and updating your systems, they prevent issues before they happen.  If a company can’t tell you how much proactive time they are spending on their clients, they probably aren’t spending any and that’s not a good thing. For accountancy practices, this forward thinking approach means:

  • Future Proofing: Proactive work keeps your systems up to date, ensuring you’re always using the latest and most secure software – crucial for handling sensitive financial data.
  • Less ‘Reactive Time’: By addressing potential problems before they arise, your IT support keeps those reactive hours in check, so you can work without interuption.
  • Strategic Advantage: When your IT infrastructure is robust, you can leverage the latest technological advances for automation and enhancing customer service, giving you an edge in a competitive market.

Strategic Advice – Aligning IT with your firm’s vision

Choosing the right IT support isn’t just about keeping the IT cogs turning, it’s about selecting a partner that fits with your firm’s aspirations. A top tier IT firm should:

  • Understand Your Goals: A great IT company will provide much more than troubleshooting and fixing problems; they will provide strategic advice aligned with your business objectives, whether that’s expanding your client base, streamlining operations, or venturing into new markets.
  • Mitigate Risks Proactively: Your partner should be your lookout for potential pitfalls, particularly in cybersecurity and compliance. They should routinely perform risk assessments, reviewing your environment and users to ensure your data and your client’s data is as secure as your advice.
  • Drive Innovation: They should keep you aligned technology advances. From the latest accounting software to automation that can refine your workflows, your IT partner should help give you the edge in a competitive financial landscape.

Making the right IT decisions

The right IT support is not just about quick fixes but about contributing to the sustainable growth of your accountancy practice.

Selecting an IT partner is a significant decision — one that affects your firm’s efficiency, security, and ability to innovate. Ensure you take time to weigh your options and choose a company that will help keep your practice ahead of the competition.

If you need help understanding how you’re IT is holding your practice back and are curious as to what better results could look like, click here to book a free consultation.