Malcolm Williams CPA - a case study
Habitat3 has enabled Malcolm to travel extensively throughout Australia all while working full time remotely managing his accounting practice team and their clients from his travel locations.
Malcolm Williams owns and operates a small Accounting Practice in South West Queensland with six employees. The practice services Clients in most states in Australia, mainly rural small business type Clients. The business has been operating since 2011. Initially the practice started with a stand-alone server with all staff computers connected via network cables. All staff were forced to worked from the same office location.
Malcolm found the stand-alone server in the office posed a higher risk to the practice in terms of natural disasters and did not allow for remote work options so alternative solutions were investigated. In particular Malcolm was looking for a solution that allowed him to travel more and work remotely.
"My wife and I have always liked travel and I tried to remote desktop into my stand-alone server, this worked very poorly even with reasonable internet speeds." Malcolm says.
Malcolm decided hosting their Windows server with Habitat3 in the cloud was the best fit for his practice.
"After much research, and discussion with Sage Handisoft (Accounting software providers) we moved to Habitat3. My world changed immediately. The Habitat3 process to migrate my 100GB plus of data from my server to the cloud was well streamlined, after a couple of hours my office was back in work mode. Everything was exactly the same as working on my server except the server was on a cloud." Malcolm says.
Malcolm's server was migrated to AWS infrastructure by Habitat3 using AWS Application Migration service. Services used are EC2 instances and EBS storage offering at-rest data encryption, fully flexible backup options and improved cost optimisation through server resizing in and outside of business hours.
Habitat3's cost optimisation solution allows Malcolm's practice to reduce their EC2 instance size on a schedule.
This means that overnight there are less resources available as usage is less. During the day when usage is higher, more server instance resources are available. This reduction in the EC2 instance sizes on a scheduled basis significantly reduces the overall hosting cost to the practice.
Malcolm has reduced the risks associated with running a local server by moving it to the cloud. "With my current set up and only one staff member constantly working from my office and all other staff members working from different locations, this reduces the loss of work time during natural disasters such as flooding. I have only ever been missing one staff member on any one day due to a natural disaster." Malcolm says.
Additional benefits of the Habitat3 solution include:
• Retention of staff, we have had three staff members relocate to different towns, I still employ all three of these staff after they relocated – ie no requirement to employ and train new staff due to relocation.
• Habitat3 Support staff are excellent, any problems or changes are rectified in a very timely manner.
• The ability to remote desktop on multiple screens, my previous attempts to remote desktop to my server would not allow multiple screen usage.
• COVID – Accountants are deemed non-essential workers, office staff took their computers home and worked from home, the loss of work time was about two hours.
• All my data is stored on the cloud – so as soon as the employees set up at home they were ready to work.
• Our office is paperless.
• I have the ability when visiting Clients to access all of their information using a login stored on a memory stick and using the Clients computer.
• Multiple backups via Habitat3 on different physical locations and also with a different company gives me the peace of mind my data is safe.
• Emails are accessed through the cloud.
• All programs are on the cloud – my computers are only used to access the cloud, we have no programs at all on my computers. I can use any computer to log into the cloud from any location, including overseas.
• Staff log on and off times to the cloud are recorded. Staff cloud usage can be monitored. Facebook etc cannot be access through the cloud.
• My internet usage is minimal, any google within the cloud is using Habitat3 internet.
Malcolm and his wife continue to enjoy travelling while managing the accounting practice efficiently from the road!
"Currently, my wife and I travel for months at a time, whilst I work full-time, I access the server via laptop and using mobile data. The server access requires very low download approx. 10MBS for me to work as if I was sitting in my physical office. The cloud based work environment is the best set up I have ever used." Malcolm says.