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Business Cases

Case Study | Employing Cloud Technology to Support American Tax Professionals


Organization Description

Client: American Tax Professionals (ATP)
Industry: Taxes and Finance
Description: Since 1981, the American Tax Professionals team has assisted taxpayers beyond the forms, looking instead to financial position (the bottom line) and helping clients achieve their business goals.
Address: 38069 Martha Ave. Suite 500, Fremont, CA 94555
Website: www.americantaxprofessionals.com
Phone: (510) 791-8962

Business Challenges

One of the biggest challenges that ATP faced was getting access to the client's financial information so that accurate projections, records and timely tax filings could occur. In addition, they were concerned with business owners who might face audits involving strong-arm tactics by government agencies, often leading to fines and levies to their business.

To combat both of these issues, Owner Paul Kent, a certified tax court practioner, created a signature service: the "Executive Service Club" (or ESC). This service would allow his team to have immediate and shared access to each client's financial information, while each client could see only their own information. This shared view allowed his team to provide more effective accounting, tax advice, audits and intervention services on a regular or as-needed basis.

Previous Solution

In 2006, a previous IT support team created a terminal server environment that would support the ESC system. The estimated 4-year support investment was $114,000, plus $30,000 in hardware and operating system costs. Some issues included:

  • Expensive to maintain compared with the generated revenue
  • Significant upfront expense in security upgrades, hardware and software
  • Lack of redundant Internet connections
  • Regular investments to sustain growth - additional resources were required before they could be consumed.

Proposed Solution

L5 took over management and support of the existing solution in 2008. In its place, the team suggested deploying their cloud-based environment.

Running on the industry-leading Citrix XenApp platform, the environment is built on enterprise-grade solutions, providing strong data security of the data center; redundant networks, systems, power and connectivity; automated backup and disaster recovery; and 24x7 access from anywhere in the world. L5 would integrate QuickBooks, Lacerte Tax and Microsoft licensing services and provide support for the ATP business team.

In short, ATP could eliminate the expensive internal system, work from home or the office, and all support would be provided. The solution could then be extended to ATP's clientele, providing a complete and secure solution for both ATP and the Executive Service Club.

Results

This solution provided highly accurate returns and security improvements for the client.

  • Regular support investment was reduced by 38 percent, month over month
  • No upfront expenses for the hardware or operating systems
  • Anytime growth or shrinkage on a sliding investment schedule equal to ESC member count
  • Deployment timeframe was reduced by 64 percent from previous deployments of a similar sized company.
  • No client time required during implementation or 'Go Live'
  • Existing equipment could be sold to offset tax liabilities

Additional Results

As part of the ATP deployment, L5 formed an Integration Services team which uses best practices as the default. The goal was to reduce the time-to-delivery of an environment, to right-size deployments for smaller organizations, and to increase the ease of use and the security management for deployments. The team created deployment plans that support both turnkey operations and customization paths for complex and compliance-based environments.

Through the Integration Services team, L5 is now able to scale their deployments to more than 10 times the previous client size.



 

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