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Posted: 5/21/2012
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Hansens Accountants Pty Ltd Accounting Firm Moves to Cloud-Based PC Management Solution, Saves $75,000 Annually

Hansens Accountants is an innovative accounting firm that was paying AUD$2,500 (US$2,531) a month for a service provider to manage its outdated PC environment. The firm worked with HubOne, an Australian cloud services provider, to adopt Windows Intune and Microsoft Office 365. Hansens Accountants now benefits from significantly decreased costs, operational efficiencies, and the opportunity to work remotely and meet clients offsite.

Business Needs
Founded in 1997, Hansens Accountants assists small and midsize businesses in their pursuit of business success and wealth creation. Instead of charging by the hour, the firm provides up-front quotes to its 450 clients, many of which are in the hospitality and manufacturing industries. The firm has annual revenues of approximately AUD$3 million (US$3,038,500). “We meet with our clients on a regular basis to understand their needs,” says Trevor Schoenmaekers, Director of Hansens Accountants. “We work closely with them to establish key performance indicators, structure their affairs, and grow their businesses.”

Hansens Accountants paid AUD$2,500 (US$2,531) a month for a service provider to manage its outdated IT infrastructure. If a PC was infected with malicious software, a technician would have to visit the site or manage the issue through a remote connection. The service provider was reluctant to apply updates because they might affect the system, and the endpoint protection software that it used slowed PC performance. “The way it was set up required us to act reactively,” says Schoenmaekers. “If something failed, we had to send people home. We felt like we had no control.”

The firm’s IT infrastructure included accounting software, two file servers, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, the Windows XP operating system, and a basic document management solution that interoperated with Microsoft Office suites. It considered upgrading its on-premises environment with servers that would support line-of-business tools, but the AUD$60,000 (US$60,756) in capital costs was prohibitive. “That was our catalyst for moving to a cloud-computing solution,” says Schoenmaekers.

In January 2012, Hansens Accountants met with HubOne, one of the leading cloud services providers in Australia and a member of the Microsoft Partner Network. HubOne proposed that the firm adopt a package available at a per-month, per-user subscription fee that included Windows Intune and Microsoft Office 365. Windows Intune is a cloud-based PC management solution that simplifies how businesses manage and secure PCs. Office 365 is a set of collaboration and productivity tools delivered as a cloud service that brings together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online.

In February 2012, HubOne deployed Windows Intune agents that include endpoint protection on all the firm’s PCs and took inventory of hardware and software. It discovered that it needed to apply numerous updates, which it accomplished in one afternoon. HubOne spent a weekend migrating the firm’s profiles and information to Office 365. “On Monday morning, everything was exactly as it was when we left on Friday,” says Schoenmaekers. “Some employees didn’t even realize that we’d moved to the cloud.”

HubOne uses Windows Intune to manage the firm’s PC environment from a single console through a standard Internet connection and a Microsoft Silverlight–enabled browser. It can monitor PC health, update and distribute software, provide endpoint protection, set security policies, and track hardware and software inventory. The malware protection available with the solution is built on the same Microsoft Malware Protection Engine used by Microsoft System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection. At one point, Hansens Accountants contacted HubOne to find out which of its PCs were running third-party design software. “We checked the inventory and the software wasn’t installed anywhere,” says Nick Beaugeard, Managing Director at HubOne. “The firm stopped paying for the license.”

The firm is taking advantage of the option available with Windows Intune to upgrade to the Windows 7 Enterprise operating system. Hansens Accountants uses the BitLocker drive encryption feature in Windows 7 to automatically encrypt drives on which the operating system and data reside. “Data security is critical for an accounting firm,” says Beaugeard. “If an employee leaves a portable computer in the back of a taxi, the data is protected and a copy is stored in the cloud.”

By implementing Windows Intune and Office 365, Hansens Accountants has reduced fixed costs significantly and eliminated redundant software. Its PC environment is so reliable that it is able to pass on efficiency savings to its clients. The firm is also embracing the opportunity to work remotely.

Reduced Costs
Hansens Accountants deployed a highly secure fixed-price solution that is AUD$1,800 (US$1,822) cheaper per month than its previous vendor-managed approach. It saves approximately AUD$60,000 (US$60,750) a year in licenses for third-party software, including endpoint protection software. The firm also avoids hardware investments. It has eliminated employee downtime, which cost approximately AUD$20,000 (US$20,252) for each day of lost productivity. Because the firm no longer has to host servers, it is seeking a smaller office space and expects to reduce its annual leasing costs by AUD$50,000 (US$50,630). “We’re saving around AUD$75,000 [US$75,946] a year in fixed costs by adopting Windows Intune and Office 365,” says Schoenmaekers. “For a small business, that’s a lot of money.”

Improved Control and Productivity
Since adopting Windows Intune, Hansens Accountants has experienced no system downtime. Even if HubOne is doing a software or system upgrade, people can still keep working because their data is stored in the cloud. “Our firm has realized a 25 to 35 percent time savings in operations,” says Schoenmaekers. “We pass some of those efficiencies to our clients, so we’re now more competitive in the accounting market.”

Increased Mobility
Hansens Accountants enhances its client relationships by taking advantage of the increased mobility that is possible with a cloud services solution. “Thanks to Office 365, we can access email and documents from any device that’s connected to the Internet,” says Schoenmaekers. “This is a huge change in our business model because we can meet clients in a coffee shop and talk business in a relaxed environment.”

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 20 employees

Organization Profile
Based in Melbourne, Australia, Hansens Accountants provide services including accounting, taxation, structuring, financing, business advice, bookkeeping, superannuation, and wealth creation.

Software and Services
  • Windows Intune
  • Exchange Online
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Lync Online
  • SharePoint Online
  • Windows 7 Enterprise

Vertical Industries
Financial Services


Business Need
  • Cloud & Server Platform
  • Corporate Software Licensing
  • Identity and Security
  • Support and Services

IT Issue
  • High Performance Computing
  • Asset Management
  • Cloud Services
  • Software + Services