Like many of its clients, Atkinson, Henning & Associates is pushing toward the goal of a paperless office. The firm depends on technology to make this goal a reality. Efficient document management is at the core of the effort. Virtually every client source document is archived on the company’s server, with some information temporarily located on local hard drives. The ability to efficiently locate and retrieve any document among hundreds of thousands is important to the CPA firm. Security is equally critical. Clients’ personal financial data, social security numbers and other sensitive information must be safeguarded as securely as possible. Further, new technology must work seamlessly with line-of-business software. Atkinson, Henning & Associates was looking for technology that would build on its existing capabilities and accelerate it into the future. Windows Vista is providing part of the solution with a variety of specific features.
Atkinson, Henning & Associates users can easily access this feature by right-clicking a file or folder and selecting "Restore previous versions." It enables them to go back in time and access files and folders as they were on previous dates. Users can preview each file in a read-only version to determine which file to restore. Then they just drag the file to a folder or select it and click "Restore" to restore it to its original location. Shadow Copy works on single files as well as entire folders. When restoring a file, all previous versions on the disk that are different from the live copy are shown.
Instant Search can be accessed by the firm’s users almost anywhere with Windows Vista or Office Professional 2007. Users can find any type of file — text, spreadsheet, presentation, picture, video or e-mail — that is located on the local or server hard drive.
Windows Vista security features provide many layers of extra security for users at Atkinson, Henning & Associates: personal firewall configuration; Windows Defender, for protection against malware and for security software updates; Complete Backup and Restore, for complete recovery of documents and applications in the event of a computer crash; and Internet Explorer 7, which offers protection against phishing scams. Windows Aero In Windows Aero, Live Taskbar Thumbnail images display the actual contents of windows that are currently open and those that are minimized in the Taskbar. When users rest their mouse pointer on a tile on the Taskbar, they see the "live" contents of that window without having to bring it to the foreground.
Instant Document Access
“My e-mail tree has grown out of control,” said Tom Whipple, CPA, Atkinson, Henning & Associates. “Instant Search is cutting it down to size with its ability to search current and archived e-mail.” Whipple continued, “I’d estimate that every search saves me five minutes or more. With an average of 10 to 12 searches per day, my time savings is significant. Across all users in the office, the time savings is magnified six-fold.” “Instant Search will give us instant access to client data like work papers, reconciliations, spreadsheets and capital management files on the server,” said Robert Atkinson Jr., partner, Atkinson, Henning & Associates. “It will help make us unbelievably efficient.”
“Data security is paramount to Atkinson, Henning & Associates,” said Keith Freeman, practice director, Northridge, the accounting firm’s IT partner. “Features in Windows Vista such as personal firewalls, Windows Defender, Security Center, and Dynamic Security Protection help secure sensitive client information with automatic updates and protection from a wide variety of malware attacks and online scams.” “Shadow Copy gives us 20/20 hindsight,” said Whipple. “Our staff can quickly restore a previous version of a document or folder, saving us a significant amount of time reconstructing accidentally deleted information.”
“Windows Aero Thumbnail images make navigating a number of open documents really efficient,” said Daniel Henning, tax partner, Atkinson, Henning & Associates. “I don’t have to guess where the right file is anymore.” “Gadgets deliver information that I care about to my desktop,” said Whipple. “CPU and RAM performance monitors, news and stock quotes are some favorites. Our users like the idea of being able to put their personal stamp on their PCs.” “The ReadyBoost feature is new to me,” said Whipple. “But I already know how I’m going to use it. As I see the RAM monitor gadget spike because of heavy demands, that’s my cue to insert a flash drive into the USB port.”
Compatibility With Line-of-Business Software
“Our document management system software is compatible with Windows Vista,” said Atkinson. “It’s the central repository for all of our client documents and key to the efficient operation of our business.”