Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

How One Firm Got Connected

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

How One Firm Got Connected

Article excerpt

CASE STUDY

Clark, Schaefer, Hackett & Co., a regional CPA firm based in Cincinnati, had a problem. With more than 200 employees and five office locations in southwestern Ohio, it needed a way for staff members to share files no matter where they were--at a client's, home or one of the firm's five office locations. The firm's managers realized that it was growing increasingly uneconomical to make professionals travel just to access computer files.

To Sharon Ballard, the firm's technology director, the problem was easily solved: Use its existing wide area network (WAN) and install a Citrix MetaFrame server connection so all the firm's computer data could be accessible from any location.

She decided to move to the Citrix option in steps. The first was to connect two locations, Dayton and Middletown, which had many mutual clients. The installation went smoothly and the connection performed at LAN-like speed. The next step was remote user access for the Cincinnati location. Since a cable modem connection was already in place, a virtual private network and firewall were installed to give remote users a central point of access to the the software and data. This appeared to work during the day, but after 5 P.M. the system began to slow down and screen images took forever to appear on remote computers. She double-checked all the connections and tested the software--nothing was wrong there.

The culprit, it turned out, was the cable modem connection. During the day, relatively little electronic traffic moved across the cable and the Internet speed was acceptable. …

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