April 27, 2021

Data Security for Banks and Financial Institutions: Top 4 Myths About Moving to the Cloud

Many small-to-midsize banks and financial institutions are still running on-premise Microsoft Exchange email servers, whether in their own walls, or in the walls of their technology service provider. Microsoft recently announced that multiple hacking groups were targeting Microsoft Exchange servers in coordinated attacks, which could cause a damaging data breach for these organizations. With all of the security threats to Microsoft Exchange servers and the amount of sensitive data that banks and financial institutions hold, why haven’t these organizations moved their workloads to Exchange Online? Here are a few common myths we hear and feedback to clear up the misconceptions.

Myth #1: “Exchange servers better protect sensitive customer data.”

Many financial institutions still have Outlook Web Access without multi-factor authentication enabled, which is an easy in for a hacker to access a mailbox and any personal or financial information found in emails. Microsoft recognizes the issue that their older platform is in use and not adequately configured to curb modern security threats on its own. The most recent vulnerabilities on Microsoft Exchange servers that are making national headlines are good evidence for organizations to migrate from an email server to a mail service like Office 365. 

The Capital One data breach of 2019 may have scared away any intentions of financial institutions moving workloads to the cloud. In reality, the cloud-based platform was not actually at fault, as it was a configuration issue on their firewall that caused the breach. That breach may have added a level of untrustworthiness to cloud servers, when the responsibility actually fell on the professionals deploying the firewall. In contrast, no one points out that mega-bank competitor, Bank of America, has never had a breach near the size of Capital One and has been using Microsoft cloud-based products for several years.

Myth #2: “Moving to the cloud is too expensive.”

Some may hear that moving to the cloud is too expensive, but in reality, it can be more cost-effective. Let’s look at the breakdown of server costs according to our Systems Engineer, Joe Szoke. A new Exchange Server might cost $10,000 just for the hardware. If you’re running on-prem Exchange, you’ll also need at least 2 Domain Controllers at another $10,000 each. You’ll need licensing for each server – that’s around $1000 for Windows Server 2019, $780 for Exchange Server, plus about $97 in CAL licensing for EVERY user who wants to access the server. Then, you’ll still need to buy Outlook for your users – Office 2019 Professional Plus is $439.00 today. Once all of that’s done, you’ll still have to pay to maintain the systems – if your server goes down, you pay to fix it.

In contrast, a Microsoft 365 Business Premium license costs just $20/user per month. The entire environment is baked into that license – the administrative dashboards, the servers, the storage space the Office Professional licensing. You don’t have to buy hardware and patching happens automatically. Administration is much less labor intensive – in fact, Anders Technology advisors can handle this for you for a small monthly fee. In this model, your 100 users would cost just $24,000 for the entire first year. Your software would remain perpetually up to date, not just for the year, but for as long as you pay for the license. And, following best practices, your user accounts and data would be secure right out of the box.

Myth #3: “Our technology vendor doesn’t believe we should move to Exchange Online.”

Sadly, most organizations we meet with that have an Exchange server have not even been approached about moving to Microsoft 365. Major technology vendors have invested a lot in providing hosted Exchange services and they are lucrative for them but might not be the best solution for your business’s needs. Make sure to work with a technology partner that has the cybersecurity expertise you need and your best interests and goals in mind.

Myth #4: “We don’t need to move to the cloud because regulatory entities aren’t enforcing it.”

It’s true that even the largest agencies, such as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), cannot tell you to pick one platform over another yet, but they did recently make the statement: “Regulated entities should immediately assess the risk to their systems and consumers, and take steps necessary steps to address vulnerabilities and customer impact.” This rises above which platform you are using and focuses on the important part: protecting your data.

While there are clearly a lot of myths and misconceptions out there around if, when and why to move to the cloud, it’s important to know the facts. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Anders Technology advisors can make the migration seamless so your business can be better protected from a costly data breach. Contact an Anders advisor below to discuss your company’s unique migration situation.

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April 20, 2021

RECORDED WEBINAR – A Positive Shift in the Economic Outlook: What’s Next?

As the world begins to recover from 2020 and the economic detriment, what is next on the horizon? Download our recorded webinar discussing the current economic state and the positive uptick in the market. You’ll learn about:

  • Economic impact on business post-pandemic
  • Best practices for moving your business forward
  • How to plan for the remaining fiscal year

Special guest Dr. Christopher Kuehl, Managing Director of Armada Corporate Intelligence, returns to partner with Anders for an insightful discussion on the matter. Chris is a frequent speaker and educator for the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants (MOCPA).

Download the webinar recording below:

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April 20, 2021

Restaurant Revitalization Fund Offers Grants for Food and Beverage Industry

In an effort to help restaurants and bars recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19, $28.6 billion of the American Rescue Plan is allocated for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). Below we cover the basics of the RRF as outlined by the SBA, including eligibility requirements, covered expenses and how to apply for RRF grant funding.

Who is eligible for Restaurant Revitalization Funding?

The American Rescue Plan outlines that businesses in which the public assemble for the primary purpose of being served food and drink are eligible. The Plan indicates that the following food and beverage establishments are eligible:

  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Food stands
  • Food trucks and carts
  • Caterers
  • Saloons
  • Inns
  • Taverns
  • Lounges
  • Brewpubs, tasting rooms and taprooms
  • Other similar places of business in which the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink

Businesses that are state or local government-operated, publicly traded or have 20 locations or more are not eligible. Those who have already applied for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant are also ineligible for RRF funding.

How much can I apply for out of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund?

Through the RRF, eligible establishments will be able to apply for a grant equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss, up to $10 million per entity or $5 million per location, limited to 20 locations. Grants will be calculated by subtracting 2020 revenue from 2019 revenue.

Those businesses that have received PPP (round 1 or 2) funding will be eligible for an RRF grant, but the RRF grant total will be reduced by the amount of the PPP loan(s). EIDL loans and Employee Retention Tax Credit funding does not impact RRF funding.

For those establishments not operating for all of 2019, the maximum grant is the average monthly gross receipts in 2020 minus the average monthly gross receipts in 2019. Similar to PPP loan forgiveness, the RRF grant will not be taxable income and all associated expenses will be tax-deductible.

What can an RRF grant be used for?

According to the SBA, grant funding does not have to be paid back if it is used for eligible expenses from February 15, 2020 until March 11, 2023, including:

  • Business payroll costs, including sick leave and costs related to the continuation of group health care, life, disability, vision, or dental benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, and group health care, life, disability, vision, or dental insurance premiums
  • Payments on any business mortgage obligation, both principal and interest. Note: this does not include any prepayment of principal on a mortgage obligation
  • Business rent payments, including rent under a lease agreement. Note: this does not include any prepayment of rent
  • Business debt service, both principal and interest. Note: this does not include any prepayment of principal or interest
  • Business utility payments for the distribution of electricity, gas, water, telephone, or internet access, or any other utility that is used in the ordinary course of business for which service began before March 11, 2021.
  • Business maintenance expenses including maintenance on walls, floors, deck surfaces, furniture, fixtures, and equipment
  • Construction of outdoor seating
  • Business supplies, including protective equipment and cleaning materials
  • Business food and beverage expenses, including raw materials for beer, wine, or spirits
  • Covered supplier costs, which is an expenditure made by the eligible entity to a supplier of goods for the supply of goods that:
    • Are essential to the operations of the entity at the time at which the expenditure is made; and
    • Is made pursuant to a contract, order, or purchase order in effect at any time before the receipt of Restaurant Revitalization funds; or
    • With respect to perishable goods, a contract, order, or purchase order in effect before or at any time during the covered period
  • Business operating expenses, which is defined as business expenses incurred through normal business operations that are necessary and mandatory for the business (e.g. rent, equipment, supplies, inventory, accounting, training, legal, marketing, insurance, licenses, fees). Business operating expenses do not include expenses that occur outside of a company’s day-to-day activities.

How can I apply for the RRF?

The SBA offers three ways to apply for the RRF funding:

  1. Through a recognized SBA Restaurant Partner
  2. Through SBA directly at restaurants.sba.gov
  3. By calling (844) 279-8898

Download the latest SBA Restaurant Revitalization Funding Program Guide for more information on the RRF and documentation requirements. The application process is expected to open soon, with the first 21 days being prioritized for women-owned, minority-owned and veteran-owned businesses.

Our advisors are closely following COVID-19 relief efforts and will continue to publish insights to keep you informed. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for more resources. To discuss how we can best assist you and the associated fees, contact an Anders advisor below.

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April 20, 2021

Buying or Selling a Company: Stock or Asset Deal?

Whether you’re looking to sell your business, or buy an existing company, there are many factors that go into the deal. Agreeing on a purchase price isn’t the only negotiated outcome of a business transaction. In fact, it’s usually not the first or last item of agreement. When a buyer is purchasing 100% of a target company, they can either purchase (1) the assets of the target or (2) the equity of the target. The deal structure can influence the eventual agreed-upon purchase price. Both scenarios have their advantages and disadvantages.

What Goes into a Stock Deal?

The purchase of a company’s equity is usually the most efficient deal structure for both parties. In these deals, the buyer is assigned the stock of the target in exchange for cash or future payments of cash. By purchasing the equity of a company, the buyer is purchasing all of the target company’s recorded and unrecorded assets as well as any liabilities, including contingent liabilities. In essence, the buyer may be buying assets they’re not aware of, or assuming liabilities they didn’t know were in existence. This is one of the reasons sellers generally desire the structure of a stock deal; they don’t walk away with unwanted assets or liabilities. Obviously, the legal language within a stock purchase agreement could influence some of these items, but in general these are the advantages and disadvantages.

What Goes into an Asset Deal?

Buying a company’s assets can be advantageous because they can target only desired assets and assume only certain liabilities of their choosing. These assets could encompass all of the company’s known assets, including the fixed assets and real estate, or they could include only certain intangible assets such as company name, trademarks, trade names and/or customer lists or contracts. In essence, the buyer can choose what they want to purchase from the seller. The buyer would need to be sure that any contracts and/or agreements are assignable since it is likely the target company was the one that originally executed them.

The buyer and seller also have to agree on who will “assume” or pay for the company’s liabilities after the deal is final. By assuming the seller’s liabilities, the buyer is essentially paying the seller additional consideration since they will be paying the future obligations of the loans assumed. If no liabilities are assumed, the buyer simply pays an agreed-upon price for the desired assets.

Stock vs. Asset Deal Example

As an example, assume the target company has appraised assets worth $3,000,000, including working capital, inventory, real estate and intangible assets, and $2,000,000 in recorded liabilities. The equity of the company would be worth $1,000,000. A buyer could pay $3,000,000 if they desire to own all of these identified assets, or less if they want to exclude some assets. If a stock deal is preferred, then the value would be closer to the $1,000,000 figure. The final agreed-upon price may be somewhere in between depending on the individual motivations and desires of the buyer and the seller.

Bridging the gap between an asset purchase price ($3,000,000) and a stock purchase price ($1,000,000) may sometimes be necessary. This is especially true if there has been an appraisal of target’s stockholders’ equity, but an asset deal was eventually consummated. This may not always be a clean exercise. The eventual deal price may have been influenced by motivations for each party that were not quantified in the valuation of the equity of the target company. However, if properly done with knowledge of each party’s relevant motivations, this exercise can be accomplished.

There are many factors that go into structuring a business deal, and Anders has Forensic and Litigation advisors to help understand the true value of the business and Business Transition Planning advisors to help maximize value and exit your business. Contact an Anders advisor below to learn more.

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April 13, 2021

How to Report PPP Loans on Financial Statements

A key part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) authorized banks to provide low interest rate loans to businesses with a guarantee from the Small Business Administration. Best of all, PPP loans may be eligible for tax-free forgiveness if the proceeds are used for certain approved expenditures. This raises questions about how to present PPP loans in year-end financial statements and how to treat a loan that was forgiven. While U.S. GAAP does not provide specific guidance for PPP loans, there are a couple of options available for reporting the PPP loan on financial statements.

Option 1: FASB ASC 470: Debt

Under this option, entities record the loan as a liability on the balance sheet and interest is recorded as it would be with any other financing arrangement. After the company has applied for loan forgiveness and has been legally released from the debt, the company will record a gain on extinguishment of debt. This gain should be recorded as an extraordinary item and excluded from operating income.

Option 2: FASB ASC 450-30: Gain Contingency

Under ASC 450-30, the earnings impact is recognized when all contingencies have been met and the gain related to the forgiveness of the PPP loan is realized or realizable for nongovernmental entities. The proceeds from the loan are initially recorded as a liability until the proceeds are realized or realizable. Once they are realized or realizable, the earnings impact is recorded. There is less specific on guidance on this method than ASC 470, and it is generally not preferred.

Financial Statement Disclosures

Disclosures under ASC 470 will be similar to traditional debt disclosures. Under ASC 450-30, there are no specific disclosure requirements. It’s important to note that material PPP loans should adequately disclose all key terms of the loan in the notes to the financial statements.

Which guidance to follow on presentation of the loan is ultimately up to management of the company. The PPP loan should be presented on the company’s balance sheet and after it is forgiven, it will need to be recognized outside of operations as other income or as a gain on loan forgiveness.

Our advisors are closely following COVID-19 relief efforts and will continue to publish insights to keep you informed on our COVID-19 Resource Center. Tune in to our video series PPP with Paul and Dan to learn more about the Paycheck Protection Program.

To discuss how we can best assist you and the associated fees, contact an Anders advisor below.

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April 6, 2021

Alex Grosse Wins 33rd Annual Hoops for Hope Tournament

After an intense NCAA tournament, Alex Grosse crafted the winning bracket in the 33rd annual Anders Hoops for Hope tournament! Alex, an IT Manager of Infrastructure and Security at Anders, beat the odds to come in first place this year out of 681 total brackets. Thank you to our sponsors and everybody that participated to make this year such a success!

All participant and sponsor donations benefitted the 2021 Charity of Choice, The Child Center. The top 29 participants will receive prizes ranging from an Apple Watch to a weekend getaway at Live! by Loews and gift cards to local restaurants and breweries.

Watch our website for more information on exactly how much was raised for our 2021 Charity of Choice.

Click here to see the final standings!

Check out the Top 29 Prize Winners:

  1. Alex Grosse
  2. Michel Chopp
  3. Jim (Henry) Loft
  4. Chuck Cioffi
  5. Michael De Moya
  6. Trey Meier
  7. Tyler Skeeters
  8. Jen Patterson
  9. David LaGrand
  10. Dave Dressel
  11. Dave Verseman
  12. Tom Domian
  13. Mike Chopp
  14. Brooke Johnson
  15. Bryan Dimmick
  16. Alex Grosse
  17. Kirk Boeger
  18. Susie Lowe
  19. Scott Sinak
  20. Alexandra Mabley
  21. Mark Uthe
  22. Kyle Hallermann
  23. Scott Iverson
  24. Robert Minkler, Jr.
  25. Bradford Goette
  26. Michael Ksobiech
  27. Donna Bellows
  28. Don Shafer
  29. Johnny Lawson
Hoops for Hope Sponsor
Hoops for Hope Sponsors
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April 6, 2021

Employee Retention Tax Credit Offers Huge Relief Opportunities for the Construction Industry

The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) has been a valuable COVID-19 relief option for businesses who faced revenue losses due to ongoing impacts of the pandemic. While some industries were impacted more than others, certain sectors of the construction industry actually expanded in 2020, including homebuilders and industrial contractors. Even if your company performed well overall last year, there could still be an opportunity to claim the ERTC.

Who Qualifies for the ERTC?

Originally part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the ERTC allows businesses to take a credit against payroll taxes in order to help offset some of the business losses due to COVID-19. The original ERTC was only available for businesses who were forced to shut down or whose gross receipts in 2020 were 50% less than the same quarter in 2019. The ERTC has since been expanded, modifying the reduction in revenue by an additional 30%. For 2021, businesses are eligible if gross receipts are less than 80% of the gross receipts for same quarter in the prior year.

Businesses that averaged no more than 100 full-time employees in 2019 qualify for the ERTC in 2020 on wages paid to all employees. For the ERTC in 2021, this employee threshold increases to no more than 500 full-time 2019 employees. Full-time employees are those that work at least 30 hours per week. Union employees are included in the employee count for the credit, but those working part-time (less than 30 hours/week) are not.

How Much Can Businesses Qualify for?

For 2020, eligible employers can take a credit of 50% on qualified wages up to $10,000 paid to employees between March 12, 2020 and January 1, 2021. In 2021, the tax credit is increased to 70% of qualified wages, which are limited to $10,000 per employee per quarter. With the 70%, the maximum ERTC amount available is $7,000 per employee per quarter, for a potential total of $28,000 per employee in 2021. We have seen clients qualify for anywhere from $5,000 to $2.5 million through the ERTC.

How Could My Company Qualify for the ERTC After a Good Revenue Year?

Unlike other industries, construction revenue typically isn’t cyclical, and contractors can have revenue fluctuations that vary from month to month or quarter to quarter depending on projects. To qualify for the ERTC, the business only needs to have a quarter-by-quarter drop in revenue of 50% when comparing a 2020 quarter to 2019, and 20% when comparing a quarter in 2021 to 2019. You can also look back a quarter for the ERTC, so if your company was down 20% in Q4 of 2020 compared to 2019, you would qualify for Q1 of 2021.

ERTC Case Study

In one unique scenario, a taxpayer with a 40% increase in revenue in 2020 vs 2019 overall assumed they would not qualify for the ERTC. When taking a closer look, we discovered their revenue dropped 50% in Q4 of 2020 compared to 2019, making them eligible for the ERTC in Q4 of 2020 and Q1 of 2021. Projected total benefit for this taxpayer exceeds $200,000.

How Can I Take Advantage of the ERTC?

Initially, the CARES Act prohibited employers who had received a PPP loan from also utilizing the ERTC. New laws allow an employer to claim the credit for any wages paid beyond the proceeds of the PPP loan that have been forgiven. Taking advantage of both PPP loan funding and the ERTC is a great way to maximize COVID-19 relief opportunities.

If you discover you qualified for the ERTC in 2020, you can amend your quarterly payroll returns to claim the credit. If you identify that you qualify in advance, you can reduce payroll deposits for 2021 to take advantage of the credit.

Find out if your business is eligible for the Employee Retention Tax Credit in 2020 or 2021.

While the above highlights the opportunity for eligible businesses, please contact an Anders advisor below to discuss your situation and recovery options. Our advisors are closely following COVID-19 relief efforts and will continue to publish insights to keep you informed. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for more resources.

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April 2, 2021

Ubiquiti Data Breach: How to Protect Your Business

It’s hard to go a week, or even a day sometimes, without hearing news of a data breach. In January, I received a notification from Ubiquiti that there may have been unauthorized access to their customer data. I didn’t think much of it and followed their instructions for addressing the issue. Fast forward to March 31, the problems were compounding for Ubiquiti. Ubiquiti stock is down 10% and there is currently an investigation into securities fraud.

What You Should Do

If you have a Ubiquiti account, your data may have been accessed. If you have not done so already, you should change your password and enable two-factor authentication. We also recommend considering secure alternatives to keep your data protected.

Background on Ubiquiti

Over the years, Ubiquiti has had a peculiar place in the networking market. They have wireless routers, access points, security gateways, security camera systems and more. Then, they have some really neat equipment, such as Nanobeam. Nanobeams have the ability to transmit network connectivity points over long distances wirelessly. This is especially useful for some smaller internet service providers that don’t have AT&T, Charter or Comcast in their name or have cable running underground from place to place.  

Consider Secure Alternatives

When the networking market meets business needs, the choice becomes less clear about use cases and if Ubiquity is an option. Most often, Ubiquiti is going to be less expensive to implement because the hardware costs less and they do not have support contracts to maintain. However, the decision is not that simple. Focusing in on support, there isn’t a streamlined support system like other networking vendors. There is email and chat support but there is not accountability on if or when you will receive a response.

But not every business has mission-critical network deployment where Ubiquiti equipment might fit nicely. Think guest networks, free wi-fi, stadiums, restaurants, etc. Ubiquiti is significantly less likely to be the strategy at a hospital, major financial institution, or anywhere with a major dependency on networking functions in reference to the need for support alone.

The performance of the equipment in comparison to cost is always going to be arguable. For example, in a new wireless deployment that requires 20 Ubiquiti access points, may only require 16 Cisco Meraki access points based off a heat mapping software. But the Meraki strategy is still more expensive even after running cable to four fewer locations where access points are needed. Then the fact that there will be a renewal for the Cisco equipment in a few years makes the cost gap even wider. However, Cisco is a recognized vendor and one of the most used, most stable networking platforms.

If you have any security concerns around your network or technology platforms, Anders Technology advisors are here to help. We can work with you to evaluate options and determine the best fit for your security needs and business goals. Contact an Anders advisor below to discuss your situation.

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April 1, 2021

How to Make Your Tech Stack More Secure and Cost-Effective by Moving to the Cloud

Microsoft recently announced that multiple hacking groups affiliated with nation-states were targeting Microsoft Exchange servers in coordinated attacks. These attacks utilized multiple zero-day exploits, and allowed hackers to not only read email, but also install additional malware to ensure long-term access to compromised servers. Over 60,000 servers may have been affected. An interesting note is that only on-premises Exchange servers are vulnerable, while Microsoft’s cloud-based Exchange Online service is not.

Zero-day exploits are so serious because they utilize a method of attack that was completely unknown before it was used. This means that no systems are patched against the exploit until the developer has time to build and test patches. Then, once the builder has released patches, IT departments worldwide must scramble to apply patches while also dealing with fallout from the attack.

What does this mean for my business?

If your business uses on-premises Exchange servers, this means that your IT department has been very busy. It might mean that you have compromised servers that need to be addressed.  It certainly means that you’ll be worried about data exfiltration. However, if your business uses Office 365 and Exchange Online for mail, it means that you don’t have to worry about this attack – not just because Exchange Online wasn’t vulnerable in the first place, but because Exchange Online is inherently more secure against these types of attacks.

Legacy Systems: A Security Patchwork

In a traditional enterprise environment, a company might employ a dedicated staff to maintain hundreds of servers. Despite the best efforts of IT Staff, this type of environment often falls out of standard over time. Patches get deferred on servers for a variety of reasons:  Maybe the organization can’t accept the downtime. Maybe the staff doesn’t have the bandwidth to do it.  Maybe the staff doesn’t see it as a priority. Some servers get patched, but others don’t. No mechanism exists to ensure that patches are applied in a standardized and timely manner. This is a huge problem because current patches often rely on the existence of previous patches that might be missing. Even in organizations with sufficient resources and very strict patching regimens, staff must take the time to patch machines. All of this leads to a patchwork security posture where the most important machines are critically behind on updates.

Server Cost Example

Another issue: servers are expensive. A new Exchange Server might cost $10,000 just for the hardware. If you’re running on-prem Exchange, you’ll also need at least 2 Domain Controllers at another $10,000 each. You’ll need licensing for each server – that’s around $1000 for Windows Server 2019, $780 for Exchange Server, plus about $97 in CAL licensing for EVERY user who wants to access the server. Then, you’ll still need to buy Outlook for your users – Office 2019 Professional Plus is $439.00 today. Once all of that’s done, you’ll still have to pay to maintain the systems – if your server goes down, you pay to fix it.

Cloud Systems: A Standardized Security Posture

In a modern Microsoft cloud environment, everything is standardized and centrally managed, with very high availability and very low downtime. In fact, Microsoft touts a worldwide uptime average of 99.98% over the past four years. You never have to worry about a server being outdated or unpatched because you never have to worry about a server at all. Hardware problems and patching are things of the past. In Microsoft’s Cloud, you never actually have to deal with an OS, or see a server. Instead, you see a unified dashboard for your entire environment. All you need is a connection to the internet. In the Microsoft Cloud, it’s literally impossible to be un-patched. In fact, patching is irrelevant because Microsoft handles it for you, silently and unobtrusively, all the time. While a zero-day exploit is still technically possible, the risk is greatly reduced because attackers know that any exploit will be patched immediately, automatically, worldwide.

Are Cloud Systems Cost-Effective?

Above, I discussed the cost of servers. In that example, we were looking at $33,000 for servers, and $536 of licensing per user just to get started. You would also require an IT employee to manage those servers, make sure they’re secure and patched, and handle outages – we’ll call that $100,000 including salary and benefits. In an organization with 100 users, you’ve already spent $187,380, your environment is still vulnerable, and you’ll still have to spend money every year to upgrade outdated software.

In contrast, a Microsoft 365 Business Premium license costs just $20/user per month. The entire environment is baked into that license – the administrative dashboards, the servers, the storage space the Office Professional licensing. You don’t have to buy hardware and patching happens automatically. Administration is much less labor intensive – in fact, Anders Technology advisors can handle this for you for a small monthly fee. In this model, your 100 users would cost just $24,000 for the entire first year. Your software would remain perpetually up to date, not just for the year, but for as long as you pay for the license. And, following best practices, your user accounts and data would be secure right out of the box.

How Microsoft 365 Can Replace Other Costly Tools

So far, we’ve been talking about Exchange servers, but your $20/user Microsoft 365 Business Premium license gets you far more than just email. After all, your Active Directory (AD) Domain is a lot more than just email. You have Domain Controllers and file shares, all running on server hardware. Maybe you have a System Center Config Manager (SCCM) Server.  Maybe you’re also paying for a collaboration service like Zoom. Amazingly, all of those features can be replaced by a $20 Microsoft 365 license. 

Microsoft 365 contains many products beyond just email, and each of them has the potential to sunset an on-premises service. Azure AD replaces the need for on-premises AD and Domain Controllers. OneDrive and SharePoint Online replace the need for on-premises file servers.  Microsoft InTune replaces the need for SCCM. Microsoft Teams replaces the need for Webex, Slack, or Zoom. All of these technologies are included in the $20 Microsoft 365 Business Premium license. Post-migration, you could potentially shut down all of your servers, permanently. In fact, many of our clients do exactly that.

Cost of Migration

The initial investment of migrating to the cloud might be less than you think. For a simple on-premises to cloud email and file migration, Anders averages right around $100 labor per user. Of course, each organization is different, and cost depends on several factors. Anders Technology advisors have performed hundreds of on-premises to Microsoft Cloud migrations and have the expertise to design a custom migration plan that works for your business and your budget. Contact an Anders advisor below to discuss your company’s unique migration situation.

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April 1, 2021

A Powerful Partnership Built on Trust with the National Wood Flooring Association

The Situation

With three separate and unique not-for-profit entities and a for-profit all housed under one umbrella, the National Wood Flooring Association has a number of complexities to consider in their financial planning – and managing each of them without compromising any tax-protected status is critical to the continued support of their members.

So, as CEO Michael Martin first began searching for an accountant and advisor several years ago, he knew they needed the expertise to help navigate the intricacies of association planning and the service-oriented approach to do everything with an eye for member engagement and retention. That’s what lead him to Anders CPAs + Advisors.

The Partnership

When the Association needed guidance on restructuring in a way that would allow them to streamline processes, gain a full financial overview of every branch, and preserve the Association’s tax status, Anders performed a full audit and created a comprehensive report detailing where improvements could be made. In addition, Anders defined what an in-house CFO role would look like and ultimately helped Martin realize that the most cost-effective solution was an outsourced Controller and CFO. They then helped the Association vet several potential partners to find the right fit.

But this was only the start of a beautiful relationship. Over the years, Martin and his team have turned to Anders for guidance on everything from tax planning to reporting – plus, Anders has helped the Association provide even more value to their own members. In 2018, after the landmark South Dakota vs. Wayfair decision that impacted how sales tax is collected in ecommerce transactions, Anders provided the NWFA with several resources to help their members understand how the decision could impact their businesses.

In 2020, Anders partnership was critical to helping the Association recover from financial losses and deliver valuable information to members in the wake of a global pandemic. In addition to helping the Association identify and pursue potential funding opportunities for themselves, Anders helped build several custom webinars to educate Association members on how to secure PPP Loan Funding – and extended invitations to NWFA members to attend Anders own webinars throughout the course of the pandemic. At every turn, according to Martin, “Anders provides value that goes above and beyond.”

The Results

With Anders continuous guidance, the Association’s accounting services are shored up and strategic, and they’ve seen cost savings, a better use of internal resources, and increased member retention. Thanks to their restructuring, the association’s auditing and reporting processes are both less complicated and less expensive, and they have the peace of mind of knowing that Anders will always proactively update them on anything that impacts their financial planning.

Whether helping with compliance and reporting, member engagement, or day-to-day accounting functions, it’s the Anders commitment to proactive communication and education that continues to make them an invaluable resource for the National Wood Flooring Association and their members: “We’ve never had a question that they didn’t find an answer for,” says Martin, “It’s a partnership built on longevity and trust.”

Learn more about the National Wood Flooring Association and the Anders Not-For-Profit team.

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