A Productivity in Practice Feature
From the December 2010 Issue
From iPhones and iPods to iPads and MacBooks, Apple’s lines of computers and other electronic devices continue to grow in popularity. While consumer technology publications have noted the increased adoption of Macintosh systems for personal use, the pages of this magazine have also occasionally delved into the Mac side of things, most recently during point-counterpoint columns between our executive editor (pro-Mac) and myself (pro-PC), and similar companion columns about the iPad.
For industries such as graphic design, music production and publishing, the Mac has always been the preference. But in general business environments, the PC has remained the status quo, regardless of user preference. This is especially true for tax and accounting professionals because of the relative lack of Mac-capable professional applications for practitioners. But with the continued movement to the SaaS model where users access programs through their web browser, the platform of the computer is becoming less of an issue. However, there are still some areas that accounting and tax pros aren’t fully ready to jump to the cloud.
Bill Miranda, a Dallas-area CPA, has found a way to satisfy both his preference of all things Mac and the continuing evolutions in accounting technologies. Since he founded his practice, William Miranda CPA (www.billmirandacpa.com), in 2005, the five-person firm has used only Mac computers, a feat made possible by programs such as Boot Camp, a utility in modern versions of Apple’s Leopard and Snow Leopard (OS 10.5 and 10.6) that allows users to install the Microsoft Windows operating system, which then makes it possible to run Windows-based programs, including all professional tax and accounting systems.
Bill has also taken the technology in his practice a step further, with remote access tools like GoToMyPC and VPN connections to his firm’s computers for his five-person staff, allowing most of them to work from home offices on a permanent basis, but with all data remaining on the computers in his firm. Yes, Bill Miranda is a technology and Mac geek, and there’s a good reason for it, he says.
“We’re in a growth mode, and we want to be as efficient and profitable as possible,” he said. “That means an extra focus on technologies that help us keep lean while growing, by being better at leveraging time and productivity.” These technologies also allow him to manage clients across the country, as well as local businesses.
As for Macs in particular, while working for several years in taxation at Peat Marwick Mitchell and Arthur Anderson, and as a tax partner with KPMG, Bill had given his daughter a Mac as a consolation bribe of sorts when they moved to Calgary, Canada, where he led the cross-border tax practice for KPMG. He soon found the Mac much more intuitive than his work-based PCs, so he got one for himself, as well, but at first just for personal use.
By 2005, when he decided to leave the Big 4 accounting world and start his own practice, he had a failing PC laptop but knew the technology was there to allow him to turn to Macs for his client service work. He is also a user and advocate of cloud computing for himself and his clients. His practice scored a 352 on the Productivity Survey, a free technology and work-flow assessment tool for tax and accounting firms (www.CPATechAdivsor.com/productivity).