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Selim Karabece

Karabece + Partner

Selim Karabece is the majority shareholder and partner in Karabece + Partner Wirtschaftsprüfungs- und Steuerberatungsgesellschaft. The company is a classic tax consultancy with 20 employees.

The key service of the bureau is the taking over of all accounting processes, ranging from segments like wage accounting or pure tax counselling to the generation of annual accounts, tax declarations and profit and loss accounts. In this sense, Karabece & Partner defines itself as a pure service provider.

Movie with Selim Karabece

Cloud Computing: How Entrepreneurs Utilize Services from the Cloud

The path into the cloud is indispensable for future-oriented, innovation-conscious enterprises. But compared to other EU countries, Austrian businesses are lagging behind in making cloud services a part of their general IT strategy. 

Only one in eight companies is currently using the advantages of cloud computing to increase productivity and development potential by being able to focus more on core business. But this new area of IT provides many new possibilities, especial

Load Relief and Flexibility

Karabece + Partner Wirtschaftsprüfungs- und Steuerberatungsgesellschaft, a classic tax consultancy with a staff of 20, is already exploiting the benefits of cloud computing. “Due to the size of our company, I usually got stuck with having to handle everything to do with IT,” majority shareholder and partner Selim Karabece says.

“Due to our role as service provider, our IT has been growing continuously over the past 20 years. I had up to 8 servers at one point – main server, mail server, telephone server etc. I was starting to lose track, and that’s why I decided to make a change last year.” The goals: A reliable partner who would take over all IT-related issues, and the flattest possible in-office infrastructure.

Service for Employees and Customers

Similarly important topics during the realignment of the IT strategy were flexibility and growing capacity. Karabece: “We settled on a mixed system for our implementation. Our servers were migrated to an external data centre, and simultaneously everything to do with communication runs in the cloud. Eventually, we also shifted telephony to the cloud.”

The results benefit not only the boss, but also all employees and customers: The new flexibility provides independence from a specific location. Clients can view data at home or in the firm’s offices using the efficiency of its infrastructure. Karabece: “We are tax consultants, but two-thirds of our work in accounting and wage accounting is data processing.”

Accelerated Work Processes

The entrepreneur is certain that there is still optimization potential in this regard, however – e.g. in the area of interfaces or in integrating banks into the accounting process. “Document entry could also be improved so that we don’t have to process each document several times. I am sure the right software already exists – it just needs to be implemented and configured.”

All these reductions in workload are now possible at the tax consultancy firm thanks to professionally outsourced infrastructure and cloud services. An important step according to Karabece, for “IT accelerates work processes massively. We are accomplishing much more in the same amount of time than we could a few years ago.”

Interview

“We are much better off than before.”

Only one in eight Austrian businesses is currently exploiting the benefits of cloud services to boost its own development possibilities, increase productivity, or offer employees and customers individual services to gain a competitive advantage.

The Karabece + Partner accounting and tax consultancy firm, a traditional bureau with a staff of 20, has recently integrated cloud services into its IT strategy.

Selim Karabece, majority shareholder and partner in the company, talks about being the “company go-to guy”, following gut feelings as an entrepreneurial strategy, and the integration of new technologies as an act of liberation.

In what way are you involved with cloud computing?

Due to the size of our company, I usually got stuck with having to handle everything to do with IT. As a “go-to guy” of sorts, I am generally also responsible for our website and our advertising strategy. Our IT operation also developed in this configuration, of course. Historically speaking, you start small, but sooner or later you reach a size that starts giving you headaches.

How did this development occur in terms of technology?

Over the past 20 years, our IT has gradually grown and grown; I had 7 or 8 servers at one point – main server, mail server, telephone server etc. I was starting to lose track, and that’s why I decided to make a change last year.

What was your idea for the “new IT”, what were the target requirements?

Intensive analysis together with my brother-in-law made it clear that I needed something new – with the goal of getting as much work as possible off my back, a kind of liberation. I wanted a partner who would take everything including the hardware, which I didn’t want to have anything more to do with here at the office, out of my hands. The goal was an infrastructure that is as flat as possible, reduced to the client PCs and wiring, and maybe a router. Another important issue was flexibility, because if our company grows, I don’t want to have to worry about new capacities.

What cloud services are you already using at your company?

My primary approach to the topic was more of a gut feeling; I really liked the idea and thought it was a forward-looking concept. I wanted to jump on the bandwagon as early as possible. In terms of the implementation, we decided on a mixed concept where we migrated our own servers to an external data centre, while everything to do with communication runs in the cloud. Thanks to the comprehensive advice I received – another very important factor –, I then also proceeded to shift things like telephony into the cloud.

Is it important to you to have workplaces here as well as in other locations? You mentioned flexibility.

Of course it’s important to not be bound to one location. I also wanted to provide my staff with flexibility, for example allowing them to work from home. The new cloud solution makes that easy to realize, for them as well as for me. The second main focus are my clients, who are also interested in viewing data on my systems or working here with my infrastructure. All in all, it is a great mixture enabling my employees, my clients and myself to work here as well as at home.

Are there any other insights gained from your migration to cloud services?

The combination of professionally outsourced IT infrastructure plus cloud services is a competitive advantage that benefits my clients: Whenever there is demand, I don’t need to do much planning or thinking and can deliver immediately. In general, IT is our main tool – without it we can’t work at all in this business. Correspondingly, the quality factor is essential to me in this context, be it in regard to my servers or my new cloud solution. I can now have full confidence that everything is always up to date.

What is important to you in terms of security?

Security to me means that I never have to stop working. Be it an update or the availability of a server, I always need to be able to keep going. That is one main aspect.

... and what about data security?

I am not too worried about that in regard to myself, but in professional terms I have to be, and am, very strict. All our data are now stored on a server in a data centre, under conditions that I could never ever achieve here at the office. That begins with the spatial requirements and continues with topics like temperature and security updates. I can say in good confidence that we are much better off than before.

Does that apply to all areas?

It also applies to our communication solutions; the mail server we had here previously was certainly much more vulnerable than the one we use now. Specialization is occurring in all these areas that we ourselves would never have the knowledge or time for.

What further developments do you expect in cloud computing in technical and organizational terms?

I have no idea where the road may eventually lead us. If I compare our work processes in the early 1980s with what we do today and see the immense acceleration, then I honestly have to say I wouldn’t mind if we were to slow down a little. If we keep up the current pace, it’s going to tear us apart. To put it a bit more philosophically: The Earth is spinning a lot faster than it did 25 years ago.

Let us talk about the topic of integration, for example regarding interfaces to the financial authorities or banking systems.

A lot is being done online in these areas as well now, and that means a huge workload reduction. I press a button and the tax declaration is submitted. But I think we are also approaching the boundaries of efficiency and productivity in this regard.

You do have a very traditional business model, however: You receive numbers and data from customers, which you process following a strict and legally defined scheme and submit the results.

We are tax consultants, but two-thirds of our work in accounting and wage accounting is data processing. And there is still some room for optimization there, for example in terms of integrating interfaces or banks into the whole accounting process. Or in regard to document entry, to prevent us from having to record documents two or three times – always using the same process. These things still need to be developed further, and that is a software issue. But many of these solutions are probably already available if you just take the time to implement and configure them.

Do you have any wishes or suggestions to share with IT providers?

IT has accelerated work processes immensely, and we are accomplishing much more in the same amount of time than we could a few years ago. I hope the industry will slow down a little now and the providers will give us some time to catch our breath and get used to things. Otherwise…I just don’t know whether we can continue going faster. Or in terms of a tax declaration, whether it can be completed in 5 seconds instead of 5 minutes.

Gallery

What

The intention is to motivate decision makers to examine possible solutions, build up their own know-how and conduct test runs. This way, unwarranted blockades can be broken down and an atmosphere of competent and critical discussion established. In other words: Motivating reports by trailblazers persuade other decision makers to relinquish uncritical “no-go” positions.

The ECE Stream “Trust in Cloud” introduces cloud customers and their strategies and experiences with cloud migration projects. This serves to allow other organizations to learn from these experiences. Some of the cases focus on companies at the beginning of their migration projects, while others illustrate the successes achieved and experiences made.

All TiC stories follow a strict principle in that they are not marketing stories; no advertising for any products or businesses is allowed. The essential information is the experience that others can learn from.