When it comes to mobile document management, CPA firms’ needs are evolving. Previously, it was enough to provide basic client data while on-the-go. You could view files, publish files to a portal or even some basic task management. As mobile devices have become more commonplace, they have also grown – both in power and in physical size. Clients are now looking for software solutions that will provide them with many more mobile features than in the past. Just accessing your client files from a smartphone is no longer enough.
|Today’s mobile needs||Evolving mobile needs|
|Mobile access from limited number of mobile devices||Mobile access from any internet-connected device|
|On-the-go access to basic client data such as phone numbers, email and physical addresses||Instant access to related files or documents|
|View files on mobile phones and tablets||Integrated and/or voice-enable searching|
|Publish files to portals||Client collaboration, including SMS-style messaging, Skype/FaceTime video calling|
|Basic task management||Workflow management|
Mobile apps should lead to gains in efficiency and should provide small snippets of information or functionality for those in-between moments. They should not be a duplicate of desktop software, although some mobile functionalities might make sense on both desktop and mobile devices.
When using mobile devices to access your document management system, there are a number of rules to keep in mind:
Rule 1: Mobile information should go beyond the basics.
Your clients expect instant answers, and so should you. If you have an active Internet connection, you should be able to access important client information beyond just the basics. You’re looking for instant answers while on–the-go, so you need access to client details or notes, A/R Balances and pending files from a portal, project status and responsible staff.
Rule 2: Just viewing files is not enough.
It’s important for your staff to be able to access client documents from a smartphone, but mobile document management is more than just viewing client files. Having the ability to add files, search for files, edit and deliver files will save a lot of time and help you to provide those instant answers that your clients expect. You should be able to browse or search for files, and although you may not want to make major changes to a file on a small mobile device, you should be able to edit it if you need to. Using your device camera to capture new documents is a convenience that many people now expect from their mobile apps. You should also be able to email files to a client, or publish files to a client’s portal if they are more sensitive in nature.
Rule 3: Start preparing for mobile workflow management.
Though it may not be all that clear in the beginning how mobility fits your workflow processes, ensuring that your mobile app supports your workflows is important. As more and more staff become mobile, and access to the DMS becomes simpler, you will be able to figure out which workflows are best suited to mobile devices versus full-fledged PCs. Some things to look for might include the ability to add and recall favorite clients. Assigning file-related tasks to other staff and importing files uploaded by clients to their portal are great examples of mobile-enabled workflows.
Rule 4: Mobility is a stepping stone to collaboration.
Over the years, the line between document management and client collaboration has blurred somewhat, since in many cases you’re talking about file management – regardless if it’s in a DMS or in a Portal. Your mobile document management solution should support client collaboration such as file sharing, e-signatures, secure messaging and even invoice presentment. Providing these types of features your clients, and allowing them to access these features from their mobile devices may provide a leg-up against your competitors. Clients will recognize that your firm is keeping current with the times, and will appreciate your firm enabling mobile access for their data.
To learn more about selecting the right document management system, download our whitepaper, Document Management Strategies: New and Upcoming Trends.