On its surface, implementing a portal solution seems like a quick and easy way to improve efficiency and information security. However, any technology investment will hit some roadblocks along the way. Identifying potential trouble spots allows firms to plan ahead and put policies in place to make the portal implementation process easier for everyone.
Get Your Staff On Board
Oftentimes, one of the biggest obstacles to a successful portal implementation comes from within. Every firm has employees that are averse to change, but it’s important to make sure they don’t set the tone for technology adoption in the firm. Firms should find the technology champions on staff, and seek their input and assistance with rolling out the new technology.
Using portals consistently improves the client’s experience and creates more standardized processes within the firm. In fact, some firms have found clients demanding a portal solution. In those situations, the client may take their business elsewhere if the firm can’t offer a secure file exchange solution.
Overcome Client Objections
One of them most common roadblocks to implementing portals is the belief that clients won’t use them. However, when staff members use portals consistently, the firm’s clients are more likely to follow. Using portals for a wide variety of documents increases client familiarity with the technology. Logging in once a year is not likely to bring success. Persistent reminders to use the portal throughout the year will eventually win over most reluctant clients.
Portals must be easy to find and easy to use. Firms should add a portal log-in button to their websites, so clients know exactly where to find it. Providing comprehensive documentation, including online help and instructional videos, will also help clients adapt.
While some firms insist that all clients use portals, many others do not. One key to success may be accepting that not all clients will use a portal. As long as you’re exchanging files securely, a firm may decide to forgo the efficiencies of a portal for a valuable client.
Choose the Right Tools
As more and more people learn about email security issues, various vendors have introduced many different secure file exchange options. While some clients may be more familiar with one of the many general-use file exchange software and apps available now, they have their drawbacks for accounting firms.
Some file exchange tools are intended simply for sending one-off files. These can’t store a client’s library of documents for long-term collaboration. They typically lack features like file retention policies and role-based permissions. What’s more, a portal solution designed specifically for accounting firms is more likely to integrate with other parts of the firm’s technology, like its document management system and project tracking software.