Client Portals: Fact vs Fiction

It’s a fact that Portals are are the most secure way to collaborate with clients. But many firms continue to use more traditional forms of communication. The disconnect between what we know those firms should do and what they are actually doing is often due to outdated or incorrect information. These misconceptions are not only holding firms back from improving their client service. In some cases, firms are actually putting client information security at risk. Make sure you can tell fact vs. fiction when considering a portal system.

Myth: Clients won’t use portals

Accounting firms exist to serve their clients. So it doesn’t make sense to offer a service they don’t need. But it’s also true that your clients don’t always know what they need. Some clients may resist using a portal, but most will gladly comply when they understand the security benefits. In fact, many firms have clients who have demanded portals. Here are direct quotes from a few of our customers:

  • “Our clients who use it absolutely love it. One business client posts Quickbooks reports and documents that we can then accept from Portal into Document and put to use. It’s very convenient for our clients who are traveling, too.” – Sam Armour, Armour Vickerman
  • “We do have people who are not computer savvy, and we have had little to no complaints from the customer side on how to work Portal. One of the problems with GoFileRoom was that why it never why we never actually got it up and running was because we couldn’t get the customers to figure out how to use it on their end.” – Gigi Boudreaux, Raich Ende Malter & Co.
  • “Ninety-nine point nine percent of clients take to Portal very quickly; get in, get what they need without us having to hold their hand and walk them through it. It has been an absolute homerun for us.” – Len Romaniello, Lenkowski Lonergan

How to solve your client portal usage problem

Myth: Portals don’t work on mobile devices

Your clients and staff are increasingly expecting mobile productivity tools. They use mobile apps and mobile-ready websites to access information from their banks, doctors and other trusted advisers. They expect the same kind of convenience from their accountants. While it used to be true that accessing a portal required a web browser with special plug-ins, most portals are now mobile-ready, with responsive design that works on almost any device. In addition, our CCH Client Axcess app lets your clients access their files from their iOS or Android devices and even upload photos of receipts and other documents.

Three Types of Client Communication Strategies: Which is Yours?

Myth: Sending encrypted emails is more convenient than implementing portals

Sending encrypted emails can be a convenient solution for short-term file exchange. However, offering your clients long-term storage of all their files provides the ultimate convenience – easy, 24/7 access from anywhere. Rather than requesting specific files, clients can log in and browse or search for any file they need, any time they need it. A client’s portal can serve as a hub of communication between the firm and the client. Encourage clients to log in to the portal regularly. These frequent check-ins will become a habit that will result in better communication and possibly more business.

Signs You Need a New Approach to Exchanging Files with Clients

Myth: Portals are too complicated

Any technology can seem complicated before you actually dive into it and use it. In fact, portals are relatively easy to set up and implement. Portal training is offered over the web several times per month and can be completed in as little as 1 hour for end users.  And, with batch portal creation, you can create a portal for every client in just a few steps. While portals might  be more complicated than simple email, the security benefits and added document management features make the effort worthwhile.

Three ideas to improve your portal implementation

Myth: Portals are only useful when used with a full document management system

CCH Axcess Portal is available as a standalone solution for firms that don’t have Document. A full document management system is recommended for any firm who wants to store and manage large numbers of documents. But the standalone version of CCH Axcess Portal offers many important benefits on its own. These include easy-to-use search, flexible file retention settings and, of course, secure file exchange.

Portals can help your firm improve client service in many different ways. Download our e-book: The Power of the Portals to learn more.

AUTHOR

Aimee Hall

Product Marketing Manager at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting

All stories by: Aimee Hall