Last week I had the pleasure of attending Accountants Technology Showcase Australia (ATSA) in Sydney. Across the two days, it was apparent that there is a huge focus for the ability to collaborate greater with clients and improve communication by introducing client portals. With 38% of firms still without portals, according to the Good, Bad, Ugly report 2017*, choosing a platform that ticks every box is more important than ever.
So, what makes a great client portal?
Sharing files securely
Security is hot topic right now, especially with the amount of data breaches surfacing recently. You need find a reputable platform that allows you to lock down your files and control user access at all levels of your document management system, but at the same time, ensure it doesn’t prevent you from sharing necessary files with clients.
Ability to collaborate on documents
When producing documents, it generally requires input from clients. Whilst it might be an option to send a file back and forth to finalise, it’s simply not practical. You end up wasting time to produce what should be a straight forward document and it may also lead to version control issues. Introducing a portal will allow you to easily access files from one-source of truth, your document center, and complete work significantly faster.
Strong communication and the ability to access anywhere, anytime
Your location or time zone shouldn’t prevent you from working better with clients. For many accountants, having clients overseas or across territories is quite common and a client portal can help break down those barriers. Channelling communication on individual client portals means work is less likely to get lost in emails and you should find a tool that instead has the ability for you to configure personal notifications.
Provide interactive reporting
Finally, your clients want to see their data consolidated on a dashboard that immediately highlights key stats. They should also have the ability to manipulate and question their data to help identify trends and potentially predict future activity.
Another key feature is the ability to easily sign and approve documents from within the portal. Gone are the days where we need to print and post documents to be signed. We also no longer need to email documents then have the client print, sign, scan and send back. Finding a portal that utilises Docusign, Adobe sign etc. will save a considerable amount of time.
Client portals not only allow you to improve collaboration and communication, but more importantly, you’ll create a stronger, more transparent and hopefully long-lasting relationship with your client.
HubOne recommends using Microsoft Teams, a communication tool within the Microsoft Office 365 suite, that gives small businesses a simple way to communicate and collaborate externally, as well as internally. What’s more, it connects with the full Office suite and many other popular apps to increase productivity so you can have all your favourite tools under one roof.
Learn more about what HubOne is doing with Teams for the Accounting industry.
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