Client Portals: Great for the Client and the CPA Firm
“My whole year is (consumed by) constantly making copies of things for people. It’s not even the five minutes to make a copy, but pulling the file out, running the copy, stamping ‘copy’ on it, and (talking to clients) when they come over, and that takes the most amount of time,” he said. “Now I make a PDF file, and it’s online, and they can get it as often as they want. I spend two minutes doing that, and I can spend my time on other things.”
These are the words of a small firm owner quoted from an excellent article in the February 2010 issue of The Journal of Accountancy called "Client Portals: A Secure Alternative to E-mail".
The prevalence and importance of client portals was also underscored by Gary Boomer at the recent Winning is Everything Conference. . Portals are something clients either expect or are very pleasantly surprised when it’s offered and used.
As a client, how great is it to be able to securely access your prior year tax returns, financial statements, estate and trust documents and anything else you would like.
A couple of points to note:
- Portals are available through most of the major tax software vendors.
- The cost is not prohibitive and the article mentions even lower cost options.
- To encourage use, include a box in engagement letters to check if you DON’T want to use the portal.
Ok, gotta go...time to email my CPA to find out when they are setting up my portal!