For decades, accountants and other professionals who handle sensitive data have relied on email to communicate and collaborate with clients. Now, however, most firms have realized how dangerous and hazardous this unsecure method of communication can be. Not only do client portals provide a more secure way to handle sensitive data, they also have a lot of benefits, too, which we outline below in no particular order.
5) Immediate Client Access
Rather than reaching out to a company and having a conversation, or sending an email and waiting for a response, a secure client portal enables clients to simply log in and find what they need, themselves. This makes the client happy because they don’t have to wait and can take their to-do list into their own hands; it also frees up your firm’s phone lines or customer service center to tackle harder issues, rather than simply fetch documents.
4) Security and Peace of Mind
We touched on this a bit in the introduction: The biggest advantage of a Client Portal is that it encrypts and protects sensitive information. If you communicate with clients via email, their sensitive financial and personal data is floating around an unsecure server and sitting in multiple inboxes. An encrypted Client Portal is much harder to hack into (for instance, ImagineTime’s Client Portal software uses 256-bit bank-level encryption, meaning a hacker would require 256 different combinations to break in—something that is virtually impossible for even the fastest computers.) Added security means your firm and your clients can sleep more soundly!
3) Less Chance of Litigation
We’ve all read about big data breaches like the one that affected Equifax. Should a similar cybersecurity breach affect your firm, you could wind up facing severe fines or legal action if a court determines that you didn’t do enough to protect your client data. We don’t need to explain why this would be bad: not only do you lose money in the lawsuit itself, you also lose clients who no longer trust you, and earning future potential clients’ trust will be an uphill battle. A hit to your reputation will cost you far more than the actual lawsuit—so be sure to protect your client’s data in a secure client portal!
2) Reduce the Client Chase
As an accountant (or similar professional), you likely spend a significant amount of time chasing your clients for forms, receipts, statements, and returns. One of the biggest advantages of a client portal is that it does the “chasing” for you. For instance, ImagineTime’s client portal will send friendly nudge reminders to clients regarding submissions and due dates, so you and your staff members can spend less time making calls and sending out reminder emails, and direct your resources to more important matters, instead.
1) Keep a “Paper Trail”
Another great advantage of a Client Portal is that it automatically preserves all messages and documentation, such as engagement letters and invoices. This is beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, because when your staff can see the complete history of interactions with a certain customer, they will have a better idea of their needs, and will be able to sell new services more successfully. And secondly, if there’s ever a disagreement in the future, the data can be referenced to prove what was said and not said. In ImagineTimes’s client portal, the data is preserved on the Cloud for an unlimited number of years, so it will always be accessible either months or years from now. The Cloud storage also means that there is no storage limit on files.
Learn more about ImagineTime Practice Management
ImagineTime is a software built by accountants, for accountants (and other professionals). We understand firsthand the crucial need for data security and safety when it comes to running a successful practice. To learn more about our client portal software for accountants, attorneys and medical practices, give us a call!