Despite all of the technological leaps we’ve made as a society, accounting clients still hate the idea of using a simple client portal to send and view their sensitive information. Many would much rather handle their documents via email or even snail mail. For a certain (and fairly large) percentage of the population, the idea of bookmarking another website, downloading another app, and remembering yet another password feels like a huge burden. Clients simply don’t want to do it.
But when you share sensitive information, it’s your legal responsibility to secure it. Securing your clients’ information doesn’t just protect it from a security breach, but it also protects your accounting firm from negative legal consequences and hefty fines. Don’t let the past lull you into a false sense of security. Just because you haven’t had a data breach yet, it doesn’t mean that your firm is safe. When you’re practicing unsafe data storage and transmission procedures, a data breach is on the horizon. Plus, cyber attacks are on the rise and have seen a major boost since the start of the pandemic. You need to take every step possible to protect your clients’ information from the very real possibility of a security breach in the near future.
But if your clients don’t want to use a portal to share and view their information, what should you do? How do you convince your accounting clients to use your portal anyway, despite their almost-allergic reaction to doing so?
In this post, we’ll discuss top tips to get your clients to use your portal regularly.If your clients don’t want to use a portal to share and view their information, what should you do? Follow these tips: Click To Tweet
Why Client Portals are Necessary
A client portal is a private and secure platform that you use to share resources with your clients. You’ll use this platform to share sensitive information with your clients, whether it’s tax documents, invoices, or other personal data. A client portal is typically web-based and may be accessed from a website, but it can be available via a mobile or desktop app. So why take this extra step implementing a client portal into your process?
Here are the reasons why many accounting firms use client portals:
One Stop Shop
Instead of your clients needing to go various places on your website, social media, or even blog to find information, everything is kept tidy in one location. This added level of convenience reduces frustration for your client.
Secure File Sharing
Perhaps the biggest benefit of using a client portal is the security. As an accounting firm, you’re constantly sharing sensitive information with your client. Not only are you sending them personal information for their eyes only, but they’re also giving you the same. It’s dangerous to share such sensitive information over email because the message you send can be captured by a nefarious third party. Reputable client portals use end-to-end encryption that keeps all of your client data safe from upload to download.
Manage Your Workload
A client portal doesn’t just benefit the client. It also has huge benefits for your accounting firm. By having one location for storing and accessing your client documents and your ongoing communication, you make it easier on your team. They won’t need to toggle back and forth between half a dozen apps in order to provide excellent service to your clients. Instead, they can work directly from your portal. Plus, a portal keeps track of records, including when information was last accessed or sent. This level of tracking keeps your team accountable.
High Quality Results
The old way of sharing information relied on using either a scanner and a fax machine, and sometimes both. But, let’s face it: Fax machines produce poor quality images that can be difficult to read. And scanning signed documents can be hit or miss. It depends on how proficient your client is with their scanning (whether that’s with an actual scanning machine or taking a photo with their smartphone). It’s easy to get a blurry outcome when relying on yesterday’s technology.
A portal is convenient for both you and your client. From your client’s point of view, using a portal means that they can handle all of their business from the comfort of their computer. They don’t need to find a fax machine, scan a document, or take a photo. Everything can be handled directly from the client portal.
Modernizing Your Processes
Some clients will truly appreciate an accounting firm that’s taken the necessary steps to modernize their processes. For these clients, the idea of meeting in person or mailing in signed documents is dated and a throw back to their fathers’ generation. Some clients prefer working with firms that are innovative and unafraid to use technology as part of their processes. If you want to appeal to these clients, you’ll definitely need to consider implementing more technology in your firm.
When you have a client portal, your clients can help themselves to the resources you’ve shared. Resources may include guides, how-tos, frequently asked questions, and advice. Because you have made this information available to your clients, it will reduce the number of calls you get for the same topics.
When both you and your clients use a portal to communicate, it’s easy to collaborate. Both you and your client can upload documents and ask for additional information. Depending on your portal’s functionality, you may be able to work together on time-sensitive tasks. Having all of your client communications in one place will definitely make your job easier.
Why Your Accounting Clients Don’t Like Using Your Client Portal
Before we discuss how to get your clients to use your portal, let’s take a look at the top reasons why they don’t like using traditional client portals.
Difficult to Use at First
No matter how easy your software is to use, there’s still a learning period involved. Giving your clients a new tool to use also means giving them a new tool to learn. From your client’s perspective, a client portal is difficult to use. They don’t know how to navigate to get what they’re after. It may not be obvious to them where to upload or access their files. So, instead of the headache, many clients avoid portals altogether.
Don’t Use Enough
While it may be part of your everyday process, your clients may only use your client portal two or three times a year. This infrequent use does not, in the client’s mind, justify them signing up for and/or downloading another tool. Why do all that when they can simply send files directly via email? It seems much more convenient.
A Client Portal That Your Clients Will Actually Use
So if clients don’t or won’t actually use a client portal, what do you do? Don’t use a client portal at all. Or, rather, don’t use a traditional client portal. Instead, use a secure file sharing solution like Mango.
With this tool, you can securely communicate with your clients without asking them to create a username or password. You also share, access, and organize all of your files in the cloud.
How does that work?
We’ve created a secure, password-free login. Instead of asking clients to sign in with a username and password they’ve created for your portal, you can ask them a secret question. This can be a simple, easy-to-remember answer, such as the last four digits of their Social Security number or the last four numbers of their phone number. When your client answers correctly, they’ll gain access to their files quickly and painlessly.
You or your team can send files directly from your email through Mango. There’s no separate portal for you to access. It can all be done from your email. The emails are automatically encrypted end-to-end, ensuring maximum, bank-level security for the files you send to your clients.
But what about your clients? Can they securely share documents with you?
Your clients can simply click on a link from your email to access a secured web page. From there, they can send sensitive information directly from the website to you with end-to-end encryption. Additionally, your clients can also access information through a secure portal, if they choose.
Mango has also made it easy to sign documents without accessing a portal. To electronically sign necessary documents, your clients can walk through four steps (Welcome, Agree to Terms, Sign, and Done).
By implementing the above software in your practice, you’ll eliminate the frustration and inconvenience that your clients may experience when trying to work in your portal. It’s a win-win solution for you and your clients.
Getting your accounting clients to use your client portal is simple if you’re using Mango’s client portal software. To learn more about our software or try a free demo, click here.