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Three Pain-free Ways CPAs Can Collect Time-Sensitive Data from Clients

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It’s gonna take time. A whole lotta precious time. It’s gonna takcollecting time sensitive documents from clientse patience and time…

You know the lyrics. And you probably can relate when it comes to gathering time sensitive data from your clients. The process can be very tedious and it may leave you feeling like an FBI agent—tracking down clients to remind them of deadlines, combing through emails to get the information you need, and searching through filing cabinets for essential paperwork.

Using email and physical files to collaborate with clients is not only a waste of time, it could be against the law. The threat of a security breach is a real concern. Federal and state laws continue to get stricter about maintaining the security of clients’ confidential data and your firm may be required to use encryption tools or other resources.

This means you are no longer able to email a client tax return or expose a SSN or TIN without the possibility of facing a fine.

Ensuring you have an efficient and secure process in place for collecting data from your clients is essential to the future success of your firm.

If the process gives you a headache, check out these 3 pain-free solutions to help simplify it:

Utilize an Online Client Portal – Around for nearly a decade, client portals offer the highest level of security for sharing documents and data. They provide a secure online storage area to help you collaborate with clients.

Basic features include the ability for both the firm and a client to upload a file of almost any kind and size into a secure “dropbox” where the other party can access it. Clients can send documents, and firms can send their clients their finalized income tax return or leave it in there, so the client can access it anytime they want.  

More advanced features include tracking of when a client viewed a document, scheduled document deletion, and integration with tax and accounting systems and practice management programs.

Employ Automated Client Communication – “Set it and forget it.” That’s the premise behind automated, date-driven communications. Accountants, by nature of their work, are driven by dates. Considering that these are often routine and cyclical, having a system in place to remind clients of these events can be a big help to you.

Keeping clients systematically informed helps to ensure they deliver what is needed on a timely basis. This keeps work moving through the practice. Added bonus: These reminders consistently put your practice in front of your clients, therefore reinforcing your brand and your relationship with them.

Encourage Clients to Use an HRIS – If your clients’ information is properly organized, they are better able to deliver the information you need, when you need it. An “I can’t believe I did without it” necessity for many organizations, a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) makes it possible for an organization to manage all aspects of their workforce through one web-based application.

An HRIS, like Orange by Balance Point, can help streamline many HR processes: applicant tracking, performance management, attendance, compensation and benefits management, work force analyses, and scheduling.

Every employee has a single record that contains all relevant data collected over their lifecycle. All important documents can be scanned and stored, eliminating the need for paperwork. Capabilities include the ability to create custom reports and export the data in a variety of formats including Excel, CSV, PDF, text, and XML.

With AutoRun, important documents can be automatically emailed to their inboxes making it easier for them to get important documents in their hands—and ultimately yours.

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