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Welcome to the GetNetSet Website Building Video series for tax and accounting professionals, where we cover all the essentials of creating a site that helps you grow your business. Many of our videos discuss how your website can help you attract new clients. But we’re going to focus today on using your site to better serve the clients you already have.
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One of the best available website tools to strengthen your relationships with clients is the Secure Client Portal. Let’s start by discussing why a protected client service portal is so critical in today’s world. The movement of so many aspects of life to the online realm has created unprecedented convenience, but also unprecedented risks. Identity thieves and data miners patrol the web relentlessly looking for any opportunity to steal credit card, banking, and taxpayer ID numbers, along with any other personal or business data they can exploit for profit.
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At the same time, the need to exchange files with clients over the Internet grows greater with every passing year. And this need is not limited to clients you meet remotely. After all, in spite of your best efforts to prep your clients for in-person meetings, some of them will inevitably forget critical documents. Now, in years past, you could perhaps count on these clients to swing back by your office the next day with the missing records or file. With today’s busy schedules, however, you might be waiting for weeks. In addition to being frustrating,
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those delays cost you time and money. Meanwhile, sending sensitive data or records via email carries a major risk of theft or cyber attacks. Hackers may breach email platforms, even including the platforms that claim to encrypt messages. Of course, your clients could send you documents by mail, but ordinary shipping options leave critical information vulnerable to porch pirates and other forms of mail theft.
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Registered mail and courier services do provide very good security, but at a significant expense. A secure client portal on your website helps to solve all of these problems and many more, all while making things more convenient for both your clients and you. So let’s take a quick look at how your portal might work. We have a demo homepage here, and if a user clicks on the client portal menu heading, they will come to a login page like this one.
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The secure login procedure is just the first of several lines of defense protecting the portal from Internet bad guys. Once the client verifies their credentials, they will have access to any documents and folders they have uploaded as well as any that you have shared with them through the portal. Now, on your end, you will have a separate folder for each client who uses the portal.
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So here we have a demo version where Tax and Accounting Pro R. Doe as the fictitious Yellow, Red and Blue Companies as clients. Notice that R. Doe’s portal has a file retention policy where uploaded files are automatically deleted after a certain length of time. A policy like this one helps to keep the portal manageable as more and more clients use it. So if we select the Blue Company, we can go to that client’s dedicated portal and you can see some of the accounting and tax documents stored there.
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The portals encryption and other security measures ensure that each client’s files are accessible only to them and to you. Of course, you will want a simple way to verify this security so you can click on the “People on this Folder” option, which brings you to this page. And here we get confirmation that indeed only the tax or accounting firm and one specific client can access this secure folder.
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Notice also that this page enables you to control folder settings. These settings include whether the client can upload items to the folder and whether you and the client will receive notifications when the other person uploads or downloads a file. We love these notifications for a wide variety of reasons. For instance, if you are waiting on a client to provide you with a key document, you will know the moment that document becomes available to you.
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So that’s just a quick overview of some of the ways that a secure portal provides convenience and safety for your clients while helping you to make the best possible use of your time. If you’d like to learn more about the nuts and bolts of how our secure portal works, including how to add new clients and create new shared folders, please see our companion video on using the client portal.
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And of course, if you have any other questions or are ready to add a client portal to your site, our team here at GetNetSet will be happy to speak with you. Otherwise, we hope you found this introduction to the portal’s features helpful. Thank you for watching and we will see you in the next video.