Bookkeepers rely on many tools to help them communicate with clients, including email, SMS, file sharing apps, CRM solutions and other platforms. Of course, stringing together these disparate solutions can be a logistical nightmare for both bookkeepers and their clients.
Client portals tame complexity and streamline operations by bringing all of these capabilities under the same roof. At the same time, they improve security by keeping files out of email and provide helpful reminders to keep everyone on the same page.
Let’s take a look at how client portals can improve the user experience, keep files organized, enhance security and streamline workflow.
Bookkeepers rely on many tools to communicate with clients—and client portals can simplify their lives by bringing them all under the same roof.
Better Client Experience
The average U.S. internet user has 130 accounts registered to their email address, according to Dashlane, and most of us are hesitant to sign up for yet another account. You can minimize the number of new accounts that your clients need using a client portal that brings communication, file storage and other required capabilities under one roof.
Client portals also create a single source of truth for all communication between you and your clients. You don’t have to worry about losing track of emails, tracking down months-old conversations or accidentally deleting files because everything is kept in the same searchable place for both you and your clients to access at all times.
Many client portals also have features designed to improve the client experience in other ways. For example, Client Hub enables clients to communicate with messages, view tasks they need to complete, schedule meetings with a click and integrate their QuickBooks to streamline bookkeeping tasks. We even provide a mobile app that helps your clients work on-the-go!
Secure & Organize Files
You probably still receive a lot of files from clients via email. In addition to the risk of hitting the spam folder, many of these files contain sensitive information, like Social Security numbers, and email is a notoriously insecure way to communicate. In fact, one in three Americans have been hacked or had their identity stolen, according to a survey by LastPass.
You also have to worry about data breach notification laws that vary by state. If your email account is hacked, you may need to notify all of your clients that their information may be at risk, which is a much more severe problem when you transfer files via email. You can avoid these risks by using secure client portals to manage all files and communications.
While Dropbox and other file sharing services are a popular way to organize and share files, they are difficult to integrate with back-office solutions. Client portals bring file secure storage and transfer under the same roof as client communication and other back-office tools to make it easy to access what you need, when you need it, with the right context.
Client portals are an excellent way to improve the user experience for clients, but they’re also a great way to simplify your own life. In addition to eliminating the need to search through emails, client portals make it easy to automate common tasks and better manage your practice, which frees up your time to focus on higher value tasks.
ClientHub provides a range of different capabilities:
Recurring jobs make it easy to create tasks that need to be done on a regular basis, such as running payroll or preparing financial reports for clients, so you never miss another task.
Conversations makes it easy to consolidate client communications and keep everyone on your team in the loop using a familiar messaging tool.
Integrations with QuickBooks enables you to create client tasks to resolve uncategorized expenses, avoiding a lot of emails and phone calls.
Dashboards make it easy to visualize everything that’s happening at a practice level or across time with a given client, so you never have to wonder where you left things off.
There are also many other client communication tools to consider with differing features, including Karbon, Jetpack, Aero Workflow, Financial Cents, ClickUp, Asana and more; however, these are more workflow apps with client communications rather than client portals with internal workflow features like Client Hub.
We put together a detailed comparison of these solutions, along with Client Hub, to help you find the best solution for your business—or even a combination (e.g., Client Hub + Karbon) to help meet your needs.
Choosing the Right Client Portal
The biggest challenge with client portals is getting buy-in from your practice and clients. They have to be easy to use for both bookkeepers and clients, but at the same time, provide sophisticated features to make your lives easier. It’s a tough balance that a lot of companies fail to achieve and it’s the most common reason that most implementations fail over time.
Another major challenge is minimizing the behavioral changes needed to use the client portal while still realizing the benefits... For example, client portals should send reminders and alerts via email that direct clients to the client portal to communicate, upload files and complete other tasks..
Client Hub leverages email notifications in order to make it easy for clients to interact with their client workspace. For instance, they receive an email notice when there are unread messages and sign into the client portal to send and receive messages. That way, you don’t have to constantly remind clients to sign in to the portal to get things done.
We also provide a mobile app that simplifies communications even further. Clients can receive push notifications for tasks that need to be done. When they click the notification, they are taken directly into the mobile app and to the specific task. There’s no need to open an email, click a link, sign into the portal and navigate to a task to finish it.
The Bottom Line
Bookkeepers rely on many different tools to communicate with clients. Rather than stringing together a number of different solutions, client portals bring everything under the same roof, enabling you and your clients to be more efficient. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Client Hub provides an easy-to-use, all-in-one platform for bookkeepers and their clients. With its thoughtfully designed interface, the platform is easy-to-use for both colleagues and clients and minimizes changes to existing behaviors. Try it today!