Here at CPAMG, we talk a lot about delivering world-class service – “wowing” our clients so they’ll never even think about leaving us for a competitor, and so that we can distinguish ourselves from the competition and justify premium fees.
One way of making clients fall in love with us is by providing the convenience of a client dashboard.
Why They Rock for Clients
1. Open 24/7
A client dashboard gives clients 24/7 access to tax returns and other important documents via a secure internet login.
Typically, a practice with a client dashboard will have a link somewhere on their website home page that says, “Client Login” or something to that effect.
The client uses a user name and password to access their documents and any other information you choose to make available.
2. Share and share-alike
Dashboard technology also allows for clients to upload documents, as an alternative to emailing or mailing signed tax returns and other paperwork.
3. Quick communication
Dashboards integrate mobile technology, allowing you to automate text and email messages that confirm receipt of uploaded documents, or alert the client to the availability of newly posted documents on their dashboard, or when their action is required.
4. Easy expense tracking
Dashboards are also capable of interfacing with the client’s camera phone, allowing them to photograph and upload receipts for expense tracking.
5. For client’s employees
Dashboards allow your clients’ employees to enter time, view paycheck stubs, and make changes to W-2s and W-4s – all from their smartphone.
Why They Rock for your Practice
For the client, a dashboard brings ease and time savings. But they have their benefits for your practice as well, including these:
- Reduces incoming phone calls and emails from clients requesting documents and other information, since they can help themselves around-the-clock
- Reduces outgoing phone calls and emails alerting clients to availability of documents and other information, since communications can be automated and delivered to mobile devices
- Eliminates problems with sending documents as email attachments. Sometimes attachments are too big; other times emails with attachments get quarantined by security features and the client never sees them, and quite possibly thinks they’ve been ignored
- Improves tax prep workflow
- Reduces amount of paper needed, lowering overall costs and increasing profits
Getting Started with Client Dashboards
There are a number of software vendors who can help you create an interactive dashboard for your clients. When shopping for the right technology provider, here are some important things to consider:
- Easy for client to use
- Easy for you to use
- Easy-to-use learning materials to get your team started quickly
- Offers robust support system
- Offers “test drive”
Below is a list of vendors that provide dashboard tools. (Keep in mind that some of these products are part of a larger suite of applications and are not designed to be used as a stand-alone solution.)
I also encourage you to do your own Google search for additional vendors. Consider using the search terms “client dashboard” and “client portal” to maximize results.
- ATX (CCH)
- GoSystem (Thomson Reuters)
- Office Tools
- ProSystem fx (CCH)
- TaxWise (CCH)
- UltraTax CS (Thomson Reuters)