The cloud, VPN, virtual machine, AI, IoT, Blockchain, SEO, SaaS – confused yet? It seems as if there is a new technology term every day. Technology is changing and advancing so quickly that can be difficult to keep up. We live in a time when we want and expect all information to be accessible in an instant – research articles (remember researching at the library and a card catalog? Probably not!), important documents, health information, financial information, important contacts, etc. We want all information at our fingertips.
A fast growing way to accomplish this is with portals – an internet site that provides access or a link to another site – like a gateway, but in a good way! I like to look at it as an interactive mail box in the cloud. Doctor’s offices are rapidly moving toward this technology. When a patient has any kind of testing or procedure, the results are posted in the patient portal. The patient then has access to his or her results and can then ask the provider questions and generally be more informed.
We are using the same sort of technology in the accounting, tax and audit fields. Our firm can set up a client portal and we can “post” a client’s tax return from our software platform to the portal. And, we can “upload” items that we want our clients to see or take action on. Automatic emails are sent when documents are uploaded or posted, so a phone call or another email is typically unnecessary. The client now has access to the documents 24/7. No longer do they need to wait until our office opens to request a copy of their tax return – it is posted and they have access to it as long as they have access to the internet. This is especially convenient when a client needs a copy of their prior years of returns for a banker, attorney and/or wealth planner.
It also helps with our distant clients. We have several clients who no longer live in the area, but we can keep preparing tax returns easily – they can upload copies of their tax source documents and we can prepare the returns and post them. We do not have to rely on the United States Postal Service or Federal Express to deliver returns and then be concerned if they do not arrive. This is especially important when deadlines are looming and we are waiting on a broker statement or a needed tax document.
And, did I mention the security? Portals are much more secure than emails or snail mail. The portal is registered and a login and password has to be created by the user. Passwords must be changed frequently and there are requirements for the passwords. PASSWORD or 123456 is not a valid option!
If you are confused about portals or hesitant to try them, be reassured that the convenience and safety can outweigh your fears. We would be happy to help you learn more… contact us today.