For an Accountant, greeting a client on their arrival for a meeting usually entails a balancing act between a hand shake with the one hand and a set of files in the other. At Ashdown Hurrey you may now see a laptop replace those files.
It is twelve months since we introduced an electronic document management system enabling us to save correspondence, working papers and accounts electronically in a file specifically for each client. A paperless office! Or at least a paperlight environment is our ultimate goal.
It is now even easier for us to communicate with clients electronically. Our client communication portal allows us to send documents on-line to review and approve as required. Electronic approval avoids the need for bulk paper packages to be posted to and from clients, or indeed documents sent by email to be printed, signed and returned. Instead, a link is sent via email from the Ashdown Hurrey portal inviting the client to set up a password to view their documents and, where required, to approve them. Within minutes of approval, your accountant will receive notification that the documents have been approved.
Documents are held in an environment where only the recipient can gain access to them. Multi-layer security and multiple firewalls provide top-level protection for your data.
The system automatically guides users to the next document to view and approve. Once complete, we receive notification straight away that the process has been completed, so no further action is required on the part of the client. Using bank-level AES-256 bit encryption, every file transmission is secure and in full compliance with data protection laws.
After a period, usually thirty days, the documents will be removed from the portal. However they can be downloaded to your own device if you wish to keep a copy. We can also send final copies of documents using the portal, which is more secure than sending by email. If you haven’t downloaded a permanent copy to keep, we can always republish at a later date if needed.
Moving forward, there is likely to be even more regular interaction with our clients with the advent of Making Tax Digital (MTD), which is expected to affect some clients from April 2018 (please see our client briefing on our website under Resources/Making Tax Digital). MTD will see the quarterly filing of data to HMRC becoming necessary for the majority of taxpayers who complete Self-Assessment tax returns. We are currently looking at how we can work with clients to enable us to collate the necessary data in the most efficient manner and the use of the portal will make this process easier. Clients will be able to upload their data and at the same time, we can view the completed work before its submission.