When I was still in my CPA training my boss was really excited about having portals. For the life of me I could not even figure out what that meant. I only knew about “portals” as a video game. Nobody could understand what these portals were for or why on earth you would want one.
Turns out Ron was just way ahead of his time. (Hi Ron!!) We set up our portals as an experiment in 2016, and didn’t do much with them until 2020, when for some reason the usage just exploded. Wish I could remember why that was.
Now about half our clients use their portals and Zoom meetings for all their tax work. I have clients in California, Texas and Hawaii. I have a client in Africa. I have clients who live half a block away from my office that I have never met.
So much comes into our office via client portals now that it is actually a full time job to monitor and maintain. So with that in mind, here are some best practices for using our portals.
MOST IMPORTANT: When you are finished uploading documents and other information into the portal you must send an email to email@example.com letting us know. We would even request a subject of “Last name portal complete” if possible. The volume of information coming through the portal means we have to follow some strict protocols to keep it all straight.
Upload pdfs: The easiest documents to access through the portal are good old fashioned pdfs. If you are scanning a bunch of paper documents it is actually easier for us if you scan everything into one document, rather than seperating each item.
Avoid photos: Photos of documents can be great to get us infomation quickly, but very frequently those photos are not of good enough quality for us to use for tax preparation. We have recommended Genius Scan before, which is a way to convert cell phone photos to pdfs.
Download and save what we send you: The portals are a digital mailbox. Stuff comes in and out. Documents we put into the portal automatically delete at six weeks.
Ok, that’s all for now, but I am certain that Martha will have more to add!