The busier you get, the easier it is for details to fall through the cracks. And for accountants, even the smallest oversights—like forgetting an itemized expense or missing a deadline—can have big impacts on clients. You need to provide stellar service, but delivering high-quality work is a challenge when teams are struggling to keep their heads above water in busy seasons like tax time.
One way accounting firms can make more hours in the workday is by taking advantage of document management software solutions. The right document management tools streamline daily workflows—but they also strengthen client relations.
The benefits of cloud-based document management
Before choosing a practice management solution, make sure to check whether or not the tool is cloud-based. Traditionally, accounting software was housed on accountants’ computers, but these days, more firms are moving to cloud-based software, which keeps all documents securely online.
Cloud-based software organizes all important information in one central, hierarchical hub, making it easy to keep track of client files at all times. With granular permissions options, only the team members who need to access certain files will be able to do so.
Cloud-based software has an edge over traditional software options because it keeps client information more secure. With cloud-based tools, documents are protected with passwords, encryption, and other security measures.
Using the cloud gives team members the flexibility to work from anywhere since all important files and documents are available from any device with an internet connection. You also don’t need to worry about stolen documents or other catastrophic losses, as all your documents (along with client information and practice data) are backed up to remote servers.
What to Know About Switching to the Cloud
Making the decision to switch to a cloud-based accounting software can be a difficult one. Our guide will help you learn the key benefits and functions of cloud-based software.
Key features of the best document management tools
The other important factor to evaluate when choosing an accounting practice management solution is what specific functionalities it offers—and at what price. For instance, some software options offer a limited set of tools at a low price point but require users to pay additional fees for the most impactful features.
Whether you’re creating a highly customized tech stack or looking for an all-inclusive software option, you’ll want the document management tools that will make the biggest impact on your daily workflow.
The document management process begins with compiling client documents. If your office is still mailing, scanning, and uploading documents to your software programs—or worse, using paper files!—the good news is that a less cumbersome process is within reach.
Secure file-sharing tools allow busy accounting firms to send and receive documents of any size quickly and securely.
Instead of slowing down the onboarding process with cumbersome tech that can confuse clients, look for a tool that keeps the document management process simple for accountants and clients. In Mango’s file-sharing tool, MangoShare, documents are accessed via encrypted email links rather than difficult-to-download PDFs or password-protected links.
Intuitive client portal
Client portals can be a contentious practice management tool: if they’re difficult to use, they may create more problems for clients than solutions. When this happens, it’s not just the clients that suffer; accountants also lose time as they answer questions and smooth over things with frustrated clients.
But when done right, they can empower clients to make faster payments, answer their own questions, and share files in a flash.
Look for a solution that’s industry-specific. For example, Mango’s client portal was designed by certified public accountants with clients in mind. It’s easy to use, has unlimited storage, and protects documents from prying eyes by bank-grade security standards.
Document management tools may decrease your firm’s reliance on time-consuming, costly, and outdated paper processes, but what if you need a signature before submitting a document? Enter eSignature, a system for getting electronic signatures that’s as legally binding as wet signatures.
Instead of waiting for clients to provide signatures and going through the rigamarole of printing, mailing, and waiting for a document to be returned, accountants can securely email documents to clients and have the signed documents in their inboxes in moments. Because eSignature uses the same functionality as an email, most clients can easily sign documents without a step-by-step tutorial.
And as an added bonus, when you use an eSignature tool that’s built into your practice management software, signed documents can seamlessly be synced with client accounts in your practice management system, simplifying document management further.
Automated email notifications
You probably get a ping each time an email arrives in your inbox, but what about when a tax document you’ve been waiting on is finally uploaded by your client? Practice management tools have you covered.
Great practice management tools allow accounting firms to customize their email notifications. This saves firms time by keeping them up to date on the information that matters most. Firms can set notification triggers when clients upload documents to folders or arrange automatic HTML notifications that get submitted to clients when something requires their attention.
Instead of drafting a client email each time you submit a document for their review, simply upload the document to the client portal and let your practice management software do the work of corresponding for you.
Customizable document permissions
Many accounting firms struggle to strike a balance between giving clients enough access to keep abreast of their case status while shielding them from accessing information that may spark unnecessary questions. Customizable document permissions allow accountants to control which folders or documents your clients (and your team members) can access, read, download, and upload to, streamlining collaboration.
One of the best ways for accountants to speed up daily processes is to reduce unnecessary busy work. Fillable email templates take most client communication off your desk by allowing you to draft standard emails in seconds.
Look for fully customizable templates that let your firm’s personality shine while getting your messages across in record time. The most effective automated email templates offer personalized messaging with custom fields so that accounting firms aren’t forced to fit their message into a cookie-cutter outline.
Similarly, automating the onboarding process with client folder templates saves firms valuable time every time they gain a new client. Instead of spending non-billable time building a new file structure from scratch for each client, design your folder structure once and then automatically apply it to all new client files to hasten the onboarding process.
Providing top-notch service is easier with Mango
Mango’s easy-to-use accounting practice management tools allow busy accounting firms to manage a large book of clients without compromising on work quality. Our simple software tools make it easier than ever to optimize your daily tasks while engaging clients in collaborative relationships. To see the difference for yourself, schedule a free demo.
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