I have an active subscription to eCourier for a few years now… it’s not the answer. Realistically (as the name suggests) eCourier is more of a secure way of sending files back and forth as an alternative to email. Yes, it is mainly for transmitting files on demand and also, the files expire from eCourier. The clients that I use eCourier with are ok with it, but they still prefer to use email. Also, I have experienced cases where I set up user accounts or eCourier files and the recipient never gets the email notification. I wouldn’t have believed this could happen but I have seen it first hand.
I will look at ShareFile again and also will look at how ClientTrack is making out with their portal software.
I use Acronis True Image for a backup service. Essentially, Acronis syncs folders on my system with those same folders in the cloud. If I log into my Acronis Dashboard I can see all of those folders and files there.
Envision something like a folder on your computer, server, NAS etc for each client. When TaxCycle prints to pdf it saves the T1 to that clients folder. All of the client folders sync with an online mirror. Additionally, as you drag and drop other files into that client folder (or make subfolders) this mirrors online. When you log into your online Dashboard you see all of your client folders. When a client logs into their online Dashboard they only see their own folder, and all of its contents (several years of their T1 files, perhaps NoA’s, and tax slips). The client would have read (and download) capabilities but no write capabilities. In addition, the client could upload documents to their folder using drag and drop, or mobile device etc. It doesn’t need to look like email, the Dashboard (accountant and client) could look like folders or some other nice GUI where they can view all of their files.
This integration would seem like a natural progression for Trilogy. They already have DoxCycle to organize and import information and TaxCycle to prepare the returns. The completed returns (pdf format) would be exported (saved) to a local client folder that syncs with cloud based storage that clients could access through a Dashboard style app they would log into. Clients could retrieve tax documents and upload tax info through the dashboard to their own folder.
- Employee paystubs are available online
- Utility bills are available online
- Software such as Hubdoc can automatically retrieve and import most of your online documents (bank statements, credit card statements, utility bills, etc) into its dashboard do you don’t need to log into multiple accounts to get your bills.
- CRA does it with your income tax documents and other tax information
Heck… I have to log into my online banking and retrieve my own bank statements… it seems quite natural now, and is considerably easier than using eCourier.
Having a shared online folder similar to an electronic filing cabinet for documents that you wish to share with clients seems like something that could be created and made simple enough for the less computer savvy clients to use. eCourier doesn’t fulfill this need, and the feedback that I have received is that it feels awkward to the less sophisticated users. The software that Trilogy has created looks and feels very natural. I’m sure someone can come up with a client portal / electronic filing cabinet / file sharing app that is secure and easy to drop and retrieve files.
I think this is something along the lines of what Norm Adams was talking about back in 2015 when he started a topic here. Client Portal / Practice Management
This thread went a little off topic, but I guess if there was a convenient and user friendly way to host the client tax returns online, the clients could retrieve and print their own (if needed). That way I wouldn’t give them a complete paper copy each year. The client’s tax documents would always be available (as long as I was paying for TaxCycle or their client portal) to them for download just as most of their other documents are now stored online.