We saw an early demonstration of CCH Portal at a local User Group meeting in April 2013 and we rolled it out across the firm about a month later.
As we add more and more documents to the portal it builds to become a secure online library. If a client needs a copy of a document – like a set of accounts, a tax return or a VAT return – they know they can get these off the portal, instantly, 24/7. This not only improves client service it also reduces the admin burden on the practice so everyone benefits. It also saves on postage costs, which can be considerable over the course of a year.
Although it’s possible to send individual documents to the portal as soon you create them, we prefer to assemble them together into a pack within CCH Document Management and then upload the entire pack when everything is ready; this might include the accounts, a set of abbreviated accounts, the CT return and a letter. That way we only generate a single message on CCH Portal, which is easier for the clients to deal with.
Not everyone wants to interact with the firm online and we have to respect that, but we’re encouraging clients to move across wherever possible. We do this by talking about the convenience of having an ‘online library’ of their tax and accounting documents and the fact that the portal is more secure than email. This has been quite effective: almost 15% of the clients dealt with by the Nottingham office are already active users of CCH Portal and we’re hoping to increase the percentage over time, simply by stressing these benefits.
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With 13 offices, 26 directors and around 300 staff, Baldwins is the largest independent, family-owned accountancy firms in the Midlands. As a third generation, family-owned business Baldwins has a special affinity for entrepreneurs who run their own businesses but they work with and advise enterprises of all sizes, from sole traders to large, national PLCs.
Martin Hinrich, a manager in the firm’s Nottingham office, explains why the firm implemented CCH Portal as soon as it became available.