As further evidence of the growing interest in Intranets (actually Extranets really), John Stokdyk has posted an article on AccountingWEB (“Tax season drives adoption of client portals). Quite rightly, he says that collaborative web portals are now becoming an accepted feature of accountancy practices.

John says that out of more than 1,100 tax season survey respondents, 13% said they planned to introduce a portal.  And as reported previously on AccountingWEB, the buzz around document-sharing portals has been circulating for a couple of years. But the way that technology adoption works is that once all the hype has died down and the early adopters have overcome the initial hurdles, the wider market quietly goes about implementing tools that deliver practical benefits.

cloud portalJohn says that technology enthusiast Kevin Salter says portals are “old hat” now although he accepts it will be a big topic again, because “ICAEW’s IT Faculty has been told that practice assurance reviews are still finding firms who are emailing returns to their clients – and that is no longer acceptable,”

I think portals have come of age. Several reasons for this include:

  • The growing acceptance of cloud-based technology.
  • Faster broadband access becoming commonplace.
  • The explosion in smartphone technology driving desire to access information anytime from anywhere.
  • Improved security.

There seems to have been a shift from describing Intranets by that name to a new name “Client Portals”. I prefer Extranets – that’s when a firm allows clients to have access to information rather than for it to be sent by post or email (or, I suppose, hand-delivered).

There are ways that accountants can save a fortune. Processing paper as our grandfathers did is a complete waste of time and money when you look at the options available today.

In case you missed it, I blogged on this earlier this week: No Dead Trees allowed here! The world of the paperless office”.

Martin Pollins
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