Some time ago we mentioned that we intend changing the way we deliver our taxation, accounting and business advisory work to you, and how you will be able to interact with that work.
We would now like to announce that commencing progressively from December 2018 we will be going live with the Bartons Client Portal. This is a web based, secure document platform to which you will have an encrypted, personal login linked to your personal email address allowing you to access information and documents relevant to your account. The portal is part of a new document management system we have recently implemented with our vendor partner Virtual Cabinet. There are many advantages to this new system including:
Meeting our obligations to you under the Privacy Act is paramount for us, and the ability to publish your documents in this secure environment significantly enhances the protection of your information, compared to more unreliable delivery through email or traditional mail. Each of these channels are increasingly experiencing serious and sustained interception for nefarious purposes, from identity theft to more serious criminal activity.
You will be able to download important documents to your own records for safekeeping. Please note, at this stage the portal will not be a permanent repository of your documents – you will still need to be responsible for document retention, but this will provide a convenient mechanism to access and store them electronically. Documents we publish to you will be expire after a period which will be notified to you. You will also be able to upload documents you wish Bartons to receive, in a secure manner.
Most of the work that we do requires your signature prior to lodgement or formalisation. The paper chase can become a major distraction for you and for us. Current business practice accepts electronic execution of documents in most cases. You will be able to execute most documents through the electronic signature software embedded in the portal, meaning you will not need to download additional software. Furthermore, once you approve documents they are automatically uploaded back into the portal and the relevant Bartons team member notified. Furthermore, the process works with most other electronic devices including mobile phones.
The speed with which we can deliver, and you can respond, to important communications will be greatly enhanced.
Bartons currently generates some 400,000 pages of printed material for clients annually, which is about 1.6 tonnes of paper. We’re hoping to reduce this by some 80% over the next year as a result of this initiative.
Important – your consent.
Under our Professional Standards and best practice, before you can participate in this new system we will require your consent.
For those of you presently dealing with other service lines of Bartons such as financial planning and lending, you may have already consented to electronic communication of information under the terms of engagement for those particular services.
What we propose to do is either obtain your consent when we are meeting with you, or else call you as your work is completed to let you know we can provide it through the portal, if you are happy to do so. We’ll keep that consent as a standing instruction on your file, until otherwise advised.
The reality is that to remain efficient, timely and to enhance your experience as a client we need to be utilising best of breed tools and platforms, which are increasingly cloud based.
Ultimately, the security and privacy we can offer through email and post is so much lower than through high quality cloud based technologies.
Accordingly, we would urge you to seriously consider using our portal. If you wish to discuss beforehand, please call your usual Bartons contact.
How will it work?
There’s very little you need to do. Once you receive an invitation to join the portal, you’ll need to create a personal password. Then, each time we publish a document requiring your attention, you’ll receive an email advice. You can then log in to the portal at your convenience to review and action as necessary. Documents can be signed and returned to us immediately through the portal.
If you have any problems with the portal, please contact your usual adviser at Bartons who will troubleshoot the issue or else escalate the matter to our IT Division as necessary.
What if I don’t use email?
For the very small proportion of clients who are not connected we will continue to work with you through our traditional channels.
We are very excited about this innovation. It has been a long time coming, but we have been very conscious to source the best solution for our clients. If you are interested in how to move your own business to a secure digital document management platform, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss further, we’d love to help.
As always, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.