Posted at: October 25, 2021
Why Your Tax Office Needs a Cloud Storage Solution
When setting up your tax practice, you'll have invested in your workspace, equipment and software—including professional tax software. But have you thought about finding a cloud storage solution?
It's probably not the first thing that comes to mind when building a tax preparation business. But cloud storage has become an essential utility for many businesses in this day and age. Modern tax offices rely on a lot of digital documents.
Electronic files offer many advantages over physical ones. They take up less space, they can be updated, and they can be easily indexed and quickly searched. A digital tax office can be a lot more efficient than a traditional tax practice that relies on paper records.
Digital files do have some vulnerabilities, of course. But the good thing is that they are also easy to back up and restore. Cloud storage will help with that.
Physical documents are vulnerable to loss and damage. Fire, water, vermin or even a spilled drink can cause them great harm. Electronic documents tend to be less affected by environmental hazards since they are stored digitally.
But the storage media can be damaged. The digital files could get deleted by accident. Or simply get corrupted. It's even possible that you can lose important files due to a ransomware attack. That would prove very costly to your business.
You need to maintain a backup of the files you use for work. You can get an external hard drive and use it to store your backup files. That's actually a good idea. But it may not be enough. As mentioned earlier, storage media can get damaged.
Cloud storage offers you a great backup solution. Files can be uploaded to the cloud, which means that they are stored somewhere else—so that if your office experiences a fire or some other serious hazard, that will have no effect on the files.
You don't want to have to manually upload files to cloud storage every time you receive a new document. As a tax preparer, you can expect to be receiving large numbers of documents from multiple clients.
Software can make file backup painless and hassle-free. A program like ProClient will enable you to set up a client portal for receiving client documents. The portal will give your client access to a secure account to which they can upload their files. It provides a quick and secure way for them to send documents to you. No need to dump boxes of paper documents at your office!
The digital documents uploaded by your clients will be saved in a cloud storage platform associated with your personal ProClient account. Only the client can access the client portal provided to them. Only you and the users you authorize can use ProClient to access the documents uploaded by the client. Safe and secure backup on the cloud!
If you should lose any digital files, you can easily restore them. Simply use ProClient to download all the required files to your computer.
As you can see, cloud storage makes for better document security. All files are limited-access. Only a few authorized individuals can touch them, and you control authorization. With ProClient, you can even configure permissions for each user role—limiting the actions they can perform.
For example, you can configure whether a user role can view, edit, delete, print, update or download files. Only you, the account owner, will have the privilege to do any type of action. Others will face restricted options depending on the permissions you set for their user roles.
An additional layer of security exists in the form of an activity log. You will be able to see what actions have been performed on each file. You will also be able to note the individual who did an action. This feature will help you keep an eye on things.
So if a file gets emailed to someone else via the ProClient message center, you will know about it. You will know who sent the email. And you can decide whether the action was a proper one—or else a security violation of some kind.
Another good thing about cloud sharing is the way it can enhance team collaboration. You can give your team members access to the cloud for a project. Then everyone will be able to view the files located in cloud storage.
That means everyone on the team will be on the same page. They can edit a document and update the version in cloud storage. All of the other team members will have access to the newly updated file. If a new file is uploaded, the team will have access to it immediately.
You can also let a client see what you are doing. Give the client permission to view a particular file on cloud storage. You will then be able to edit the file while the client observes and comments. Full transparency! And you can easily confer with the client concerning the edits you are making.
Alternatively, you can give the client permission to edit a document. You will be able to see the changes made by the client in real time. And you can give feedback on what they are doing. It's a good way to build a bond with a customer while providing excellent service.
Using cloud storage can save precious disk space on your computer or device. That's great! Excessive disk space use can cause your computer to slow down.
Your machine's operating system is often performing various tasks in the background. Things like de-encryption, error checking, virus scanning or file indexing. Computers with too many files can cause these background tasks to take longer than they should. Since your computer is devoting resources to these tasks, you can experience slower operation.
But if you place your files in cloud storage, then your computer will not have this problem. Background tasks can be completed more quickly, letting your computer devote resources to the things you want to do. Your machine will run faster and you can experience a more efficient workflow.
A good cloud storage solution will simplify the task of file organization. Each uploaded file can be identified by several factors. Identity of uploader, identity of author, file type, title, date uploaded, date updated, file size, and so on.
You should be able to bring up “Recent Files” and quickly see the documents that were newly uploaded or updated. That can save you some time.
Some cloud storage platforms support tagging. You can create your own tags for documents. This allows you to categorize them any way you like. For example, you can create a tag called “insurance” and apply it to insurance policies and other relevant documentation. If you ever want to look up all the insurance-related files, you just need to filter search results by the tag in question.
ProClient can improve your efficiency with its handy Document Center feature. Every client page contains its own individual Document Center. You can navigate to a client page to view a list of every document associated with that client. You can quickly search for files and sort by title or tag. Yes, ProClient supports tag organization. On selecting a file, you can quickly perform an action such as download, delete, edit, update or email.
Get more organized today. Start using ProClient in your tax practice. To try a free demo of the software, click here.