This month, Ziptr joined accounting leaders in Kansas City for the 2013
Boomer Technology Circles Spring Meetings. Finally on the other side of a grueling tax
season, these tax and technology leaders come together in the spirit of
collaboration to commiserate, learn and challenge each other to grow and
It is impressive to watch professionals, who have just come off of four months
of 7-day work weeks, reunite from across the country to push themselves, their
vendors and their peers to be better. It
calls into question their reputation of being analytical introverts, as the
room buzzed with stories, laughter and advice.
One thing remains clear: accountants care very deeply about their
clients. On the subject of
protecting client data, I heard it time and again, "It is not just the law, it is my job.”
It is no wonder Security,
Compliance and Privacy made the top 4 in the American Institute of CPA’s annual
list of top technology priorities for accountants.
Communication is the heart of client
As leading accounting firms evolve into trusted advisors, the need emerges for
a trusted communication channel. Firms
cannot expect clients to turn to them for strategic counsel without providing
them with a safe, easy way to freely engage in confidential dialogue. For
accountants, this means evolving beyond file sharing to open up a secure
communication channel, in which professionals and clients can openly share the
most sensitive of information without worry.
as Jim Boomer, Director of the Boomer Technology Circles, pointed
out, the increased focus on mobile device management signals a shift in the
communication culture. With 78% of baby boomers facing retirement age, the next
generation will demand a secure communication platform that travels with them
and is easy and comfortable to use.
Three C’s of Secure Communication
truth, people really want to just be
able to send and receive everything through email. However, data privacy laws and cyber security
realities tell us that is no longer an option.
Sending confidential information via email is like mailing a
postcard. What firms should demand is a
safe way to communicate that is so easy to use that clients and employees will
actually use it.
- Communication: Historically, this problem has been addressed
as a file transfer problem, but file sharing is only part of client
communication. Trusted advisors and
their clients need to be confident that they can include the most sensitive of
information in a message or file without worry.
Keeping the messages and files
exchanged together in context will eliminate the time spent wondering, "What
was I supposed to do with this file?” or "Is this the most recent version?”
foster the advisor relationship, your clients need to be able to initiate messages
to you, as well as safely reply to your messages. Providing a secure option to facilitate
this will prevent clients from sending you confidential information via email.
- Client-focused: Boomer encouraged firms to invest in tools that put the client before
the firm. If you are asking them to
maintain a user-name and password, what do your clients get in return? Technology today can provide them with the
same level of security and convenience as your firm, adding value to your clients’
that it is not if your clients forget
their passwords, but when. Make it easy on them and you. Responding to requests to reset passwords,
resend information or help clients access files is costly, inefficient, and can
impact job and client satisfaction.
- Convenience: When I asked my acupuncturist, "what is
the best solution?” his calm, Zen response was simply, "The one you’ll
use.” The same rings true of the
technology we choose. It doesn’t matter
how cool the latest, greatest software is, if your employees and clients don’t
needs to be built with the users in mind, leveraging the best of breed of
familiar applications that make adoption easy and comfortable. If your employees use Outlook, integrations
allow them to continue operation as usual, but with added security.
access is critical. Employees often
cannot or do not want to download software to communicate with their
accountant. Look for solutions that
allow your employees and clients alike to safely communicate wherever they
go. You may find some of the most
important conversations take place while your employees are on the road, and
your clients are on the sidelines at their daughter’s soccer game.
Caralyn Stern is the Senior Director of
Marketing at Ziptr. For more information about secure communication solutions,
please visit www.ziptr.com or send Ziptr a message.