How do you guys handle data collection from clients? I use proseries professional and I work from home, so I try to gather all info electronically through intuit link, because it was provided with Proseries, but it has been a bit annoying to use.
-Do you all use Link? If so do you use it for communicating to clients as well? Do you attach client checklists or organizers there?
-How are you utilizing client checklists/organizers from proseries?
-Do you have any other suggestions on other software that works well for electronic data collection (Smart Vault/Document Management System or external software)?
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If you are looking to use Link as a basic client portal and have little expectation for functionality, that should serve your purpose. On the other hand, if you are a stickler for organizers, Link's Questionnaire and Documents Checklist are probably not your thing. You can, however, still use Link as your client portal and repository for client documents, including conventional organizers, as well as communication.
In case you decide to use Link, you should ensure that you have tested that thoroughly both as the accountant and client to understand how it functions and how it will fit into your workflow. This is particularly important as you will need to know Link in and out to be able to diagnose issues and help your clients resolve those problems as and when they arise - we see a fair number of questions from both accountants and clients through the years.
You should ensure all the documents and your client communication are downloaded from Link for your offline storage and backup. While Intuit does maintain backup of what's on Link, they are not responsible for restoring data that is deleted by users, your access to Link is dependent on you having an active subscription, and Intuit may decide to archive prior years at some point (and you wouldn't want to scramble to download/backup your data then).
The biggest complaints others have on Link are that it's a bit clunky and the lack of control in terms of how things are organized as well as in how the interface/workflow may change from time to time at Intuit's discretion without your input. Various users have moved away from Link for these reasons to use their own portals.
All in all, Link is a functional client portal but you just need to be aware of its limitations and make sure you integrate it well into your own workflow.
Have you considered asking your clients about it?
Some of my clients are better than I am at scanning and emailing documents. Others don't own a computer but trust the Post Office. Then there are those who drop stuff off. We have an office with a front desk usually staffed, but many times the slot in the door is used when we are closed. There are many preparers working from home who have posted descriptions of drop-off methods that keep clients out of the house.
Try to find some balance. How much are you asking clients to work for you, and how much are you willing to work for clients?