Throughout the COVID scenario globally, beginning with the advent of the unpredicted pandemic to the subsequent lockdowns to save lives from this deadly virus, most of the Financial firms faced the blunt challenge of meeting their clients face-to-face, which otherwise was the normal mode of business conduct in the pre-pandemic era. To make things tougher, clients were familiar only with the normal pickup and drop-off procedures and hence financial information sharing became a huge challenge with the lockdowns imposed.
At this stage, digital platforms took a huge leap to facilitate data collection and preparing tax returns for clients, via online organizers and portals.
While maintaining manual tax organizers for paperwork and annual reminders was already an ongoing practice for clients since decades, the same took an electronic form with an interactive platform where clients could upload tax documents directly. Such platforms, usually are accessible by both the tax professional (or an administrative support person) and the client, i.e. the former can check the status of the documentation to adjudge the volume and efficiency of the information uploaded to initiate tax returns.
However, switching on to a digital medium altogether has its own set of challenges for both clients and firms, unless they are aptly prepared. Clients will initially need a direction on data upload mechanism or linking bank accounts or broker accounts to the online organizer system. A traditional client, sans the exposure of digital platforms, may not be comfortable accessing or sharing information via the same.
Here comes the role of Tax professionals for educating clients on the same and also guide upon security protocols for data protection where Intake policies and procedures essentially need to be reviewed by firms for adapting to the new method of collecting information.
An Era of Virtual Client Meetings
Coronavirus pandemic ushered in an era of ‘Virtualization’ where every physical interaction got converted into a digital form for business continuity, especially, with the abundant digital platforms available.
To ensure a successful client meeting via an online virtual meeting platform, it is primarily essential to review the various virtual conference platforms available and shortlist the one which falls in place with one’s business standards and operational practices. Such a platform should cover all the following basic features:
- Should be EASILY ACCESSIBLE with no additional cost to the client
- Should facilitate SCREEN SHARING to discuss important papers and other content
- Should facilitate CALL RECORDING (albeit, with the permission of the other party concerned)
- Should enforce TIME LIMITS
- Should enforce ONLINE SECURITY
Overall, the chosen virtual platform should increment the client interaction experience and not depreciate it.