Tax & AccountingMarch 15, 2023

How cloud document storage can support your practice security processes

Amidst heightened concern around data security, many accounting firms are considering the different ways they can improve security within their firm. Having the right tech stack is one way to help keep a practice secure.

In this article, we explain the five key factors where a good cloud document management solution can help enhance security within an accounting practice.

1. Cloud security

First and foremost, if you’re still saving documents locally, it’s important to note that documents stored in the top standard Microsoft Azure cloud server offers greater security than files saved, for example, to somebody’s laptop or external hard drives located in your office. Microsoft Azure is best of breed and state-of-the-art cloud technology, which is used by major organisations. With CCH iFirm Document Vault – a cloud based document storage solution – documents are all stored onshore – so if your accounting practice is in New Zealand – our Microsoft Azure cloud server which stores your files is based in New Zealand.

2. Permissions

Manage access and control who can do what with documents – ensuring unauthorised users can’t open or share documents they shouldn’t be reading. Create folders and restrict access to specified users in the firm. Restricting access and choosing a cloud document management solution with easy recovery features means your documents are never at risk of unauthorised deletion or can be retrieved. CCH iFirm has a default 7-year storage setting – fulfilling legal requirements, but this can be adjusted. Keep in mind you can also utilise your cloud document management system for storing non-client documents also (e.g. HR documents), and these can have document level permissions/access.

3. Versions

If you’re saving documents in a file share system or emailing multiple versions and changes, it can be difficult to tell if you’re reviewing or editing the latest version. Additionally, having multiple versions of a document sitting in multiple inboxes, desktops, or file share repositories makes it harder to keep those documents secure. Cloud document management software enables unlimited versions of documents, and you can copy, download or revert to previous versions as well.

4. Anti-virus and encryption

It’s important to have documents saved in a secure cloud-based server, but keep in mind, that once you send documents to clients, or receive documents back, there is a security risk. Encryption can help overcome this challenge, protecting data both at rest and in transit. A good cloud document management system also ensures all files are scanned using anti-virus software.

5. Client Portal integration

A Client Portal is a secure channel that accounting firms can use to share data, reports or documents for review or digital signing. A cloud-based document management system that integrates with a Client Portal ensures documents can be sent securely and also creates a more seamless customer and user experience for sending, signing and saving documents. Software that is certified by the ISO 27001 standard is also preferable.

Enabling efficiencies of workflow and critical time-saving

Of course, cloud-based document management also enables many efficiencies in the accounting workflow and a more seamless experience for your clients.

Whether you’re looking to improve your document security processes, considering moving document management to the cloud, or simply looking to address common pain points around document mis-filing, search retrieval, PDF editing or sending documents to clients more efficiently, there are many benefits to be gained, including:

  • Client centric or job-centric view of all documents (including emails)
  • Automatic filing of emails against a client or job for the full legal period (or longer, depending on your preference)
  • Easy ability to open, view and edit Microsoft documents or edit PDFs
  • Complete workflow support, when your document storage integrates with contacts, jobs, a secure Client Portal or even Workpapers tools

Introducing: CCH iFirm Document Vault

CCH iFirm Document Vault is a secure, cloud-based document management system built for the CCH iFirm platform – a unified suite of cloud tools to run your practice and manage compliance.

CCH iFirm Document Vault provides a centralised client database that allows you to see at a glance all documents related to any client and any client’s job.

Review and edit documents with ease via integrations with Office 365 Outlook, Word and Excel Cloud and Desktop, as well as PDF editing functionality.

Together with other CCH iFirm client collaboration tools, it also facilitates a seamless and secure document exchange and signing experience.

To learn more, simply fill out the form below.

Learn more about CCH iFirm Document Vault
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