Best Practices for Implementing CCH Axcess Client Collaboration
Client Collaboration was built specifically to solve many of the challenges you and your clients face when collecting source documents or delivering final tax returns.
When clients log into CCH Axcess Client Collaboration, they can immediately see if they have any requests from the firm that need their attention and can quickly get to their task list, which provides step-by-step guidance. It will walk them through electronically signing the engagement letter, answering their organizer questionnaire, and attaching documents to the Document Request List. And with the built-in two-way messaging feature, firms and clients can securely communicate without email, which we all know can be easily hijacked. Built-in due date reminders will keep your clients on task, notifying them as due dates approach or pass.
Because Client Collaboration is part of the CCH Axcess ecosystem, there is no need for a second database to manage. All your clients are available automatically in CCH Axcess Client Collaboration, based on your access rights and permissions, of course.
Over the last two years, we have learned a lot by implementing firms on the solution, so let us review a few obstacles that firms were experiencing, and best practices to avoid them in your rollout.
Implementation and Rollout is Rushed
CCH Axcess Client Collaboration replaces many processes the firm might have in place today. Right now, your firm no doubt has processes in place related to engagement letters. You may have another process for sending out organizers. A third process might be in place for sending returns to clients for review and signatures. CCH Axcess Client Collaboration handles all these scenarios and more.
Because multiple disparate systems are being replaced with the implementation of CCH Axcess Client Collaboration, firms will need to spend sufficient time reviewing their existing processes and mapping out how these processes will be completed and by whom when using Client Collaboration.
These processes are more efficient in CCH Axcess Client Collaboration when properly set up. For the greatest ROI, commit the time up-front to determine the best implementation plan for your firm and clients.
Lack of Advance Notice to Client
Many firms did not provide clients with advanced notice that they were moving to CCH Axcess Client Collaboration as their client-facing collaboration tool. Most clients need a lot of guidance and may give up if they cannot figure it out the first time.
Creating a Smoother Adoption Experience
To remove obstacles related to client technology adoption, we recommend a three-step process:
- Notify clients 2-4 weeks ahead of the client-facing rollout
Ensure that you have communicated the change well before clients receive their CCH Axcess Client Collaboration request invitation.
Wolters Kluwer has developed sample email templates firms can use, and Quick Reference guides firms can send clients to get them started. There are also help videos available here and here for clients to learn how to use CCH Axcess Client Collaboration.
- Create Test Clients to Increase Your Staff’s Comfort with the New Software
It is important to give your staff time to become familiar with the firm side of the interface and how it works as well as the client interface so they can more easily assist clients if they call for help.
- Collect and Verify Client Email Addresses
CCH Axcess Client Collaboration uses email addresses to create users for taxpayers and their spouses. Each user must have a unique email address, so no shared email addresses for married couples. Although we never send any sensitive information over email, clients will receive their invitation and email notifications to this email address.
It is a smart idea to begin collecting or verifying your clients’ email addresses as soon as possible so that there are no delays during implementation. Your staff should add these to the client profile in Client Manager, where CCH Axcess Client Collaboration will pull them from.
Don't Forget to Link to Client Collaboration on Your Website
Publishing your unique Client Collaboration URL somewhere on your own website will make it easier for clients to find and access. We have even seen some firms add the URL to their email signatures so that clients have it handy any time they receive an email from the firm.
Since we launched CCH Axcess Client Collaboration in December 2019, we have stated that we see Client Collaboration as a one-stop shop for all firm and client collaboration needs. We are committed to consistently improving the implementation and user experience. Hopefully, this short article will help your firm with its CCH Axcess Client Collaboration implementation. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us.