As accountancy software specialists, we have many conversations with our customers about the challenges they face in business and what their own clients are looking for. During these talks a recurring theme emerged – accountants needed a fast and secure way of sharing digital information with their clients.
Never ones to shy away from a challenge, we set our sights on developing a solution to meet this growing demand. The result was accSEND – an extremely secure instant messaging tool that allows you to send and receive messages, PDFs and sensitive documents to and from your clients.
Here we examine why secure messaging is so important in the accountancy sector and how accSEND can transform the way you interact with clients in the digital age.
Protecting your clients' data
Cybersecurity is a major issue for today's businesses, with even the biggest organisations experiencing cyber-attacks and data loss. Despite this, research suggests that the cybersecurity defences of many businesses, particularly smaller firms, are nowhere near the level they need to be.
In fact, research by CompTIA has found that only half of UK businesses have taken any recommended steps to address gaps in their cybersecurity. It's no surprise then, that more than half of British firms have reported cyber-attacks in 2019 – that's an average of one attack every 19 seconds!
Many of these attacks were the result of emails being intercepted by hackers. Unfortunately, the architecture of email means it's relatively easy for criminals to gain access to anyone's email data. While email undoubtedly has many benefits, it's certainly not a secure or reliable way to send confidential information and sensitive documents (you can read more about this in our blog post – 5 reasons why email is not secure for private documents).
As an accountancy firm, you deal with highly confidential and sensitive financial information every day. Naturally, your clients expect this information and any communication with you to remain private and secure. Ensuring their data is protected against a potential breach is vital if you want to preserve the trust between the firm and its clients. And that's where accSEND can help.
What is accSEND?
Following extensive testing, we launched accSEND in 2018 to address accountants' growing calls for a secure means of sharing information and files with their clients. So how does it work?
Both the accountant and the client can access accSEND via a secure authentication process which requires a username and password every time. From there, you can use the application to send and receive messages, PDFs and important documents instantly and securely. We've designed accSEND to be accessible on any device, whether that's a mobile, tablet or desktop PC, so it offers complete flexibility.
All messages and files you send are encrypted, as are any documents held in the system's generous 10GB of storage. And with information stored securely for future reference, auditing is easy and convenient.
accSEND uses the very latest technology and security measures to guarantee complete protection. The system has undergone rigorous testing by external agencies (none of whom could break into our systems!), giving both you and your clients peace of mind that their data is in safe hands.
What's more, accSEND is easy to use and fast to install. When adding a user, you can specify whether they're an accountant or a client. As an accountant user, you will have all privileges available to you. This means you'll be able to increase the available storage space, alter the maximum user allowance, edit client details and add further users.
You'll also have the ability to delegate your chats with clients to your colleagues so they can continue these conversations when you're out of the office. Our customers find this a particularly useful facility when the holiday season is in full swing!
Digitally sign documents for faster approvals
A key part of accSEND is its ability to allow users to digitally sign PDF documents and return them electronically and securely within seconds.
In today's fast-paced digital world we no longer want to wait for a postal delivery or face-to-face meeting to gain a handwritten approval. By using the accSEND digital signature function, however, documents can be signed and authorised with just one click. It really is that simple.
Most importantly, our SIGN feature is extremely secure. Digital signatures are protected by the highest levels of encryption at every stage. Our revolutionary verification tool also scans each document to check the embedded digital signature within it. If it detects any changes to the original document after it's been signed, the document will be deemed invalid.
Some of the main ways digital signatures can help your firm include:
- Convenience – digital signatures enable you to sign documents 'on the go'. There's no longer a need to be in the office or anywhere near a printer, giving you maximum flexibility
- Speed – digital signing is much faster than signing documents by pen and paper. Today, digital documents can be exchanged and signed within a matter of seconds, whereas handwritten signatures can take days or even weeks to be approved
- Client experience – implementing a faster (and hassle-free) digital signing process can lead to a more cohesive and efficient experience for your clients, which can improve overall client satisfaction
- Lower cost – signing and exchanging documents electronically means you'll be able to save on paper, ink and postage costs which, over time, could represent a significant saving
- Legal validity – a digital signature is just as legally binding as a handwritten one. The Law Commission has confirmed that documents signed electronically are legally valid.
You can find out more about how digital signatures can help your firm on our blog. Or if you want to check out our SIGN feature for accSEND visit our website.
Try accSEND today
Lots of accountants are already reaping the benefits of accSEND – why not join them?
accSEND costs just £20 a month for 10GB of storage and up to 200 users, or £40 a month if you'd like to include the SIGN digital signature feature.
If you're a Mercia totalSOLUTION or Practice Track Online website customer then our standard accSEND facility is FREE of charge, or you can add the SIGN facility for just £20 a month. To activate your free account visit our website, or if you're already using accSEND simply log in, click on the admin section and choose “Enable PDF Signing”.
To find out more about accSEND and how it works, watch our video or visit the website. Alternatively, you can contact us and we'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.