Bookkeeper Client Connect
How Does it Work, in a nutshell?
As an ABN member, you log-in to your own, personalised Bookkeeper-Client Connect facility through the Member’s Area of our website.
The initial set-up is a breeze. You simply create accounts for any staff you might have and they will each receive an email containing their username and password. You can also invite Clients, Accountants and other members to share files with you. Simply enter their email address and a File Sharing Request will be sent to them.
When a client wishes to upload a file, they simply log-in using the top right Client Connect tab on our website. They browse to the file they wish to upload and choose who they would like to send the file to (either you or one of your staff). The recipient receives an email advising which of their clients has uploaded the file, and the name of the file. At the bookkeeper’s leisure, they log-in and retrieve the file. Multiple files can be uploaded at one time.
Conversely, the bookkeeper can upload a file to a specific client of their choosing. The client receives an email advising that the bookkeeper has uploaded a file, and the name of the file. At the client’s leisure, they log-in and retrieve the file. The bookkeeper receives an email to confirm when the client has successfully downloaded the file.
Use of Bookkeeper-Client Connect is free to ABN members and their clients. ABN members receive a free allowance of 500 Mb of throughput per month, and 250 Mb of storage at any one time.
However, for large scale users, you can purchase generous additional allowances of throughput and/or storage for a nominal price.
Advantages of using Bookkeeper-Client Connect?
Flexibility. You can work more hours at your premises without the downtime associated with travel to and from your client's premises.
Robust. Transferring accounting software files via email has become increasingly difficult as file sizes grow. Bookkeeper-Client Connect is web-based, so it does not face any limitations on file size. The only factor is the speed of your internet connection.
Portability. Because the files reside on our secure web server, you can access them anywhere you have an internet connection. This dispenses with the need for other media such as CDs or USB sticks.
Security. Traditional ways of transferring files, such as CDs and emails, are highly insecure. Bookkeeper-Client Connect uses 128-bit SSL encryption to give you and your client total peace of mind.
Progressive Image. Bookkeeper-Client Connect is a professional, polished product that your client will find easy to use. They will enjoy the efficiencies that it will bring to your relationship with them, thereby raising the professionalism of your services in their eyes.
Examples where Bookkeeper-Client Connect could be used
Troubleshooting. Your client may be encountering an issue in their accounting software that they cannot solve, for example problem bank reconciliation. Rather than arrange a site visit and wasting travel time, you instead have your client upload the file to you using Bookkeeper-Client Connect. You can then investigate and solve the issue from your premises, before making the corrected file available for your client to download.
Preparation for site visits. In order to minimise your time at your client's premises, you could have your client transfer the file to you in advance. This allows you to get a head start on areas requiring your attention, and may enable you to forewarn the client of information that you need them to obtain for you prior to your visit.
Interfacing with your client's accountant. Rather than providing a CD to your client’s accountant, or attempting to email them the file, you instead send a file sharing invitation to their email. They are able to create their username and password on Bookkeeper-Client Connect. You are then able to transfer the file (and any related documents) to them securely.
Payroll assignments. Many bookkeepers undertake payroll functions that can be quite comfortably conducted from their own premises, rather than needing to work from the client’s premises. Bookkeeper-Client Connect makes this possible, while also bringing a high level of privacy and security to the task – things which are crucial when it comes to sensitive payroll data.
Flexibility of hours. Some bookkeepers prefer to work unusual hours as it fits their lifestyle (e.g. early mornings, late nights or weekends) but are restricted because of access to client premises, and thus, accounting files. Bookkeeper-Client Connect allows a client to transfer a file to you to enable you to work at a time that is convenient to you and transfer it back to the client for download by them at their convenience.
Splitting of assignments. You may prefer to complete your client’s bookkeeping on-site, while performing ancillary tasks such as BAS preparation or management reporting back at your premises. With Bookkeeper-Client Connect, you can upload the file for later retrieval at your premises.
Confidentiality of bookkeeper data. Management and financial reports, not to mention payroll data, are highly sensitive. You would rather not trust them to email in case they fall into the wrong hands. With Bookkeeper-Client Connect, you upload the items to your client, and they log-in at their convenience to retrieve them.
Integrating Bookkeeper-Client Connect into Your Own Web Site
Bookkeeper-Client Connect is accessible to ABN members from the Members Area of the ABN web site, and is accessible to the clients of ABN members from the link on the home page of the ABN web site.
However, it is also possible for ABN members to integrate access to BCC into their own web sites. This has a number of appealing traits:
- It adds a level of sophistication to your web site;
- It means that your client need only visit your web site when transferring files with you, rather than needing to visit ABN’s web site;
- Notification emails that are automatically generated by BCC will direct your clients to your website, rather than to the ABN website;
- It adds to the professionalism of your firm by showing your client that you are utilising ways to better streamline your dealings with them;
- Because BCC bears the branding of ABN, it demonstrates to your client that you are aligned with a national bookkeeping organisation.
Instructions on how to integrate Bookkeeper-Client Connect into your own web site can be found in our Member’s Area.
Security & Privacy
ABN views security as the highest of priorities. As a result, we developed Bookkeeper-Client Connect using an industry-standard protocol called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), 128-bit encryption and digital certificates.
For the benefit of those who are not familiar with these technologies, we have included below some lay explanations on these security measures and how they work.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
SSL is a protocol which enables computers to manage encryption and decryption activities between each other during a secure web session. SSL provides a security handshake in which two computers exchange a brief burst of messages. In those messages, they agree on the level of security they will use to, among other things, exchange digital certificates (see below for explanation).
After identification, the SSL encrypts and decrypts all information flowing between the two computers using private session keys. SSL comes in two strengths: 40-bit and 128-bit. The designations indicate the length of the private session key generated by every encrypted transaction. A session key is a key used by an encryption algorithm to create the cipher text from plain text during a single secure session. A locked padlock will appear in the status bar of your browser to indicate that a secure connection is in progress.
The basis of nearly all secure communications is encryption. Encryption is the scrambling of data (plain text) by using a mathematically based program and a secret key to produce a string of characters that are unintelligible (cipher text). Upon arrival at its destination, each message is decrypted and converted back to plain text.
A digital certificate is an attachment which serves to verify that a user or web site is who they purport to be. Digital certificates also contain a means to send an encrypted message. Digital Certificates are issued and signed by organisations known as Certification Authorities (CAs). Importantly, the digital certificates which secure Bookkeeper-Client Connect reside on our web server. So unlike many Tax Office initiatives which require that the bookkeeper apply for, and install, digital certificates at their end, the same is not the case with Bookkeeper-Client Connect.
ABN also holds the privacy of your client’s data in the highest regard.
A bookkeeper can view all of their own clients, but not the clients of other bookkeepers. A client, by contrast, can only view their own information, and not that of other clients that the bookkeeper might have.
ABN and our information technology providers, do not have cause to access any of the files transferred using Bookkeeper-Client Connect.
Terms & Conditions of Use
Click here to read the Terms & Conditions of Use of Bookkeeper-Client Connect.