Client portal sector “a market reaching maturity” – Wolters Kluwer

A SURVEY has revealed the healthy state of the client portal market, which it says it is set to grow further.

Conducted by Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting, the report found that 97% of respondents intending to implement a client portal had placed a time scale of less than one year on obtaining it, while 57% indicated a period of six months or less for implementation.

At present, the client portal market is still emerging after previously being considered too “exotic” for the purpose of maintaining a secure client communication channel. About one in eight (13%) of the 150 firms polled currently use a client portal to exchange information with clients, while almost all respondents (97%) utilise email and more than four in five (81%) use post.

However, the sector is becoming increasingly popular, leading Wolters Kluwer to state that “the forward momentum in the client portal market now seems unstoppable.” Among the reasons for the growth was concern over the problem of security in unencrypted messages sent through a public email system. The vast majority respondents (80%) said they were either concerned or very concerned about the issue, with 11% saying they were not concerned and 9% saying they had not thought about it.

In addition, the survey found that firms were also generally optimistic about the potential take up of portals among clients. Around 44% believed portals would be suitable for more than half of their client base, while 86% felt it would be suitable for one-fifth of clientele.

A spokesperson for Wolters Kluwer said of the findings: “As accounting practices compete to differentiate themselves in a commoditised market, their use of novel technologies, such as client portals, is likely to play an increasingly important role in retaining and acquiring clients.

“The next 12 months look set to be an exciting time for client portals.”

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