OfficeTools’ Client Portal provides much needed efficiency and ease to an already hectic time of year. During tax season the last thing to worry about is document security, fielding client drop-offs, or trying to scan physical papers into the system and risk losing them. Allow OfficeTools and the Client Portal to streamline your document process by building a secure bridge for you and your clients, to safely transfer documents between you.


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Alright, good morning everyone. Today is Free Training Thursday, and on the docket, we have Client Portal ... talking about secure document transfer.

My name is Brandon, I'm from OfficeTools. What we're going to be doing today is going to be as follows. I got a little bit of an agenda for you guys. If we look at our screen here, we're going to be going through staff setup, how to get your staff member setup so that they can access the portal ... That is a very important piece. Going through some of the email templates that are available, while performing actions through the portal. Activating your Client Portal accounts, uploading documents to them through the portal, getting a quick look at what your clients actually see when they log into the portal, and last but not least, we're going to be showing you guys how to check for client uploads. Once your client actually uploads something to you, how do you go get it? That's kind of our agenda for the day.

If we jump over here to op-tools, here's our program. Step one, here, is going to be, how do you set your staff up? How do you get this ball rolling, when it comes to the portal, and make sure that the people who need to have access can get in there and do what they need to do?

Step number one is going to be going up here to the set-up menu. We're going to be going down to the staff option here, and then we can choose this option here that says information. Inside this section here, we have our staff members. There's a little bit of a caveat to this, just if you guys haven't set up your portal already. There's a specific email that you get with the information on how to log in. That user, whichever email that that was sent to, needs to be set-up with first within OfficeTools. If Joe Demo for example, was our first staff member, and was our first email here, we would need to set this user up first on the portal itself. We would actually go to the portal website, we'd plug in that information that we got from the email, and then we would come back to OfficeTools and set this Joe Demo up inside of this program.

The first users a little bit outside the box. You would take the information and follow the information you get in your original email, go to the website, plug in your email address and temporary password. At that moment, it will require you to choose a new password, write a permanent password. You'll plug in your permanent password, that should allow you access to the portal. Once you've done those things, once you set your permanent password, you're going to come back to OfficeTools, go to set up, go staff, go to information, and then from here, you're going to click on the portal button.

Once you've done that, you'll make sure that you enable yourself. Plug in the original email address and then the password that you have that you just plugged in as the permanent password on the portal. You have to be logged in as the staff member who the email address belongs to, you have to set up the email and password that you just plugged into the portal website, and that should get you to the point where you are set-up there. Now, just to be safe, that first user, once you set that first person, go ahead and just close OfficeTools all the way down, and then open it back up. Make sure you're logged back in as that original staff, okay?

Go to the portal, plug in your information that you got on your email, set your permanent password, come back to OfficeTools, go to set up, go to staff, get into that information screen, click on portal, plug in the email and password that you have set, and then restart OfficeTools, open it back up. Make sure that you log back in as that original staff member.

Then you will do the same thing for each of your other staff members. The only difference is that now you no longer have to go to the portal website first. If we wanted to set-up Diane, we would go to Diane, click on the portal, click enabled, plug in her email address, and then plug in a password to set her up on the portal. You don't have to do anything on the portal website ... you're doing everything from OfficeTools. After the original staff member is set up, everything is done through your set up staff information options here.

One quick note, just so you guys know, when you're plugging in your password here, it does have to be at least eight characters. Make sure that you keep that in mind, at least eight characters for your portal password. This password here is not the password that you're going to use to log into OfficeTools. This is just the password that you're using to log into the portal.

That's basically how you guys are going to go about setting up your staff members. One last walk through here. You're going to go to set up, down to staff, information. It will load up your staff screen. Once you are there, you can go ahead and click on the staff member that you need, click on portal, you're going to choose enabled, type in their email address, and then choose a password that is at least eight characters and you're going to do that once for each staff member.

As a recommendation, I would recommend that once you're done setting up all of your staff on the portal, that you go ahead and restart OfficeTools just to solidify everything, make sure that everything is looking good. That should get you to the point where your portal button, inside the contacts tab here, is now lit up and you can actually click on it. Before you go through the original process, that button should be grayed out. That's going to be how you guys set up your staff members on the portal.

Now, as far as the next thing that we have on the list here, is actually discussing our email templates. As you guys are interacting with the portal, the cool part about it is that you're going to do almost 90, probably 95%, maybe 97% of what you guys are actually going to be doing in the portal, is going to be done from OfficeTools directly. You're not going to be switching back and forth ... going to the portal website, coming back to OfficeTools, going to the portal website. You, as staff members, as users of OfficeTools, can do everything that you need to, for the most part, from OfficeTools directly.

That does require some email correspondence that gets sent out to your users so that they know what you are doing. How do you access those templates? They're controlled by you. If you go to set-up up here at the top, you drop down to my company, and then information and settings, you're going to see an option down here called email templates. Inside of here, you will notice over here on the left, you have a lot of different portal options. If you guys weren't part of our "More Than Just Document Transfer" webinar, you might want to jump back, take a look at that, or let us know if you have some questions. There's a lot more than just document transfer, okay.

What we're focusing on right here is going to be the portal new client. That means you're setting up a client on the portal for the first time. Portal new document, meaning that you uploaded a file to them. You also have, down here, if you want to change the password for them, or anything like that, that's all right down there at the bottom. Those couple things ... new client, new document, and portal, password reset, or change ... Those options are going to be what you guys are utilizing for the most part. If you click one of those, let's just say portal new client, you'll notice that you have an email template that you can fill in here. This is important to make sure that, as you guys are corresponding with your clients, automatically, that you're giving them information that's useful. One major thing that a lot of people come in here and add is a notification that the files that are being uploaded to the portal, whether it's by you or by them, actually expire after 30 days of upload date.

That's an important piece of information to give them. That way, they know when you've uploaded them a file or they've uploaded to you a file, that they know that those files actually disappear after 30 days. If you downloaded into OfficeTools, then it's not going anywhere. In the portal, itself, it will fall-out. That way it keeps that portal nice and clean. It's not a document storage system, it is a document transfer system. You've have to be very careful in making sure that your clients know that that is not where they are storing files ... that is simply where they're accessing the file for a limited time.

You want to plug in that information. If you've utilized our log in widget, you might want to put in your website down here instead of the website. You want to make sure that this email, and all the email templates, are tailored to your firm. Make sure that you come in here and look at it, make sure that it kind of says what you expect it to say, and then you should be on your way.

Now we get into actually activating Client Portals. I actually go through and set a client up on the portal. Well there's a couple things that are required in order to do that. Obviously, you have to go through your staff set up. You have to make that you have access to the portal. If you log in and that portal button is grayed out, that means you're not set up yet. You have to go back to step one and make sure that you get your staff members set up.

Second thing is, is that all of the clients that you want to set up on the portal, need to have an email address. An email address is required in order for your clients to actually get a portal account. You will notice here, on ACDC Electric, we have an email address filled right here. Now, one major note that you guys have to keep in mind as you guys are going through here, is that your portal accounts, each of your clients only get one. ACDC Electric only gets one portal login. John Walters, or whoever else is actually a part of this business, won't receive their own logins. You have to make sure that the email address that you have in there is the main email address that's going to be how they access that portal account. That's going to be very important.

If you have a husband and a wife and the wife wants that email to be used for the portal, you have to make sure that the wife's email is plugged into the password section. If you want the bookkeeper, instead of the owner, to be what's associated to the business, the bookkeeper can go in there and access the documents that are being transferred to them. You have to make sure that email address is sitting in that email field. You have to make sure that whichever email address you want to be actively using for the portal, that it's filled in to that email field, right here. You cannot set a client up on a portal unless they have an email address right there.

Now, as long as they have an email address in there, and as long as you have access to the portal, the process is here that you're going to go ahead and click on the portal button under the contact tabs. You'll notice that there's a few options in here. Now, if you haven't set the client on the portal yet, the only option that you'll be able to choose from is the sync contact option at the very top. All the rest of these options down here will all be grayed out and you won't be able to click on them. The only option that you can choose originally is the sync contact option. When you click on that button, it's going to load down here at the bottom, it's going to sync them up. Typically, it's going to pop-up with a reminder that says, "You have a portal reminder ready to be sent. Would you like to send it now?". You can go in there and access that portal reminder, and we will see that a little bit later.

The reason why it didn't come here is because this email is already set up on the portal. You'll see how that pop-up comes up and you can access any reminder that needs to be sent out actually from right here. If you go to portal, you can view portal reminders ... You can access any reminders that have not been sent yet from any clients' portal button. If you're on ACDC and you have other reminders for John Albert, or whoever it is, you can go in there, click view portal reminders, and access any reminder that has not been sent out yet. We'll see that in action a little bit later.

Now that we have our client up on the portal, they're set-up. One thing to note is that this is not a request. You did not request that they set up a portal ... they have a portal account. They will receive an email with instructions on how to log in, a temporary password, and they'll go directly to the portal, and log in. They already have a portal account, which means you can directly to the documents tabs at this moment and start uploading files to them. There is no action required from client. They do not need to do anything to allow you to begin using their portal. They just are sent information on how to log in to their account. That's an important piece to know. You're not waiting on a client to accept it, or set it up, or anything like that. You can immediately begin using the portal the second that you send that email out to them. The second you go in there, click that portal button, hit sync contact, they are set up on the portal.

As of right now, you have to set up each client one at a time. There is a feature that's being added very shortly that will allow you to do it in mass. Right now, you have to go through each one and set that portal account up to make sure that anybody that you want access to the portal has it. Just so you understand, one at a time over here on left, grab that portal button, send that email out to them, and then they'll have a portal account that can you immediately begin to use.

How do you now upload documents to your clients? Now that they have been set up on the portal ... We've click the portal button, you said sync contact, we sent them their email on how to log in. Now you can switch over here to the documents tab. Once you do that, you should notice that the portal button in the tool bar has lit up red, which means that they have a portal account. If you go to a different contact, that probably doesn't have a portal account, you can see that that button is now blue. When we are on a client that's set up on the portal, that button will be lit up red.

The process here of downloading or uploading, either one, a document to your client or from your client, you will simply click on that portal button. Most of the interaction that you're going to be doing as staff members, are going to come from that portal button directly. You don't need to go to the portal website, you don't need to try scroll through information ... You go directly to the portal button and you can upload, you can download, and any information that you have can be accessed from here.

You can select multiple documents from here. If we wanted to, we can grab all three documents that are related to the tax. We can grab the tax return and the engagement letter ... we can do whatever we want to do from inside of here, one document or multiple. Click that portal button and upload selected files. When you do that, a window will pop up. It will show you that transferred queue, so any documents that you've set to be uploaded will be located in here. You'll see a progress bar over here on the right. One note I want to say is that, it's okay that it doesn't look like it's filling up. It is processing and once it's done, it will fill in the uploaded status here. At this moment, we can see that this document has been uploaded.

When you close this window down, you'll notice that it says, "You have portal emails to send. Would you like to review and send these now?". This is that alert that you'll get when you set up your clients as well. If you click yes, you'll be able to view all the alerts that have not been sent out, get a little bit of a preview, and then you can send them to your clients right from here.

This is a mass pool. If you want to go through and set up a ton of your clients up on the portal and then wait until the end to send out all those emails, you just click no on the, "Would you like to send them now?". You click no, no, no, no, no and then as you finish up, you can go ahead and click yes. It will show you all the ones you haven't sent yet, and you can go ahead and send those out. These are pulling from those templates. Now, at this moment, you know that that file has been uploaded. An email has been sent to your clients so they can log in, and that, at the end, is the end of your guys' process.

Now, let's talk about what your client actually sees. They get an email that gets sent to them with instructions on how to log in ... letting them know that you've uploaded a file to them. They go on to, or your website if you've changed it, and put the widget on to your website so that they can log in and drive traffic to yours. They're going to go to the log in, whichever way it is, and they're going to log in to the portal. This is going to be what they see. You can insert your logo, you can change your color in the background, you can go through some of these processes. Once they log in, it will say, "Welcome" and their name right here. They'll be able to see documents, they can see invoices, payments, if you've allowed them to see your schedule and schedule appointments with you, they can do that. Little "Contact Us", some notes there.

Let's refresh. We're going to go back to our log in here. Log out of this one. We'll log back in and now you'll see that document that we uploaded is sitting right here for them. They hover it, they can click download. We make it really simple on the client end. We don't want it to be too complex because some of your clients not be technologically savvy. All they do is hover over it, click download. That just downloads to you just did it like for you. Then it will be put on their computer so they can have it permanently. That's really all there is to that.

As far as uploading files ... Your client needs to upload something to you, then all they do is click the upload file button up here. They either download it from here, or upload it from here. When they click upload, they will choose a folder that they would like to put it in, if they have one. This is not required so if they don't choose something, that's okay. Then they'll also choose a staff member to send it to, so this is something you guys need to set up under your set up options for the portal. You can choose which of your staff members shows up in this list. Remember that the files not actually being sent to that staff, it is just a notification that is being sent to that staff. Whoever your client chooses here will receive a notification that they've uploaded a file. Then they'll choose their file, this will be on their computer, they can plug in a little note, and that's all they have to do to upload a file. Again, downloading and uploading is all right here for your clients. That's really, for the most part, all they're going to be doing inside of this section.

Let's go ahead and quickly upload a file so you guy scan see how this will work. We will put it to that folder, we'll chose a document here, we will say signed right there, and that's it ... we're just going to hit submit. You'll notice it goes through a progress bar. It'll let them know when it's been completed, they click close, and that's all they have to do. Now, it will notify, you're staff member, whoever they sent it to, that a document has come in. If they did not choose someone to send it to, it will go to that main email. Whichever one of your email addresses is that main email, that's who it's going to go to.

Once you receive that notification, your job, and this is going into last point that we have for this webinar today, is checking for client uploads. We've showed you how to upload a file to them, but what happens when they upload a file to you? You get that notification from the portal, it will tell you that they've uploaded a file. You go to that client in OfficeTools, so we'll go to ACDC Electric, you go to the documents tab, and when you click on that portable button, you can see this options here that says, "View New Files". When you do that, it's going to show us any file that has not been downloaded into OfficeTools yet. You can see right here, the signed e-sign that they sent, is sitting right here. We can go ahead and download it into OfficeTools. We've downloaded it and now inside of our program right here, you can see that the signed e-sign is located right there. That's all you guys have to do, for the most part. When interacting with uploading and downloading client documents, everything that you do is going to be from the portal button. You upload or you download right from here.

You also have the last option here of viewing all files. You go in and see all the files that exist on the portal right now for that client. This is going to be important, because at some point, you're going to want to clean something up. Maybe your clients sends you a very large QuickBooks file, or something like that, and you need to go ahead and wipe that out, you can access it directly here and just delete it. Remember that you are deleting it only from the portal ... You're not deleting the copy that may exist on your client's side and you’re not deleting the copy that exist inside of OfficeTools, you're simply deleting from the portal. Just keep that in mind.


Ultimately, from setting up your staff, to setting up clients, from downloading to uploading, that's basically the secure document transfer, utilizing the portal. I'm going to take a look and see what questions we have here and we'll go ahead and go through those options.

The question we have here is, "Can the client change or update their contact info in their own portal?". They have relatively minimal access to their contact info because it is driven from the contact tab inside of OfficeTools. It isn't something that we really allow them to change because we don't them to mess certain thing up. We don't know if you're connected to Lacerte or connected to QuickBooks, and we don't want them to go in and put in a nickname. We would have to have to sync that back down into OfficeTools and then that could update or change information in other programs. Ultimately, they don't have a lot of access to their contact information. Other features, like your check-in feature, where they can go in and you can require them to fill in certain piece of information, that's when they would have more access to it, because we've allowed you to vet that a little bit. As they update their information, it comes back through into OfficeTools as a notification and you can either accept it or deny it at point. Through the check-in feature, where your clients are checking-in for appointments, they definitely have access to that information. Overall, that's something we like to keep a little bit more secure to not go through and mess up your data file there.

Couple other things that we have in here that I want to bring your attention to ... Under the portal button, there's also this option called printing. Just so you know, if you do need to print any of the files out, if you get something signed digitally and it comes back to you, if you're not using our e-signatures option, you can print those items out pretty simply right from here.

Another thing that comes up pretty frequently that I want to bring to you guys' attention, is a lot of times, people ask us can we reset our clients password for them? How do they do that? That can't access it. How do we get them back into their portal account? Right here from the portal button, if you're on that client, you do have the capability of creating a new password. You'll go through and basically resend them the first email that they got, but it will generate and reset their password for them. That way, they don't have to go into the "Forgot Password" link, or if they can't remember the website or whatever or it is, you can just go ahead and click on create new password and it will send it out to them.

Now, the one thing that you guys are not allowed to do is create the password for them. You can't go in and type your own password from there and then send that to that client. That's against the security measures that we've taken. You do have to allow it to generate a temporary, and then they have to reset their permanent. Just to make that we keep everything squared away nice and neat, and it's not going to fall into something that's considered unsecured.

Now, right above this, is the last option that we have for today. That's called removing a contact. As you guys go through your day-to-days, you may or may night have clients that leave, you may or may not have clients that you fire ... Whatever it is, there's going to be instances where you probably don't want that client to retain their portal account. In that instance, you can go to them and actually remove the contact from the portal. That way they no longer can log in and access it. Maybe somebody's abusing that privilege, maybe you just no longer want them upload you anything. There's a lot of examples that can go on here, but removing the contact will discontinue their access to their portal account and make it to where they can no longer upload anything to the portal. As you guys are going through, if you're trying to hide clients or make clients inactive, that is also step that you guys need to take into consideration. That way, you don't have remnant portal accounts that are sitting out there, kind of mucking it up. Make sure that if you are hiding a contact or making a contact inactive, that you go ahead and just remove their access to the portal.

As far as a secure document transfer, that's pretty much all there is to it. If you guys want the other information that you have there for the portal, like your access to the calendar, time-tracking for staff members, going through the check-in feature, or even remote questionnaires, there is a webinar for those advanced features. If you need some help, let us know. You can always access us as a training team at the training email: You can also call in if you need some help immediately. That would be 661-794-2220, dial 2 for our training. Either way, we'll go ahead and get back to you as soon as we can on helping you guys out with anything that you guys are looking for, whether it's portal related or just OfficeTools generically so. Make sure to get in contact with us if you guys have questions. Other than that, tune in next week for our next Free Training Thursday. Jump on for those topics because they're going to be good. We'll keep doing these as long as you guys are showing up.

Thanks a lot for everybody joining in and we'll see you guys next week.

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