Providing secure access to client documents

Providing secure access to client documents


After implementing a SharePoint-based document management system, Bodtke & Stewart, an accounting firm in Peoria, Illinois, wanted a way to share sensitive information with their clients and provide a means for their clients to share information with the firm. Infogenic Solutions was tasked with setting up an extranet to provide clients of Bodtke & Stewart a convenient and secure means to upload and download tax documents. Before the extranet, clients of Bodtke & Stewart would call or stop by to request copies of their tax documents or drop off documents for their CPA to process. By providing their clients with online access to documents, Bodtke & Stewart have significantly reduced the amount of employee time needed to track down and deliver information.


Infogenic Solutions built upon the existing SharePoint document management system by adding an extranet. Clients could visit the extranet website at any time to download their completed tax returns or upload working documents for use by Bodtke & Stewart CPAs. Bodtke staff was automatically notified via email whenever a client uploaded a document to the extranet, thus improving the firm’s workflow. The Bodtke Client Extranet was implemented in SharePoint Foundation, the free version of SharePoint which was available with a Windows Server license. Since they already had a Windows Server license, all they needed was to obtain a Windows External Connector license and have the solution implemented on their server. The extranet provided a sub-site for each Bodtke client, and each sub-site contained two document libraries called Working Documents and Final Documents. Working Documents contained files uploaded by the client, and Final Documents contained completed tax returns, audits and other client deliverables. This allowed both the CPAs and their clients to access the files they needed 24×7 and without the need for support staff involvement. It was also possible for clients to change or reset their passwords without contacting the firm, thus providing a hassle-free experience for all parties.

The advantage provided by the extranet in this case allowed for both Bodtke & Stewart employees and their clients to access and share sensitive information in a secure environment. The logins and passwords prevented unauthorized access while allowing the authenticated users to see only the files that are permitted by their access rights. By using the extranet to share documents, a greater level of collaboration between Bodtke & Stewart and their clients has been realized. The amount of time spent on busy-work has been reduced, freeing up employee time to work on revenue-generating tasks instead. All of this was accessed with a web browser via the Internet while maintaining regulatory security compliance.

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