As a reminder, the new version of our 5500 signing portal was made mandatory on 11/1/2012. This email contains a summary of how the new version of the portal works, a number or resources that may help you explain to your customers how the new version of the portal works and some frequently asked questions.
We also want to let you know that some customers have expressed an interest in retaining the old portal procedures for exchanging non-confidential data. We are looking into some solutions to allow customers to opt out of the higher security settings we now have as a default for all portal customers. This solution will likely allow customers that do not use the portal for 8955-SSA information (which includes Social Security Numbers (SSNs)) and/or the Portal Pro product to opt into a lower security portal. At this time, we do not have an estimated release date for this feature.
When your client logs in to the new version of the Portal for the first time, he/she will be prompted to answer three challenge questions and then will be prompted to enter a new password. The password your client enters will be used by your client going forward, for as many years as he/she is logging in and signing filings as your client. You will now only have the option to provide a password for your client for the first time he/she logs into the Portal.
Once your client logs in for the first time, you will no longer see a password field to enter a password for your client under 'Work with Signers/Portal Users,' but you will see a 'Reset Password' option instead.
Clicking on 'Reset Password' will send an e-mail to your client containing a link for him/her to follow. Following this link will automatically log your client into the Portal and he/she will be prompted to enter a new password. Your client also has the option to click on 'Forgot Password' on the Portal log in screen to answer his/her challenge questions and create a new password in the instance where he/she no longer remembers his/her password.
The links below will play a short video that provides an overview of the process portal users follow to log in to the portal and shows how the updates affect your 'Work with Signers/Portal Users' options:
In addition, the Portal User's Help Guide may be beneficial for your clients to acquaint them with the new sign-in procedures.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why was this changed?
Last year, we released our Portal Pro product which offers a secure way of sharing data between you and your customers. Sharing the password in plain text in an email was not secure enough given the sensitive nature of the information that could be shared via the portal. The 5500 signing portal is an extension of the full portal product, which means the same security requirements apply. This allows us to maintain a fully integrated system so that you can upgrade to the full portal without having to re-import your portal user list.
This update was also made with some new features and enhancements in mind for our 5500 customers; including those that do not use our additional portal products. One planned enhancement will allow customers to deliver the Form 8955-SSA to the portal. The 8955 contains social security numbers, so passwords sent in plain text via email is no longer an option.
I like the old portal better. Can I just keep the old version?
No. The change was mandatory for all of our customers in order to achieve security described above. We certainly understand that having control of your users passwords can make the portal simpler to use since many internet users frequently confuse the large variety of passwords that are required to navigate in today's world.
My clients are revolting against the new portal. Can I just sign 5500s for them?
Yes. This can be done via the "Local Sign" feature in our 5500 software. Click here for screenshots and a description of the process in our software.
Please note that signing on behalf of your customers does involve a few extra steps to the process. The Administrator must have signed the paper 5500 form, an image of the signed 5500 must be attached to the filing as a pdf under the "Manually Signed Form 5500 Attachment", and an authorization for the preparer to electronically sign on behalf of the Administrator must be completed (but need not be attached to the filing sent to DOL). Sample authorization available here and on the "Form 5500 - Year" page under the "Attachments" box on the right-hand side of the page.
That sounds complicated. Any other ways to work around the new security features?
We are aware that some customers have chosen to log into the portal as their clients, answer the security questions and create the new password on behalf of their clients. The email invitations these customers send then include the passwords as hard-coded text and have the password placeholders removed. This is not our recommended solution and should not be used if you ever intend to offer Form 8955-SSA through your 5500 signing portal or could use the full portal features in the future. Please also note that this could cause some confusion for clients that attempt to reset passwords through the links available at the portal log in screen.
Thank you for using ftwilliam.com, Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.
This email was sent to users registered at www.ftwilliam.com. If you'd like to be removed from this email distribution, simply reply with 'Please Remove' in the subject line.