AccountingWEB member Manchester_Man came to the community via Any Answers, to ask whether accountants had standard email templates, similar to those for letters.
And as it turns out, there are a number of ways to go about creating email templates, depending on what email client you use.
The top two appear to be Outlook and Gmail, but of course some firms may have their own custom email system or use another provider, such as Yahoo, AOL or others.
Based on this, we've compiled the top tips and best practice from the community into this digest.
Use practice management software
One user shared how he implements email templates: Through his practice management software.
We're sure there are many packages that users can do similar with, but ChrisMartin said he uses IRIS for standard letters - PDF versions using a letter-headed Microsoft Word template.
His firm then has a set of standard emails within Outlook, which are used as 'cover letters' with the PDF attached.
In addition his firm utilises IRIS OpenSpace as a cloud document exchange and e-approval service. Ideally, Chris said, he would cut off the PDF and include everything in the email. However he feels unable to do so until they can 'pull' the same elements from IRIS into email as they can into Word.
“I’m old fashioned enough to think that a proper letter, albeit a PDF attached to an email, is more likely to be read by a client than an email alone," he said.
Create templates within CRM
ShirleyM suggested creating new letter templates in your CRM system - if you have one.
Make these specifically for email use and then use the CRM to create a letter in Word. After this, copy and paste the contents into an email. The benefit to this, she added, is that it brings all the client's details across.
Gmail: Using canned responses
If you're using Google Mail (or Gmail), there's an option to apply canned responses to both replies and new emails.
A similar feature in Outlook is, as suggested by Carnmores, Auto Text.
Two more Gmail suggestions came from redman7 and Squay.
Use .txt files to save template text of emails and subject lines and simply paste them into Gmail.
"I did use canned responses for a while," redman7 said, "but had issues with them losing templates." Squay came up with a sort of solution to this within Gmail however.
They said they save their email templates as drafts. They then click on the draft, copy the contents of it into a new email and personalise it.
However don't use the draft itself or you will lose it once it is sent, they added.
Microsoft Word and Google Docs
If you don't want to be restricted and like the flexibility of using word processing software, creating templates in Word or Google Docs (depending on which email client you use) may be a way around this.
As Mrme89 suggested, use Word/Docs to store templates. Then click file > send to > and enter your email recipient from there.
A market opportunity for software suppliers?
While we are sure there are vendors out there who do provide this service, perhaps there is more scope for accounting, practice management and software suppliers to include this as an element in their packages.
According to pauljohnston, he has hopes for a letter template that drops straight into an email, so when the client opens it, they see a letter rather than email format.
"Perhaps its time software companies got their acts together and provided for this problem," Manchester_Man surmised.