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Digita or Iris

We are looking at changing software supplier and have narrowed or choice to Digita or Iris. We will be using their full suite. Any recommendations on which one to go for.

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By Old Greying Accountant
17th Aug 2012 17:41

IRIS

without a doubt

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17th Aug 2012 17:54

well i would say the opposite

such is life

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17th Aug 2012 23:00

Have you used either one before?

Faced with a similar choice, I went with IRIS because I'd used it before and time would be saved on familiarisation.  So far I'm very pleased with it, but I'm sure I'd have been equally pleased with Digita if I'd gone that way.

WS.

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17th Aug 2012 23:41

IRIS used it

IRIS

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By Jakarmi
18th Aug 2012 01:04

Digita

Hi

I used Iris when working in my old firm in 2008 but since moving to my own practice I now use Digita. The Digita product of today is much better than 2008 Iris but of course Iris could have improved in that time.

With Digita the cost is much cheaper (around half). The first year you have to purchase the licence so there is an extra cost than in future years.

Note that Digita were quite keen to negotiate the licence cost when I started playing poker with them and I received a £800 or so discount as I told them a fictitious budget that I couldn't go over.

 

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By JAADAMS
20th Aug 2012 12:16

Love Digita

The service from Digita is great - been with them for six years but have used them for over 10..

I went to a Digita event in Exmouth some years ago, met the staff and the directors. Lovely sea view.

When I got myself all in a tizz a couple of years ago in January their patience is very calming.

 

 

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By newmoon
20th Aug 2012 15:01

Digita

I've used both, with Sage in the middle!

We moved from Iris to Sage in 2006 partly because we felt Iris was getting very expensive.

We used Sage modules (it isn't really a suite) until it became apparent that the prices we were paying were a special three year deal (nobody had mentioned this), and they shot up.

We moved to Digita in 2010 and are pleased with both the product and support. 

Before we decided on Digita we did seriously look at the option of returning to Iris, and revisited their software suite. Everything considered we opted for Digita. 

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21st Aug 2012 11:34

Digita

Like newmoon we moved from Iris to Sage to Digita and wouldn't go back

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21st Aug 2012 11:47

We have Iris and although it always used to be quite good, in the last year or so I have got sick of checking tax comps and finding that the Iris comp is wrong.  In particular it currently has issues with capital allowances and R&D claims.  Worse than this though, on calling their support we are often told that it is a problem they are aware of and it will be fixed in a future update..... Very helpful!  The suggestion that we adjust the accounts / CT  manually in the meantime is very frustrating and time consuming.  Also had an issue in April with the Iris generated personal tax return checklists which were leaving off rental information which lead to at least one embarrassing phone call with a client, followed by a call to Iris who very helpfully said 'oh yes, we are aware of that.........'

 

I've no experience of Digita, but Sage Accounts Production Advanced always used to be ok (although I've not used it for a few years now) but for my money, a tax software package that gets the tax calc wrong even when the infomration you give it is right is worse than useless.

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21st Aug 2012 12:15

Digita for me

I've used IRIS, Sage, CCH and Digita.  Iris and Digita are by far the best of that bunch of full suite programs.  I went with Digita as their pricing is so much less than Iris. 

I haven't been disappointed either.  The product is exceptionally good and the support is amazing.  Can't recommend it enough.

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By hsr1012
21st Aug 2012 12:46

Digita too
Having used both digita is not only cheaper but far more user friendly and easy to navigate without training.

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By chatman
21st Aug 2012 13:27

Interesting Choice

Would be interested to know why you have ruled out other suppliers.

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21st Aug 2012 13:39

Digita

I was also an IRIS user and when I set up my own practise, I went with Digita as I got fed up with the almost non-existent development to the IRIS products and having no customer account manager.

I've been delighted with Digita - been user for 3 years.  They treat you as a person, I have met many of their guys at their annual conference (which is well worth attending) and they even phoned me up in February and pro-actively talked me through the recent product upgrades that I may be unaware of, to ensure that I was using their software to the best of its ability.

I use all products except Company secretarial and we've recently gone hosted with no problems either so I reckon it's a fairly future-proof software.

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21st Aug 2012 13:52

I have to say

i chose IRIS when i started out having used both iris and digita.....but am currently reviewing my position.....when i last used digita (5 years ago) - i thought the personal tax module was exceptional....(I chose iris due to its all round performance...integrated system)

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By Centaur
21st Aug 2012 16:00

Digita

I've only newly established my practice and having investigated the options opted for Digita. We've had excellent support to get the software up and running. I took up the option for a demonstration of the software when I was down in the West Country seeing a client.

We've got the full suite of stuff, and are working our way through putting it all on to the platform.

It's taking a bit to get used to, particularly on the practice management side, but I am very glad to use the software.

The iXBRL for the Company accounts is simple to use, the tax software integrates with the accounting and practice management software.

I showed it to a colleague who is an audit manager of another firm who was jealous as they've gone for a different firm (PTP I think but don't quote me..) which she doesn't like...

 

 

 

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22nd Aug 2012 10:29

Iris

I work for a practice just going in to second year using Iris.  First year was manic having to enter everything from scratch, not difficult, just labour intensive.  I spend a lot of time working on personal tax returns and have to say that the second year is an absolute dream.  No experience of Digita, hate Sage. 

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By lme
23rd Aug 2012 08:38

Thumbs up for Digita too

I am not brilliant at computers and a sole practitioner. I have found Digita to be brilliant even though I am sure I only use a fraction of the functionality. When I hit the odd glitch I ring up the helpline (ALWAYS helpful) and it is usually resolved in the same phone call.

I wouldn't be without it. 

I avoided Iris due to cost & people saying its tricky to get up to speed with. Very quick to get to grips with Digita.

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By stratty
23rd Aug 2012 08:41

Digita

We use Digita personal tax and it is an awesome package.

Cannot comment on the rest.

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By chatman
23rd Aug 2012 08:43

Digita Help Line

I used to use Digita, and one of the problems was that frequency with which I needed to call the help line. With my current software suppliers, calls to the help line are almost never necessary.

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BTC

We have just moved from Iris to BTC with VT for final accounts.  Saving me around £6.5k per year and initial thoughts are it is saving me time too!

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By Jimess
23rd Aug 2012 09:27

Why only the two choices?

I used Iris until March this year then moved to BTC and VT.  Iris is extremely expensive and they do have a habit of hiking up costs year on year quoting product development as the reason.  Iris do not provide a support service to justify the cost and spend more time trying to sell add on products and hugely expensive training than actually helping their customers. Updates with Iris were a nightmare and very rarely worked properly without Iris having to issue a patch to correct product issues that should never have got past the benchmark tests.  I got sick of paying for a product that was costing me more per client every year and that caused me a huge amount of downtime.  I cannot comment on Digita as I have never used it but it was on my short list when I changed software.  BTC and VT came up trumps in the end in terms of cost, support, user friendliness of the software and a whole host of other reasons.  Widen your choices and look at other options - you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find.

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By chatman
23rd Aug 2012 09:35

Digita

I used Digita before changing to TaxCalc and VT. Changing saved me enormous amounts of time and money. Wish I had done it sooner.

Would be good to hear why you have eliminated other suppliers as possibilities.

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By chatman
23rd Aug 2012 12:34

Can Digita do anything that BTC / TaxCalc / VT cannot?

I must say, unless Digita can actually do something that TaxCalc/BTC and VT cannot, I cannot see any advantage at all in using Digita. The so-called advantages of integration are virtually non-existent, and Digita is so much slower and unwieldy than TaxCalc and VT (and BTC from what I have heard). And don't even get me started on cost!

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23rd Aug 2012 13:06

the downsides of full-integration

... is that you have to use all their software. Some may be good, some may be quite good, and some of it may be bad, but you are stuck with the whole lot if you want to benefit from the integration.

The beauty of VT, TaxCalc, BTC, etc. is that you can choose the best for the job, and you don't have all your eggs in the one basket.

Sage, Iris, and the like, know it is a major undertaking to change all your software in one go, whereas a supplier like VT would know that it wouldn't be a major undertaking for their customers to go elsewhere.

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By chatman
23rd Aug 2012 15:06

The Fantasy of Intergration Benefits

The only benefit of integration I noticed with Digita was that you could change a client's contact details once and it flows through to other packages (if you can work out how to do it).

I really didn't notice any others.

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01st Sep 2012 19:13

Integration

chatman wrote:

The only benefit of integration I noticed with Digita was that you could change a client's contact details once and it flows through to other packages (if you can work out how to do it).

I really didn't notice any others.

What about business start and end dates, company start and end dates, start and end of trading, directors' start and end dates, UTRs, NI numbers, marriages, date of birth, gender, bank details, director's and proprietors?

Working out how to do it doesn't seem difficult for most people. There's a green circle when everything is fully integrated and a yellow circle if there's data to transfer. You can choose to review the data before allowing it to be transferred. There's a red circle if integration isn't working - that's rare but it can usually be fixed in minutes if not by closing the program and opening it again.

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By chatman
01st Sep 2012 19:57

Integration

petersaxton wrote:

chatman wrote:

The only benefit of integration I noticed with Digita was that you could change a client's contact details once and it flows through to other packages (if you can work out how to do it).

I really didn't notice any others.

What about business start and end dates, company start and end dates, start and end of trading, directors' start and end dates, UTRs, NI numbers, marriages, date of birth, gender, bank details, director's and proprietors?

For companies, I have to enter some details (company number and registered office) twice the first year and then again if they change (which is never for company number and once in a blue moon for registered office).  This is the only benefit of Digita, as I have already mentioned, and it it is tiny.  Everything else only gets entered once. The TB import alone saves me much much more time than this takes (not relevant to you, I know, Peter, but definitely to others). The time saved by not having to call Digita all the time is also greater than this on its own.

petersaxton wrote:
Working out how to do it doesn't seem difficult for most people. There's a green circle when everything is fully integrated and a yellow circle if there's data to transfer. You can choose to review the data before allowing it to be transferred. There's a red circle if integration isn't working - that's rare but it can usually be fixed in minutes if not by closing the program and opening it again.

You're right, Peter; it is clearly not difficult for you and many others, but definitely unnecessary hassle for me, and it was obviously difficult for some people or Digita would not have had to send out that email. If you have an automatic backup set for all your practice files, then when you start using VT/Taxcalc etc the backup just happens. You don't even have to think about yellow circles and green circles or, in fact, any set up at all.

 

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By thacca
30th Aug 2012 13:53

In the VT/BTC camp

I'm in the not integrated camp. I used Iris for many year and it was my first choice of software after starting out on my own. I only looked elsewhere because of the cost saving. What I didn't expect in addition to the cost saving was that there was actually a time saving as well.

 

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31st Aug 2012 20:50

Digita

Absolutely the best decision i ever made, we use all of the digita software except the co sec.  Inititally it took me a while to get use to working with an integrated system but once i got the hang of it, it really is very good.  The help line is great, quick reponse and even the most basic query is no trouble.  The new help portal is great to.

The practice manager is very detailed and once start using the letter writer bit of the software you can save so much time with tax data feeding into your personalised standard letters.

The persoal and corporation tax software are fairly easy to use and detailed enough for most situations.

very happy with the package, the first year is slightly more expensive as you have to buy the initital licence but after that the price is not to bad.  i know that there are cheaper packages out there but i choose to be with a company that is going to be there in years to come and know i will get great support should i need it which is not very often.

going to my first digita conference in a couple of weeks and looking forward to it.

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By chatman
31st Aug 2012 21:42

Why?

bharathathi wrote:

Absolutely the best decision i ever made ... it really is very good.  

Why?

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01st Sep 2012 01:15

Why Digita?

It does everything you want for accounts, company and personal tax and company secretarial and you can organise your practice (whether sole practitioner or big firm) using the practice management software (timesheets/invoicing/tracking/marketing).

I've been able to do my work very quickly using any of Digita's software and the technical support is very helpful. They will help on any question no matter how basic or complex.

Some people say that their software is so good that they don't need to use technical support. My argument is that if you want to be able to achieve results quickly and you ever have the odd complex or unusual client you will need comprehensive software and because you won't be using some features regularly it is quicker to ask for help.

I would say that each software package is very reasonable per client per year for a sole practitioner. You only need to up the client numbers as you reach the limit on each individual package. You don't need to get a licence for all the clients you have immediately only when you use the software for that client. This makes it very cost effective for a new practice.

I only have a few clients that I use Company Secretarial software for so it costs me £11.61 per client per year.

The other software works out for me as follows (per client per year):

Accounts Production £5.80

Corporation Tax £6.36

Personal Tax £7.25

Practice Management £3.25

I accept that some other software is priced for unlimited clients but given that Digita is integrated and will do anything you need quickly and easily I think it's an absolute bargain.

I'm not saying that you just have to load the software and a set of accounts or a tax return gets done without any work or thinking needed. I think that if you make the effort to understand the software you will be rewarded and in no time at all you will be able to get from raw client data to a finished product with the minimum of effort and fuss.

 

 

 

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By chatman
01st Sep 2012 11:16

Specific comparison points required for software comparison

Unless you can point to specific things that the more expensive software does, that the other software cannot do, I do not see how you can justify recommending that others buy it.

My software recommendation posts make specific comparisons between different software, for example:

Importing an Excel TB to Digita takes far longer and and is far more difficult than importing it to VT.

or

Backing up and restoring VT and TaxCalc files is much easier than backing up Digita files.

I really don't think saying "I recommend xxx because I like it", or something like that, gives anyone enough information to make a decision.

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01st Sep 2012 11:31

Backing up & importing

I haven't used VT or TaxCalc (at least for a long time) so I can't compare directly but I do know that I can backup my data in Digita very easily. So easily that I don't feel the need to look for any software that does it easier. I know you had problems with backing up Digita data but it would appear to be because you didn't do the backup how Digita recommends. They have their own free utility to backup because the software uses MS SQL.

I prefer to not import TBs because I like to consider where I want every line of a TB to appear and importing may mean I overlook something. It takes me a few minutes to enter a TB for most clients. If I had a really big TB I may consider importing.

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By chatman
01st Sep 2012 17:41

@Peter: Digita usability issues

petersaxton wrote:
I know you had problems with backing up Digita data but it would appear to be because you didn't do the backup how Digita recommends.

That was not me Peter. Convoluted thought they were, I managed to follow Digita's instructions. What I believe you are referring to is the email Digita sent out saying that it had come to their attention that many people were failing to follow the special procedure required to back up Digita data, and were therefore ending up without backups of their data without realising it. I believe your response was that it was their own fault, and I make no comment on this. However, if it is difficult enough for many people to get it wrong, it cannot be that easy, and certainly not as easy as VT/TaxCalcBTC/QuickBooks etc which fit seamlessly into one's existing backup procedure with absolutely no effort at all. In my opinion (and probably that of the Digita users who got it wrong, and lost their data), it is not simple.

petersaxton wrote:
They have their own free utility to backup because the software uses MS SQL.
Yes, this makes Digita products more problematic, I once got a problem with MSSQL and I could not use Digita until it was sorted. I can always use VT/TaxCalc etc regardless of how MSSQL is working. It adds an extra layer of things that can go wrong.

petersaxton wrote:
I prefer to not import TBs because I like to consider where I want every line of a TB to appear and importing may mean I overlook something. It takes me a few minutes to enter a TB for most clients. If I had a really big TB I may consider importing.

I know the Digita import issue is not a problem for you Peter, and this is good, but for people who want to import data it is a problem.

Regarding the help line issue, I am sure it is easier sometimes to call them rather than try to investigate how to do something, but with other products it is obvious how to do things without even trying. Digita products are not as user friendly as the others I have tried.

I understand Digita works for you Peter, and that is good; I am simply trying to point out to potential buyers specific issues they might have with Digita products, compared with other, cheaper alternatives, and that certain claimed benefits, such as "integration" (which basically means buying all their products) are not actually that beneficial. I feel that justifying my recommendations by reference to specific issues makes them more useful.

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01st Sep 2012 18:34

"Issues"?

 

“That was not me Peter. Convoluted thought they were, I managed to follow Digita's instructions. What I believe you are referring to is the email Digita sent out saying that it had come to their attention that many people were failing to follow the special procedure required to back up Digita data, and were therefore ending up without backups of their data without realising it. I believe your response was that it was their own fault, and I make no comment on this. However, if it is difficult enough for many people to get it wrong, it cannot be that easy, and certainly not as easy as VT/TaxCalcBTC/QuickBooks etc which fit seamlessly into one's existing backup procedure with absolutely no effort at all. In my opinion (and probably that of the Digita users who got it wrong, and lost their data), it is not simple.”

You say they were “convoluted” but I don’t see what is convoluted in running a backup program, selecting backup and choosing which program to back up. You can schedule backups if you want.

When things are as simple as that and some people still complain you have to ask where the fault lies. I think the people who used other backup programs were technicians who haven’t been made aware of the requirements by the people who chose the program.

Outlook cannot be backed up by standard backup programs. Should everybody stop using Outlook?

Just because something requires a small amount of thought doesn’t mean it unusable. Many of these cheap and cheerful packages simply won’t work perfectly in certain situations. With Digita, if you need it to deal with something unusual, you can phone technical support and they will be very helpful at going through something that you don’t deal with regularly.

“Yes, this makes Digita products more problematic, I once got a problem with MSSQL and I could not use Digita until it was sorted. I can always use VT/TaxCalc etc regardless of how MSSQL is working. It adds an extra layer of things that can go wrong.”

It’s a bit like computers themselves. If you are using a computer and it stops working you may have to get somebody to fix it. That doesn’t mean you should go back to analysis pads. I accept it can be frustrating if things go wrong over the weekend but usually it’s no big deal and it’s not like things go wrong regularly. I’ve been using Digita for about five years now and I think I’ve only had one issue over a weekend. If I have a problem with one program I can use the others or do something else for a few hours.

You act like there are dozens of people unable to use Digita for hours on end. I think you would find Digita would be getting the bad press that Sage and CCH get but the vast majority of users are very happy with it.

“I know the Digita import issue is not a problem for you Peter, and this is good, but for people who want to import data it is a problem.”

What is this “Digita import issue”? I’ve imported csv files without any problems.

“I am sure it is easier sometimes to call them rather than try to investigate how to do something, but with other products it is obvious how to do things without even trying. Digita products are not as user friendly as the others I have tried.”

It may be easy to do what they can do but I doubt that most other software can do all the things that Digita can do. I chose Digita over Iris. I’m sure lots of people like Iris. I had a demonstration of Iris and asked if it could do something and regarding this feature it was inflexible. I asked Digita and they could explain how it needed to be set up. I think it is an advantage of Digita that it deals with what users want – even advanced users – I mean people who need to do more than the run of the mill all the time. The Accounts Production software has a myriad of options and I don’t try to understand them because 99% of the time I don’t need them. If I worked for a top 10 firm we may have a Digita reports expert but Digita understand that it makes more sense for me to phone up and get an unusual issue dealt with in five minutes than me learning all about reports.

“I am simply trying to point out to potential buyers specific issues they might have with Digita products”. I’ve not thought that anything you mentioned was an “issue”. OK, some people didn’t back up their data using the Digita supplied backup tool which is mentioned everywhere but I would think 99.9% of Digita users do use it.

“certain claimed benefits, such as "integration" (which basically means buying all their products) are not actually that beneficial.”

I would disagree. I like the idea that I can put in dates or addresses once and Digita uses that information all over. I am happy with all of Digita’s programs so I don’t worry about using other programs. I could understand your point if people criticise one or more of the Digita offerings but I find criticism such as this is very rare.

“I feel that justifying my recommendations by reference to specific issues makes them more useful.”

What are the justifications of your recommendations? The only points you seem to have made relate to MSSQL and backup which I cannot accept the validity of either. I get bored of reading how you have to use the Digita backup tool all the time so I am amazed that not using it is supposed to be the fault of Digita. Digita makes use of MSSQL server so it can store and retrieve data efficiently and it’s better than limiting the ability of the software to avoid the very rare problems which I have not encountered.

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By chatman
02nd Sep 2012 00:20

@Peter

Blimey, this is quite a long one. I am regretting promising to reply now!

petersaxton wrote:
You say they were “convoluted” but I don’t see what is convoluted in running a backup program, selecting backup and choosing which program to back up. You can schedule backups if you want.

When things are as simple as that and some people still complain you have to ask where the fault lies. I think the people who used other backup programs were technicians who haven’t been made aware of the requirements by the people who chose the program.

I still maintain that if a significant number of people got it wrong, there is a problem. In addition, with my other data I do nothing at all and it gets backed up. Surely doing something is harder than doing nothing at all.

petersaxton wrote:
Outlook cannot be backed up by standard backup programs. Should everybody stop using Outlook?

It can.

petersaxton wrote:
Just because something requires a small amount of thought doesn’t mean it unusable.
 

No, but it is a point against it. And points mount up.

petersaxton wrote:
Many of these cheap and cheerful packages simply won’t work perfectly in certain situations.
 

Nothing's perfect. No-one is claiming it is.

petersaxton wrote:
With Digita, if you need it to deal with something unusual, you can phone technical support and they will be very helpful at going through something that you don’t deal with regularly.
 

My experience was that it was not just the unusual stuff.

petersaxton wrote:
It’s a bit like computers themselves. If you are using a computer and it stops working you may have to get somebody to fix it. That doesn’t mean you should go back to analysis pads.
 

Of course not, but that is no reason to look for more things to go wrong. The more resources a programme requires in order to work, the more there is to go wrong, and if it requires another programme in order to work, that is another thing to go wrong.

petersaxton wrote:
You act like there are dozens of people unable to use Digita for hours on end
 

I have no idea how long Digita users waste on these things. Certainly I have made no such assertions.

petersaxton wrote:
the vast majority of users are very happy with it.
 

How do you know?

petersaxton wrote:
What is this “Digita import issue”? I’ve imported csv files without any problems.
 

I thought you didn't bother with importing, Peter. Your response up until now has always been that it is not an issue for you because you input everything.

The issue is that it never seemed to work first time for me. It was a long time ago now, but I always remember it had problems with account names or numbers. I think leading zeros caused it problems, among other things. Maybe I am just stupid, but in that case, VT seems to be stupid proof, and that is surely a point in its favour over Digita.

petersaxton wrote:
OK, some people didn’t back up their data using the Digita supplied backup tool which is mentioned everywhere but I would think 99.9% of Digita users do use it.
 

I don't know where you got that figure from Peter, andI do not pretend to know the correct one, but if it was only 0.1% failing to understand it, I do not think they would have bothered with emailing their entire customer base.

petersaxton wrote:
I like the idea that I can put in dates or addresses once and Digita uses that information all over
 

So do I Peter, but I don't think it is such a big thing. I have stated that I think it is a benefit, but I think it is a tiny one, dwarfed by the other Digita failings.

petersaxton wrote:
What are the justifications of your recommendations?
 

They are written all over in this and other threads; you cannot fail to have seen them; it is the only thing I write about: backups, imports, the clunkiness of the Digita/MSSQL set up, speed, user-unfriendliness. When I say I justify my recommendations, I mean I give specific examples to support my no-to-Digita recommendation.

petersaxton wrote:
The only points you seem to have made relate to MSSQL and backup
 

Really Peter? I haven't even mentioned imports?

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01st Sep 2012 19:02

Two or three views

 

Ireallyshouldknowabout this:

“Re Digita - the reporting is good. I have just recently ditched it in favour of VT as VT works better for our practice which is heavily excel driven and I was hacked off with Digita's iXBRL integration which does now work but was very clunky and wasting a lot of time. VT is quite basic in terms of reporting so would not be ideal if you have lots of decent sized clients with complex notes as you will have to write most of the text yourself. But for tiddlers (small service business etc) then its really good and quick to use IF you spend a couple of hours modifying the templates. The defaults are not too great. If I had a few more larger clients (I only have 3 of any size) I might be tempted to have a small user licence for Digita and the rest on VT (ie the consultants and all the other small fry)”

Chatman:

“I used Digita for a few years, but moved to VT and TaxCalc a soon as I found time to evaluate a few new packages.

Digita was awful: expensive, slow, user-unfriendly and the pricing is very misleading. They make it appear that things are included in the price of a package only to reveal (after you have bought the package) that the functionality you wanted is restricted and you have to pay extra to enable it. Their technical people are nice but the company is run by the marketing department.

VT and TaxCalc were like a breath of fresh air and save me hours over Digita every month.

Don't fall for the integration myth; there is only a certain amount you can integrate. The biggest time waster for me was manually inputting a TB into Digita, as imports were so difficult; with VT it takes seconds each time. Altering notes to the accounts was hard work in Digita too, but very easy in VT. Same goes for amending the chart of accounts.  Huge resource hog too.  These are just things that spring to mind several years after leaving them.

Backups in Digita are hard work too. Digita once had to send out an email telling their customers that many of them were not backing up their data properly because the process was so complicated.”

Digita did get iXBRL wrong. It was still workable but it took too long. Digita realised their mistake and sorted it out within three months and in the meantime helped users with videos and extra support. Time may have gone up on Accounts Production from 30 minutes to one hour and luckily it wasn’t a busy time for preparing iXBRL accounts.

The “extra products” are:

Dividend data feed, Trust tax, Data mining, Deferred tax, and Group relief.

I’ve never had the need to use any of the above products.

I’ve been able to do all the “data mining” I have needed without buying an add-in.

I accept that accounts submission to Companies House is done via Company Secretarial rather than Accounts Production which seems a little strange.

I cannot agree with any of: “Digita was awful: expensive, slow, user-unfriendly”

I can count on one hand people I have met who have used Digita in their accounting practice and don’t like it.

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By chatman
01st Sep 2012 20:00

IRIS

I used IRIS for payroll once and it nearly made me cry. Everything was so difficult. Moneysoft was a godsend, even back in the days when they were rude to everyone.

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By Old Greying Accountant
02nd Sep 2012 21:34

Was that ...

chatman wrote:

I used IRIS for payroll once and it nearly made me cry. Everything was so difficult. Moneysoft was a godsend, even back in the days when they were rude to everyone.

PAYE Master? A package the bought in but ditched as it was not good, or the old Earnie software they bought from Intex, which I had when still Intex and running on DOS, and IMVHO is one of the best payroll packages out there, so simple a blind baboon with no fingers could use it?

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01st Sep 2012 20:20

 

 

“once in a blue moon for registered office”

I don’t know about you but a lot of my clients seem to change registered office and home address every couple of years.

“The time saved by not having to call Digita all the time is also greater than this on its own.”

Why do you have to call Digita all the time?

“You're right, Peter; it is clearly not difficult for you and many others, but definitely unnecessary hassle for me, and it was obviously difficult for some people or Digita would not have had to send out that email. If you have an automatic backup set for all your practice files, then when you start using VT/Taxcalc etc the backup just happens. You don't even have to think about yellow circles and green circles or, in fact, any set up at all.”

I’m talking about integration not backup. The circles are related to integration. Maybe that's why you get confused?

I’ve shown you how I do backups. Can you explain what is difficult about it? You totally ignore my point about Outlook and backups.

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By chatman
01st Sep 2012 23:50

@Peter

petersaxton wrote:
Why do you have to call Digita all the time?

To find out how to use their software. You mentioned that calling them is easier than looking it up. My point was that with more user-friendly software, you don't even have to look things up as things are more obvious.

petersaxton wrote:
I’m talking about integration not backup. The circles are related to integration. Maybe that's why you get confused?
Sorry my mistake. Ignore everything I said abut circles and my point is the same

petersaxton wrote:
I’ve shown you how I do backups. Can you explain what is difficult about it? You totally ignore my point about Outlook and backups.

Sorry Peter I must have missed the bit about Outlook and how you do backups. I did not ignore you intentionally. I will go back and respond now.

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01st Sep 2012 20:23

I think this is the email you are talking about

 

Are you backing up your client data?

Following recent support calls it appears that while many of you believe you are backing up your client data, upon investigation it transpires that in many cases the backup method being employed is not actually giving you a reliable backup.

We would therefore strongly advise you to review your backup procedures taking into account the following considerations:

All Digita software (except FileCabinet) uses the Microsoft SQL Server database engine to manage your data. Because SQL Server runs as a service on your computer the data files are constantly in use and can only be backed up in very specific ways.

Simply making copies of the data or installation files, or including these files or directory in a scheduled file copy is not satisfactory.

Similarly, if you use a third party automated backup system, just setting this to include the installation or data files may not work - and even if it does it is possible that the resultant copies cannot be restored. Since the files are constantly in use they may not be copied at all leaving you with no form of backup.

If you outsource your IT support to a third party you should ensure that they are aware of these considerations and should ask them to verify that the backups they are taking can be restored if required.

If you do not have access to the full version of SQL Server, or you use backup software which does not specifically cater for SQL databases, then the only recommended method of backing up your data is to use the Digita Database Backup tool. This tool can be used to take backups of your data and to archive these backups to a different location. Archiving compresses the backup file and makes it easy for your data to be stored away from your local hard drive for added security in the event of hardware failure.

The Digita Database Backup tool

The Digita Database Backup tool is installed automatically on the main PC/Server (on which the database is held) whenever you install any Digita product (excluding FileCabinet) and is accessed via Start>Programs>Digita>Database Backup. A tutorial is also available via the same route. This tool allows you to Backup, Archive, Extract and Restore your data, it also allows you to manage the resulting backup files and schedule backups. Note that the Digita Database Backup tool will produce a new backup file every time it is run so you will need to use the tool to manage these backups to avoid using excessive hard disk space.

Combining the use of the Digita Database Backup tool to schedule the backup of your database(s) with some form of automated backup solution would provide one potential solution to your Digita database backup requirements.

In the unfortunate circumstance where you need to restore your data from a backup, matters are made significantly worse if you discover that the backups you've been making are not valid or restorable. Therefore, whichever method you use to backup your data, it is vitally important that you periodically check that the backups being made are valid and restorable, ideally by performing a test restore on a different system.

Scheduling Backups

Although Microsoft have withdrawn the scheduling service from SQL Express 2005 or later, it is possible to use Windows Scheduler to perform the same functions. If you would like more information about this issue, please contact Digita Support together with the version of Windows you are running.

Important Note: Digita can provide you with the relevant information - it is your responsibility to ensure that the scheduling is set-up and working correctly.

Moving your Digita programs to a new PC or server

Further to the information above, if you are moving the software to a new PC or server you should use the Digita Database Backup tool to Backup and Archive your data on the old machine, copy the archive file to the new PC, then after installing the Digita software on the new PC, use the Digita Database Backup tool to Extract and Restore the data.

Simply copying the data files to the new PC will not work and may result in a corrupt installation on the new system.

Additionally, please note that you need to actually install the software on the new system. Again, just copying the program files on to the new system will result in an incomplete installation.

Further details can be found on our user area.

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By chatman
01st Sep 2012 23:44

That's it

petersaxton wrote:
I think this is the email you are talking about

That's the one.

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02nd Sep 2012 07:59

There's more than just me and chatman who have views on Digita

 

“I still maintain that if a significant number of people got it wrong, there is a problem. In addition, with my other data I do nothing at all and it gets backed up. Surely doing something is harder than doing nothing at all.”

With Digita you can schedule the backups and it gets backed up much in the same way as your present backups.

You say Outlook can be backed up using standard backup programs.

http://community.mozy.com/t5/Mozy-for-Windows/Problem-with-large-Outlook-pst-files-not-being-backed-up/td-p/2488

You say that requiring a small amount of thought is a point against a program.

Sometimes thought is good and it’s a small price to pay to do something better.

You say that you had to phone Digita to deal with things you do regularly.

I don’t have to do that.

“The more resources a programme requires in order to work, the more there is to go wrong, and if it requires another programme in order to work, that is another thing to go wrong.”

I think that’s a very negative attitude. My attitude is if a program works better in conjunction with another program that’s better than using a program that doesn’t work as well.

I have no idea how long Digita users waste on these things. Certainly I have made no such “assertions.”

I’ve talked to lots of Digita users and lots of practicing accountants and you are the only one to be “wasting time”.

“I thought you didn't bother with importing, Peter. Your response up until now has always been that it is not an issue for you because you input everything.”

I don’t but I have tried it out in the past. I decided that when the results didn’t look like I expected that it’s best to ensure that I think about each individual item as I go along. I hope that’s cleared that up and not given you the impression I was lying to win an atgument!

“The issue is that it never seemed to work first time for me. It was a long time ago now, but I always remember it had problems with account names or numbers. I think leading zeros caused it problems, among other things. Maybe I am just stupid, but in that case, VT seems to be stupid proof, and that is surely a point in its favour over Digita.”

This is how Digita say that you should do it:

Importing a CSV posting document

1. It is essential that the CSV file is in the following format:

            Column A         Column B                  Column C             Column D

Row A Nominal Code    Nominal Description     Debit Entries           Credit Entries

2. In the client in question, click on the Posting tab

3. Go to the Import button and select CSV Balances

4. Choose the saved CSV file

5. Under the Sheet options either choose Import code balances as a single sheet if you want to merge totals for each code or Import as separate sheet if you would like a separate line for each entry in the spreadsheet

6. Map VAT codes if prompted

7. Map Nominal codes

8. It is possible to save this mapping of the imported to the Accounts Production codes for any future imports. Simply click on Save Map in the bottom right.

9. Click ok twice

10. The document should now have imported into the Posting tab

That doesn’t seem too difficult.

“I don't know where you got that figure from Peter, andI do not pretend to know the correct one, but if it was only 0.1% failing to understand it, I do not think they would have bothered with emailing their entire customer base.”

It was an estimate. I don’t see why Digita shouldn’t remind their customers even if a couple of them had not been using the backup too.

“So do I Peter, but I don't think it is such a big thing. I have stated that I think it is a benefit, but I think it is a tiny one, dwarfed by the other Digita failings.”

What about all the other data that is integrated that I listed?

“Really Peter? I haven't even mentioned imports?”

You didn’t explain what is wrong until your last post.

Overall I think my views are more representative of people who have used Digita either now or in the past. You also seem to have an extreme dislike of QuickBooks, which for all it's faults, must be the best desktop accounting software around.

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By chatman
02nd Sep 2012 11:54

I surrender

 

I looked at your Mozy page, Peter, and although it is not true to say that Outlook cannot be backed up by standard backup programmes, I see that some people had problems with backing up their pst files back in 2010. In answer to your question, yes, this is a point against Outlook, and is a good reason to look for alternatives. I barely use Outlook as the large files it generates can be unstable. My old pst file is still backed up by default and the last time I tested a restore it worked.

petersaxton wrote:

You say that requiring a small amount of thought is a point against a program.

No, I said that it involves more work than backing up a normal data file and that it was too difficult for some people to do properly.

petersaxton wrote:

it’s a small price to pay to do something better.

Better?

petersaxton wrote:
You say that you had to phone Digita to deal with things you do regularly.  I don’t have to do that.

I was responding to your stated need to call Digita for help.

petersaxton wrote:
“The more resources a programme requires in order to work, the more there is to go wrong, and if it requires another programme in order to work, that is another thing to go wrong.”

I think that’s a very negative attitude. My attitude is if a program works better in conjunction with another program that’s better than using a program that doesn’t work as well.

I agree with your last sentence, Peter, but if a programme does work as well, why go for theone with the extra level of complexity and increased scope for problems?

petersaxton wrote:
I’ve talked to lots of Digita users and lots of practicing accountants and you are the only one to be “wasting time”.

I could point to comments on this site saying the same as me about Digita (by ShirleyM or Monsoon, I can’t remember which) but anecdotal evidence will get us nowhere as it cannot be verified and has no statistical relevance.

 

petersaxton wrote:
This is how Digita say that you should do it:... That doesn’t seem too difficult.

You’re right, it doesn’t seem to difficult, but it never seemed to work first go for me. As I say, maybe VT is just more stupid proof than Digita.

petersaxton wrote:
“I don't know where you got that figure from Peter, and I do not pretend to know the correct one, but if it was only 0.1% failing to understand it, I do not think they would have bothered with emailing their entire customer base.”

It was an estimate.

An estimate or a guess?

petersaxton wrote:
You didn’t explain what is wrong until your last post.

These are the points I make every time we discuss this issue Peter.

petersaxton wrote:
You also seem to have an extreme dislike of QuickBooks

Don’t start me on QuickBooks.

 

I came home on Saturday night and found myself responding to this thread, and it was the first thing I saw in my inbox this morning. We are repeating the same arguments over and over again. I surrender. I accept that Digita is not over-priced; the import procedure works perfectly; the backup procedure is as easy as doing nothing, and does not produce enormous files; it is not user-unfriendly; requiring MSSQL causes no extra problems, and the company is not dominated by the non-technical sales and marketing departments. I will not disagree with any further point you make.

I have one last question though Peter: which other final accounts and tax programmes have you used? I promise to make no comment in this thread

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02nd Sep 2012 13:10

You don't need to promise anything

 

“I looked at your Mozy page, Peter, and although it is not true to say that Outlook cannot be backed up by standard backup programmes, I see that some people had problems with backing up their pst files back in 2010. In answer to your question, yes, this is a point against Outlook, and is a good reason to look for alternatives. I barely use Outlook as the large files it generates can be unstable. My old pst file is still backed up by default and the last time I tested a restore it worked.”

Outlook isn’t perfect but it is the best so I wouldn’t change to another program. I’m just being practical.

“No, I said that it involves more work than backing up a normal data file and that it was too difficult for some people to do properly.”

No, I don’t think anybody has said it’s too difficult to do it properly. They have simply not used the tool that would make it easy.

“I was responding to your stated need to call Digita for help.”

Above you said: “I used to use Digita, and one of the problems was that frequency with which I needed to call the help line.”

I said I phoned Digita for help with features I didn’t use regularly.

“I agree with your last sentence, Peter, but if a programme does work as well, why go for theone with the extra level of complexity and increased scope for problems?”

I don’t think anybody thinks VT works as well as Digita – it certainly doesn’t work in all situations. Maybe it does work with all small and normal companies.

“I could point to comments on this site saying the same as me about Digita (by ShirleyM or Monsoon, I can’t remember which) but anecdotal evidence will get us nowhere as it cannot be verified and has no statistical relevance.”

ShirleyM has not used Digita so I don’t think it would be her.

“Anecdotal evidence will get us nowhere”? I think that is what most people on AccountingWeb look for. Are you suggesting there is something better available?

“You’re right, it doesn’t seem to difficult, but it never seemed to work first go for me. As I say, maybe VT is just more stupid proof than Digita.”

Maybe it’s just that VT doesn’t try to do some things that Digita can do, I’m not referring to importing.

“An estimate or a guess?”

An estimate – a guess would be when I would have had no experience of how most people respond when provided with a simple backup tool and warned that using another method will not work.

“These are the points I make every time we discuss this issue Peter.”

I don’t remember that. You usually say that you had problems – or even that it’s “unworkable” - and didn’t go into detail.

“Don’t start me on QuickBooks.”

I wouldn’t want to. Your complaint usually seemed to be based on experiences years ago which are rarely relevant now and are at the mercy of your memory.

“I came home on Saturday night and found myself responding to this thread, and it was the first thing I saw in my inbox this morning. We are repeating the same arguments over and over again. I surrender. I accept that Digita is not over-priced; the import procedure works perfectly; the backup procedure is as easy as doing nothing, and does not produce enormous files; it is not user-unfriendly; requiring MSSQL causes no extra problems, and the company is not dominated by the non-technical sales and marketing departments. I will not disagree with any further point you make.”

I think the above will enable people to judge who is more rational regarding this topic. I didn’t even contribute to the thread until I saw you making FIVE comments but now you seem to be complaining about me commenting!

“I have one last question though Peter: which other final accounts and tax programmes have you used? I promise to make no comment in this thread”

I used TaxCalc many years ago and one or two other personal tax programs. I used to use a combination of Excel and Word for company accounts and tax. I haven’t used any other final accounts programs but I have seen how Sage has problems with adding up. All Digita’s software has enabled me to prepare what I need with 10 minutes, 30 minutes or 60 minutes at the most. I’m certainly not going to research for something “better” or cheaper when I’m more than happy with what it does.

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04th Sep 2012 10:47

Hubris

is alive and well and i thought i had left him in Greece, nice to sit next to Nemesis on easyosophy airlines back to gatwick

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04th Sep 2012 11:05

Greece?

My wife collected customers from the airport (she's a small minicab operator) and they'd been mugged twice in Greece on a 10 day holiday.

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By Old Greying Accountant
04th Sep 2012 11:44

With IRIS ...

... once a client is set up, which is easy and quick in itself, you could produce a soletrade set of accounts and tax return (from excel analysis sheets) within 10 - 20 miutes. The limiting factor is printer speed (yes I still print them, its a comfort thing).

Using IRIS Automail, the letter and bill are virtually done for you, just a tweak to personalise for the specific client.

Difficult to assess the usability of IRIS as I have grown with it from its DOS days over from pre SA. I find it easy and intuitive, and in my opinion the integration is very important and saves much time, and now personal tax can import dividends from the CoSec module is pretty much perfect.

The only further integration that would be useful would be to share databases with the payroll software 

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VT and BTC
Just picking up on that last point. I find preparing a set of accounts in VT, tax return in BTC and letter from Word template a much quicker experience than I did in Iris!

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