IRIS readies iXBRL accounts tools for launch

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John Stokdyk reports on the product announcements and gossip at the London IRIS World 2010 event on 5 October.

iXBRL accounts prep programs almost ready for launch
The tax and accounting practice wing of IRIS went public with a working demonstration of the iXBRL tools in its next accounts production software release that will let accountants comply with next April's electronic filing requirements for Corporation Tax returns.

The new iXBRL module is currently undergoing user testing and will be available with Version 10.4 of the IRIS Practice Suite. IRIS promised the delivery date would be "in October" to give practitioners a chance to test the software before the onset of Self Assessment season.

PTP is using the same underlying engine and the PTP Accounts Production iXBRL Version will be available at the same time.

First sight of IRIS Accounts Production iXBRL moduleIRIS product director Simon Witkiss (right) demonstrated the iXBRL-compatible IRIS 10.4 accounts production system at the IRIS World event in London on Tuesday. Where tax computations are automatic, every set of accounts is different, so IRIS provides a standard iXBRL template with the application along with tag editor that allows the user to add and adapt their own iXBRL definitions, Witkiss explained.

"You can make a change when you enter the data or when you've got a report where you want it and you want to tag the final version," he said.

"The software has an integrated taxonomy browser which is aware of HMRC's minimum list and integrates into the IRIS workflow and permission systems to control tagging."

The editing tool opens a view of what the accounts look like on a printed page, but the numbers within the accounts are ringed by small on-screen boxes. A blue box indicates an item that has been matched to iXBRL tags, and a red highlight box indicates that no tag has been assigned to a figure, with possible options displayed in an accompanying on-screen menu. The tags applied to one set of accounts can be stored for use with other sets.

The final accounts are then finalised, locked and validated against HMRC's filing rules. The resulting iXBRL file can be saved externally, or the user can tick a box within the output menu to make the file available for the Business Tax module to submit along with its iXBRL computations file as part of the electronic CT600 pack.

Since April, IRIS has been promoting its "iXBRL compatibility" before this final piece of the process was actually available. By the end of the month the company should be able to claim full compliance with HMRC's filing requirements.

IRIS Accountancy Practice Solutions managing director Phill Robinson responded to this point by explaining the mechanics behind the company's seven-figure iXBRL development project.

"We decided to do it as a two-stage project," he said. "We could have coded IRIS for tax and accounts in April, and tackled PTP and Drummohr later. We decided to do it in two lots so as not to disadvantage PTP and Drummohr customers."

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Video interview with Phill Robinson

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IRIS World 2010 is a series of free one-day events taking place on between 5 and 20 October in Warwick, Leeds and Glasgow. To find out more and reserve your ticket, click here.

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Highlight of the day

The above iXBRL intro/demo and afternoon session taking us all back to basics on the topic were well judged and presented (ie I stayed awake and understood it all).  In particular I'm please to see the ability to determine tagging at both input and report stages and the screen and interface Simon demo'd looked well designed.

As always with Iris and other providers "the proof of the pudding etc" and so, as we will be in the rare position of trying out an update before it's needed, I would echo the request to try it out well in advance of the deadline and feedback the inevitable bugs (significant or otherwise!).  In this way we should end up with "fit for purpose" functionality come 1 April.

As they clearly did with HMRC, my hope is that Iris can now persuade Companies House to come up with workable arrangements for electronic submission.

 

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Clarification of the Opendocs situation

Sorry folks, I got a couple of points wrong in my original report on the document managment module launch. Invu's Mark Palmer got in touch to ask me to point out that IRIS is not the exclusive distributor to the accountants mark for Invu, as orginally reported. Existing partners such as Scan Worx and Lindenhouse retain the right to sell Invu in this market.

This point was quite important, Palmer said, because "They bring a lot to the party and have built up a great deal of knowledge in the domain. This is not just IRIS, but also to practices using other vendors software e.g. Sage, CCH et al."

The full IRIS integration within Opendocs is exclusive to IRIS, he confirmed.

The figure of 500 accountant users also applies to Invu as a whole rather than just IRIS users.

My apologies to all concerned. I'll try harder next time and as is often the case with software news, it's always worth looking at the stuff yourself and asking suppliers the questions you'd like to find out more about.

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