IRIS opens up to the Cloud
The accountancy practice solutions wing of IRIS has pulled together several third party elements within its product portfolio to create Open Apps, a suite that includes online bookkeeping, document management, outsourcing and online application hosting.
Setting out the rationale behind the “open” branding that IRIS has embraced since he joined last year, IRIS Accountancy Practice Solutions managing director Phill Robinson explained that the latest initiative “is a combination of trying to clarify for our customers what our new technology strategy is and making sure they are able to derive benefits from Cloud computing and the internet”.
He continued: “We built a family of products that take advantage of the Cloud but integrate with existing solultions. We’ve got a really happy, loyal customer base that uses IRIS practice software; what we’re doing allows them to keep what they’ve got and take advantage of new technology.”
Four products and services are included as part of this week’s Open Apps announcement, all of them based on developments that have been introduced during the past two years:
- OpenBooks is an IRIS adaptation of FreeAgent Central version for accounting practices. Since IRIS took a minority share of the Cloud accounting company in March? The two developers have worked together to take a trial balance from FreeAgent into the IRIS practice suite. Open Books also includes a client dashboard to give the accountant an overview of clients’ financial health. “Open Books has most potential [of the Open Apps] because it can really change the way accounting firms work with their clients,” said Robinson. “Most small business owners only call their accountant 2-3 times a year. If you can have a real-time, online version of their financial position, the accountant can deliver real business advice.”
- Open Docs – IRIS recently extended its marketing partnership with Invu and this document management offering is the result. The accountant-specific version of Invu’s program has been rebranded and is now available exclusively through IRIS. The Open Docs archive links into the IRIS tax/practice suite and makes it possible for the accountant to publish documents to the net for clients to view. The product road map is working towards a secure web portal for sharing files.
- Open Hosting – Formerly known as IRIS Hosting, Open Hosting lets practices outsource all their office software - including Microsoft Office and Exchange as well as the IRIS Practice Suite - for a single, monthly fee of £99 per user per month. Our recent case study reported on the experiences of hosting pioneer Scott Sinclair
- IRIS Open Resourcing - Yet another rebranding of an existing service, the offshore tax and accounts processing service works in tandem with IRIS-qualified accountants and bookkeepers in Chennai, India. The remote accountants work via similar virtual private networks to those that carry the Open Hosting service, so the data remains in the UK. Having completed more than 20,000 jobs since the service was introduced in 2007, the outsourcing service is said to be one of the fastest growing parts of the IRIS business.
More elements will be added to the Open Apps suite, including a web portal “to pull this all together” later in the year, Robinson said.