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Accounting Practice Software

Accounting Practice Software

At present we use CCH software for Practice Management, Tax returns, Corporation Tax, Accounts Production etc.

The costs just keep going up and up and the promised integration is taking  a long time.

We have stuck with it because of the hassle of changing and because of Trust accounts which IRIS do not do but I'm beginnning to wonder whether we would be better off changing to IRIS, even if we have to keep the CCH Trust Accounts module. 

How have others who have changed from CCH to IRIS found the transfer?


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By Jimess
08th Mar 2012 14:53

CCH v Iris

Strangely enough I am considering changing from Iris for pretty much the same reasons - i.e costs just keep escalating and I think for smaller practitioners Iris has become pretty expensive because of the way they structure their client bands.  I can't say whether you would be better off or not, but my experience of Iris is that their costs per client for smaller practitioners start off fairly reasonable for very small bands of clients - i.e up to 20 clients, but once you get past their magical 50 accounts clients mark the costs are exhorbitantly expensive per client.  I have stuck with them up to now because I like their product and I have been an Iris user for a good number of years so changing to something else is a bit like leaving home.  Iris don't have Trust Accounts but they do have a trust tax module which is pretty good.  I don't know if Iris will be open to negotiation. If you do make the move on to Iris, you will like the product and it's ease of integration, the benchmarking at upgrade time is a bit frustrating and over the last few years there have been numerous upgrades to upgrades to correct glitches, but most of the time it is there and it just works, it's a powerhouse.  I would just say watch the ongoing costs each year though.  We got a 25% hike in our Iris fees last year right across the board (we currently use Iris payroll also but are seriously looking at moving on to Moneysoft for 2012/13 - saving over £500 per year)

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08th Mar 2012 15:40

Digita's bands are great. The vast majority seem to increase in increments of 25 clients and it's only when you use the client in the particular program that it is included in the 25. That means you can have a lot more than 25 clients going at any one time. Obviously you are likely to have to update the number of clients at some time but it can take some time given that some clients drop off altogether or at least in some programs.

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By newmoon
08th Mar 2012 19:02

Second vote for Digita
We used Iris until 2006, when we felt it was getting too expensive, and moved to Sage which was priced competitively, although not integrated.
What Sage didn't make clear was that they were working on a 3 year price deal after which the prices rocketed.
We moved to Digita in 2010 and are pleased with the move, and their prices are OK.
They aren't the cheapest but I reckon they are probably the most cost effective.

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15th Mar 2012 10:37

Other options...

...are limited, but certainly look at DIGITA. They have more price breaks and happy users. The support is good as well - maybe see a demo or get a trial.

(Note - we have no vested interest, but know the software very well having worked there for many years in a previous life...)

Oh, and in all cases discuss fixing the price for 3 years - this applies to all vendors and they will do this.


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12th Mar 2012 16:33

migration not such an issue - but price is

What I find really interesting about this thread is that no one is saying it is difficult to migrate from one tax program to another. I suppose this is because we are all becoming much more savvy in terms of using the software but also because most software providers seem to be able to make it quite easy to switch and migrate your old data.

I recently attended a rather good seminar by Digita introducing their suite of products (I currently use TaxCalc) and nobody attending seemed the least bit worried about migrating from their existing suite.

Ultimately, I think this should be good news for us as practitioners. The more we are prepared to switch software packages then this should help keep prices down.

I find it interesting that the discussion here is really about price, and I completely agree. The Digita pricing proposition was prefaced by a slideshow showing how much time saved by an integrated suite could be translated into extra fees. Tens of thousands according to the presentation. Unfortunately, as I am already at capacity and not intending to take on new business (I have a life) time saved does not translate into extra fees.

Incidentally, I didn't switch to Digita -  I am holding out for tax software in the cloud accessed through a browser (like Xero for accounts) which, as a Mac user, means I can finally dump my Windows emulator.

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By newmoon
to johnmatt271002
13th Mar 2012 12:13

Cloud Digita and Migration


Firstly about cloud, we have used Digita for two years and are about to take the plunge and have everything hosted with This option effectively makes Digita cloud software, as well as doing the same with Microsoft Office etc.

We have tested the demo version fo and specifically the Digita suite, and it seems to work fine and quickly (in particular two of us who have tested it live in semi-rural areas with not especially quick broadband, and Digita works fine - quicker than it works in the office, so presumably must have quicker servers than we have, OR it's because there are only three or four clients on the demao version (I need to check up on this)!

Its in a completely different leage from using Logmein to access your office computer from home.

We also use Xero and I'd say access to Digita via is at about the same speed.

Incidentally will also host Sage Line 50, so that becomes cloud also.

I've no connection to, but after this post might ask for extra discount!!

As far as migration goes, I think unexpected problems are always encountered along the way, no matter how much one plans. From recalling our migrating from Sage practice software to Digita, I think the actual migration went OK, but the major work is in making sure you have pdfs or similar of all the information from the last 3 years from the old software. There is quite a bit of work doing this,and in retrospect it would have been easier if we had taken these copies as we produced accounts and tax returns on Sage, rather than relying on the software.

The 'old' software provider is obliged to provide you with read only access to the old data, but obviously there isn't a big incentive to put anything but minimal resourses into this aspect. We kept the Sage software on an old computer, but after a year or so it denied access as timed out (but there is a way around this).


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By Old Greying Accountant
12th Mar 2012 17:06


Once you hit a level with IRIS you pay a fixed fee per module/user, it is not banded.

IRIS does I believe do trust tax, we don't use it but it is on the menu.

I believe IRIS also has a cloud option and that will be their preferred way going forward.

What is an acceptable cost per client for you?

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14th Mar 2012 11:11

Thanks for your comments.

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15th Mar 2012 11:30

Absolute Accounting


Absolute have a Trust module, can be purchased either as standalone or part of a bundle. Whilst I use their system for 2 yrs now I don't have need for the Trust module.



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15th Mar 2012 16:48


We have been moving all our clients to Xero, and our business is based around this service only. 

In the past we used Digita, currently tax calc (due to price mainly) but have looked at IRIS again as we start the new year. Simply due to its integration (Export/Import) with Xero.

Are there any Xero users who are able to export the GL codes directly into any of the accounts/tax packages at the moment?

Secondly I agree with TaxTeddy, we believe that the dekstop software market is to slow to respond and its fees not inline with service or product. We look forward to the day one of the major software houses commits to a web 2.0 accounts and tax service. 

In our opinion hosted desktop is the not the same as genuine 'cloud' products, (the same as Office 365), you can put lipstick on a pig...........


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By djn24
16th Mar 2012 15:03

CCH Software

I'm suprised that you are thinking of moving from CCH based on cost.  We changed to CCH around 3 years ago after narrowing it down to CCH and IRIS.  Iris would have worked out approx £4k per annum more!

Now that CCH have ironed out small issues with the new .net accounts package I have to say that the package is great.  Accounts are quick and look professional, tax return program is brilliant and corp tax does the job easily. Central saves us hours and hours too.  Even with IRIS offering to buy us out of our contract, I wouldn't consider moving from CCH.

The costs increas this year is 5% which we can swallow quite easily as long as it's not every year.  I don't work for CCH btw, I just think the software really is good and would definately reccomend it from pesonal experience.

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19th Mar 2012 09:53


At any point in time we have people migrating between packages whilst also moving to our hosting solution.

This generally works very well, but all parties do need to be organised so that a clear cut-off point is agreed, the data "migrated" and then available to load back into the new system.

In each case there are some nuances to watch out for - for example you might need to re-marry spouses within the system (as this is not transferred) or you might lose NI numbers for example. These "exceptions" should be detailed by the software company and so long as you know, can be dealt with.

Finally make sure you give yourself plenty of planning time for any migration - you want it well managed and not rushed.


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22nd Mar 2012 11:10

Iris Support

Has anyone else tried calling Iris support today??

I have just called and the support lines are closed?!

That's a little bit inconvenient don't you think?

I have been seeing the Sage banners about the "switching discount" everywhere, I am going to give them a call and get a quote, a 10% discount on renewal can't be bad.

If anyone else is peeved by this, Sages number is 0800 092 8091, worth a shot, even if it is just for a quote.

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By Old Greying Accountant
22nd Mar 2012 11:27

If you read your bulletins ...

... you would know they are closed for staff training today, I was sent this Monday so they did give good notice!  Better notice than HMRC give and a sensibly chosen time in my opinion, other than calling every customer personally I don't see they could have done it better.

Makes you wonder if you are a customer, as they say - if it smells like a rat...? Funny that IRIS used to be TT (Transaction Technology) and that you think SAGE might be better, and that you joined AW just after IRIS made the announcement, hmmmm!

"Dear Customer,


 IRIS, PTP & Drummohr Customer Support will be closed on Thursday 22nd March 2012 for staff training.


This is to ensure the Customer Support staff are fully prepared to respond to your queries during the new product releases and current legislation changes this April.

Please view our dedicated Customer Support web pages that have all the How To Guides, most common KB's and frequently asked questions, which remain available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Thank you for your understanding and please contact us well ahead of the close down Thursday with your queries to enable us to help you 

We will resume normal service on Friday 23rd March 2012 at 09.15am. 


Customer Support"

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to joanne.dixon62
22nd Mar 2012 11:28

I didn't get the comms

For some reason I don't know, but I didn't know about this.

I don't understand your reference to TT...must have missed something there.

Anyway, I have just come off the phone to Sage and they have indeed confirmed the 10% switching discount.

Thats something to think about.

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By petert
30th Nov 2012 11:09



Digita helpline is horrendous

Even after selecting the options on the phone so you call  goes to the relevant department ,

99% of the times the person  who answer is not competent in the area and  takes details for someone to call back.

Usually hear from them on the next day.  


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