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Iris buy out Hosted Accountants

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Received an email yesterday to advise the "good news" that Iris have bought Hosted Accountants.  It was timed after noon, so unfortunately not an April fool.  Might be good for the HA shareholders, but bad news for their users I suspect.

That's now five different companies that I've dealt with that have been taken over by Iris.  And so far that's four that I no longer deal with once Iris get their claws into them.  Not sure what I've done to deserve this.  And that doesn't include my trial with Iris software itself in the early days, where I requested and (eventually) got my money back.

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By leicsred
02nd Apr 2019 11:47

If you were to look around I would recommend having a look at Key Computers - we moved there about a year ago and they are much quicker than our previous provider.

Thanks (1)
By James Green
02nd Apr 2019 12:33

Always had good service from Hosted Desktop UK over the 5 years we’ve been with them.

Always been very responsive and focused on looking after us.

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By Moonbeam
02nd Apr 2019 12:50

Another vote for Hosted Desktop UK

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By SXGuy
02nd Apr 2019 12:55

sad day. I hope this isn't a sign that IRIS will be buying up all accountancy software in the future, because quite frankly, id rather go back to manual accounts than pay them anything. Shocking service, shocking terms, forcing customers to pay for additional 12 month licences due to their unfair 90 day cancellation policy, and skipping on renewal reminders.

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By Cloudcounter
02nd Apr 2019 13:00

Thanks for the recommendations. I'd already given notice of termination to HA. Six years ago it made sense to use a hosted service.

Since then we've moved to a cloud based tax service, moved our main client database and CRM system to the cloud and can now move accounts production to the cloud as well.

It no longer makes sense to me to log into a hosted system to log in to the cloud from there. We've always used Xero for most of our management accounting anyway and with more processes becoming cloud based the hosted platform is becoming irrelevant

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Replying to Cloudcounter:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
02nd Apr 2019 13:38

Well quite.

I think the director's have played a blinder quite frankly if getting shot of it and probably its peak before the business ceases to be relevant and becomes the fax machine of business world.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
By alan.rolfe
03rd Apr 2019 12:42

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

Well quite.

I think the director's have played a blinder quite frankly if getting shot of it and probably its peak before the business ceases to be relevant and becomes the fax machine of business world.

How dare you talk down the fax machine. So unjustified.

Fax is a GDPR-compliant means of secure communication between two endpoints and must surely be the future.

Forget MTD, fax is our future!!

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By johnhemming
02nd Apr 2019 13:47

The PE ratio for a trade sale is likely to beat other approaches.

It is also over time harder and harder for new entrants to get into these sorts of markets as the investment needed to develop sufficient software grows and grows over time.

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By Slim Freddie
02nd Apr 2019 17:13

IRIS strike again! Keytime and now Hosted Accountants. It's a sad day for competition in the market.

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By DaveyJonesLocker
03rd Apr 2019 10:34

I'm waiting to see what happens with Taxfiler, though it's been almost a year since they were taken over and no changes yet. I can't believe they'll leave well alone though.

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Replying to DaveyJonesLocker:
By johnhemming
03rd Apr 2019 11:58

I don't know much of the history here, but on a 5 minute scan the balance sheet of IRIS seems to be one based upon growth at least in part by acquisition. Generally you can get enough via EBITDA from an acquisition to pay the interest on the purchase price of acquisitions funded by debt. There are synergies from size and as a business plan I would think it is a mistake to try to force clients to change system.

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Replying to johnhemming:
Hallerud at Easter
03rd Apr 2019 13:01

Tax Assistant
PTP Software

Three I used that went to Iris, Tax Assistant was , with price increases following year on year post the move, the straw that broke the camel's back .

I really loved the software (has used since SA started) but the cost increase eventually had me head to TaxCalc re tax, then TaxCalc re accounts (rather than PTP) and then Brightpay re bureau payroll rather than PAYEMaster.

If they had not upset the apple cart re Tax Assistant they likely would have carried on getting fees from me re the other two for years, but once my lethargy was disturbed I, like others, went the whole hog and departed lock, stock and barrel.

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Replying to DJKL:
By johnhemming
03rd Apr 2019 15:38

Which is why I don't think they are that likely to try to force people to change as if they do that some people will go to other suppliers as a matter of principle. On the other hand tech organisations don't always do what is best in the long term.

They look to be strongly cash generative at the moment according the group accounts at Companies House.

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By jon_griffey
03rd Apr 2019 18:19

We have been with Hosted Accountants for a few years now, branded as Iris Hosting. I am quite pleased that Iris have finally bought them out. The balance sheet of HA always gave me the impression that they were operating on a shoestring. It is more reassuring to be entrusting our practice data to a company with the weight of Iris.

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Replying to jon_griffey:
By johnhemming
03rd Apr 2019 21:01

It sort of comes down to the issue of what makes an effective tech business. I still think there is quite a long way to go in terms of innovation even in spheres like accounting which have been using tech for a long time.

At the core you have the software, but then are support issues and of course stability and critical mass in a business sense.

Even the larger organisations can be hit by technical problems. I always remember the blackberry email outage which was perhaps the beginning of the end for them (at least in terms of dominating the market)

Organisations like Iris have the sort of moat that enthuses people like Warren Buffett.

On the other hand technology continues to change.

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