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IRIS or DIGITA?

We have one but are contemplating changing to the other

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Has anyone made the move from IRIS to Digita and if so would they recommend it?

There is a monetary saving but that is not the only factor if it is going to create other problems or reduce functionality. 

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By Mr_awol
25th Apr 2017 16:57

I have.

Digita was cheaper, but less well integrated. The practice management wasn't as good, but the tax software was excellent and the accounts production software not too far behind the IRIS offering, and bearable given the cost savings.

Then they changed the accounts production module, and the new one is [***]. I don't mean a little bit [***], I don't mean slightly different and takes some getting used to. I mean not fit for purpose, [***].

If I were you, I'd stick with IRIS. If it wasn't going to cost so much disruption in the office, I think I would be using IRIS again now.

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to Mr_awol
27th Apr 2017 19:35

Thanks also for the feedback.

This was the exact thing I was worried about, so think I may just have to bite the bullet on IRIS.

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25th Apr 2017 17:10

I'm with Mr_awol. We had Iris and moved to Digita 3 years ago because of the difference in cost. My experience is exactly the same. The accounts production module is not fit for purpose and Co Sec hasn't worked for 6 months. We met with Digita yesterday and said: "we're moving back to Iris." They have promise compensation and to sort out the issues. They have until September and if they haven't provided the compensation and sorted the issues, disruption or no disruption, we're gone.

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to James Green
27th Apr 2017 19:31

Thank you for the feedback.

I started on my own last year and decided to go with IRIS as although expensive it was what I had always used and also because of the practice management etc (although not actually great for price it "does a job".)

As IRIS had put up my price by 10% this year and then tried to claim it was only 2-3% (easy calculation to prove as lying!) I also looked to my original quote from a 3 years ago and there is a 35% increase over 3 years.

I have actually given my notice and had quotes from Digita and they have offered me a big discount today, but the talk of the accounts module being unworkable has put me right off! I may just have to bite the bullet with IRIS.

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By Mallock
to busjmil2
27th Apr 2017 21:00

IRIS does do a good job most of the time with the software bits that matter.

I would be interested to learn exactly what the problems with Digita's Accounts Production are because I know the tax works well.

It also wouldn't be difficult to be better than IRIS Practice Management or Automail. However not fit for purpose for accounts production is pretty damning.

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to Mallock
28th Apr 2017 08:49

Yes, I would agree that Practice Management and Automail are easy to be improved on from IRIS point of view, so surprised that Digita is apparently not as good.

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25th Apr 2017 17:38

There are many things I can't stand about IRIS, but I have to say the software itself is first class. Tried a move to Digita but just couldn't get on with it. I am seriously tempted by Tax filer though.

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By mabzden
to wilcoskip
26th Apr 2017 08:44

I love this comment. Comparing Iris and Digita to Taxflier - hilarious!

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to mabzden
26th Apr 2017 16:02

I'm glad you're amused. I find your patronising tone equally 'hilarious'. I'm well aware of the differences, but given how much of IRIS I don't actually use, Tax Filer (or 'Taxflier') may be more appropriate and cost-effective.

Anyway, sorry to disturb your mirth. Carry on.

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By mabzden
to wilcoskip
26th Apr 2017 16:19

Sorry, I assumed you were trying to be funny. How awkward...

Apologies for any offence caused.

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to mabzden
26th Apr 2017 16:37

No problem. It's been one of those days and I was a bit prickly. I apologise as well.

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25th Apr 2017 18:17

Now I haven't got a clue (See my Q from yesterday) - I liked the Digita sales pitch and demo, perhaps it isn't as wonderful as it is made out to be!
CCH have improved their offer by getting someone who speaks accountant rather than computer to do a second demo.
I'm starting to think SAGE's quirks are worth putting up with to save the hassle of changing and I'll look for a software to manage the client database/ job flow / deadlines

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to accountantccole
25th Apr 2017 20:21

I've used SAGE (about 5 years ago now) for tax and year-end accounts, and it's difficult to think of how anything could be worse. Sure, I'd recommend IRIS, but quite frankly anything you pick is going to seem wonderful compared to SAGE.

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25th Apr 2017 19:12

Depends how big a practice you have.

For a micro practice dealing mainly with mirco clients its massive overkill.

For a high street practice with 20 people on it, you choice is limited unless you work very separately so dont need cross company integration.

The main issue about using non-integrated systems is address changes which is a slight pain, but not a deal breaker, you just need a process which says address change = amend on these 2-4 systems. Have you considered using a portfolio approach, ie size suitable software (VT, tax filer) for small clients, and 'grown up' software for bigger clients who are not filing filleted accounts?

This may match functionality with size of client so in theory be efficient from that point of view, but you will build in inefficiencies from being non-integrated. Depends how you are set up. If its different teams for different sized clients it might work.

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By Mallock
to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
25th Apr 2017 20:54

We are a decent size with about 500 clients so integration is very important. The comments on accounts production are concerning and I certainly don't want to have all the problems of changing and a product which doesn't do what it is supposed to do. I know the tax product is good from talking to some large practices I know who use it but they don't use the accounts production.

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to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
28th Apr 2017 07:59

I think this is exactly how we should all be working and the software houses should be more open to allow us to cherry pick the software to suit our clients and then match them together using API. However a lot of the big software houses don`t seem to think we deserve this choice even with their new cloud products.
Sage, however, are happy with this approach for their new cloud offering BUT you can't actually use it yet so that's not much help for this year!
I think we have to all keep asking the software houses for this functionality and hopefully eventually they will listen.
If you`re going to Accountex this year, do please badger them all about this :)

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By marks
25th Apr 2017 21:20

With 500 clients I would stick with IRIS. It is expensive but the cost pays for itself in integration.

We have just over 200 clients and just had our annual proposal through from IRIS which is £6700ish + VAT for 250 clients, 3 users across AP, PT, BT, FAR, PM, T&F, AM.

At first glance that is expensive when compared to something like VT and taxfiler which you could get for under £1k + VAT or Taxcalc which would probably be £2+ VAT with Digita probably about £3-£4k + VAT.

However when you look at it as cost per client as less than £30 + VAT per year and our average fee is more than £1k + VAT per client the cost in relative terms is nothing in that is a few % of turnover.

However the extra cost pays for itself in so many ways

1. Everything integrated so updating the client record updates everything across all modules.
2. Once automail letters set up you can at a click of a button do; engagement letters, cover letters for year end accounts, CT returns, personal tax returns.
3. Can easily track the position of all jobs at any point in time.
4. Can see easily what is due to be filed across; VAT, accounts, annual returns at any point in time.
5. IRIS openspace is getting better, multi document upload and multisignatures but we still use another option in that use Hellosign but may revisit using IRIS Openspace this year. Though we do use IRIS Openspace to upload echecklist to complete for tax returns.

etc etc.

IRIS is a powerful piece of software and although we have it set up properly we are still not using everything to its full potential.

The key I see is training. Get an IRIS trainer to come out, show you the recommended way to set up, how you have everything set up, and what you want to achieve and they will show you things that IRIS can do that you never thought possible.

We have had 2 training sessions in 2 years (one when we original signed up with IRIS and one a couple of months ag0).

I think it is something we will carry on doing and get training in the software every 2-3 years.

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By stt
26th Apr 2017 16:20

That's interesting , I currently pay the following annually for Iris (ex VAT) for 1 user:

100 clients on the 'starter pack' (AP/PT/BT/PM) £4200
80 Co Sec £900
Total £5.1k + vat

Am I being ripped off if marks is paying £6.7k + VAT for 250 clients and 3 users across AP, PT, BT, FAR, PM, T&F, AM.?

Would be interesting if colleagues posted their costs.

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to stt
26th Apr 2017 16:39

£4808, 1 user, 150 clients on the starter pack. Can't remember the rest.

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By stt
to wilcoskip
26th Apr 2017 16:52

thanks wilcoskip, sound broadly similar to my package - still seems high compared to @marks?

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to stt
26th Apr 2017 16:54

It does. Perhaps some haggling is in order.

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to stt
27th Apr 2017 19:41

My current package for coming year is 25 client £2,058 and for 49 £2,850, so I think it seems between myself to yourselves and then to Mark the scaling is the same, that per client it reduces as you go "up the ranks".

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By stt
to busjmil2
27th Apr 2017 19:55

Hi busjmil2, but marks is 3 users, which in my experience normally causes a fair hike in fees.

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to stt
27th Apr 2017 20:08

Ah good point, I hadn't noticed that part. You're right that usually does incur disproportionate increase in fees!

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27th Apr 2017 13:30

Hardware today is orders of magnitude more powerful than hardware of 10 years ago. So are websites, mobile internet, wired internet and so on. But accountancy and tax software hasn't moved on at the same pace. In fact some accountancy software is worse than it was years ago. Why?

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28th Apr 2017 07:42

I switched at the end of last year from IRIS to Digita. I was having a number of frustrations with IRIS which they acknowledged but never seemed to get around to fixing (years, not months).

I was initially enticed by Digita with their new Xero to Xero integration claim, and I liked the 'Microsoft /spreadsheet' look and feel. The impression I had was that IRIS were not fixing and developing the product and that Digita were. Having said that, I can say that the technical support from both companies is excellent.

I have to say that I do not recognise the issues generally observed so far in this thread regarding Digita. You do have to invest a lot of time in watching the training videos (sometime 3 or 4 times to take it all in) in order to get a grip on how Digita works when you are used to IRIS (for example, there is a lot of effort required by the user in 'account assignment' which is generally not needed in IRIS which just 'works'), but it is time well spent. Overall, I love the product. Accounts Production works for me. In noting Mr Awol's comments, I never used their old version so do not have his frustration at the extent of the changes, but would be interested to know some specifics that make him believe it is not fit for purpose. The two tax modules and Company Secretarial both work well. The HMRC and CH submission tracking and recording is far superior (and re-assuring). The environment is far more elegant.

My main issue with Digita is problems with Practice Management around duplicate contacts which the system seems to generate constantly and are difficult to resolve. And, perversely, the Xero to Xero integration that initially attracted me doesn't work well (yet). But I am pleased they 'lied' !

Whilst happy with Digita, I would not be unhappy to go back to IRIS if I was ever given cause. They were very helpful in allowing me out of my contract early. I think both products are good and it is probably more a question of horse for courses.

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28th Apr 2017 08:06

Not being an Iris user I cant comment but being a numbers man I ask the question. If it works well but is expensive does the move make you financially better off. Lower annual cost but do you need extra staff? Does the software stop you making errors?

We tried Digita with but gave up on all but practice manager (PM). PM is ok but has many problems all of which have been reported and many of the problems are still there. A rumour has suggested that it is devoting alot of resources to a browser model.
Best of breed may be making a come back and I expect that using APis that some with allow cross product integration. This could well be the model for the future so the big boys will need to get a move on or be left behind.

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to pauljohnston
28th Apr 2017 09:00

As mentioned above, IRIS works well for accounts production, but the Practice Management and Automail isn't great.

Both were built over 10 years I believe and have not been improved upon in that time!

As working below the partner in my old practice who was over 65, I had to push strongly for a long period to pay the extra for Practice Management and Company Sec etc as the time and efficiency gains would far outweigh another member of staff.

My other concern on IRIS is the fact that the price increase this year on renewal was 10% and looking back it is up 35% from my initial quote 3 years ago! As mentioned above the fact they denied this even in light of me saying this is the price I paid last year, this is the price you want me to pay next year and still insisted it was a maximum 3% increase rubbed me up the wrong way (I assume that across the board is 3% but I only care about myself).

They also claimed that they IRIS won the software awards in 4 of the last 5 years and the only year they didn't win it was a book keeping program that won, which isn't true. It would have been true a year ago, but then also one of the IRIS wins, was actually for the cloud platform so is irrelevant in that sense), on in reality it is 2 in 5 years for the product we are discussing.

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By idev
07th Jun 2017 19:29

I moved from Iris to Digita 2 years ago. Iris was very competent but very expensive. The helpline was deteriorating badly - the emphasis was on endless annual price rises to the detriment of worsening helpline/customer service - shame it's a good product. I want solid, sound easy to use software backed up with effective support/help lines. After much consideration, I moved to Digita. The transition to Digita was seamless - they delivered what they said they would. The Digita Suite is very straightforward to use. The 'new' Accounts Production is no problem and copes well with FRS102 and all the changes. The personal tax, corporate tax and company secretarial integrate well. Most important for me is the helpline support. It is what Iris used to be like many years ago - they are there to help you not to fob you off to help sheets (that you have already seen or are not appropriate or you don't understand) or to refer you to junior staff who cannot appreciate the importance of the world 'help'. In contrast, you get to speak to Digita people who understand the word 'help' and that I am am an accountant who knows what he wants to get out of the software but is not a computer mastermind (or indeed ever wants to be). When necessary my queries were escalated and dealt with when it is a 'timetable/filing/ etc' emergency.

I was with Iris for 5 years - it worked well, but I wish I'd moved over to Digita much sooner - I now feel that I have cost effective software backed up by a support team/helpline that are there to sort me if I need help to make the software work. I just don't relate to the 'Digita bashing' that seems to be the flavour of many of the comments.

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16th Jun 2017 11:04

Interesting Discussion though I cannot comment re Iris but I have two practices one running Digita and one running CCH. I have just decided to move both practices to Digita and make a few observations. WE all just want a software that does the job for minimal cost/time input and the cost to change can often be the hurdle. With MTD looming a) I wanted to move to a hosted or cloud solution and b) I wanted a product that I felt was going to have MTD solutions sooner rather than later. For me Digita seemed the best and I did consider changing to a completely new product for both as well. My reservation was the accounts product which was causing issues following a platform change to deal with FRS102 and the various SORP changes - the change was not a success but now since the last update most issues are resolved. It might be that I am particular in that I want my accounts to be correct and don't just take what the machine produces for granted. The problem I have found with Digita is they of the mainstream providers tend to be a bit Rolls Royce in their approach and can sometimes take too big a step in one go but generally when they get it right it is good. Their on-line training videos are second to none and they are the only supplier who has attended every one of the MTD meetings with HMRC that the software houses have been invited to. If you have been frustrated by the Digita accounts module just give it a bit of time and it will be worth it.

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