Iris vs Digita - how do they compare?

Contemplating moving from Iris to Digita

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As a practice we use Iris for everything - accounts production, business tax, personal tax, trust tax, automail, practice management...

We haven't ever really had any major issues with the software as such, but there are a few annoying things like not being able to bulk email from practice management etc. One of the main issues we have had with Iris are their communication on the sales/billing side of things, plus they are pretty expensive!

After a demo with Digita a few years ago, we decided it wasn't for us as the accounts software didn't seem to be as advanced as Iris. However we have recently had a demo and they seem to have ironed out the negative points that we saw a few years back. Plus their pricing is a lot more reasonable than Iris. With an addition of time and fees software there is still a huge cost saving. There seem to be other benefits too, such as their version of OpenSpace being free whereas Iris charge per submission and there is a memory limit.

Has anyone made the switch from Iris to Digita? If so how do they compare and is it worth it? 


Replies (10)

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By Andy556
23rd Feb 2021 00:19

I did years ago, the worst decision ever. Digita was awful but I'm not sure what it's like today.
IRIS is good but very expensive and the costs constantly go up.
If I were you I'd look into TaxCalc. I've never used it yet but it gets good reviews and the pricing is transparent

Thanks (1)
23rd Feb 2021 07:47

We moved to Digita 3 years ago, mainly due to the constant price rises and huge cost of Iris.

Took a bit of time to get it set up, and with any database/system it is a constant work in progress. It has its own quirks, like any software, it doesn't have auto-mail but you create your own office document templates (using some mail merge to pick up the correct items from Digita) in practice management and once set up it is a click of a button to do your standard letters etc.

Once you learn how to make the changes to accounts formats/notes in Accounts Production it is actually quite user friendly and useful to use - a bit less regimented than Iris.

The above views are my own, I am sure others will recommend other systems, but you asked for a response from one that has made the change.

Let me know if there is anything specific you wanted to know.

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By banny
23rd Feb 2021 11:30

Used IRIS for about 20 years then moved to Digita because of the IRIS price rises.
After about 2 years moved to TaxCalc as we though Digita wasn't for us at all. Too slow, everything took multiple mouse clicks to achieve anything and overly complicated. TaxCalc is much, much quicker, much cheaper and much simpler. We are a small firm and TaxCalc suits us fine.

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By rachelkeenan
23rd Feb 2021 13:37

I moved from Iris to Digita in 2016 and although it took a bit of getting used to and I don’t fully understand the IT side of it, I am happy and it works for me. Iris was far too expensive and Digita is a good alternative. They migrated my data from Iris and I had no major issues with the move over.

I have used technical support, they answer the phone quickly and have always resolved my issues, passing the case on to more technical support when needed.

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Replying to rachelkeenan:
By Rgab1947
25th Feb 2021 09:53

Their support is good. They are also quick to use remote control to fix the software files very quickly. I would rank support as the top if not best I have experienced.

Their support staff very patient when I was freaking out with deadlines due and issues.

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By wilcoskip
23rd Feb 2021 15:38

As much as I dislike IRIS as a firm (incessant price increases, never quite sure what I was paying for etc) I'd still rate their software as a good few steps above Digita. IRIS is pretty intuitive for me, and when I needed their customer service they were always pretty responsive and helpful. IT support was also good.
I moved to Digita (on my way to taxfiler) and found the simpl act of putting a set of accounts together ridiculously complicated.

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By Nygie
25th Feb 2021 09:46

We made the switch a few years back after seeing a demo that seemed very promising.
The switch was a disaarster darling.
When we finally got a clients data across and ready to produce the accounts we submitted to companies house and the resulting set of accounts viewable online were absolutely rubbish barely readable and the formatting not correct.
We dumped Digita and had to wriggle out of the contracted term and go cap in hand back to Iris.
One would hope they have upped their game somewhat in the subsequent years but I don't think we would risk the change again.

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By Rgab1947
25th Feb 2021 09:49

I was with Digita but moved to Capium. Main reason was that Digita is not cloud. Their "cloud system" is the desktop hosted on their hardware. Latency issues etc. etc.

Digita is sophisticated and probably more geared to large practices with larger clients but once you get used to it, and it takes a bit of time, its pretty good. Pricing is stable. You can get a decent deal if signing up for 3 years. So pricing is known for 3 years.

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25th Feb 2021 10:53

When I set up my practice (after using IRIS for many years in practice), I thought I'd probably end up using Digita, but didn't (PS. this was 9 years ago, but I bet the underlying software is still the same). I did use Digita Advanced Corporation Tax for one client for the last 5 years, as I needed software that calculated the indexation allowance etc on over 100 pools (it was an investment company). Digita didn't seem to have changed from what I saw over the past 9 years, but that was the only software that I could see would do that for me for just a few hundred quid a year (I only needed it for one client).

I found Digita to be extremely time consuming when I tested it on a couple of clients. The savings I would have made from not buying IRIS simply wouldn't have been worth it, I'd have lost lots of income from work I could then no longer do as the accounts prep time would be hugely extended, even after getting used to the software.

In the end, I went with Keytime (that was later bought by IRIS), and is a good product for the small firm ( for me, £220k turnover, with three part-time staff -inc. admin- including me on 4 days a week). Prices haven't risen much since IRIS took it over about 4 years ago, or was it 5 years ago?

Keytime wasn't as good as IRIS, in that it didn't do certain things, but I just worked around those issues which were minor as I wasn't doing group accounts, or medium sized company accounts - I would say Keytime is a nightmare for that, but if I did get such a client, I'd just get a single client licence with IRIS or something else for that one client. EG: IRIS split a company year into a non-trading and trading period, Keytime doesn't do that so you have to pretend it was trading the full year, or else have to change the year end. It does correctly give 2 x CT600 for a long set of accounts. That is just one example.

In any case, IRIS has its problems with its medium and large set of accounts. For example, the cashflow statement in my opinion should be totally automatic, as it is just the difference in balance sheet accounts from one year to the next. Instead, a cashflow in IRIS takes hours to get right!

I found Keytime suited my needs with practice management, time and fees, all the usual modules including P11ds, Co Sec (sucking in company details to the software from Companies House) and doing dividend minutes, share-splitting and a host of other Co. House oline filings.

I'd say it is quicker than IRIS, as IRIS hangs every time you come out and go into something, view a set of accounts, a TB etc which when you add it up, could be 30 mins a day of waiting, but the time lag for that in Keytime is very small. So Keytime is much quicker than IRIS, which for me was the most important thing.

I did try a few others at the time, and found Keytime was the all round quick thing I wanted for a small fee (half that of IRIS prices). ixbrl tagging in IRIS was a bit of a nightmare, there is virtually no tagging requirements in Keytime as its all pre-tagged, unless you want to disclose something in particular, but even then the tagging is done for you behind the scenes on just clicking a box.

I did take a look at TaxFiler last year, as it so cheap, but it is too basic for my needs, I would imagine this would work for a one-man band working from home that doesn't do timesheets and doesn't have other staff, and has a low profit margin, so doesn't want to pay more for better software. Maybe its me, but the filled accounts downloadable from Co. House for TaxFiler are attrocious. I only filed a couple, but they both had underlining going though the middle of numbers on multiple lines! The formatting is a joke, but the accounts you see as PDF from within the software are nice as least - most clients don't check their own accounts on Co. House (or do they?).

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By leicsred
27th Feb 2021 23:13

We moved from Iris to Digita about 3 years ago. It was difficult at first but after a year of hassle (mainly due to having to port the accounts across) I like it now.

It is much more flexible than iris was on accounts and the latest update has markedly improved speed.

I think personal tax is superior to Iris, AP has quirks, some better than iris, some worse, but overall good. Business tax is fine too.

The integration isn't as seamless, but it works well. Given the price difference I don't think I'd consider going back.

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