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Say goodbye to Senta

Senta becoming part of the Iris Group - adios!

Didn't find your answer?

Iris to squash yet another great product.  Even after reassurances from Senta management that they weren't in it for the take-over monies.

Any programmers out there like to produce an equivalent product?  PM me, I forecast there will be plenty of customers wanting to move shortly.

Replies (47)

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Sparkly Orange
By Sparkly
14th Jan 2021 09:55

Noooooooo! Just read my email from them too. Seems like every product I pick to use Iris ends up taking it over. Added to my February todo list is to seek a replacement for Taxfiler and Senta!

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Replying to Sparkly:
Chris Caspell CTA TEP
By ccaspell
14th Jan 2021 10:17

It's on my February todo list as well. I have just received my email from James - it's a sad day for the smaller practitioner.

If the buy out of Taxfiler is any guide, I predict a hike in price in the next two years (TaxFiler doubled) and a cessation of meaningful development (I am sorry but you can't say TaxFiler's attempt at practice management is in any way 'development').

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Replying to ccaspell:
John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
14th Jan 2021 10:42

If the Staffology case is anything to go by, James will say that Senta will continue to be the great product it is and that the IRIS cash will allow him to accelerate development, boost sales & marketing and customer support.

But the Taxfiler comparison is equally apt. What I think the Senta deal tells us is that IRIS has realised that Taxfiler PM doesn't really cut it, so if they wanted to stay competitive in the small firm market for tax-accounts-PM tools, IRIS would need to buy in something readymade.

It may be pure coincidence, but there's a long history of IRIS snapping up winners of our software awards (Drummohr, Kashflow, Taxfiler), so Senta would have been a logical place to start those conversations.

More to follow.

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Replying to John Stokdyk:
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By Paul Crowley
14th Jan 2021 19:00

Stop giving out awards

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
14th Jan 2021 10:17

I need my eyes tested, I thought it was a late post concerning the 12 days of Christmas (albeit people seem to keep their trees up well after these days)

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Replying to DJKL:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
14th Jan 2021 11:05

I hope there is a Sanity Clause in the SPA

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Replying to Arthur Putey:
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By Dib
14th Jan 2021 13:25

If you listen to the Damned you will realise that "There ain't no sanity clause"!

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By carnmores
14th Jan 2021 10:17

Agreed - this is anti competitive behaviour and possible price fixing . I will contact the relevant authority

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John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
14th Jan 2021 10:23

Thanks for your post, which prompted a groan here at Aweb Towers too - but for different reasons...

I'd only just sent this article about IRIS's Staffology acquisition out to Tech wire readers when you broke the Senta news: https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/tech/accounting-software/iris-buys-cloud...

The general vibe here is that IRIS is investing heavily to accelerate its adoption of cloud practice tools. I can just imagine the execs holding a Build-Buy-Partner strategy review and going for option 2.

I'm talking to a couple of IRIS chiefs today, so I'll have lots more to ask them about now. We'll do a follow-up report on the Tech news pages shortly...

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By MC1
14th Jan 2021 10:25

Watch your terms of business. In the take-over of Drummohr Tax Assistant back in 2017 (see post below), Iris tried to lock in all users to an additional year subscription with very little notice. Senta is currently monthly renewal but (if it hasn't been snuck past me already) I reckon it will go to yearly lock-in and we wont have time to bail out quickly enough. Watch out for an Iris notice saying that you have 2 weeks to agree to their new terms (ie before the end of January) or else jump ship by the end of January.
We may not be able to wait until February! :(

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/poll-how-do-you-rate-drummoh...

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Replying to MC1:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
14th Jan 2021 11:44

I thought they acquired Drummohr far earlier than that, I jumped ship to Tax Calc
circa 2013 with the price bump which I think was after their purchase (although they at least were letting it run as it had been) . Maybe my memory is playing tricks.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By Cloudcounter
14th Jan 2021 11:59

Nothing wrong with your memory. We eventually jumped ship to BTC (for one year) to deal with the 2014 returns, and we stuck with Drummohr for a couple of years after takeover as they fixed the price. Eventually of course the hike came and we disappeard. I wouldn't be surprised if the taxover was 2011 or 2012

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Replying to DJKL:
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By MC1
14th Jan 2021 12:00

Yes, I think you are correct - can't edit my previous post now.

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Replying to MC1:
John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
14th Jan 2021 13:06

Hi MCI and thanks for your comments - though further down we may need to moderate one of your comments about the nature of IRIS's investment strategy. As a community member, you should not denigrate any member of the site - software vendors included - and respect the UK defamation law by not making unsubstantiated allegations about anyone's propriety or integrity.

Meanwhile, I just looked at the Drummohr acquistion and found that it happened in 2008. How time flies in accountancy, eh?
https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/tech/tech-pulse/iris-buys-drummohr

In future, if you want to edit a comment that is locked, click the "Report" link and indicate the change you want to make and we can do it for you.

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Replying to John Stokdyk:
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By carnmores
14th Jan 2021 13:18

John , the truth will out. It is not up to you to decide what is and what isn't defamation. We all know that you cant possibly be expected to agree with everything that is said on here and a disclaimer is on here somewhere I'm sure. what would be much more dangerous is cut off any criticism of advertisers

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Replying to carnmores:
John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
14th Jan 2021 14:32

Sorry, carnmores, but it's not a case of us agreeing with a statement or not. Likening a software company to a famous criminal enterprise violates our community rules, and common sense would suggest that a jury would be very likely to see the defamatory nature of such an analogy.

Apart from having rules to ensure that conversations are conducted in a friendly, civil manner on the site, we also want to avoid all the hassles associated with angry companies (yes, who we do business with and help pay for the site), and threatening letters from their lawyers. That's what all professional publishers do.

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Replying to John Stokdyk:
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By carnmores
14th Jan 2021 16:20

Well you would say that wouldn't you . I disagree but do understand that your business model is built on advertising revenue . I think (thought) we all took the comments with a pinch of salt but there are serious questions to be answered so I am today writing to the CMA Iris will receive a copy in due course.
If an advertiser tried to sue then frankly they would be cutting their own throats you cannot and should not stifle criticism in order to protect your revenue streams

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Replying to John Stokdyk:
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By MC1
14th Jan 2021 13:49

John, I have no problem with the moderation (my first one ever!) and hadn't really truly meant it was their pre-planned investment strategy, just tongue-in-cheek.

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Replying to MC1:
John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
14th Jan 2021 14:35

It's not a major issue and we didn't want to stifle your analysis. The points you made were valid and well reasoned - it was just the particular phrase that could cause a problem.

Feel free to continue sharing your observations - but keep in mind that throw-away comments and nice turns of phrase can sometimes cross the boundary of acceptability.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
14th Jan 2021 10:27

They just seem to have bottomless pockets to buy up everyone and shut it down.

The list of decent software they have killed is vast.

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By MC1
14th Jan 2021 10:46

A few years ago during the Drummohr take-over I added up as many balance sheets I could find for the Iris companies and I concluded that collectively they were actually insolvent.

Can't be bothered to do the same again and anyway, as long as [moderated] keeps going, everybody loves it and nobody knows or cares about the problem.

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By buhirrafiq
14th Jan 2021 10:49

Hi

I have been using accountancy manager its an alternative to senta for 2 years and I find it to be a very good software.

Senta is well respected in the industry and acquisitions happen.
Iris bought out taxfiler an awesome cheap tax and accounts preparation package a few years ago.

The price went up but not a lot and we still have the same terms with no lock in. They have improved the software with a dates and deadlines and digital signing option so that helps but they have pretty much left the software alone.

I would ask for a direct clear email to be sent out from iris and senta to confirm there future expectations for usage, changes and price.

The owners of senta and the software have had great ethics and usability so hoping this ethos can continue.

As an avid user of accountancy manager you can read an article that was produced here outlining our views on it https://www.accountancymanager.co.uk/case-studies/posts/966/buhir-rafiq-....

Personally if you are doing well with senta if it's not broke don't mend it. If you are looking to switch for your own reasons try accountancy manager.

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By Michael Beaver
14th Jan 2021 10:52

Looks like IRIS is owned by two private equity investor groups. Having worked in the City, organisations such as this want the fastest and largest possible returns on their investments - and don't particularly care too much for the long term. I could be wrong but .... remember Kashflow?

I'm very sad as Senta is a great product. Not perfect, but has worked well for us and we've pumped quite a lot of time and effort getting it to work for us.

Having said that I'm very prepared to do the same again if I need to use another platform to stay away from IRIS.

Anyone recommend decent alternatives?

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Replying to michaelbeaver:
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By Laurence Vogel
14th Jan 2021 11:04

Check out TaxDome.com

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Replying to michaelbeaver:
James Byrne
By jamesbyrne
14th Jan 2021 12:05

Obviously 'AccountancyManager' ;)

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Replying to michaelbeaver:
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By Triinrast
14th Jan 2021 16:24

Uku (getuku.com)

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By JD
14th Jan 2021 11:14

There is only one way to stop this continuing to happen. Accountants need to become the owners and developers.

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Replying to JD:
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By MC1
14th Jan 2021 11:22

I can't agree more and happy to be on the "board" of a partnership to implement this if there is other interest out there?
I recently arranged programmers on a c£150k contract to build a new software solution from scratch. That sort of figure might only scratch the surface but collectively we must be able to do something to solve our own problems.

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Replying to MC1:
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By JD
14th Jan 2021 14:32

Out of interest, what are you building?

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Replying to JD:
James Byrne
By jamesbyrne
14th Jan 2021 12:43

Great comment JD, couldn’t agree more - as an accountant myself, I felt the same way and it was one of the reasons we built AccountancyManager.

We’re independently owned and self funded. Hopefully, we’ve done the hard work here already.

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Replying to jamesbyrne:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
14th Jan 2021 13:08

I like the idea of a platform "by accountants for accountants". The tech has changed so much over the last decade with the cloud and APIs.

If a platform could be developed combinng basic cloud bookkeeping, final accounts, tax and practice management that we can white label and leverage so we don't have to pay large subscriptions to the SAAS vendors for branding and spurious functionality most of our clients care little about, but could be integrated with things our clients use, that would be very interesting.

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Replying to jamesbyrne:
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By North East Accountant
14th Jan 2021 13:40

But for how long would Accountancy Manager stay independent if one of the big boys comes with a big fat cheque......

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Replying to North East Accountant:
James Byrne
By jamesbyrne
14th Jan 2021 15:13

There's no need to worry, we've already made our decision for the foreseeable future and have some big plans in the pipeline (which don't include acquisition).

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Replying to jamesbyrne:
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By JD
14th Jan 2021 14:41

Thanks James. For what it is worth, it would be helpful if there was an AM lite version at the £10/15 level. There are a lot of us that prefer to keep things simple/easy to use, Taxfiler style.

Given that none of the other PM tools offer a lite version, it would put you way ahead of the game

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Replying to JD:
James Byrne
By jamesbyrne
14th Jan 2021 15:07

There's lots of exciting things happening within AM - all I can say is watch this space!

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Replying to JD:
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By Triinrast
14th Jan 2021 15:15
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Replying to JD:
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By North East Accountant
14th Jan 2021 13:37

Now that's not a bad idea...... if only someone had the time to set it up.

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Replying to JD:
Slim
By Slim
14th Jan 2021 23:14

I thought this. It would be hard to organise but it would get my money.

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By exceljockey
14th Jan 2021 11:33

I blame Entrepreneurs Relief - it's too tempting for entrepreneurs to bailout and pay reduced capital gains, than stay with their babies and pay income tax on drawings.

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Replying to exceljockey:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
14th Jan 2021 11:53

However interestingly companies are waiting longer and longer to go public, I watched a very interesting broadcast from Stewart Heggie of Baillie Gifford the other day (Edinburgh stalwarts with whom my wife was briefly a quant analyst) who manage Scottish Mortgage Trust, the presentation has a chart showing the growing number of years before companies float and why a lot of the gains are in the private phase.(In which in part SMT invest, hence their performance)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpBESgEo3m8

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blue sheep
By Nigel Henshaw
14th Jan 2021 13:53

Thank the Lord I went with AM last year

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By Triinrast
14th Jan 2021 14:13

Hi all

It is shocking (and sad) news for sure. Our team had always admired Senta's work and they had been an inspiration for us.

If you're looking for an alternative that feels and looks nice and is easy to use then check our Uku - getuku.com.

Our team would be happy to agree on a web-based call with you to get to know your business and show how Uku can help to take your practice to whole new levels.

You can contact us via live chat on our website or directly with me - [email protected].

There is a free 30-day trial period which we can extend if necessary. We never charge a £ until you are sure that our software really helps you to run your business.

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By Angel Bookkeeping
14th Jan 2021 18:55

I use Uku - for practise management software (mostly for deadlines and tracking time) . Its really user friendly and customer service is brilliant! I am very happy with Uku, if anybody wanted to try it ...

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Slim
By Slim
14th Jan 2021 23:16

I had a play around with Senta and was really impressed, it was on my 2021 to do list but I'll give AM another trial.

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Replying to Slim:
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By Triinrast
15th Jan 2021 08:56

Hi Slim

Have you also looked into Uku?

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Replying to Triinrast:
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By Youareatit
15th Jan 2021 10:00

Trying a bit too hard there now mate.

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