IRIS Software Group kicked off 2019 with the acquisition of BioStore, a cashless catering and identity management developer specialising in the UK schools market.
Better known within the accounting profession as a provider of tax and practice software, IRIS also has an education division serving 11,000 academies and other educational institutions. IRIS claims to supply software to 60% of this sector, and 82% of large, multi-academy trusts.
IRIS education offerings include PS Financials, the mid-market financial suite it acquired in 2017, along with the Results Squared asset management system and an online messaging and payments platform called ParentMail.
According to BioStore managing director Nigel Walker, plugging his identity management and cashless catering tools into the IRIS education portfolio will complete an “end to end solution” for schools and colleges. As well as processing payments for school dinners and other items, the IRIS suite will also capture the accounting information within PS Financials and keep parents and guardians informed of students’ attendance and financial obligations.
“Our mission is to help all education establishments become more efficient and productive by reducing administration and delivering services that benefit schools, colleges, students and parents,” said IRIS Software Group CEO Kevin Dady in an update on AccountingWEB. “This acquisition is yet another step in helping us achieve this goal.”
Even before it acquired PS Financials, IRIS has been diversifying its revenue base. The core accounting market has always been a stronghold for the developer, but the data coming out of AccountingWEB’s Software Reviews and awards surveys show that the integrated suite pioneer is beginning to feel the pinch from lower cost cloud alternatives.
IRIS responded to this threat by acquiring one of its fastest-growing challengers, Taxfiler, in May last year. With its share of the increasingly competitive accounting software market dropping, IRIS and its private equity investors Hg Capital and Intermediate Capital are clearly looking to offset any revenue dips here by bolstering its presence in the fast-growing academy market.