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IRIS Elements makes IRIS World debut with new AML tool

As IRIS Elements walked the IRIS World catwalk on Tuesday, the new integration platform launched its first app - an automated anti money laundering tool.

13th Feb 2020
Practice Editor AccountingWEB
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Nick Gregory on stage
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Announced during the integration platform’s showcase at IRIS’s flagship conference in Birmingham's ICC, the new anti-money laundering tool enables IRIS accountancy suite customers to automate mandatory checks and streamline onboarding clients.

To the approving applause of the IRIS delegates, IRIS senior product director Jonathan Priestley announced that the AML tool was available now on Elements and is free for all accountancy suite customers.

‘A risk-free soft-start’

Described at IRIS World as a “risk-free soft start to get into cloud technology", IRIS Elements cloud platform is a new initiative that connects the existing functions and data of IRIS's accountancy desktop suite to cloud bookkeeping, tax and practice applications.

IRIS CEO Elona Mortimer-Zhika told AccountingWEB that Elements allows IRIS customers to "go on their journey over a time that fits them best".    

“[Elements] is about giving our customers something to future-proof their businesses, and something that is scalable, will be there for many years, and will grow with their business.” She added: "Change takes a lot of their time – we don’t want them to focus on this, we want them to reap the benefits of that."

Phase one: AML

When IRIS unveiled Elements back in September 2019, it earmarked AML as the platform’s first addition. IRIS chose to focus first on AML after speaking with customers and finding that a lot of them didn’t have a defined process. “They’ve got good processes in compliance already but AML feels like one that gets left out sometimes,” said Steve Cox, IRIS’s chief evangelist. “Using our heritage we can help them out on that pretty quickly.”

This is AML tool’s first phase includes the whole workflow from ID checks, know your customer and risk assessment. IRIS is aiming for May to release phase two, where users can expect the AML workflow to roll out to companies and the ability for Elements to apply the same AML scrutiny to the existing customer database on desktop.

Product update

IRIS has set an ambitious roadmap for Elements over the next 12 months. On stage, product director Paul Onions committed to the software vendor’s pledge at IRIS World 2018 to migrate IRIS personal tax to IRIS Elements and as a cloud service before the end of the year.  IRIS has beefed up its tech team through hiring 180 new product team members in order to achieve this promise.

Customer-led approach

On stage, Priestley outlined the collaborative customer-led approach IRIS has taken with Elements. Through advisory groups, design workshops and beta testing, over 200 IRIS customers have been able to kick Elements' tyres throughout its development. 

“Our customers were clear, they didn’t want us to disappear for a year and return with something they didn’t want,” said Priestley. “They get to see what it looks like from the beginning.”

Because the AML functionality was Elements' first, IRIS needed a long beta period to test the platform, and by Christmas last year, IRIS had 10 customers putting the tool through the paces. 

One IRIS

IRIS used the 'One IRIS’ slogan throughout the day. It was a fitting slogan for the first IRIS World where its customers from education, accountancy and payroll were all under one roof. The auditorium’s big screen was emblazoned with logos from the plethora of brands across the software vendor's portfolio. In many ways, IRIS Elements connects the data and insights flowing through the ‘One IRIS’ stable.

Using education financial software as an example, IRIS’s Steve Cox told AccountingWEB: “PS Financial is a powerful reporting suite for accountants or FDs or schools. They all have the same needs and challenges. It’s just in a different environment. Elements is the missing piece that brings it all together.”

'Data is the window to our clients’ business'

What impressed flinder’s Alastair Barlow about Elements is that IRIS has recognised the importance of data to its customers. “The idea is to connect all the data in one area and open it up for those that want it out of here,” he told AccountingWEB after his IRIS World panel discussion. 

“This is one thing that frustrates me about other software vendors: they lock data down and don’t release it. This path for IRIS means they really get that, even when many accountancy firms don’t know what to do with it.

“This will help drive the profession forward. As I talked about on the panel: data is the window to our clients’ business.”

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