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IRIS rolls Senta and Taxfiler into Elements

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Two key IRIS Software Group cloud acquisitions will no longer be developed in isolation and instead will be integrated into its Elements cloud suite.

30th May 2022
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Practice management product Senta and accounts production and tax tool Taxfiler have been “re-engineered and integrated” into the new IRIS Elements cloud platform, and from June will be known as IRIS Elements Practice Management and IRIS Elements Tax & Accounts respectively. 

IRIS told AccountingWEB that Senta and Taxfiler will stop being sold to new customers in June 2022, but existing customers can continue to use their products as they do now and add licenses if needed. 

A spokesperson said that IRIS Elements will be the common platform upon which the Practice Management and Tax & Accounts products will sit. “Customers are able to subscribe to any products, in any combination to give them maximum flexibility,” they said.

Earlier this month, IRIS unveiled its Elements suite, which will allow accountants to onboard, service and advise clients, and manage their practices in the cloud through a series of connected modules on the Elements platform, 

Pricing remains the same

A document posted on a community support group for users stated that for existing customers of Senta, IRIS Elements Practice Management will remain at the same £29/user/month starting price with a 20% discount for annual contracts. IRIS Elements Tax & Accounts will continue to have the same pricing model as Taxfiler, with packages starting from £10/month, with terms of business and renewals remaining the same. 

Explaining the move Jonathan Priestley, head of product (accountancy) at IRIS Software Group, told AccountingWEB: “To create the new IRIS Elements Practice Manager and IRIS Elements Tax & Accounts modules we took our existing Taxfiler and Senta products as a starting point. 

“Firstly, we re-engineered the ‘behind the scenes’ architecture to make it more robust and easier to enhance in the future. We also upgraded the UI [user interface] using the standard we created for IRIS Elements through customer testing. And finally, we made some changes to workflow to make it easier for us to implement automation later.  

“All prospective customers interested in Senta and Taxfiler will now be directed to IRIS Elements Practice Manager and IRIS Elements Tax & Accounts,” continued Priestley. “Existing customers of Senta and Taxfiler are not affected – they can continue to use their products as they do now and even get additional licenses if needed. 

“In a few months, we will be providing existing customers with a migration solution so they can move to the new IRIS Elements versions of their products – with no additional charge.  

“New product enhancements will be made available and access to new modules as we expand the Elements platform. The whole purpose of this approach is to provide customers with freedom of choice – pick a standalone product, set of modules or a whole suite. Firms can even take a suite and just upgrade a module as it’s needed.”

Migration tool to come

As outlined by Priestley, the support group document stated that IRIS is currently working on a data migration tool to help accountants move their client and compliance data quickly and easily. Practice Essentials customers with client sync turned on are advised to wait until Q4 2022 when the data migration tool will be available.

The products will not be discontinued, but the document stated that high-priority bug fixes will be made available to Senta and Taxfiler users. All other feature development work will be focused on IRIS Elements Practice Management and IRIS Element Tax & Accounts.

Founded in 2014 by software engineer James Kilford, Senta built up a reputation as one of the leading developers of specialist, cloud-based practice management tools, winning AccountingWEB’s award for practice management software in 2019.

Senta was acquired by IRIS in January 2021 as part of a drive to bring specialist tools in the accounting software industry in-house and accelerate its transition to cloud products.

Taxfiler was founded in 2012 by James Reeves and a team of developers who previously worked at CCH. Starting with personal and business modules, the company grew into a genuine small-firm alternative to the likes of BTCSoftware, TaxCalc and IRIS. It was added to the IRIS portfolio in 2018.

AccountingWEB Insights

Recent research from AccountingWEB places Senta as the second-most desirable cloud-based practice management software, while in the latest AccountingWEB Insights State of the Nation study, Taxfiler was the best-performing software in terms of usage growth and net promoter score.

"Bundling the two products into Elements without compromising standalone usage and keeping existing price points is smart as users tend to associate IRIS with price rises," commented Julian Green, AccountingWEB's head of Insight. "IRIS' overall usage is not so strong and brand NPS has declined over the period of our latest research, with one of the key attributes being over poor value for money. It will be fascinating to see whether there will be further consolidation into Elements of the many payroll solutions offered by IRIS."

Take our latest 10-minute accounting software survey and get our first State of the Nation report worth £495 and entry to a £500 Amazon voucher  draw - link here.

*31 May 2022: This article was amended to add further Insights comment

Replies (13)

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By YourCloudAccountant
31st May 2022 10:29

I have just got my senta to where I wanted it.... may as well look at accountancy manager now if i need to migrate.

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Replying to YourCloudAccountant:
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By Software Seeker
31st May 2022 10:40

I'd wait to make the change if I was you. I am with AM and am not entirely satisfied. Have been thinking of swapping to Senta (am already a Taxfiler user), so this integration sounds quite appealing to me. Depends a lot on cost (I think AM is more expensive than Senta).

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By bendybod
31st May 2022 10:44

Is this why Iris are suddenly prepared to discuss pricing with existing customers!!

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By indomitable
31st May 2022 11:53

Just renewed my subscription with Senta and taxfiler for a year but you can bet they will put their prices up once they have 'integrated' into IRIS elements.

What makes me laugh is how all the owners of these small businesses have basically 'sold out', don't blame them but they try and spin it that this will be good for their customer base and is a great opportunity. Where? Prices will go up you will be forced to bundle and pay for things that you don't need.

And IRIS customer service in my experience so far is very poor

Thanks (5)
Replying to indomitable:
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By NewACA
31st May 2022 12:10

There is a reason the previous owners sold out: they were making losses year after year (see their prior sets of accounts if you don't believe me), so unless they were going to get private equity backing (which some have - but many wouldn't want the stress) selling was the only option. Fundamentally, they hadn't learnt how to price the software properly and thought the price needed to be absolute rock-bottom, far below everyone else. On the plus side, having a rock-bottom price helped them get a higher sale price, as they then had more customers, so a more appealing purchase to the likes of IRIS. So in a sense, the fact that you are buying software that is really too cheap means of course it is going to be sold, the owners are building up a business for it to be sold. Those that want cheap software are always going to be vulnerable to that. Look what happened to all those tax payers that decided to use free VAT bridging software: most of those free providers have already stopped offering their service, or are selling something else the user's don't want. Avalara packed it in, and I understand datadear was bought by Intuit, who is closing them down in October.

Thanks (1)
Replying to NewACA:
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By Ian McTernan CTA
31st May 2022 15:37

I looked at the prior accounts. The restated profit 1/9/17 to 31/3/18 was £237,000 after tax. It looks like it was just profitable in previous years, ie not trying to rip off customers.

First full year of IRIS, turnover 2.5 times (mainly due to massive price increases), massive increase in overheads and £368,000 net profit.

IRIS use the same model every time: buy someone else's business then ramp up prices to maximise revenue before moving on to the next victim and leaving customers with little support and dodgy 'contracts' that tie you in for 12 months BEFORE you even know what price you will be paying.

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Replying to indomitable:
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By FRAS
01st Jun 2022 22:28

I have also purchased IRIS Practice Essentials (Taxfiler, Senta & AML compliance). I hope I will not regret as prices will go up at some point but I think Taxfiler & Senta are most affordable cloud kit on the market in my opinion.

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Replying to indomitable:
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By mpfiscal
06th Jul 2022 12:33

Couldnt agree more. IRIS customer service has got no clue how to handle these. I have signed up the contract since over 2 months, money debited from my account and yet they havent even setup the products or onboarded us. IRIS customer service does not have any clue how to handle an onboarding despite chasing every week. Its becoming a joke now. I wish taxfiler had remained independent

indomitable wrote:

Just renewed my subscription with Senta and taxfiler for a year but you can bet they will put their prices up once they have 'integrated' into IRIS elements.

What makes me laugh is how all the owners of these small businesses have basically 'sold out', don't blame them but they try and spin it that this will be good for their customer base and is a great opportunity. Where? Prices will go up you will be forced to bundle and pay for things that you don't need.

And IRIS customer service in my experience so far is very poor

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By Ian McTernan CTA
31st May 2022 15:44

and IRIS once again strike:

The products will not be discontinued, but the document stated that high-priority bug fixes will be made available to Senta and Taxfiler users. All other feature development work will be focused on IRIS Elements Practice Management and IRIS Element Tax & Accounts.

Watch the wording on this:

“In a few months, we will be providing existing customers with a migration solution so they can move to the new IRIS Elements versions of their products – with no additional charge.

You might think they are saying that there will be no increase in what they charge you, but you'll be wrong. What they are saying is they won't charge you for forcing you to migrate to the new platform. Nothing in their statement says your ongoing price won't increase next year.

After yet another year of massive increases (it's always been 7% plus every year, plus the tripling when they took over), I wonder what it will be in 2023?

One thing is for certain. It won't be a small increase and you will be tied in with their 3 month notice clauses (how that is even remotely legal is beyond me) before they tell you how much it is.

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By carnmores
31st May 2022 17:07

Hello Iris
people chose Taxfiler for a reason
Please do not mess it up with any integrations
I realise your track record hasn't always been great on this score
So be careful and think hard about the inherited client base
Nick

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By carnmores
05th Aug 2022 16:02

this is a perfect example of a company not listening, see my comments above. if it's not ready why are they selling Elements it's so disappointing and causes extra work for us at the coalface , do they care?

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