Editor in Chief (interim) AccountingWEB
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AML tool pilots IRIS Elements cloud strategy

IRIS Software is now rolling out an anti-money laundering tool that represents the first big step in its long-term evolution towards a cloud-based tax and practice software environment.

14th Oct 2020
Editor in Chief (interim) AccountingWEB
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AML tool pilots IRIS Elements integration platform
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First introduced at IRIS World in February, the IRIS Anti-Money Laundering module offers know your client (KYC) and risk assessment functions dictated by the latest AML rules. This functionality was selected as the first implementation of the Elements online integration project because it addresses one of the top priorities for accountants working with new clients, according to product director Jonathan Priestley.

The AML module went through an epic gestation period as the company built everything from scratch, he said. The new app also represents the design template for how all IRIS applications will look and feel in the future.

“It’s the first tap in our offering. We had to put a lot of plumbing in to make that tap work,” Priestley told AccountingWEB.

Extending functionality

While further tweaks are being added to the AML features, IRIS programmers are working with customers to refine broader tax, accounts production and practice management capabilities.

For 2021, Priestley is planning to deliver a “Smart Tax” feature that will give users an instant tax calculation. The tool will be accessible from the panel within their existing desktop applications that are fed by a central brain.

“Having liberated data out of the desktop into Elements in the cloud means we can do this in real-time,” Priestley said.

“What customers actually want is a tax simulator so they can put in different figures to see the effects – for example, if they want to decide how to guide clients on provisioning and CGT.”

With all these pieces of the Elements puzzle in the pipeline, Priestley is conscious about the challenges of bringing an entirely new tax and practice product family to market. “We would never switch wholesale to a large group of customers. That would be too risky. Anything we do will be a phased approach,” he said.

On every step into the cloud, IRIS is connecting back to the desktop, so customers can “dip their toes in and come across to a native cloud user interface when they’re ready”, Priestley continued.

As a developer, the IRIS product direct gets evangelical about his new baby: “The whole point of Elements is that it is as much a transformation programme as a software development programme.”

Rather than just building an online platform and bolting in some desktop apps, he explains that the next generation Elements concept is built around “task integration rather than product integration” so that the software creates a dynamic user path that leads them naturally from one task to the next.

“We’ve been doing integration at the product level for 20 years. Customers love IRIS’s integration. But with legacy accounts, practice and tax programs, you’ve got to hunt through a hierarchy of tabs. We’re working to get past that to get to the next level of integration by consolidating a lot more of the information upfront so they don’t have to go looking for it.

“It’s more efficient, but there are some hard yards to code this. It’s changed the way IRIS does business.”

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