Technology editor AccountingWEB
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While the recent purchase of AccountantsWorld is the latest brick in the road for IRIS’s North American expansion, it also hints at further plans to grow the company’s international reach.
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IRIS adds AccountantsWorld to US portfolio

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While the recent purchase of AccountantsWorld is the latest brick in the road for IRIS’s North American expansion, it also hints at further plans to grow the company’s international reach.

12th Jan 2022
Technology editor AccountingWEB
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IRIS Software Group has said that its recent purchase of AccountantsWorld is a further step in its North American expansion plans.

Founded in 2003, New York-based AccountantsWorld was one of the earliest cloud accounting product and service providers in North America, The company offers a complete suite of cloud-based solutions for thousands of firms including accounting, payroll and document management, client portals and practice management.

The AccountantsWorld deal is the latest in a line of recent acquisitions, including Doc.IT and Conarc, and syncs with IRIS’s existing offerings for accountants such as Star Practice Management, Innervision, FMP, PSI, Senta and Practice Engine.

Growing US foothold

Speaking to AccountingWEB, IRIS chief marketing officer David Turner commented that the acquisition gave the group a good foothold in the North American client accounting services (CAS) market.

“Our core business is the UK, but we’re aiming to grow and North America seems the logical next step,” said Turner. While he believes the market is a massive opportunity, he acknowledged the challenges facing IRIS as it expands across the Atlantic. 

“It’s tough, and that’s why other players have struggled to crack it. North America is a large market but it’s very fragmented. However, AccountantsWorld has got around 4% of that market.”

From a standing start, IRIS Group now works with 50 of the top US 100 CPA firms, and Turner sees this as a solid platform on which to build.

“We want to grow steadily,” he said. “We have a five-year plan. We’ve made some acquisitions, some big and some small, and plan to continue this in 2022.”

To power this growth, Turner said IRIS will target accountants, not their clients, with a “strategic suite of solutions” for CPAs.

“AccountantsWorld already have great tools for CPAs. Firms are aspiring to offer more advisory services but struggling to get the admin out of the way. Part of the solution is tech.”

Future prospects

While IRIS built its UK reputation on compliance products, its North American purchases have focused on process and procedure. 

“Integration is a fundamental challenge across businesses,” said Turner. “Mid to larger firms are crying out for more integration.”

Whether IRIS will seek to build on the model by plugging in a localised challenger to the likes of TurboTax or H&R Block remains to be seen, but the model hints at further plans for international expansion.

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