IRIS has added the online infrastructure provider Hosted Accountants to its growing portfolio of tax and practice-related tech services.
The acquisition was announced on the afternoon of Tuesday 1 April; details of the agreed price were not revealed.
With cloud software beginning to weaken the hold of tax and practice suite suppliers like IRIS, desktop hosting offers firms a way to stick with the systems they have while giving staff and clients the flexibility and remote access that cloud applications provide.
Established in 2008, Hosted Accountants has been working in partnership with IRIS’s hosting division for the past four years. Where the IRIS hosting service delivers the IRIS Accountancy Suite alongside Microsoft Office, Hosted Accountants offers other IT support services including online backup and business continuity, internet telephony, and network management and security.
According to IRIS the partnership has been growing rapidly and will bring 5,000 new users at 600 accountancy firms into its orbit. Around 140 of those firms are not currently IRIS users, bringing the total number of practices served by IRIS up to 21,000.
Under the terms of that relationship, Hosted Accountants was not allowed to deal with IRIS customers directly, according to AccountingWEB member rmcouk, who started looking into alternatives to IRIS Hosting last year after becoming frustrated with the performance of the Claranet-based IRIS platform.
With the addition of the Newbury-based Hosted Accountants data centre, customers will now have a choice of service, IRIS chief marketing officer Nick Gregory said.
Hosted Accountants managing director David Watson said his team was “delighted” to be joining IRIS and looked forward to developing market-driven solutions that would take care of customers’ productivity and compliance requirements.
As they did when IRIS acquired the cloud tax and accounts production software developer Taxfiler, some AccountingWEB members did not share that optimistic view and bemoaned the potential loss of competition in the market.
Cloudcounter took a different stance and supported the view that Watson and his fellow directors had sold up at an opportune time, commenting: “It no longer makes sense to me to log into a hosted system to log into the cloud from there. We've always used Xero for most of our management accounting anyway and with more processes becoming cloud-based the hosted platform is becoming irrelevant.”
On behalf of IRIS, Nick Gregory acknowledged the trend, but noted that many firms still have on-premise systems in place.
“Hosting allows access to some benefits of the cloud with a familiar way of working,” he said. “IRIS Software recognises this requirement and is dedicated to ensuring every accountancy practice, whether working on premise or in the cloud, can thrive in the digital economy.”