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IRIS raises cloud stakes with OpenPayroll

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8th Oct 2013
Editor in Chief AccountingWEB
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Accountancy specialist IRIS Software Group touted its claims to market leadership for cloud-based applications with the first public showing of its OpenPayroll product.

Announced last week, IRIS OpenPayroll is a new, entirely web-based program that sits within the growing family of IRIS “Open” products.

Along with the new payroll system, the Open family now includes OpenBooks - a rebadged version of the the FreeAgent web accounting system, the OpenSpace document portal, OpenTax, OpenAudit OpenPayslips and OpenWebsite web building services. All of these applications are linked by IRIS OpenPortal, a digital backbone that sits within the firm’s desktop software and ties it to the cloud services, explained IRIS CEO Phill Robinson at the company’s IRIS World 2013 event in Twickenham last week.

“Payroll is a big bit of functionality,” he said. “Today is about trying to paint a complete picture of our cloud strategy. You can see how they all link together as we release more modules.”

Also coming are mobile tools and a single application sign-on for all the Open software family. However, with Sage committed to delivering core cloud products within the next year, Robinson would not be drawn on any timetable for delivering Open accounts production or practice management tools.

“There’s a difference between talking and doing,” Robinson replied. “Sage has only just started spending now. I’ve been watching them say this for four years while we’ve been investing.

“We’re 2-3 steps through a process. We’ve released products that desktop users can access. Now we have three compliance applications and there are more to do. We started with a footprint that’s more relevant for smaller practices. Our PTP user base - around 5,000 firms, a third of our market - could be running in cloud today. Over time we will move the whole of the IRIS Suite to the cloud.

“We think we got a more complete solution than anyone in the sector,” Robinson told the IRIS World audience. “We think our leadership in cloud market today is protection for you. Any other technology supplier would be a big risk.”

Presenting the first public demo of OpenPayroll (above), IRIS SME division CEO Mark Paraskeva described it as the UK’s first professional cloud-based payroll product.

Many current cloud payroll systems “fall into the same bucket”, he explained, by catering only for single companies. IRIS OpenPayroll is different because it offers multi-company facilities, with separate sign-ins for each client business so they can look at the same figures and distribute payslips from the payroll system.

While describing it as “bureau-class”, Paraskeva said the IRIS developers had focused on making it easy to use, particularly for accountants who may not previously have run a payroll bureau.

“If you compare it to desktop products, they’ve got more capabilities that haven’t been built into [OpenPayroll]. But these are products that have been around for 30 years.

“This product was aimed at non-payroll experts from Day One. Our other products were built for experts, when only a small number of people ran payroll systems. With RTI, there were 1.4m companies that never run a payroll before.”

IRIS OpenPayroll is not yet ready to handle the next big challenge for such systems: tracking and recording pension entitlements and deductions under the auto-enrolment scheme. Corporate IRIS payroll systems such as Earnie already do this, but the typical business for which IRIS OpenPayroll is designed not be on the auto-enrolment staging timetable yet.

“We are going to add enrolment to this product, but all our early users were on 2016 staging dates,” said Paraskeva.

IRIS World video - CEO Phill Robinson discusses cloud strategy

Replies (8)

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By essex accountant
08th Oct 2013 13:25

cost

This may be good software but Iris are going to price themselves out of the market. I use Iris for my practice but Moneysoft for payroll. if I used Open books for payroll for my 80 or so clients this would cost me over £500 a month but Moneysoft costs me £112 A YEAR. I know what I will be using!

Thanks (2)
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
09th Oct 2013 07:54

essex accountant

I'm assuming you meant OpenPayroll rather than Open Books, which has it's own payroll system built in?

Out of interest, Clear Books released their "Open Payroll" a couple of years ago and the bureau version about 6 months ago with a different pricing structure based on an annual subscription for up to 250 companies, with, I think, up to 250 employees per company.  

I don't actually do much payroll work now and so don't know how the Iris & Clear Books systems compare in functionality with each other or with Moneysoft however, as we've found with the bookkeeping side of things, you are not comparing like with like when looking at land & cloud based systems in that, with the latter, there are usually savings in efficiency that go to make up for any extra monetary cost.

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By carnmores
09th Oct 2013 13:27

i wish they would stop using the word FREE

on their marketing makes me angry , but telephone companies are no better either , this is a free call ... my [***].....

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By carnmores
09th Oct 2013 13:30

@Paul

i almost always agree with you but

looking at land & cloud based systems in that, with the latter, there are usually savings in efficiency that go to make up for any extra monetary cost.

aint the case with moneysoft ( tho there is no cloud version yet) rolls royce service for the price of a mini as they say

 

anyway you are correct in saying probably best to steer clear of payroll altogether!

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
09th Oct 2013 14:18

Hi carnmores

Out of interest, where do Iris say their payroll is Free?  I know they used to do payroll "Basics" free of charge (but can't find it now) and OpenSpace is free but there's no doubt you pay for the other stuff after any trial period.

As to the Rolls v Mini, I suppose it depends on whether you need a Rolls (they would have to pay me to drive one - then I'd take it to the scrap yard) and whether you end up comparing two Minis.

Also, as I always point out, until you try another system, you have no idea what specification, speed or CO2 emissions it has, ie unless you've tested it, how do you know Iris or Clear Books OpenPayroll isn't one of these beauties?

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By carnmores
09th Oct 2013 14:30

they used it on their online tax SA stuff

i hope they have desisted here , will look here

 

http://www.iris.co.uk/campaigns-sme/basics/payroll-basics-free-payroll-software-HMRC-ID1550/

 

 

er its free......

 

 

 

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
10th Oct 2013 08:21

well found

This was the one I was looking for it's still live & free and listed under their Small Business Owners - Payroll page.  It was created to match HMRC's free offering.

With regard to Open Tax (the online SA tax offering) they clearly say that this is free to use and you only pay per each submission to HMRC.  I actually like this format as you can use the software with live data without a 14 or 30 day trial period hanging over you and only have to pay when the work is done, which is quite often the time when accountants will charge the client.

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By DanielWebb
03rd Dec 2013 07:53

Cloud Payroll

Can't see how they can be competitive with other providers, look at GTax Payroll, they have been offering Online Payroll for a year now, way cheaper than IRIS in any way you look at it.

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